Best Photo Editing Software for Windows & Mac

In today’s world, editing photos is not just about making them look better. It’s about telling a story, capturing attention on social media, and even helping businesses stand out. No matter whether you’re a professional photographer, a graphic designer, or just someone who loves to post on Instagram. The right photo editing software can make all the difference. With so many options out there, choosing the right one can be tricky.

In this guide, we’ll explore the 11 best photo editing software options available for both Windows and Mac. We’ll look at what makes each one special, from their features and ease of use to their price. Also, we’ll observe how well they work on different operating systems. Let’s dive in and find the perfect photo editing tool for you!

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Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Photo Editing Software

Choosing the right photo editing software is crucial for enhancing your images and streamlining your workflow. Here are the key factors you should consider to ensure you select the best tool for your needs:

1. Ease of Use

Look for a user-friendly interface that you find intuitive. A good software should allow you to easily navigate through tools and features without a steep learning curve. Some software comes with advanced features that may take time to master. Consider your skill level and the time you’re willing to invest in learning.

2. Features

The software should have a comprehensive set of editing tools that cater to your needs. It should include basic adjustments like cropping and color correction to advanced features like layering and retouching. Check if the software offers presets and plugins to speed up your editing process and enhance your photos with professional touches.

3. Compatibility

Ensure the software is compatible with both Windows and Mac. This is important if you use different operating systems or plan to switch in the future. The software should also support a wide range of file formats, including RAW files, JPEG, PNG, and others.

4. Price

Some software offers robust features for free, while others require a subscription or one-time purchase. Assess whether the features justify the cost. Consider if a subscription model works for you. It offers continuous updates and support, versus a one-time purchase that might become outdated.

5. Support and Community

A strong support network, including tutorials, guides, and forums, can be invaluable for learning and troubleshooting. Good customer support is essential, especially for advanced or professional software. Look for responsive support via email, chat, or phone.

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Top 11 Photo Editing Software for Both Windows & Mac

Finding the right photo editing software can transform your workflow and creativity. Let’s explore the best options available for both Windows and Mac users.

1. Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop- Best Photo Editing Software

Adobe Photoshop is unmatched in its comprehensive suite of advanced editing tools and 3D design capabilities. It’s the go-to software for professional-grade photo manipulation, graphic design, and digital art creation. Photoshop includes features like complex layering, detailed retouching, and extensive color correction options. Its support for 3D design allows users to craft and edit 3D images directly within the application.

Pros & Cons



Industry-standard with cutting-edge features.

Subscription model can be costly over time.

Regular updates and AI-enhanced tools.

Steep learning curve for beginners.

Seamless integration with Adobe Creative Cloud.

Price: Part of Adobe Creative Cloud. Pricing varies by plan, starting from about $22.99/month for Photoshop alone or $64.99/month for the entire Creative Cloud suite.

Best for: The software is tailored for professional photographers and graphic designers who require the highest level of control and flexibility in their work. Its vast array of tools and features makes it ideal for those involved in intricate photo editing, composite creation, and digital art.

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2. Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom is a comprehensive photo editing and management software that caters to the needs of photographers and visual artists. It simplifies the process of editing, organizing, storing, and sharing photos, offering a cloud-based solution that ensures accessibility across desktop, mobile, and web platforms. With its intuitive design and user-friendly interface, Lightroom supports both professional and hobbyist photographers in achieving efficient workflows and high-quality photographic outcomes.

Pros & Cons



Intuitive and user-friendly interface.

Limited advanced image manipulation features.

Efficient workflow for photo editing and organization.

Subscription-based with ongoing costs.

High-quality presets and easy synchronization across devices.

May not be as powerful for complex graphic design tasks.

Price: Adobe Lightroom is available as part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription plans. The Photography Plan, which also includes Lightroom Classic and Photoshop, is priced starting at approximately $19.99/month, offering options of 20GB or 1TB of cloud storage.

Best For: This software is particularly suited for professional photographers who prioritize an efficient and streamlined workflow for editing and managing their photos. Its cloud-based functionality is also a significant advantage.

3. Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo is a robust photo editing software that rivals the capabilities of traditional editing tools by offering a one-time purchase model. It is designed for professional photographers, designers, and artists seeking comprehensive editing features without a subscription. Affinity Photo stands out with its powerful photo editing capabilities. It offers everything from basic adjustments to advanced compositing and retouching tools.

