Best Image Editing Tools
The best photo-editing software can turn a mediocre photo into something impressive, or make a great photo even better. It allows you to do everything from making subtle tweaks to colour or saturation to the application of filters, removal of blemishes, or even wholesale transformations.
There's a huge range of options out there these days, so to save you from having to try them all, we've rounded up all of the best photo-editing software into one handy guide. Some of the software below is desktop only, while other programs work in your browser, on a tablet, or even on your smartphone.
Importance Of Using Image Editing Tools
It might seem overwhelming to try and learn all of the different options in image editing tools, but a photo or video that's not up to scratch is rarely going to impress anyone. The best photos have just the right level of contrast, colour, and details, and nothing will damage or diminish them more than a shoddy edit. Image editing software is ideal for boosting details, dodging blemishes and removing unwanted patterns and imperfections.
With lots of tools to suit the requirements of particular specialties, it's hard to see how you could ever get bored of it. Some of the image editing tools on this list are just a few of many out there. You can also try using apps that complement the photo editing tools on your smartphone.
Even if you're not planning on turning your images into full-blown masterpieces, having an image editing tool on your PC can help you in countless ways. It's one of those tools you should have on hand for fun projects, but you should also be using it on your holiday photos.
As you can imagine, when you're working with photographs, it's likely that you'll end up losing a couple along the way (it's inevitable!). The best tool for preserving your pictures is the one that you take them with: this is a Photoshop thing.
Once you've snapped the image, you'll want to go straight to a non-destructive editing tool so that you can make any changes you need to preserve your picture, rather than take away what makes it special. There are a few different ways to import your images into editing software. Firstly, there are the software's built-in functions, which will import images from your hard disk, or even from your Facebook or Flickr accounts.
Choosing The Best Image Editing Tools
When it comes to photo editing, there are two things to consider: quality and performance. However, they're not entirely the same thing. A photo editing program's ease of use and usability is important, but so is how well it works.
And that goes double for photo editors that run in the browser, so if you're considering Adobe's own online Photoshop Elements or Instagram's online Art Effects software, for example, be sure to read on for the best performance.
Photo editing can be finicky, so the programs you choose shouldn't bog you down with a lot of complicated features that you'll never use. Ideally, a photo editor should give you the power to make the changes you want, while remaining easy to navigate. The three top-rated photo editors on this list do all that and more.
Here are some useful applications to try out: PhotoPad – To start with, PhotoPad makes it super-easy to perform basic photo retouching. You can remove blemishes, whiten teeth, remove blemishes and lighten teeth, as well as selectively darken eyes and skin.
You can also perform basic tweaks to colour or brightness, adding different levels of contrast or adjusting colour temperature. There are a bunch of cool and useful photo effects to try out as well, including a “crazy” one, which adds interesting distortions to your image.
It is a difficult choice, but below we'll explain what you need to know to help you choose the best one for you. Let's dive in.
Why Choose A Photo Editor?
Some people prefer to use Photoshop or another traditional application. Others like to give an application like Lightroom, GIMP, or even a built-in photo app a try for a few days before deciding to stick with the traditional method.
There's certainly nothing wrong with any of these options. They're great for different uses and there's no right or wrong. What's important is that you find the application that makes editing your photos a pleasure. Whatever you do, don't use the software for a while and expect miracles. That'll just end up disappointing you.
It isn't easy, so here we've tried to offer a range of different options that will fit different needs. Some editing software will allow you to make sweeping changes to your photos, while others are more targeted and allow you to pick specific objects in a scene and remove them. There's also a wide range of program variations, from one designed to edit raw files to one that can alter the tone of your photo in real-time.
TrickyColor is one of the Adobe Photoshop alternatives for beginners. TrickyColor is easy to use and reliable, yet customizable to your needs, and it's also a great program for learning about HDR photography.
Are Image Editing Tools Free?
If you've come here from a search engine like Google, you're probably looking for a free photo-editing app. If you are after free software for your Windows PC or Mac, most of the good options here come without the need for registration or a trial period and can be downloaded directly to your laptop or desktop computer.
You may be offered the choice of a trial, which does require registration but is usually only a brief 30-day trial. Some websites also offer the opportunity to make a donation. Some free photo-editing software can be a little unstable, however, and may simply crash. While this is a bit of a nuisance, it's not a big problem and will only really affect you if you've started using the software or are planning to make it your main photo editor.
Others are not free editing tools. But what are the alternatives? There's always GIMP, free and open-source software with plenty of community support and third-party plugins to do just about anything you can think of.
The next alternative is Snapseed, which is the only paid image editor we've included here. It comes with Photoshop-like smarts in a sleek and simple interface and offers an excellent suite of features, including an impressive selection of filters and tools. It's worth noting that Snapseed is owned by Google.
If they offer functionality that can improve your photos, and if their use of them is in keeping with the image and not distracting, then yes, of course. They're free for anyone to use unless they sell your work in a product.
