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5 best photo editing software

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by David Em
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Although Adobe Photoshop has a reputation for being the best photo editing software, there are alternatives that you can use.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

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1. Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop logo.
Photoshop logo courtesy of Adobe.

Adobe Photoshop is a powerful tool that’s the most commonly used photo editing software by professionals. What makes Photoshop great for photographers is that you can do anything you want, far beyond editing the exposure of a photo. If you can think of it, you can do it.

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Photoshop is a monthly subscription, which costs $20.99 per month. You can also get a bundle with other Adobe products, which can be a great choice if you use other tools that Adobe offers.

2. Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom logo.
Lightroom logo courtesy of Adobe.

Adobe Lightroom is another powerful tool offered by Adobe. If Photoshop seems too complex and confusing, Lightroom is the one for you. It’s simpler and more beginner-friendly because it has a clean interface.

Lightroom also allows you to work faster, stay organized, and make great adjustments to your images. It’s the perfect software for photographers.

Like Photoshop, you can pay a monthly subscription, or get it in a bundle. If you choose to pay the subscription for Lightroom, it’s $9.99 per month.

On the flip side, you can get the Creative Cloud Photography Plan. It includes Photoshop, Lightroom, Spark, and Portfolio for $19.99 for 1 terabyte of storage.

3. Skylum Luminar 4

Skylum Luminar logo.
Luminar logo courtesy of Skylum.

Skylum Luminar 4 has quickly become a popular photo editing tool because of its simple interface and one-time payment. Luminar 4 is a one-time payment of $67, instead of a monthly subscription.

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It allows you to organize and edit your photos in one place. Like Photoshop, Luminar 4 offers layers and masks. If you want to upgrade from Luminar 4, be sure to check out the AI version, which makes editing easy and fun.

4. DxO PhotoLab

DxO PhotoLab logo.
PhotoLab logo courtesy of DxO.

DxO PhotoLab doesn’t have the complete suite of tools that other software has. However, it offers exceptional features that make it superior. One of the things that stands out the most is the powerful noise reduction tool.

DxO calls it the DxO DeepPRIME technology, which is based on artificial intelligence and developed using deep learning. The results are unrivaled.

There are two one-time pricing options for PhotoLab. The Essential edition is $129, and the Elite edition is $199. To maximize DxO PhotoLab and get the cool features, the Elite edition is the way to go.

5. Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo logo.
Logo courtesy of Affinity.

Affinity Photo is a great photo editing tool that offers all of the features that a software built for professional photographers would need. It has layers, masks, raw image editing, panorama stitching, and batch processing.

As far as pricing, it follows the one-time payment model. Affinity Photo costs $49.99 on Windows and Mac, and $19.99 on the iPad.

Since it’s a relatively new software, expect to see updates with major improvements to speed, interface, and tools.

Frequently asked questions

Which photo editing software is best for beginners?

Skylum Luminar 4 and Adobe Lightroom are the best photo editing software for beginners because they’re powerful and user-friendly.

What software do most photographers use?

Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are the most popular among photographers.

What is the best free photo editing software?

GIMP is the best free photo editing software because it has many of the abilities that paid software has.

Conclusion

Lightroom and Photoshop are the most popular options for photo editing software. However, there are other excellent tools out there. The one you choose depends on what you’re looking for.

More resources:

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.

About David Em

David Em.

David Em is the founder of Portraits Refined. He’s a published portrait photographer dedicated to helping photographers develop skills, capture incredible photos, and build successful businesses.

About Portraits Refined

Portraits Refined (PR) is a media company that publishes the latest expert-backed portrait photography tips, in-depth camera gear reviews, and helpful advice to grow your photography business.

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