As a rule, the phrase “graphics editor” causes standard associations with photo editing apps such as Photoshop and Lightroom, Adobe Illustrator. They are powerful, advanced photo editing software for working with raster and vector graphics. The Google request “download Photoshop” is expected to be popular. But to purchase editing software Photoshop is justified for someone who is engaged in computer graphics professionally. Is it necessary to search for illegal versions and other graphics programs to draw (or rather to cut) the forum avatar or edit your photo slightly? For amateur users, it is not a necessity because it’s like to build a birdhouse with an architectural bureau.
With the proliferation of smartphones with good cameras in each user’s archive, there are hundreds of different photos. However, after reviewing your library on a computer, you can catch sight of not good enough shot, unsuccessful foreshortening, a blurry background or an unnecessary object. Those users who have long been engaged in photography, recommend using special programs for artistic processing of photographs.
Most often, professional image editing software is different from beginner software – they support modern digital cameras formats of digital, have more advanced photo editing tools for working with layers and allow you to connect external add-ins. Not all specialized tools have a simple interface, and sometimes to work with it, you need to spend the time to study the functionality. However, there are exceptions. So, let’s compare the app’s capabilities and find out which programs are available for editing photos at home, and which ones can be used professionally.
Luminar is one of the best photo editing software for Windows available today. It’s a clean, modern, and highly intuitive photo editor that can hold its own against the likes of Lightroom and Capture One. The editor brings a plethora of advanced photo editing tools that can help you create stellar images either from RAW files or compressed ones. You can manipulate the exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, white balance, and pretty much anything else you want about your photos with Luminar. It also comes with presets that are excellent at what they do. These are also possible to be tweaked so you can nail the exact look you want.
You can get Luminar for just $89 which is pretty great when you compare it to other programs like Lightroom. Luminar also has photo organization capabilities which is something many other Lightroom competitors miss out on.
Just like Photoshop, Lightroom is also the most famous photo editor when it comes to RAW editing. The program has developed itself as the premiere RAW photo editor over the years and brings all the technological advancements possible to the hands of the users. With Lightroom, you can not only edit photos non-destructively but can also have your photos cataloged in a very user-friendly way. All in all, Lightroom appeals to professional photographers because of the combination of both these things. And to top it all off, the image quality you get out of Lightroom is excellent.
However, also like Photoshop, you have to pay $9.99 per month to use Lightroom which is a turn off for many users.
Adobe Photoshop is perhaps the first name that comes to the mind of anyone looking for the best photo editing software for Windows. It’s a mammoth in the world of photo editing and for good reason. Photoshop brings a collection of all the tools that any photographer would be very happy with. Everything from the most basic photo editing to use tools like Healing and Cloning is possible with Photoshop. The interface is also quite clean but you do need to spend a lot of time getting to grips with every tool and all the commands you have to use in order to maintain a speedy workflow.
The worst thing about Photoshop that puts many people off is that you have to pay $9.99 every month to use it. Over a matter of months, this can stack up to a very big amount of money.
Paint.net – quite useful basic photo editing program, is featuring simplicity and good speed. Do not confuse it with the Windows editor Paint; it’s an entirely different program. The word “simple” in the subtitle does not mean a small number of possibilities for editing images. It’s about the simplicity of its development in comparison. The popular photo editing software supports plug-ins, works with layers, image masks and has all the necessary functionality for basic image editing and for creating own avatars, icons, other pictures.
This program is very popular among beginners. It does not have professional Adobe Photoshop elements, but it has everything that you need for quickly editing photos, images. It is a solid average program on our list. For all its simplicity, the editor supports RAW-format and even allows you to connect plug-ins.
A nice PhotoScape feature is an integrated collage generator, with which you can quickly prepare for printing a frame consisting of several processed images.
One of the most famous free photo editing software for Windows is GIMP. It packs a whole lot of features that anyone will be happy using when editing their photos. It’s very much like Photoshop in the tools it offers. You can work in layers, use brushes and masks, and create artworks out of your images if you want. There is a lot you can do with GIMP and the newest versions have improved a lot in terms of their design and performance as well.
GIMP does require some work to be put in by the user to really learn how to use the program to its full potential. But once you get the hang of it, you might never need another photo editor for your Windows computer.
