22 best free and paid photo editing software

Compelling visuals are a key component of success in business and content creation. Photo editing has taken on new importance as everybody has a camera with them at all times.

Photo editors allows you to crop out busy backgrounds, beautify people and places, and improve tone, contrast, and textures. You can repair old pictures, focus or blur objects in a picture, convert static images to lifelike graphics, and much more.

Whether you need an optimized photo for your social media platforms, or a great headshot for your modeling portfolio, investing in a good photo editing software solution is a must.

There are probably hundreds or even thousands of photo editing apps on the Internet. from free to paid, from the online, local based to mobile apps, from the beginner level to professional.

Given the many available options, you may find it challenging to settle on the right app for your photo editing needs. And many of the features and tools overlap, making it an even more tricky choice.

In this article, We’ve handpicked some of the best free and paid photo editing apps for Android, iPad os, Windows, Mac or even Linux.

Whether you’re just starting out and need a streamlined program to assist you in your first steps to becoming a pro photographer, or you’ve been behind the lens for years and want to brush up on your photo editing skills, this list has something for everyone.

22 Best photo editing software in 2023

Although the market for photo editing software is large and diverse, the programs below represent the best in the industry.

We’ll comparing all of them, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses, comparing their prices, and going through their nuance to help you decide with one is appropriate for you.

1. Adobe Photoshop CC

Adobe Photoshop CC image editing software

Adobe Photoshop CC has long been a byword for image editing. The renowned software is the go-to solution for artists, illustrators, designers, and photographers.

While Lightroom is more focused on photo enhancement, and editing on the move, Photoshop is the Adobe companion app that lets you change everything about your image.

It contains almost everything you need to edit, modify, or enhance your photos and images. Adobe Photoshop CC has many basic retouching tools and functionalities like cropping, painting, filling, blurring, sharpening, erasing, and dodging, and this will satisfy most casual users.

However, it can also cater to power users with its options to edit multiple layers, masks, channels, sky replacements, pattern previews, the all-encompassing Adobe Sensei, and a whole lot more. the power of its layer-based editing system can handle the most complex of creative projects.

Adobe Photoshop CC allows you to easily replace the entire background in pictures, create mirror images, edit 3D images and 360-degree images. You can also write texts on photos, add vector graphics, and stitch images together.

There many other features in Photoshop, including upsampling, the Smart Sharpen filter and conditional actions. It’s a dense program with tools for nearly every photo editing task, as long as you take the time to find where they are.

By installing customized plug-ins, you can push the functionalities of Adobe Photoshop CC to even greater heights.

Adobe Photoshop supports RAW file formats, This means you can edit your photos without losing any data, and you can make advanced adjustments to exposure, white balance, and more.

Photoshop goes far beyond photo adjustments. The wide and powerful toolset allows you to transform images into digital artwork. You can change the background in portraits. You can create digital collages. And the art and drawing tools give you infinite scope for creativity.

Photoshop has a large online community that’s dedicated to offering support whenever you get stuck, and there are thousands of tutorial videos and documentation online that will help you master its complex interface.

Its overall features, cross-platform availability, history as the best photo editing software around, and relative value for the price, earn it our number spot as the best overall photo editing app available right now.

Compatibility: Photoshop CC is available on Windows, Android , iPad OS , and Mac devices.

Pricing: Photoshop CC is only available as part of a Creative Cloud subscription.

The Creative Cloud Photography plan starts at US$9.99/mo or US$119.88/yr. This plan includes Lightroom, Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, and 20GB of cloud storage.

There is also Photoshop Elements ( one-time payment at US$99.99) which is a more basic, inexpensive version of Photoshop if you are a beginner.

2. Adobe Lightroom CC

Adobe Lightroom CC raw photo editing software

Adobe Lightroom CC is the premiere choice for professional photographers. The interface is optimized for workflow, allowing you to skim through thousands of photos, edit them and export them with consistent quality.

The user interface is easy to navigate with its minimalist design and the use of sliders and toggles to make editing quick and simple, even for less advanced users.

It has all the tools you need to enhance, organize, and publish your photos, and the basic editing functions will allow you to clean up imperfections, crop and skew photos, and remove any unwanted elements.

It has features for enhancing specific areas, boosting colors in skies and foreground objects, and extremely powerful auto-correction options for amateurs and beginners.

Features like HDR processing and panorama stitching make once-complicated editing processes a breeze, while tools like tagging and facial recognition make it easy to search through large image catalogs to find what you need in your archives.

With Lightroom, you can easily manage large collections of photos and find the images you need quickly.

Lightroom supports RAW file formats and includes powerful tools for adjusting exposure, white balance and other settings in your photos. but composite editing and layering are out of the question.

One of Lightroom’s great features is the ability to quickly batch update using your own settings or one of their many preset settings. It also allows you to change the lens type, tones, colors, levels and more.

In the modern age of filters and auto corrections, Lightroom gives you the ability to manually make incredibly detailed edits to high-resolution photos to make them even more beautiful.

It’s available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud, which means you can use Lightroom on the desktop or mobile devices. with cloud subscription it comes packaged with Adobe Photoshop, which allows you to work in layers and make precise individual image composites.

Compatibility: Adobe Lightroom is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Apple’s tvOS.

