Here is the collection of the most exciting free and paid photo editing programs for Mac.

1. Adobe Lightroom

The ability to work with RAW files is the main advantage of Lightroom usage. When working with photos, the picture originals remain unchanged, and you can easily return to the original picture by canceling all previous actions.

The difference from the older brother Adobe Photoshop is that Lightroom is great for cataloging and processing multiple photos. If you need more in-depth individual photo editing – in this case, Photoshop is indispensable. With the Lightroom image manipulation program you can view the entire extensive photos library, select or reject images, adjust contrast, brightness, white balance or other important parameters easily and quickly. You can get Adobe Lightroom as part of the Creative Cloud by Adobe for $9.99 per month. 

2. Luminar 

One of the very best photo editing software for mac is Luminar AI. It has come a long way since its inception and has become the preferred RAW editor for a number of professional photographers.

Luminar has many photo editing features that are easy to use. You can apply one of the many Signature Looks to add some more aesthetic to your images or use the AI features to make quick and automatic adjustments to your photos and save yourself hours of hard work. 

With AI Portrait Enhancer’s you can automatically detect imperfections in your photo and fix them without masking or using a Clone&Stamp tool. Remove blemishes, fix the dark circles and smooth the skin with just one slider!

AI Structure quickly reveals areas that could look richer and enhances only them them without ruining the photo.

Luminar also offers a fresh and highly intuitive interface and Libraries which help you manage your photos on your device in a very easy and quick way.

3. Photoshop CC

In the past year, this application had no chance to get on this list because of its reasonable, but excessive cost. Ordinary users cannot afford to spend several hundred dollars for a single editor, and advanced colleagues are so well aware of the merits of Photoshop for Mac. Everything has changed with the advent of Adobe Creative Cloud – a subscription for a month which costs $19.99; if you choose the option for a year, then the application will cost you half the price. It comes with Lightroom, and if the service fee becomes burdensome, you can cancel it.

The reason for such a costly Photoshop CC price – is the developer’s desire to fill up the application with the maximum number of complicated graphics designers tools. For example, Adobe Camera RAW – is the most powerful complex for working with RAW files in the world. And there is also 3D-model processing, batch editing, a universal mechanism for working with layers, video editing ability and combined media. Unfortunately, the product does not provide a separate button for all these functions. From professional retouching to web design – there is no solution for an editor to deal with the task through separate buttons.

Despite the drawback, the official website has courses for beginners and advanced users. The methodology is built on an expansive principle, from elementary lessons to individual guides for solving specific, complex problems. At the same time, despite the cloud technologies introduction, interface and interaction algorithms with the user did not change. Photoshop and Lightroom remain one of the most remarkable editors for any operating system.

4. Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo is a Mac photo editor that comes packed with not only photo editing features but also digital painting capabilities. That’s why it is generally considered to be a direct alternative to Photoshop. Affinity Photo will allow you to open and edit RAW files, which means you can use it as an alternative to both Lightroom and Photoshop. You can also use one of the many other features such as the ability to work with vector images, use focus stacking, create layers, make panoramas, and much more. 

However, despite all these great features, this photo editing software for Mac could still use some work done to its interface. It also does not allow for image management as Lightroom does, so it’s not the program of choice for serious photographers. Still, for a one-time price of $49.99, it’s still a great product to spend your money on. 

5. Apple Photos

Apple Photos might be the best free photo editing software for Mac if you want something for moderate edits rather than something for very advanced work. It comes preloaded on Mac computers so it’s completely free. It offers a whole lot of control over your images as far as exposure, contrast, and colors are concerned. You can also organize your photos pretty well with Apple Photos and be a little creative with filters. 

Where Apple Photos gets more interesting is its ability to support plugins. You can add different plugins to Photos to make it much more powerful. You can edit RAW files, create HDR photos and do much more with respective plugins that you can buy. However, this can get pretty expensive so at that point, it might be better to just buy an advanced photo editor for Mac. 

6. Darktable

If you are looking for the best free photo editor for Mac that can handle RAW files, then Darktable is it. It’s a completely free-to-use software that allows you to edit RAW files in a non-destructive way. The software is open-source, which means that it is constantly being developed and improved upon by people and has a lot of support going for it. You can use it for quickly fixing up some images as well as detailed photo editing. 

Unlike paid software like Lightroom, Darktable does suffer from performance-related issues. It often crashes and you may run into other technical issues from time to time. It’s also a little slower to operate than some other programs. But it does come back to the fact that the software is a free RAW editor that people often compare directly to Lightroom in its editing abilities. 

7. ON1 Photo RAW

ON1 Photo RAW is definitely going to come up in all your searches for the best photo editing software for Mac. It has a modern and streamlined interface that looks similar to that of Lightroom’s. The software lets you edit RAW files but also comes with many handy features and tools like a Portrait Mode, Focus Stacking or HDR, Layers, Local Adjustments, Masking, and even tools like Clone and Stamp. All of this makes ON1 a software that has the potential to replace both Lightroom and Photoshop at a one-off price of just $79.99.

