When it comes to your website, images are incredibly important. Whether you’re a photographer wanting to show off their portfolio or a business owner that wants to add a personal touch to their site, photos can add visual interest, help you tell your story, and otherwise enhance your website.
But, before you upload them to your site, you need to edit the photos so that they match the look and feel you want your brand to portray. You also need to edit the photos to ensure that all images have the same dimensions for a more unified look.
On top of that, editing your images before uploading them to your site, will help reduce the file size which will have a positive impact on your site loading times and in turn help you rank better in search engines.
All of this brings us to today’s topic: the best photo editing software in 2020. With the proper photo editing software you will not only be able to crop the images to the right dimensions and ensure the file size won’t slow down your site but you will also be able to adjust the lighting and highlight the key elements in your photos.
Below, you will find the best photo editing software that’s available in 2020. They range from free to paid and most of them can be used on Mac, Windows, and Linux computers.
|Best Photo Editing Software for Photographers |
(PC and Mac)
|ON1 Photo RAW|
|Alien Skin Exposure|
|ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate|
|Pixlr online photo editor|
|Best Photo Editing Software for Photographers |
|PaintShop Pro Ultimate|
|Best Photo Editing Software for Photographers (Mac only)|
Best Photo Editing Software for Photographers (both PC and Mac compatible)
When it comes to photo editing software, Adobe Photoshop is usually the first program that comes to mind. It is a complex program that offers features such as non-destructive editing, layers, filters and blend modes, and the healing tool among others.
Photoshop lets you easily adjust the brightness and contrast of your photos, adjust the levels, fine-tune the shadows and highlights, and so much more.
It is available for Mac and Windows computers and you can get it as a part of Adobe’s CC subscription. You can purchase a single app subscription for Photoshop only, a subscription for Photoshop and Lightroom as well as a subscription for the entire suite of Adobe’s apps.
WP Paint — WordPress Image Editor
The WP Paint plugin is an image editing plugin for WordPress that has over 1000 active installations and 5-star ratings. It’s a browser based HTML5 image editor that allows you to easily edit images in your WordPress library.
The plugin has an intuitive desktop-like interface and supports features such as layer management, the ability to add custom text to images, apply blur effects, adjust image brightness or contrast, and more.
Lightroom is another favorite among photographers and a part of Adobe’s suite of programs. Where Lightroom shines is its ability to batch edit the photos which is a huge time-saver when you’re working with hundreds of photos.
Lightroom makes it easy to organize all your photos: you can add keywords and your own metadata. Additionally, Lightroom comes with face detection which helps with photo organization.
You will also find several presets and filters that you can apply to your photos and save time during the edit process and there are hundreds of presets available online that you can download.
Lightroom is available on Mac and Windows computers and you can get it as a single subscription, a subscription in combination with Photoshop or as part of Adobe CC library subscription.
If you’re not a fan of the subscription model, Affinity Photo is a great contender. It supports RAW and HDR editing and comes equipped with the tools and features that you’re used to seeing in Photoshop.
When working with photos, you can adjust the white balance, brightness, saturation, and apply a variety of filters. You can also stitch panoramic images, batch process multiple files, and more. Keep in mind that similarly to Photoshop, Affinity Photo also offers graphics and vector editing tools in the same application.
Affinity Photo is available for Mac, Windows, and iOS devices for a one-time payment which includes lifetime updates.
Gimp is a free and open-source program that comes with features rivaling those found in Photoshop. In fact, Gimp is often quoted as the free Photoshop alternative. It can edit photos and includes tools such as layers and non-destructive editing, retouching and creative compositions.
Gimp includes all the standard photo editing tools such as brightness, saturation, curves, and more. You can also install third-party plugins which add even more features to Gimp.
Gimp works on Windows, Linux, and Mac computers. It’s a great solution if you’re on a budget but still want to be able to edit or enhance your photos.
Capture One is a RAW photo editing software that supports all major camera brands. As far as the features go, Capture One is on par with other programs on this list.
You can adjust brightness, contrast, levels, curves, apply filters, and perform other standard photo adjustments. What makes it stand out is the ability to customize the interface to your liking and built-in Latitude Styles which serve as filters that enhance and transform your photos in a single click.
Capture One is available for Mac and Windows and you can purchase a perpetual license or opt for one of their subscription plans.
DxO Photo Lab touts itself as the photo editing software made by photographers for photographers. It offers the standard processing and correction tools as you’d expect from a photo editing software and it supports RAW editing from all major camera brands, except for Fuji.
Notable features include precise adjustments thanks to U Point selection assistance technology, optical correction modules, and denoising technology. DxO Photo Lab also supports the ability to switch between manual and automatic modes for all automatic features.
This program is available for Mac and Windows computers and doesn’t require a subscription model. It can be bought for a one-time payment fee.