Pricing: Lightroom CC is one of Adobe’s Creative Cloud services, so it requires a subscription.

You can purchase Lightroom on its own or as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan, with both plans starting at US$9.99/mo.

Lightroom Classic is a desktop-based application, meaning files are stored on your computer or external hard drives.

3. Luminar NEO

Luminar NEO RAW Photo editing software

Following in the footsteps of Luminar AI, Luminar Neo is a 100 percent AI-based photo editor that works as a plugin for major photo editors as well as a standalone program.

Neo has introduced the ability to add layers to your edits, much like Photoshop. It also has a developer module, similar to Lightroom. Then you can fine-tune the presets using masks and layers, which gives you extra control should you want it.

Neo’s AI tools make it easy for anyone to use, which can simplify complex photo editing tasks, making them fast and fun. And the results are good enough for professionals.

Two of its landmark AI tools are for powerline and dust spot removal. The sophisticated AI engine removes the powerlines without ruining other image details. And it works just as well for dust spots.

It also includes new AI-powered features such as The Sky Enhancer and the Accent AI Filter, both designed to process your images beautifully and quickly with the built-in adjustment sliders. These AI features make processing big, raw files a much faster experience, boosting colors vividly and balancing the exposure surprisingly accurately.

AI masking is another handy feature. The AI brain recognizes different elements within your picture. And it allows you to mask them automatically.

Neo has an excellent collection of Luminar presets. These let you make large-scale changes to your images with just a few clicks.

Plus, this AI software assesses your images when you upload them. And then, it recommends presets depending on the type of image it is. It has presets for landscapes and portraits. And there are options for retro film effects, too.

The Photo Panel incorporates everything to put together stock photos. Sort pictures by year, month, and day just as fast as discover the pictures you need. Moreover, you can generally make a reinforcement duplicate of the Library.

Luminar also has an excellent DAM (data asset management) system, so you can stay organized and edit all within the same program.

With Luminar NEO, you can do everything from basic photo editing to advanced retouching and compositing.

Compatibility: available on Windows and Mac platforms.

Pricing: Luminar Neo lifetime access costs $149 (often discounted). There are also yearly subscription plans starting from $8.25 per month.

With the Pro plan (from $9.92 per month), you will also get access to the Extensions pack. Only the Pro plan allows you to use Neo on two computers.

4. Snapseed

Snapseed photo editing app

Snapseed is a free one-touch apply photo editing tool that is super easy to use and offers all features of professional editing tools. Over 100 million users have already downloaded this application from the Play Store.

This software has a mobile-friendly interface, you can use it on your mobile phone or tablet for editing your images. It’s great if you want to add quick filters, slap on some text, play around with vignettes, tune your image, etc.

The Snapseed app holds around 30 different tools which lets you easily turn your captured photos into masterpieces to be showcased and cherished.

The tools including crop, rotate, perspective, brush, white balance and vignette. And Snapseed supports the ability to edit RAW DNG files.

Snapseed also comes with several filters you can customize using the app’s 30-plus editing tools.

You can easily tune images with the various effects by using swipe gestures. Swipe left or right to adjust various sliders. So whether you’re adjusting the strength of a filter or adjusting the contrast of your photo, a few swipes of a finger is all it takes.

Snapseed also has a few editing features focused on portraits, so you can smooth the skin and emphasize your eyes. Plus, there is a healing feature to remove blemishes on your skin or just remove elements you don’t want in the photo.

Unlike most free photo editor, Snapseed offers non-destructive editing. This means adjustments are easily reversible and non-destructive which means you can go back and tweak prior adjustments or even delete them altogether.

The app offers non-destructive editing, allowing you to retain HD quality without hassles. It allows you to save images up to the maximum size which your respective devices are able to process.

Of course, this being a mobile app, Snapseed has limitations. It doesn’t do any photo management, it doesn’t support layers, and it doesn’t currently have any noise reduction or lens correction capabilities.

Compatibility: Snapseed is available for iPhone and Android.

Pricing: Snapseed is free to use and doesn’t feature any annoying ads.

5. Pixlr

Pixlr online Photo editor

Pixlr is a free browser-based editing software, offers user-friendly tools to turn mediocre photos into stunning pictures.

Its web based means you are not limited to any browser, and there are no unnecessary downloads on your end.

Most often used for quick editing jobs, the software is excellent for changing lighting and colors. Some of the basic tools it offers are stamps and brushes that make small touch ups easier.

Pixlr can make finely detailed changes with color, saturation, and vignette effects. On top of that, sharpening and blurring your images is a breeze.

There are also a variety of page templates and collages where you can drop and arrange photos. It also comes with 80+ ready-to-use photo-filters that you can try with a single click.

It features layers—which many of these free software miss—and you can paint and draw on top of your images. These advanced tools are perfect for mixed media and other creative endeavors.

You can make non-destructive edits to your images, the app integrates nicely with Dropbox and there’s a nice library of effects, too.

One of the most impressive features is its AI design tool. Pick any unwanted object or background, and Pixlr erases it in a single click.

Pixlr comes in two versions: The beginner-friendly Pixlr X and the more advanced Pixlr E. The advanced Pixlr E version supports a surprising slate of more advanced photo editing options, like layers, a clone brush, and smart selection.