If you have a Windows 10 machine, you already have a fairly powerful and capable photo editor installed on there. Photos by Microsoft is a photo editor that may not be the most powerful free photo editing software for Windows but it sure has a lot going for it in terms of design, performance, and simplicity. The software makes it easy to preview your photos and adjust their colors, exposure, contrast, and highlights and shadows. You can also use some very nice-looking filters if you’re looking for a quick fix.
Overall, Photos might be a simple program but if you don’t want RAW editing or very creative photo editing, you can make very good use of Photos without paying any money.
For your RAW editing needs, Darktable is too good to be true for some people who are looking for free options. It’s a completely free option that can handle some serious RAW editing needs. The program can be compared directly to Lightroom in terms of what is possible to get done with Darktable. You have all the tools you would need to edit your photos in as much detail as you want, without destroying them.
However, Darktable is a little cluttered for some users simply because of how many tools and features it brings to the table. Because of that, you will need some time to get used to where everything is and what everything can do. Once you do that though, you’ll find out a very powerful RAW photo editing solution in Darktable.
9. Raw Therapee
Just like Darktable, Raw Therapee is an amazing free photo editing software for Windows that is aimed mainly at editing RAW files. You can achieve a very high quality of imagery by working with various tools like masking, non-destructive editing, and much more. The interface is quite nice too but the program does require some hard work to get started with. There’s a healthy online community that is always ready to help and lend a hand to new users with their issues which makes Raw Therapee a really good option for your RAW photo editing needs on your Windows computer.
A mini copy of powerful Photoshop it is also free. The program will satisfy the requests of all novice photographers. Artweaver allows you to select layers, work with a gradient and apply various effects. With this application, you can eliminate defects in a certain part of the photo and do not edit the entire image.
Of course, the utility functions are limited. And it will not be enough for the industry professionals, at least because of the lack of support for RAW-format, but for beginners, the application will be quite suitable.
A handy photo editor, which originated from the same online photo app. Its main advantage is a simple user interface with many great features. Pixlr is the best choice if you want to retouch an image in a few clicks, remove the “red eyes” effect or set a new focus point and you have not to travel through different menus. The program boasts more than two million combinations of special effects and photo filters.
Unfortunately, with all the advantages, the application has a drawback – the inability to recognize RAW objects automatically transfers the program to the category of amateur editors.
Now Krita is referred to graphics editor due to its success in the field of free software and supports Windows, Linux, MacOS. It is the best free Photoshop alternative which is created for illustrators, artists and other users who are looking for a drawing program. It is capable of working with vector, raster graphics.
The real reviews of those who use this photo software are mostly positive, and sometimes enthusiastic; indeed, the free editor software looks thoughtful and functional. If you want to change Illustrator or Corel Draw, you should pay attention to it; there are different online lessons for beginners and advanced users.
Photolemur is an editing software that makes it very easy for photographers of all kinds to edit their photos. The software uses AI to automatically notice things about your photos that can be improved and then it just improves them without any effort on your part. The software does all of this very well, sometimes making changes that even the users themselves didn’t think about making. You can, of course, go into much more detail and make the changes yourselves but the true power of Photolemur rests in its automatic editing abilities.
If that appeals to you, then the $35 you spend to purchase Photolemur is not too bad at all.
Corel’s PaintShop Pro promises the best-in-class technologies and tools to provide you with a photo editor that may be the best photo editing software for Windows. While you can use PaintShop Pro to do pretty much whatever you can do with competing editors, some tools like SmartClone and Refine Brush are unique to the program. SmartClone makes cloning and merging different elements of a photo much easier than ever before and Refine Brush makes it easier to select parts of your photos for selective editing.
All in all, the software is a great choice for anyone looking to buy an all-in-one photo editor for their Windows computer. You can get the program for a regular price of $79.99 but it does go on sale from time to time as well.
15. Affinity Photo
Affinity Photo is a competitor to Photoshop and is one of the best photo editing software you can get for Windows. It’s not just a photo editing software but also a creative design tool as well that you can use in order to elevate your photos to the level of a digital artwork. You can make use of Affinity’s tools like brushes, selection masks, presets, and non-destructive RAW editing to take your photos to a new level. The best thing about Affinity Photo is that it costs only $49.99 which is a great price if the software is what you need. However, if you need something that can organize your photos as well, then you should look elsewhere.