If you do decide to give ON1 a try, you should know that working with layers is a little tougher here, the sorting features aren’t as strong as in other programs, and the selection tools aren’t very easy and accurate to use. If these things matter lesser to you than the money you spend on Lightroom or Photoshop, then ON1 is definitely a Mac photo editor to consider.

8. DxO PhotoLab 3

For a one-time payment of $99.99, you can get your hands on DxO PhotoLab 3’s Essential Edition. This is an excellent photo editor for Mac that combines a sleek and well-optimized interface with a wealth of features. The software has the ability to work quickly, produce images that are clear and sharp, creating local adjustments with strong selective tools, a denoise feature that can work wonders, and a healthy selection of presets for those times when you just want to make some quick edits to your photos. 

All in all, DxO PhotoLab 3 is a worthy contender for the best photo editing software for Mac. There are some downsides, as with every software. Some of these include the lack of a history panel and updates that don’t usually add a lot of new features to the program. You can’t edit or add the EXIF data for your images as well, so that might also bother some users. 

9. InPixio

If you don’t mind working with various different programs to achieve what you want with your images, then InPixio might be a good choice for you. The company develops multiple products like Photo Editor, Photo Clip, Photo Maximizer, and more. Each of these does something different. The Photo Editor comes with many different features including presets, textures, and frames other than being able to quickly edit boring images into more interesting ones. 

However, the Photo Editor itself is not as powerful as others. It costs around $20 and can be quite powerful when paired up with some other products by the company. Alone though, it’s not the best Mac photo editor deal you can find. 

10. Corel AfterShot Pro 3

Corel AfterShot Pro 3 is a photo editing software for Mac users who prefer a speedy workflow over advanced editing features. It’s a RAW photo editor that brings a lot of tools to the table except for very advanced ones as seen in Photoshop. Despite that, Corel AfterShot Pro 3 has a lot going for it. Mainly, its Enhanced Highlight Recovery tool is something that’s very useful for all kinds of photographers. You can also make use of other helpful tools like batch processing and ‘Blemish Recover’. Corel’s Mac photo editor also comes with camera profiles preloaded which are great for making quick and easy edits. 

While it may not be the best free photo editor for Mac, Corel AfterShot Pro 3 is very cheap at just $80 when compared to Adobe’s flagship photo editing duo. The interface may not be perfect or very easy to use but the software overall is a great deal indeed. 

11. Topaz Studio 2

Topaz Studio’s second version is a big improvement over the original. It offers a clean and easy to use interface design and the ability to work with layers, much like Photoshop does. This has made it very easy for creatives to work with Topaz Studio 2 to take their images much further. Topaz Studio 2 also comes packed with many filters and presets that offer a lot of control so that you can make your images look exactly the way you want. 

Where Topaz Studio gets a little frustrating is its website. The company offers too many products that kind of overlap with each other in terms of functionality so users can often get confused about which product they actually need. It’s also a little more expensive than some very good competitors, at $99.99. But if you’re not bothered by the price, this is one of the best photo editing software for Mac that you can get if you’re into more creative work. 

12. Pixelmator Pro

Pixelmator Pro is a Mac photo editor that is great for non-destructive editing for a low price. It’s a user-friendly program that comes with a lot of the tools you’d expect from a fully-featured photo editor. The new version of Pixelmator Pro also incorporates machine learning to make the process of editing images much easier and quicker. You will have access to brushes and effects for some creative editing as well. Pixelmator Pro also allows for selective editing with the help of quick selection tool 

All in all, this is a great Mac photo editor that can handle moderate to even professional photo editing needs for a one-time price of just $59.99. 

13. CyberLink PhotoDirector Ultra 10

If you’re looking for the best photo editing software for Mac that can handle both photo management as well as editing, then this one might fit the bill for you. It comes with very strong file management tools that make it easy to find and access any image you want without too much hassle. You can label photos, give them ratings, or have the software stack them automatically based on the frame, the time, or even the composition. 

On the editing side of things, you have all the usual tools you’d need from a photo editor. You can make quick edits using the many options available and the results are pretty good. Overall, for $79.99, CyberLink PhotoDirector Ultra 10 is a very good Mac photo editor if you’re sick of paying for monthly subscriptions. 

14. Acorn 6

Acorn is the perfect photo editor for those Mac users who want something to help them be more creative with their images. It’s not a full-featured photo editor as many other programs on this list are because it is more focused on the creation of vector designs and bitmap graphics. You can use the program to edit images on a basic level and then use its real power to create amazing graphics. The interface of Acorn is very simple and well-designed, making it easy to get your work done without fiddling around too much. 

If you’re into creative work, then you should look at Acorn very seriously. But if you’re looking for something that doubles down as a really advanced photo editor as well, then the $50 asking price might seem a little high as compared to some other offerings. 