Compatibility: Pixlr offers web, Windows, iOS and Android app editions.

Pricing: Both Pixlr X and Pixlr E are available for free with ads and limited features. you can pay $1.99/month to remove the in-app ads.

A few features are restricted to the paid-for premium edition, such as one-click background removal and a larger font library for adding text.

Paid plans start at $4.90/month, billed annually. Creative Pack at $14.99 per month.

6. DxO PhotoLab

DxO PhotoLab image editing program

DxO PhotoLab has some innovative features that you won’t get anywhere else, and its noise reduction is second to none. built specifically for photographers who want to get the most out of their RAW files.

Like Lightroom, PhotoLab gives you an array of image-organising tools within the PhotoLibrary. it gives you the ability to search for images by date, settings, and even what lens you shot with. You can add keywords and tags to your photos, but there’s no geotagging or face recognition here.

It contains the editing features that Lightroom has but minus the complex settings. You’ll find effect controls (like the Local Adjustment Palette) you can use to edit, adjust, or enhance your images. This will help you apply minor tweaks in your photo’s exposure, contrast, saturation, and more.

The ColorWheel is also a great addition. Just by playing with the gradient of colors, you can easily adjust the temperature of your photos.

DxO has over 60,000 camera/lens support and more to come. This marvelous feature allows users to work directly with raw files from those cameras and this feature has made it one of the best raw photo editors among the software.

If your images are boring or need a little trimming, it offers a selection of 40 carefully tuned presets in different categories.

When it comes to noise reduction, DxO Photolab offers some of the best-in-class performance with their incredible DeepPrime denoise technology. which is the first demosaicing and denoising technology based on artificial intelligence (AI).

The DeepPRIME tool minimizes image retouching and exporting processing time up to 4x faster on Mac devices and up to 1.5x faster on modern Windows PCs.

However, the lack of layers-based editing could be difficult for some users to get used to and they charge extra for some of their best features.

Compatibility: Windows & Mac OS

Pricing: Available at two price levels, Essential for $139 and Elite for $219.

The Elite level is necessary if you want the premium features like DeepPrime and ClearView. Try before you buy with a Free 30-day trial.

7. Capture One Pro

Capture One Pro RAM Photo editing software

Capture One Pro is designed to meet the increasing demand of professional photographers with an expertise in the field.

It is renowned for the superior RAW image decoding it offers, and it is also compatible with a wide range of other image formats, including the HEIC files generated by more recent iPhones.

Capture One offers advanced features like wireless tethering and Capture One Live — making it the preferred choice for photographers working in a studio who want fast access to their images without having to manually download cards.

The program includes a cataloging system, making it great for batch editing lots of images at once, but also includes the ability to edit in layers — giving it slightly more flexibility than a program like Adobe Lightroom.

Capture One also features highly intuitive file storage and organisation tools, allowing photographers to sort and filter their images in smart albums and add metadata such as keywords.

It’s also great for making precise color edits thanks to its advanced color wheel. You can manipulate your image’s brightness, contrast, exposure, and white balance in a non-destructive manner. The app also lets you apply HDR effects, lens-geometric corrections, and default noise reduction settings.

Users will also benefit from state-of-the-art panorama stitching and HDR merge tools, allowing them to seamlessly combine photographic images with overlapping fields of view to create an extensive panorama.

The highly responsive tools workflow enhancements and a finely tuned processing engine will surely impress the photographers.

Capture One continues to improve with each software update, and there are a host of additional plugins and presets that further expand its offerings.

Capture One still does not yet offer cloud storage, it offers remote collaboration tools that make sharing projects with clients quick and simple.

A few drawbacks are its inability to work with Photoshop (it’s incompatible with any Adobe software), lack of built-in exporter to online outlets like Flickr and Instagram.

Compatibility: Available in macOS and Windows versions.

Pricing: It’s far more expensive than most photo editing apps that are not Adobe. An annual subscription costs $180, while a one-time payment is a staggering $448.

8. ACDSee

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate image editing software

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate is a feature-rich software for photo editing. Local adjustment tools, layer editing, and AI features make it a great option for photographers and digital artists.

This software is easy to use, you don’t have to be a technical wiz to make digital scrapbooking creations from your photographs.

ACDSee offers RAW image processing, and the editing is non-destructive, so the original file is left untouched. You also get tools for HDR merging and panorama stitching.

Portrait and fashion photographers will love this software. It has special tools for retouching human faces. They help you bring the best out of your models.

And there are AI tools that detect and recognize faces. Plus, they also detect subjects and backgrounds for easy background replacements.

It has several Photoshop-like layers so you can edit the background and foreground separately. You can incorporate new elements into your images that create unique and exciting digital art.

Advanced Light EQ is ACDSee’s patented light control technology. It lets you highlight and edit each pixel of your image in isolation. which helps to bring out the best in soft, dim glows from the night sky or to darken night skies.

With ACDSee. You can edit files directly from the source. This saves tons of time. Once you’re done working on a file, you can store everything in the cloud for easy access.

Plus, there are batch file processing options for faster editing. The organization tools are a blessing for users with big photo libraries.

However, it falls behind in terms of initial stock camera file conversion quality. It also lacks in interface usability and effectiveness of corrections compared to its competitors.