16. ON1 Photo RAW
As the name suggests, ON1 Photo RAW gives users all the RAW editing power they could want from the best photo editing software for Windows. ON1 features a number of advanced editing tools that will help you give your photos just the look you want in a completely non-destructive manner. You can use features like focus stacking and HDR to make your photos look better than they originally are. You can also edit selective parts of your photos which is something very important for professional photographers.
There are some limitations to using ON1 Photo RAW. For example, some tools are not as good as you’d want them to be. However, with a price of $79.99. It’s still an excellent option for photo editors of all types.
17. DxO PhotoLab 3
The best thing DxO PhotoLab 3 has to offer which can differentiate it from others is the Denoise tool. It’s one of the best features that can be used by photographers of all kinds in order to reduce excessive noise from their images. Other than this, DxO PhotoLab 3 also brings a lot of other photo editing tools, just like other editors. You can easily edit your photos in a visually pleasing and well-performing interface.
However, the program leaves a little to be desired if you’re a serious photographer. And the price tag of $99.99 for the Essential Edition with some omitted advanced features makes it hard to recommend this program when there’s so much else available, often for lesser.
The photo management capabilities of CyberLink PhotoDirector Ultra 10’s is what makes it a strong contender for the best photo editing software for Windows. The program can organize your photos in multiple ways, sorting them by name, date, and even the frame or composition. This makes the software an amazing tool for those photographers who have thousands of images on their systems. All of that combined with a healthy set of photo editing tools and you end up with a very strong photo editor.
You can get CyberLink PhotoDirector Ultra 10 for a one-time payment of $79.99.
19. ACDSee Ultimate
If you want a strong RAW editor that performs very well, then ACDSee Ultimate is a good choice. The software uses GPU acceleration to ensure speedy performance no matter what tool you are using. You have access to tools like focus stacking, color adjustments that are customizable, and HDR to make sure your photos turn out excellently. You can also use the program to manage your photos and catalog them.
However, the program has quite a high price of $224.98. It’s suggested that you get your hands on a free trial first to see if it’s actually worth it.
20. Capture One Pro
Many specialists consider this program a direct competitor of Lightroom and Photoshop. It is a very powerful editor. You can work and edit a whole or a part of the image, change skin tones, supports multi-layer photos and the ability to recognize the RAW files of all modern cameras. All these photo editing features and a set of basic features such as effects application, color balance management and correction of the color profile – are provided by Capture One Pro.
The main image editing tool is the function of removing matrix dust and the presence of a special application for a quick works preview on a gadget running iOS.
The cost of the application starts at 279 euros, which limits the potential audience automatically. But the 30-day free photo editor trial-period does not cut off the functionality, and you have a month to decide the expediency of buying the program.
Probably the most powerful vector editor of our time, allowing not only to change images but also to create own projects. Most often, it is used in the architectural field, for buildings, interior items, and machine parts design. Photographers loved it for its “omnivorous” formats (including RAW) and a large number of built-in effects. The program is upgrading constantly and the latest version has a huge variety of capabilities such as:
- magically transforms sketches into vector curves – there is no longer any need to scan drawings;
- intuitive tools save your time;
- easily solve problems with searching and schematizing fonts;
- enhanced pen input support;
- powerful photo editing tools;
- optimized tablet mode.
The CorelDraw is a universal graphics editor for all occasions because the program has a number of different plug-ins. It can be bought for around $415.99.
The program from the Japanese developer focused on creating images from scratch. With the application help, you can simulate the process of creating works by different tools – a pencil, oil brushes, a pen, a felt pen. You can set the brush properties. There is a separate mode for drawing the correct geometric shapes. A special program feature is the presence of a built-in recorder that allows you to record the whole work process to view it in the utility interface.
OpenCanvas editor designed for digital photos editing, it has a pretty good built-in filter set and supports a common PSD format. You can buy openCanvas for $59.00.
So, these have been some of the best photo editing software you can buy today. Most, if not all of these programs have free trials that you must first get your hands on before you decide whether you actually want to buy the program or not.