Considerations When Choosing Image Editing Tools
The most important thing when deciding which program to use is to take into account your requirements as a photographer. If you are looking for a simple way to crop or otherwise edit your photos, just look for an image editing program with basic features that are easy to understand. If you are a professional, you will want more. That's where our list of the best image-editing tools comes in.
Yes, they are available for free download. Some of them are paid versions. In some cases, you can pay a subscription to unlock more tools or an ad-free experience, but these require payment to continue. There are many free photo editing programs out there, but they are typically rather limited in features and don't include all the tools you'll need to get the job done.
You can get a basic desktop photo editor, for instance, but it will lack most of the capabilities we'll cover here. If you want all the tools and even some additional ones, you will have to pay for the software. Otherwise, you can use any of these free applications to get your photo editing started.
Adobe Photoshop is arguably the industry standard for image editing software, but it has been a decade since it was released, and modern-day software is better than ever. However, it remains the tool of choice for many photographers, and for a very good reason.
Adobe Photoshop isn't the first name that springs to mind when you think of photo-editing software, but it's worth it for the sheer range of tools it provides, including colour correction tools, tone filters, cloning and healing tools, and even in-app tutorials.
It also integrates neatly with Photoshop CC, which is a paid-for program, so if you're not already a member you'll be paying for this too. We couldn't talk about photo editing without mentioning
Adobe Photoshop Elements
This is the program many professional photographers use. It offers a huge range of tools, including extensive layers support, spot healing, basic face and eye recognition, and a comprehensive toolset to edit your photos.
Adobe Photoshop offers a huge range of tools, including extensive layers support, spot healing, basic face and eye recognition, and a comprehensive toolset to edit your photos. Photoshop Elements is the best photo editing software for casual and beginner photographers. It boasts a huge array of tools, including the ability to apply a range of filters, creative borders, sliders, and more.
Adobe Photoshop Elements is the entry-level photo editor with additional education and support tools, including layers, people-aware tools, and layers masking tools. Elements also offer the ability to crop, straighten, and retouch images, as well as a selection of filters.
In addition to Adobe's excellent image-editing software, you'll also get Adobe's remarkable collection of Photoshop brushes, transforms, and fonts to go along with Elements. It's a complete bundle that will save you money over time and only comes in at $39.99. This bundle of software is only available as part of an Adobe Education subscription.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
If you're still using a version of Photoshop you bought five years ago, the chances are it's well past its sell-by date. Lightroom can turn a mediocre photo into something impressive, and it's incredibly intuitive to use.
Not only can you use it to straighten, crop, or adjust the colour of your images, but you can also apply a range of filters, work with RAW files and even import images that you've shot with your phone.
It's compatible with the Adobe Creative Cloud, so you can keep your photos up-to-date with the latest versions of Photoshop. It has the same interface as Photoshop, so you'll know exactly what you're looking for. It's also extremely fast to use.
Classic CC: Best photo-editing software for beginners Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC is one of the most popular photo-editing software programs available today. Lightroom lets you make changes to photos on your PC or Mac, as well as in a web browser.
As a photo-editing program, it doesn't come with as many options or filters as programs like Photoshop, but it has many of the features that make Photoshop so useful, including clone, fix, and adjustment brushes, selection tools, and of course, masking.
The results are a better photo that still retains the original's mood and emotion. Adobe Photoshop CC: best photo-editing software for professionals Adobe Photoshop CC is Adobe's professional photo-editing software.
A wonderful desktop program from Adobe Lightroom is excellent for everyone from beginners to those who have worked with software for a long time. It's perfect for taking lots of photos and organizing them in a catalogue, but you can also easily correct errors in exposure or balance colours.
Adobe Photoshop CC Along with Lightroom, Photoshop CC is a new feature-rich version of the tried and true program. Featuring plenty of post-production tools and filters, there's enough power here to turn any image into a professional-looking result. Learn More
Spark Photo & Video The biggest and most unique selling point for Spark Photo & Video is that it's cloud-based. Upload a photo and it'll instantly be displayed across the internet, no matter what computer you're using.
Affinity Photo is one of the best options for serious photographers, or photographers who want to get a little more out of their camera. The program can easily automate certain photo-editing tasks, such as straightening and enhancing an image or reducing noise.
There are a lot of tools within Affinity Photo too. You can change the brush style, add and remove levels, set brush sizes, and apply different styles to different parts of the canvas. You can edit metadata too, and Affinity Photo even lets you make use of the RAW file format.
Autodesk Snapseed Adobe's Snapseed is one of the best photo-editing tools for desktop and web users. It's not entirely free, so the quality is only so-so. However, that's more than made up for by the comprehensive set of editing features.
If you're primarily looking for photo-editing software with a simple design, Affinity Photo can serve you well. It has a fairly basic interface, but has a large feature set for a desktop program, and works on all platforms including Windows, macOS, and Linux.