Compatibility: Available on Windows, macOS, and iPad OS

Pricing: ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate is available with both a perpetual license for $149.99 or through a subscription model that costs $89 annually or $8.90 monthly.

With the perpetual option, you receive updates and technical support for one year. With the subscription, you receive continuous updates and support for the duration of the subscription.

9. Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo image editing software

Affinity Photo is a complete image-editing package with a focus on efficiency and design that trades blows with Photoshop and does it all at a much more affordable price.

Affinity Photo borrows heavily from Photoshop. Features such as Layers, Adjustment Layers, Masks and Filters are all here.

What’s more, some features arguably surpass their Photoshop forebears, such as the powerful Brush tool that gives you a preview of your strokes, or the dedicated Frequency Separation tool for retouching portraits, or the HDR tone-mapping tools.

Affinity Photo’s real strength is in more involved photo edits, like compositing, making cut-outs, adding effects or exposure blending – the sort of things that a while back could only have been done in Photoshop.

Its non-destructive workflow allows users to make unlimited adjustments without altering the original image, making it easy to edit several versions of an image simultaneously.

You can Import and edit Photoshop’s PSD files directly in Affinity Photo, keeping adjustments, effects and layers intact. Support for large PSB files, Photoshop plugins and ABR brush files is also included.

When you import a RAW image file, the program automatically switches to the Develop persona, which displays controls for quickly adjusting exposure, lighting levels, saturation, and also metadata for each file.

It provides advanced lens corrections and best-in-class noise reduction so you have full control to really bring out the best in any image.

It is also very extensible and has a number of free and premium add-ons available to those who want to add even more functionality.

It lacks a few feature equivalents such as Adobe’s sky selection and automatic subject selection.

Compatibility: Available on Windows, macOS, and iPad OS

Pricing: Get started on Windows or Mac now for a one-off payment of $69.99, or on iPad for $19.99. three month free trial available.

10. GIMP

GIMP photo diting software

Often heralded as the best free alternative to Photoshop, GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an open-source application that has been openly distributed since 1996.

For fans of customization, the Gimp’s interface is fully customizable, and it supports various programming languages, including C, C++, Perl, and Python, dramatically benefits users..

With a range of basic tools such as montage tools, cropping, filters, color adjustments to advanced features such as fixing lens distortions, background replacement, layer masks and channel manipulations, GIMP can be suited towards users of all levels.

The toolkit itself is not only breathtaking but also user-friendly. With the smart tools, you quickly remove flaws with the clone stamp and healing tools, build custom brushes, and apply the changes you want on your photos.

Nevertheless, some features that are traditionally available in the toolbar of photo editors need plugin installation in GIMP, e.g., batch processing with BIMP or unblurring with Refocus.

Being an open-source, free image editor, GIMP’s developers and users have created a massive collection of plugins spreading its usefulness further. The plugins come preinstalled, and the glossary has more to download, including the Photoshop plugin.

As compared to other free image editing software, GIMP allows you to edit images with higher quality. You won’t lose the quality of your images after editing. It also allows users to read and edit Photoshop’s psd files.

However, GIMP is focused on users who enjoy the process of image editing rather than those looking for a quick and easy software for photo editing. Many of the workflows and tools aren’t very intuitive, which can take some getting used to.

At the same time, professional users will also find the lack of RAW processing, HDR content support, adjustment layers, CMYK support, and sharing options, disappointing.

Compatibility: It’s available for MacOS, Windows, and Linux.

Pricing: Free

11. On1 Photo Raw

On1 Photo Raw image editing software

ON1 Photo RAW is another top powerful photo editing software that’s tailored toward RAW files. Many photographers use it to edit images quickly.

The high-level raw processing motor makes it simple to work with records from many various cameras, and streamlining for speed makes it quick and proficient.

It can be utilized as an independent application or as a module for applications like Adobe Photoshop, contingent upon your work process.

Similar to Lightroom Classic, it combines a powerful photo organizer with a strong Raw processor and a Develop module that lays all the standard photo adjustments at the photographer’s fingertips.

Unlike Lightroom, ON1 Photo RAW supports layers, Using this tool, you can create composites, swap skies, and blend exposures manually.

On1 Photo RAW allows users to edit photos without permanently altering the original image. This means that users can experiment with different editing techniques without worrying about losing the original photo.

It has a number of fairly advanced tools including tools to remove unwanted images and blemishes, HDR merging, focus stacking, tethered capture, and a proprietary resize tool that can enlarge images with minimal quality loss.

In addition to that, ON1 Photo RAW provides a robust set of AI-powered features for enhancing portraits and reducing noise. which can quickly improve your photos without too much effort on your part

There is also support for presets and filters, and the program ships with a number of these out of the box, with many more available online.

And, as a bonus, it also offers cloud-based photo editing capabilities, meaning that you can sync your photos on multiple devices. However, that option is only available if you subscribe to a plan instead of buying a license.

In terms of metadata, keywording, and searchability, ON1’s library system is one of the best photo management software systems in the market. Photo albums can be created and/or smart albums can be set up to save search criteria.

However, some users may be disappointed to see the absence of facial recognition and geotagging, which are common in many photo editing apps. And the interface might be intimidating for new users.

Compatibility: ON1 Photo RAW only works on Windows and Mac computers.

