The best photo editing software

 

One of the best-known photo-editing software available is Photoshop. But, does that mean it is the best for everyone? Maybe and maybe not!

best photo editing software for photographers

Let’s take a look at what else is out there and how they compare to Photoshop. With the ever-improving technology of photo editing, the playing field is quickly filling with new or updated market players!

 

There was some initial grumbling when Adobe began offering Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop in an annual subscription plan, but things started to settle down as the price came down. Many users will find that they need both Lightroom and Adobe Photoshopto accomplish everything they need or to have the variety of options and tools simply. Together, they make for very extensive and robust photo editing.

Photoshop has without a doubt well earned its reputation as one of the best photo editing programs available with a straightforward efficient and quick user interface. But it does not do it all which is where Lightroom comes in. Lightroom offers a vast array of preset tools and creative effects and better organizational tools and catalog features. Lightroom also provides the ability to edit in raw in ways Photoshop doesn’t. And, therein lies the beauty of Adobe’s two for one subscription plan. 

  • Platform: Mac and PC
  • Raw conversion: Yes 
  • Editing: Yes
  • Cataloging: Yes 
 

Elements is different from Photoshop in several ways that are significant to its users. Created for the amateur, it’s an easer-to-use version of Photoshop. That comes at a price - you won’t have the same advanced features of Photoshop! With Photoshop’s annual subscription plan, the price difference might not be worth it for some users. So what does Elements offer the user? It offers tremendous versatility for users of different skills levels and experience. However, if you are an experienced Photoshop or Lightroom user, Elements could be more frustrating than anything else for what it doesn’t offer you - more sophisticated editing tools. Elements is more of an introduction to photo editing for new users. 

  • Platform: Mac and PC
  • Raw conversion: Yes
  • Editing: Yes
  • Cataloging: Yes
 

A competitor to Lightroom, Capture One has been redeveloped to make it more user-friendly. More than that, it can import your pictures into a central catalog and then allow you to make non-destructive edits and apply presets. It also does good raw conversions. Users will find smooth workflow with great adjustment tools. It’s not without some serious limitations, however, compared to Lightroom. While it will support external editors, it doesn’t support plug-ins.

  • Platform: Mac and PC
  • Raw conversion: Yes
  • Editing: Limited
  • Cataloging: Yes
 
DxO best for your photo

There are significant pros and cons to DxO’s Optics Pro 11. It’s a good tool for corrections and edits including edge softness and vignettes. In recent years, it has been expanded with great raw conversion tools for maximum color, definition, and range. However, it doesn’t offer localized adjustments. While it offers terrific results overall, you will need other programs or tools to manipulate and organize images.

  • Platform: Mac and PC
  • Raw conversion: Yes
  • Editing: Limited
  • Cataloging: No
 
ON1 Photo 10.5 best software for photo editing

ON1’s latest edition is Photo 10, a collection of self-contained apps ready to work for you. It includes preset enhancements, effects, and filters, retouching, as well as the ever-vital easy and quick edits for the user. It also offers several export options. It’s a pretty good program all-around.

  • Platform: PC and Mac
  • Raw conversion: Yes
  • Editing: Yes
  • Cataloging: Folder browsing and albums
 
Google Nik Collection for image manipulation

Things were fantastic for Nik Software until Google bought them out. Since then, any advancements seem to have come to a grinding halt making Google Nik less of a serious competitor when it comes to photo editing software. Once known for their great individual plugins, Google combined them into a single but cheaper suite. While they still contain some good programs, there have been no new advancements or expansions of tools and capabilities. However, their Silver Efex Pro remains one of the best on the market for mono plugins while their HDR Efex Pro remains a comprehensive HDR tool. While it seems to have stagnated - at least for now - you could argue that it’s still an appealing suite for some Mac and PC users. 

  • Platform: Mac and PC
  • Raw Conversion: No
  • Editing: Yes
  • Cataloging: No
 
Professional creative software for editing

Once known for their affordable Windows creative applications, Serif is growing up and out! It’s ideal for Mac lovers not looking for or needing Lightroom’s comprehensive organizational tools but wanting a reasonable alternative to Photoshop. Serif offers their Affinity series, their new professional Mac photo editing software. It’s worth a try. Their Affinity Designer offers vector drawing and illustration app while Affinity Photo is their version of Photoshop - mainly, Photoshop’s competitor! 

  • Platform: Mac
  • Raw conversion: Yes
  • Editing: Yes
  • Cataloging: No
 
Macphun Creative Kit – Advanced Photo Editing Tools at a Best Price

Welcome to the world of Mac presets! This powerful software allows you to do some great one-click presets. The kit provides a group of programs you can use alone or as plugins for Lightroom, Photoshop or Aperture. There are tools for contrast and drama, creating effects, and dealing with noise and even object deletes. You’re better off buying as a kit than individually. 

  • Platform: Mac
  • Raw conversion: only via Mac OS
  • Editing: Yes
  • Cataloging: No
 
Photo & Picture Editing Software

PaintShop Pro comes close to Photoshop’s tools and versatility while costing less. If you are a Photoshop user, you will have a bit of a learning curve using PaintShop Pro, but it shouldn’t take you long to learn how to navigate this program. While PaintShop Pro is cheaper upfront than Adobe’s Photoshop, the difference shrinks when you account for annual upgrades to PaintShop. 

  • Platform: PC only
  • Raw conversion: Yes
  • Editing: Yes
  • Cataloging: Folder browsing
 

Cyberlink PhotoDirector 8 Ultra:

PhotoDirector 8 Ultra - Complete Photo Adjustment & Design

Cyberlink’s PhotoDirector 8 Ultra is almost Lightroom in disguise - but not entirely because it is nearly identical to Lightroom, including the workflow. The Adjustment module is a close cousin to Lightroom's Develop module offering users virtually the same tools and abilities. Where they split is with PhotoDirector’s larger edit panel. PhotoDirector is easy to use by both novice photographers and photo editors. Also, a difference is that Lightroom elevates quality and depth quite a bit. Also, PhotoDirector doesn’t support external editors.

  • Platform: Mac and PC
  • Raw conversion: Yes
  • Editing: Limited
  • Cataloging: Yes
 

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