ON1 Photo RAW
ON1 Photo RAW is a photo editor and a photo organizer rolled into one. It positions itself as the replacement for Lightroom and Photoshop, allowing you to edit, organize, and process your photos in the same app instead of switching between two different programs.
The program comes with all the standard features as well as batch processing and it also includes built-in presets so you can easily apply several adjustments to your photos all at once. RAW processing, multi-layer compositing, and focus-stacking are all included in ON1 Photo RAW.
The program is available for both Mac and Windows and can be bought for a one-time fee which includes a perpetual license.
Luminar is a popular choice among photographers because it can be bought for a one-time payment rather than a subscription model. What’s more, you can use it as a standalone program or as a plugin for Lightroom or Photoshop.
Luminar includes built-in filters which can enhance your photos in a single click and you can also fine-tune each filter to your needs. Luminar comes with human-aware technology which recognizes people automatically and applies adjustments selectively for more realistic results.
In addition to the features above, you will also find healing, cloning, and retouching tools, AI-powered sky enhancer, the ability to add volumetric lightning, and more.
Luminar is available for both Mac and PC.
Alien Skin Exposure
Alien Skin Exposure is a photo editor and organizer that lets you enhance your photos with powerful tools as well as streamline your photo editing workflow.
A few notable features include improved lightning and shadows tools, fully adjustable light effects, transform tools, and smart collections. On top of that, Alien Skin Exposure comes with built-in presets and support for RAW editing.
It’s available for Mac and Windows computers.
Fotor is an online photo editing app which means you can use it no matter which OS you’re using. Fotor claims to be the online version of Photoshop and offers tools which allow you to easily adjust color, size, light, and more.
It’s also equipped with photo retouching tools such as healing, increasing radiance, highlights, and more. Fotor has built in effects so you can easily improve the look of your photos instead of applying adjustments manually and one by one.
On top of the online app, Fotor is available for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android. It offers a monthly or an annual subscription.
ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate
ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate is a photo editing and organizing software with support for RAW editing. A standout feature is the facial recognition which helps you name and tag your images for faster searching.
You can easily apply all the standard adjustments such as white balance, levels, curves, and more. ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate also makes it easy to color-grade your images with built-in LUT presets and use layer editing to achieve individual adjustments and effects.
The program is available for Windows computer as a one-time payment which gives you a year of updates. Monthly and annual subscriptions are also available.
Pixlr online photo editor
Pixlr is an online photo editor software that can be used in your browser and therefore on any operating system.
It has an intuitive interface and makes it easy to adjust colors, image details, and apply various effects to your photos. Pixlr also supports retouching operations so you can easily remove unwanted objects, blemishes, and clone items.
You can edit the images for free but it’s worth mentioning that there is a paid version of the app that comes with a large stock photo library and support for PSD and Sketch files.
Darktable is a free and open-source photo editor that can be used on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. It includes support for RAW and non-destructive editing and comes with all the basic image operations such as colour correction, level adjustments, filters, and more.
In addition to that, Darktable makes it easy to add watermarks to your images and perform split-toning operations. It supports keywords and tags so you can easily organize your library.
Best Photo Editing Software for Photographers (PC only)
PaintShop Pro Ultimate
PaintShop Pro Ultimate is a feature-rich photo editing software that doesn’t require a subscription. It’s a one-time payment which makes it another attractive alternative to Photoshop. It’s available for Windows computers.
PaintShop Pro Ultimate comes with features that include the ability to instantly transform any photo into an eye-catching animation and correct photos and restore details with adjustments such as color, saturation, white balance, and more. It’s worth mentioning that the program comes with dozens of textures, backgrounds, and brushes to choose from and it also includes AI enhanced presets which are sure to take your photos to the next level.
You can edit RAW images directly and the program also supports HDR editing. On top of that, you can easily edit your 360° photos and apply one-touch fixes to any photo.
Best Photo Editing Software for Photographers (Mac only)
Pixelmator Pro is a Mac-only photo editor that lets you resize and enhance your photos. It includes tools which support non-destructive editing, balance and level adjustments, and various colour adjustments.
You can also use Pixelmator Pro for digital painting and basic graphics editing with tools such as shapes, quick selection, drawing tools, and more.
Pixelmator Pro is available as a one-time purchase from the App Store.
Final Thoughts — What photo editing software should you use?
Finding the right photo editing software for your needs is no easy task but the above list should point you in the right direction.
If you like taking photos and making them better by using image editors, why not look into how to sell your photos online and maybe earn up to $120/image sold? Let people enjoy your work while also getting paid for it.
Once all your photos are edited, upload them to your site and then take advantage of a gallery plugin like Modula to display your photos in a visually appealing way. Modula makes it easy to create your own unique gallery layouts with a simple drag and drop editor and allow you to add videos from YouTube and Vimeo to your galleries. On top of that, you can easily integrate your galleries with social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.
What’s your photo editing software of choice?
Let us know in the comments below!