Pricing: Individual plan starts at $99.99 per lifetime license.

You can subscribe to ON1 Photo RAW, with plans starting at $7.99 USD a month. Subscriptions include all future upgrades.

12. Photoscape X

Photoscape x image editing software

PhotoScape X is an image editing application that combines several editors in one application. It’s well-known for a lot of creative effects.

PhotoScape X comes with multiple features and a pleasant UI, It aims to be easy for beginners, and once you get the hang of the interface, you’ll have a lot of power at your fingertips.

Some of the app’s best features include support for batch editing, a photo splitter, an animated GIF creator, and a converter for RAW files.

The editor itself supports color adjustment, white balance edits, backlight correction, frames, filters, red-eye removal, blooming, and more.

Some more tools include a red-eye remover, screen capture tool, clone stamp tool, spot remover, paintbrush, and, among others, an effect brush (like grayscale, blur, darken, and brighten).

Not only is it a photo editor with basic photo editing and batch editing functions, but it can also be used as a photo viewer for viewing photos and creating slideshows.

Photoscape is also one of the best ways to open a PSD file without Photoshop.

The software is very easy on computer resources — if it can do what you need it to, it is probably more efficient at doing it than anything else out there.

Simple and powerful, with lots of well-labeled options, it’s clearly aimed at beginners. If you are looking for a free program that isn’t too complicated, PhotoScape might be just what you need.

For example, PhotoScape’s filters are pretty advanced, so it’s if good choice if you need to quickly level, sharpen or add mild filtering to pictures in a snap.

Compatibility: PhotoScape X is available for macOS and Windows users.

Pricing: PhotoScape X is a free photo editor, however, for certain features you will need to purchase the paid Pro version which will cost $39.99.

13. RawTherapee

RawTherapee photo editing software

RawTherapee is a free and open-source RAW photo editor, which is designed for processing raw files with a powerful suite of tools. targeted directly at professional photographers.

The RAW processing in RawTherapee is impressive for a free app, and it has a strong, devoted Fujifilm user following. of course, it also include the ability to read and process all major image types.

It, like Lightroom and Luminar Neo, can adjust exposure, adjust colour, create masks, correct for lens distortion, and other basic edits. It excels in color correction. The adjustments you can make are to a deeper level. There are endless color correction possibilities.

But it lacks the distinguishing features of the other two software like Luminar Neo’s AI-driven editing tools or Lightrooms Creative Cloud integration.

With over 40 different parameters available it is able to do almost anything you need when working with RAW photos. You can even adjust the white balance of your shots using its powerful white balance tool which works surprisingly well even in low light scenarios where other editors might fail to deliver acceptable results.

Boasting a full seven pages of customization, you are guaranteed the ability to develop a workspace that really works for you, though novices may find the number of options more overwhelming than useful. Where the options are of benefit is RawTherapee’s Quick Catalog, its best feature.

RawTherapee has some unique features such as exposure fusion which merges multiple exposures together into one processed image with better details and reduced noise.

Like Lightroom CC, it also supports non-destructive editing, which means that you can revert back to your original files whenever you need.

Multiple images can be edited at the same time with the program thanks to the comparatively high system utilization. It is a wonderful feature to have when you have lots of images for editing.

Due to its powerful capabilities, this picture editor is primarily utilized by experts. It is user-friendly, so if this is your first time using it, try not to get frustrated. Over time, you will get a deep grasp of how to utilize it.

Compatibility: It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems.

Pricing: Free

14. Darktable

Darktable RAM Photo editing software

Darktable is a free open-source RAW editing program that allows you to view all of your photos in a digital “light table” and then non-destructively modify and enhance each one as desired.

DarkTable offers plenty of advanced photo editing functions, like the ability to create multiple masks for your photos, excellent workflow features, and excellent compatibility with a huge range of high-end cameras.

It’s brimming with modules, such as the excellent Tone Equalizer and the filmic RGB module. With some practice, you can give your professional photos a beautiful look that’s hard to obtain elsewhere.

It has highly professional tools for adjusting the color, brightness and hue of subjects, pixel correction, white balance, and a large number of effects even for correcting imperfections.

The Darktable comes with multiple format support, it even support a dynamic range of image formats. And it takes very little time to edit images. Zero-latency is one part that allows you to get an amazing experience.

You can manage your image collection with ease and efficiency using Darktable’s file manager. Importantly, Darktable offers the ability to drag-and-drop your photos as a form of file management. This is a feature unavailable in Lightroom.

Once you’re done editing, you can choose from a range of export options. Want to post your shots straight to facebook, twitter, instagram or Flickr ? No problem with DarkTable.

You can also adjust the print quality by adjusting the settings in the print option if you have a high-performance photo printer available.

Patience is key with Darktable because it’s not a simple filter editing tool. You’ll need to be familiar with raw development in a non-destructive manner.

The learning curve is fairly steep, and the final results might not be quite as perfect as you’d get from a paid product, but it’s definitely a fantastic free option.

Compatibility: You can use it on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

Pricing: Free

15. Photopea

Photopea online image editor

Photopea is a good web-based alternative for Photoshop, it mirrors the look, feel, and capabilities of Adobe Photoshop which makes the online photo editing tools easily usable for Photoshop users.