Affinity Photo also has a creative interface for creating designs and features some smart tools such as filters, adjustment tools, perspective control, and other tools that can help you enhance your photos.
Affinity Photo doesn't come cheap, but if you're willing to pay the price you get a large feature set and can export your edits to a wide variety of formats. It's not the most powerful software, but if you're a beginner, Affinity Photo might be your best bet. You can buy Affinity Photo from the Mac App Store for $39.99.
Affinity Photo is a powerful, full-featured, cross-platform software program for both Mac and Windows that can also be used in the browser. It has everything a professional photographer or professional artist could want, and it's completely free to use.
Affinity Photo has a vibrant set of tools that let you isolate any part of a picture, and rework it in any way you'd like. You can combine several layers into a single image, and apply the text to your images just like any traditional photo-editing application. There are also a whole host of other photo editing tools available, including colour adjustments, curves adjustments, luminosity adjustment, sharpening, rotation, and you can even play around with the real-time effect of light on your images.
Pixlr is one of the best-known and best-selling photo-editing software tools around. It offers hundreds of effects and tweaks, all of which can be applied to any photo you upload to Pixlr. Simply type in a keyword or image URL, select a single effect from a list, and then click the button to apply it.
It's fast and easy to use, and Pixlr is free to use with unlimited adjustments. Other software includes AOphoto. AOphoto is a software suite that provides photo editing tools, editing tools and photo booth creation tools.
The software package includes a desktop version, a free photo editor, and three other photo editing apps. All of the apps are optimized for taking and editing photos, and for exporting and sharing images via email, social networks, or to your photo account on Flickr.
Pixlr makes it easy to edit images using a collection of tools and filters. With options for healing scratches, sharpening, removing red-eye, and even adjusting the scale, Pixlr is a versatile tool that lets you give any image a shot in the arm without making drastic changes.
To edit photos on Pixlr, first, choose from a collection of free filters or fonts to customize a photo. Then, simply click on the Edit button and use a text tool to change the colour, layout, or size of the text in the editing window.
You can even add or remove words using a text tool in the Edit button window, which makes edits super easy and quick. Pixlr even has an option for filling in photos with objects so that they look more like real pictures.
Canva is an intuitive free tool for making beautiful posters, brochures, Facebook cover images, blogs, and other graphics. You can make graphics in Canva with one or more photo sources, and edit them in Canva's compatible font editor. Free: Download Magellan Many photographers use a wide-angle lens when shooting landscapes to bring out the expanse of sky and land.
However, it's often a pain to get the same wide-angle perspective using a single lens and to avoid bringing extra lens elements into the equation, photographers have developed a few techniques to get around this, like cropping the image to minimize the effect. There's a free online solution called Magellan that is similar to other cropping tools we've seen.
Canva is the app that puts the power of image editing on everyone's fingertips. Its most basic feature is the ability to change a photo to black and white or colour, which has become a staple of many bloggers' work and is also a great way to highlight a single subject.
Canva also includes a variety of masks and overlays. You can duplicate an element of a photo to make it appear elsewhere in the photo. There's a whole host of editing tools for fixing blemishes, dark circles, eyes, and more. While some of these can be turned on or off, a few include masks to adjust colour saturation and saturation. Photos that are optimized for social media look great on Facebook and Instagram, but they can be, well, strange. The software can automatically add filters to photos.
A professional alternative to Adobe Photoshop Can do a lot more than most Very powerful Expensive If you've got the money, and don't mind spending it, then you can't do much better than Corel PaintShop Pro. While Photoshop can be intimidating for beginners, there are a lot of beginner-friendly programs that are aimed at the same kind of user.
PaintShop Pro, however, is one of the most powerful tools for photo-editing out there. In addition to the standard programming tools you'd expect, PaintShop Pro is also capable of precise brush creation, raw conversion, and has a highly detailed histogram. As well as using PaintShop Pro to work on the level of individual features of a photo, it's capable of working on very large images too.
Corel PaintShop Pro Ultimate Ultimate is the flagship product from the Toronto-based company, but it's the best photo-editing software you can get. It's the best free software you can buy that comes with full compatibility with Photoshop and Lightroom. It also integrates the popular CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 4.0, as well as a host of image-enhancing features such as colour shifting, sharpening, adjustment tools, and many more.
PaintShop Pro Ultimate can be used to modify photos in different ways, from basic adjustments to complete image overhauls. It's made to support and adapt to all kinds of photo editing needs. The program includes a large collection of filters, photo effects, and different levels of the brush tool to complement the core editing tools.
To conclude, take your photography skills to the next level by investing in photography-related software. You'll be amazed at how much you'll be able to do in such a short space of time. Just remember that taking great photos isn't just about using the latest camera equipment, it's also about taking the right photos in the first place!
I trust you enjoyed this article about the Best Image Editing Tools. Would you please stay tuned for more articles to come? Take care!
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