15. Polarr

Polarr is one of the best free photo editors for Mac. It has an excellent interface design, with colorful sliders that are instantly recognizable. It features great jpeg editing tools like Dehaze, Highlights and Shadows, Fringing, Lens Distortion, Grains, and even Curves. Many of these tools are not seen in other free editors which is why Polarr has gained a lot of popularity in this segment of the market in the past few years. It’s also very intuitive to use and doesn’t require a lot of time to edit images. It has 14 free filters as well that are really good-looking and can be tweaked further.

If you decide that you want even more control over your photos like selective adjustments via masks and blending options, among much more, then you can buy the Pro version for 2.49 per month which is not bad at all.


16. Exposure X4

Exposure X4 is a complete photo editing package that can handle RAW files as well as compressed ones. It’s a big improvement over its prior version with better performance, especially when editing RAW files. Exposure X4 also has some unique features such as a viewing mode where you can open four different images at once to review them. You also get quite good organizing tools to easily label and locate your photos. Advanced features such as support for LUTs and the creation of Smart Collections make it even more likable. 

There are still some rare performance issues when handling very big RAW files but overall it is definitely one of the best photo editing software for Mac. Another feather in its cap is the fact that you buy it for a one-off price of $119, so you don’t have to get tied down with subscriptions. 

17. Gimp

This Mac photo editing app has a huge army of fans because it is a full-featured image editor with open source. Others can grumble – the photo editing program requires an individual study, training new skills. But for persistent professionals and business enthusiasts, it is not a problem anymore. Now Gimp not only offers greater editing process but works without complications in all OS X versions.

The application is a direct Photoshop competitor. It has a fully customizable multifunctional interface. It supports the layered image editing concept; has a rich set of highly specialized photo editing tools.

Gimp is the perfect decision for complex work and for honing new professional techniques – colorize the riotous color of an inconspicuous picture or create a monochrome masterpiece, make point or scale edits, remove defects, or maybe add them.

One of the main image editing software limitations – is the specific support for working with RAW files, which are recognized by the application but cannot be directly edited. It will take several lessons and tinker with plug-ins, which can scare off a quick-tempered neophyte. But for those who immerse themselves in the project, additional resources are opened, such as GIMPology textbooks, custom filters, various utilities and updates for different occasions.

It is a popular photo editing alternative to Adobe software, which is useful because it decided to migrate from one environment to another or trivially wants to save a penny for the purchase of serious software. Gimp is a free photo editing program.

18. Gentlemen Coders RAW Power

RAW Power is a great Mac photo editor that focuses mainly on RAW image editing. It brings a clean and modern interface and a host of features and tools to take your RAW images to the next level. You can adjust White Balance, exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows and much more with RAW Power. It also gives you curve adjustments to tweak your images in a lot of detail. RAW images from hundreds of cameras are supported here and the performance is enhanced with GPU acceleration. 

One of the best things about RAW Power is that you can use it as an extension to Apple Photos and take the free Apple editor to a whole new level. For just $29.99, RAW Power is one software that’s not to be missed. 

19. Paintbrush

The graphics project is updating and upgrading constantly. Now the application is fully adapted for OS X El Capitan. But the interface and functionality have remained forever in the ’80s of the last century when users have required the most straightforward free photo editor, which is included in the package by default for each computer sold. Neither Microsoft with its Paint, nor Apple did not consider it expedient to change anything – the Paintbrush authors fully agree with them. There will always be a lot of simple tasks, for which a sufficient set of virtual chalk, eraser and fill function. The application supports only the most popular formats: BMP, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, GIF.

20. PhotoLine

PhotoLine is another alternative to Photoshop, but it’s not free. The great image editing app is designed for an advanced user who has already edited a lot of photos, knows the subtleties of processing and the tools he needs. Its interface is a little weak, but despite this drawback, PhotoLine has an impressive set of useful functions. From the official website, you can easily download a demo version of the editor, try out editing features and have your own impression about the product’s image editing power. If you like what you see, you can buy the program for 59 Euros. 

21. Pixen

The title explains itself – the editor is created for operation in a narrow niche – for creativity in the pixel art field. Because the question: “Who may need an application weighing 2.4 MB, drawing 8-bit icons and sprites in the Retina displays era?” – Is separate. But, it does not prevent Pixen authors from claiming that the editor is designed specifically for the Mac and works fine in the latest OS X versions.

The interesting application features include a unique color palette, the mechanism for creating mini-movies from GIF-files, a special sighting system, without which the exact arrangement of pixels becomes problematic. Pixen features meticulous implementation and a thoughtful interface, being a specialized solution. It meets the stringent requirements for commercial products – that is why – a natural price tag of $ 9.99.

And with that, we conclude our list of the best photo editing software for your shiny Mac. All of these are great in their own ways and the final choice that you make will come down to what’s more important to you. But whatever you decide, do give the free trials a chance first to get a real feel for the software you’ve chosen.

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