You can dive right into the program and start editing without any registration as It can handle most major types of image files like JPG, PNG, TIFF, SVG, PSD and even RAW.

It includes masking (raster and vector), layers, text overlays, curves, filters, histograms, drawing tools, and even some of Photoshop’s more impressive features like Subject Select and Smart Objects.

You have advanced tools like lasso, healing, eyedropper, dodge, gradient, and more. The endless canvas also makes it a great image editor for professionals.

On the flip side, it lacks some important features that a professional editor may need, such as a single-row select tool, frame tool, 3D material eyedropper tool, note tool, mixer brush tool, history brush tool, and even the path selection tool.

Whether you are doing some image cropping, beautification, or simple retouching, this tool can do the job. No more expensive Adobe suite subscriptions.

For professional users, although Photopea has very comprehensive functions, it is definitely not a substitute for complete Photoshop due to its lack of details and performance, but you can use it as a temporary auxiliary tool.

Photopea includes templates for social image sizes like Facebook or YouTube cover pages as well as standard photo, print, screen, and mobile sizes.

‍Photopea runs on any internet connected device and can also run locally while you are offline as It won’t strain your computer’s device.

Photopea plays well with major online storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive, but also includes its own Peadrive online storage.

Compatibility: Since this is a web-based editor, it’s compatible with all platforms.

Pricing: The web app is free to use, but a $5-per-month subscription removes a time limit on advanced features like subject selection and increases Peadrive storage from 0.5GB to 5GB, removes ads, and doubles the available history steps.

16. PicMonkey

PicMonkey online photo editor

PicMonkey is a great online photo editor tool. Not only Edit but Touch Up, Design, and Collage are also available in this app.

It’s a complete graphic design package that not only allows you to edit photos but also enhance it to get the best results.

PicMonkey has a basic photo editor. Using this tool, you can edit image parameters like exposure, colors, and sharpness.

There is also a background remover feature and a touch-up tool for selfies. The Touch-Up feature lets you easily remove blemishes, wrinkles, and spots for a smoother complexion.

With PicMonkey, you can make collages, touch-ups, add filters, embellish images, crop and much more. which aid in making graphics in just a few minutes.

It also offers artist-created templates that are sized right for social media posts, websites, email newsletters, ad campaigns, marketing materials, and more.

This software also automatically sorts your photos by date, subject, people, and places. For an easy-to-use programme, it creates great results.

PicMonkey has layers, but they have a very basic function. That is, to separate visual elements like fonts, photos, or vectors. Unlike most photo editor apps, the Layer feature can’t be used for compositing multiple images.

It’s not the best for editing raw files. With images that large, it’s likely that your browser will go haywire.

If you want to boost engagement and followership on social media websites by posting regularly stylish posts, cover images and even ads, then PicMonkey is the photo editor you may want to use.

Compatibility: Web, Android and iOS.

Pricing: You can use PicMonkey for free, but you will not have access to paid features, and you will not be able to share or download any of the images you create in PicMonkey. You can use the PicMonkey Mobile App for free.

PicMonkey offers three subscription levels: Basic, Pro, and Business. Subscription prices start at $72.00 a year or $7.99 a month.

17. PhotoDirector

PhotoDirector AI image editing software

CyberLink’s PhotoDirector is a lower-cost alternative to Adobe’s editing programs that functions as a bit of a hybrid of Photoshop and Lightroom Classic.

It offers a first-class set of tools powered by artificial intelligence for sky replacement, quick selections and masking, deblurring, portrait retouching, and more.

It includes pro-level adjustment tools like Glitch art tool, Dispersion effect tool and even a body shaper tool. With body shaper tool, you can morph people (or anything else in the photo) into all sorts of twisted shapes.

On top of that, it has layer support, selective editing tools, photo animation features, camera lens corrections, visual effects, templates, and painterly filters.

The easy-to-use interface appeals to beginners, while the extensive range of powerful AI-powered editing features and photo animation tools will keep advanced users happy too.

Although the editing toolset is extensive with advanced features such as batch editing, PhotoDirector isn’t aimed at professionals shooting large volumes of images.

It supports all professional file formats. Its RAW image profiles are a bit limited. Updates don’t tend to roll out quite as quickly, so if you’ve just purchased a brand new camera you might have to wait for the profiles to be recognizable.

The tools for correcting chromatic aberrations and digital cameras aren’t quite as robust either, but ultimately PhotoDirector is a solid low-cost option for hobbyist editors.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, iOS and Android

Pricing: It’s available as a one-time purchase or a subscription model ($54.99 per year or $14.99 per month if you choose the subscription model, or $99.99 for a lifetime license) .

The subscription will get you access to Shutterstock photos library and audio files, LUTs color presets, fonts, constant updates, and more benefits.

18. XnViewMP

XnViewMP photo editing software

XnView MP is a complete photo viewing , photo editing and conversion suite that fulfills all your needs regarding dealing with your photos and images

With XnView MP, an excellent choice for photographers who deal with tons of images daily, it can recognize more than 500 photo formats and save around 70 different file formats.

It can handle multiple images in a single, tabbed window. Having a one-stop window for all the active images makes it easier for users to view and navigate to all the photos at the same time.

It can easily handle large photos with many layers and edits them quickly and easily. It also has many features for advanced users, like adjustment layers and selective editing.

The photo editor offers tools such as lossless rotate and crop, brightness adjustments, contrast adjustments, auto levels, auto contrast, color depth controls, and filters and effects.

XnView’s library includes the most common filter effects such as blur, sharpening, and noise reduction. It allows you to resize, add watermarks, and produce overlay text work with tones, shadows, and colors.

The Tools menu of XnView MP allows you to change the timestamp of photos easily. You have the option to change timestamps of your photos to current date & time or specific date & time. And also you can change the created date of images easily.

XnViewMP does not help you organize pics automatically as other apps do, but it still offers nice tools for metadata editing and batch-mode tagging, which enables you to distribute tags to images.

It is sleek in its appearance and compliments it well with a fast image processing speed that almost goes away with the issue of lagging. but you can’t directly add text or make simple pixel corrections.

Compatibility: Mac OS, Windows, and Linux are the supported platforms for it.

Pricing: Free for private use. If you are using it for your company, you’ll need to purchase a license.

19. PaintShop Pro

PaintShop Pro photo editing program

Corel PaintShop Pro is great for beginners who want to edit their photos, but don’t necessarily need all the advanced features found in Photoshop!

What makes this program a favorite of many users is that it is low priced, has a clean, easy to navigate interface, and offers numerous editing tools.

Everything you’d expect to find is here; from basic editing tools that allow you to crop, enhance, and remove blemishes from a photo, all the way through to advanced features like layers, masks, RAW, HDR edits, and creative filters.

Some of the latest features also include its range of powerful AI tools with content-aware fill technology. allows you to remove backgrounds, retouch portraits, and even restore old photos with impressive results.

Corel PaintShop Pro can edit both raster and vector image formats. This is something you would usually need two Adobe Creative Cloud (photoshop and illustrator) apps to do.

It supports RAW import and allows you to export in a variety of formats. Multiple workspaces let you customize the editing environment to suit your individual preferences.

Corel PaintShop Pro is also compatible with many third-party plugins, including Adobe, DxO, Nik Collection, and Topaz Labs solutions.

In the end, PaintShop Pro isn’t as polished as Photoshop as it misses out on some of Adobe’s flagship features such as 3D modeling, detailed typography, and face liquefy.

Compatibility: It is only available to Windows users, and it does not support cloud storage. If you’re looking to edit across multiple devices, you should choose something else.

Pricing: $79.99 per lifetime license. With the one-time purchase price, you gain access to dozens of textures, backgrounds, and brushes, plus the app is regularly updated with new features.

20. Paint.Net

Paint.Net windows photo editing software

Paint.net is undoubtedly the simplest photo editing app. The intuitive interface and editing options make this platform ideal for amateurs and beginners.

Paint.NET boasts a user-friendly interface that requires little time and effort to learn. The editor’s interface will be familiar to those who’ve used MS Paint.

Paint.NET comprises a good range of tools for making selections, moving selections, retouching, recoloring, and more. It also contains essential tools for adjusting levels, brightness, contrast, curves, hue, and colours.

Paint.NET is packed with a huge number of effects and filters for basic editing that allow you to play with noise, glow, distortion, sharpening, and blur.

And over the years, they’ve added advanced editing tools like layers, an undo history, myriad community-created plugins, and a brilliant 3D rotate/zoom function that’s handy for recomposing images.

Moreover, Paint.net can be very useful if you are editing multiple images simultaneously, as each photo is displayed in a separate tab, which allows you to switch between them quickly.

As the app isn’t as complex as full-fledged photo editors such as Photoshop, Paint.NET consumes less of your computer resources when it is active, allowing low-power machines to run the editor with little problems.

On the compatibility side, it supports the most common formats but discards the most practical, namely the PSD and XCF extensions.

Compatibility: Paint.NET is available exclusively for Microsoft Windows.

Pricing: Free

21. PhotoFiltre

PhotoFiltre windows image editing software

PhotoFiltre is a great pixel-based image editor. Users find it especially helpful when working with digital photos.

It comes with many features that rival some commercial packages, as well as additional add-on that can be downloaded from the web site.

PhotoFiltre offers all the standard editing features (selection, clone brush, paint brush etc.) as well as a large selection of image effects, photo masks, image adjustments, thumbnail browser and much more.

Along with the standard settings for brightness, contrast, hue, rotation, resize, or crop, PhotoFiltre also supports layers and transparency with Alpha Channel.

You can gain access to different filters and special effects, all of which can be applied to your picture with a simple click of a button.

Like some of the professional, pay-to-use programs, PhotoFiltre has batch compilation processes and the ability to edit multiple photos as once. It can accept the popular file formats including PSD files.

With this amazing software you can add effects like bubbles, flowers, shades and many more. Plus, if you want to try your hand at illustration, there are painting and brush tools available at your disposal.

Compatibility: Windows

Pricing: PhotFiltre is freeware for private uses (including non-profit organizations). For commercial or professional uses it is necessary to have a licence of PhotoFiltre Studio X.

22. PortraitPro

Portraitpro photo editing software

PortraitPro is a fast, easy-to-use photo editing software that focuses on providing portrait image editing features to users through the use of Artificial Intelligence.

This program is powered by AI, but still leaves enough tools for manual retouching. Such tools also contain auto-detection and templates which makes editing work undoubtedly fast.

PortraitPro identifies the face’s parts, distinguishing skin from hair, and can see differences in age and gender. There are customizable and full adjustable slider presets that make it easier for users to get remarkable results.

It provides a variety of options, including as skin retouching, lighting tweaks, makeup enhancements, and more, for improving the quality of your portrait photographs. Its user-friendly design makes it suitable for novice photographers and editors.

You can change the portrait’s options automatically or manually, add a background or your own watermark, add some volume where needed or change the skin tone, reshape the face and paint on it to mimic the make-up.

PortraitPro’s ClearSkin technology allows users to edit an image subject’s skin texture by removing wrinkles and blemishes and also get rid of unwanted dark areas, allowing more consistency in skin color and texture. It’s commonly used on tight closeup shots that expose a lot of skin imperfections.

PortraitPro supports RAW camera image files and is also optimized to allow seamless workflow streamlining with Adobe Photoshop.

The program’s performance is swift and mostly bugless, but it sure puts a lot of pressure on your hardware. Besides, some users might consider Portrait Pro to be quite pricey for its niche use.

It does terribly at any other photo that isn’t a portrait shot. It can sometimes also over-adjust an image, to the point that it looks less real, and more like a 3d animation.

Compatibility: Windows & Mac OS

Pricing: PortraitPro offers users three different pricing plans; Standard ($45 per lifetime license), Studio ($70 Per lifetime license), and Studio Max ($140 per lifetime license).

Only the Studio and Studio Max plans allow users to edit RAW camera images and also process images in batches.

How the Choose the Best Photo Editing Software?

Depending on your level of expertise, the best photo editing software should make it easy to edit your photos exactly the way you want.

For the beginner photographer, that might mean preset filters and fun animations.

For the aspiring influencer, it might mean more advanced settings and the ability to store your photos in the cloud.

Here are 5 features you may need:

1. Digital Asset Management

You might have many thousands of photos on your computer, so it’s helpful to be able to browse them quickly. Sorting by capture date or location (for GPS-enabled cameras) is more rewarding than rummaging through folders.

You can also tag people and places to help you find them later, and face detection can tag faces automatically.

For advanced users, being able to rate photos is crucial when picking the best shots from a photoshoot.

2. Presets and Filters

Off-the-shelf filters give photos a stylised appearance such as vintage, grunge or pop art.

The photo editors support Presets and filters can all create similar results by combining individual effects – and this gives far greater control over the process.

A rich library of presets and filters can save you time and energy. You don’t have to recreate the same style over and over again.

3. RAW Image Processing

When a digital camera saves a photo as a JPEG, it makes lots of decisions about how to interpret the raw image data coming off the sensor.

Save as a RAW file instead and – with the right software – you gain meticulous control over this process. It means you can manipulate colours and details much more dramatically before image quality starts to fall apart.

Make sure you choose software that supports your camera and lenses and support for RAW files.

4. Layer Editing

Layers let you combine multiple elements into a single image while still keeping them independently editable. They might be multiple photos, text, a logo or a colour gradient.

They also support masks that allow certain pixels in a layer to be hidden but not deleted. Adjustment layers apply effects as a discrete layer, which means they can be tweaked or removed later.

5. CMYK Support

Commercial printing services require artwork to be submitted in CMYK format, where colour information is recorded as a mix of cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black).

Digital cameras record red, green and blue (RGB), so you’ll need to be able to convert images before submitting them. Some printing services will accept RGB artwork, but they can’t promise colour accuracy for the printed documents. the RGB color mode is best for digital work.

Gimp do not natively support CMYK while Photoshop have CMYK and RGB color profiles support. In most cases, if you are going to print your photo, you need a photo editor have CMYK support .

Is a drawing tablet good for Photo editing?

Drawing tablet with pen is far superior than a mouse for editing and retouch work in Photoshop and other photo editing programs.

You can get a low priced pen tablet that will do very nicely for this. You will find that you just have so much more fine control this way.

For example, if you do a lot of complex masking, then a tablet can help you make more precise masks. But If you mostly just use filters and blending modes, then you probably don’t need one.

It will help speed up your workflow significantly better than a mouse. In Lightroom, you want to minimize how much you use the mouse. So editing controller and hotkeys are the way to go.

Drawing tablet is also a wrist saver. No more pain in the wrist after working for long hours.

We recommend you get a drawing tablet for photo editing, You find uses for it from time to time.


Good photo editing software can make all the difference in the final look of photos.

With the right software, you can enhance your images, improve quality, and create unique and memorable photos.

Every single editing program of this list is different and offers its own unique experience.

The best photo software depends on your skill level, your needs, your preferences, and your goals.

If you are just editing to retouch or enhance your personal collections, then a lightweight free or cheaper editor could well do the job with no fuss at all.

If you are a professional or very keen amateur who wants to really make a mark it is definitely worth assessing the premium options.

The best way is to try them out for yourself. Most photo software offer free trials or demos that allow you to test their features and functions before you buy them.

Which one do you think is the best photo editing software solution? Please share your feedback and experience in the comments section.

About the author : Clinton Kane

A technical content writer, passionate about sharing high-quality knowledge of pc technology, software, and creative workflows.