Pros & Cons



No subscription required; one-time purchase.

Steeper learning curve compared to some rivals.

Comprehensive editing and retouching tools.

Some features may be less intuitive for beginners.

Supports PSD files and provides non-destructive editing.

Limited cloud integration compared to competitors.

Price: Affinity Photo offers a competitive edge with its one-time purchase price. The cost is approximately $69.99 for Windows and Mac and US$18.49 for iPad. This makes it an attractive option for users looking for a cost-effective, yet powerful photo editing solution.

Best For: Affinity Photo is best suited for professional photographers, graphic designers, and digital artists. Its detailed and advanced features cater to those who demand high levels of control and precision in their work.

4. Corel PaintShop Pro

Corel PaintShop Pro

Corel PaintShop Pro is a versatile photo editing and graphic design software that combines powerful photo editing tools with graphic design features. It offers a user-friendly interface and a wide range of tools for photo adjustments, effects, and digital painting. PaintShop Pro stands out as an affordable alternative to subscription-based software. It provides users with a comprehensive suite of editing capabilities without ongoing costs.

Pros & Cons



Affordable one-time purchase with no subscription needed.

Interface may feel cluttered to new users.

Wide range of photo editing and graphic design tools.

Slower performance on older or less powerful computers.

Customizable workspace to suit different user needs.

Limited third-party plugin support compared to competitors.

Price: Corel PaintShop Pro is available for a one-time purchase. It is typically priced around $54.99 for the standard version, with occasional discounts and promotions. There’s also a Pro Ultimate version, which includes additional tools and features, priced slightly higher.

Best For: Corel PaintShop Pro is ideal for amateur photographers, hobbyist graphic designers, and small business owners. It caters to users who prefer a comprehensive toolset for photo editing and graphic design without a monthly or yearly subscription fee.

5. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)

GIMP- Photo Editing Software

GIMP is a free and open-source photo editing software that provides a wide array of tools suitable for designers, photographers, illustrators, and scientists. It’s known for its flexibility, extendable through plugins and scripts. GIMP serves as a solid alternative to commercial photo editing software. Its community-driven development ensures continuous updates and availability across multiple platforms.

Pros & Cons



Completely free and open-source.

Steep learning curve for beginners.

Highly customizable and extendable.

User interface can be less intuitive than commercial counterparts.

Supports a wide range of file formats, including PSD.

Performance can vary depending on the complexity of the task.

Price: GIMP is available for free. This makes it an exceptional choice for individuals and businesses looking for a powerful photo editing tool without the financial commitment.

Best For: GIMP is best suited for individuals and small businesses that require a comprehensive photo editing solution without the expense of commercial software. Hobbyists, artists, and photographers who are comfortable with a bit of a learning curve will find GIMP to be a highly capable tool.

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6. Capture One

Capture One

Capture One is a professional-grade photo editing software developed by Phase One. It is renowned for its exceptional color handling, advanced image editing capabilities, and powerful tethering features. Capture One is designed to cater to the needs of professional photographers. It supports a wide range of camera models and file formats, making it a versatile choice for photographers.

Pros & Cons



Superior color editing and RAW file processing.

Steeper learning curve compared to some alternatives.

Robust tethering capabilities for studio photography.

Higher price point, especially for the full version.

Customizable interface and workflow.

May require a powerful computer for optimal performance.

Price: Capture One offers different pricing models, including a one-time purchase option and a subscription model. Prices start at around $299 for a perpetual license of the brand-specific version, with the universal version costing more. Subscription plans are also available, starting at approximately $14.99 per month.

Best For: Capture One is particularly popular among studio photographers and those who work closely with RAW files. Its comprehensive toolset and customization options make it an excellent choice for individuals seeking to refine their images with precision.

7. DxO PhotoLab

7. DxO PhotoLab

DxO PhotoLab is a high-end photo editing software known for its exceptional RAW processing capabilities, optical corrections, and advanced editing features. It leverages sophisticated algorithms to enhance image quality, correct lens distortion, and reduce digital noise. DxO PhotoLab offers a range of tools for precise photo editing. It includes local adjustment options with a unique U Point technology for targeted edits.

Pros & Cons



Exceptional RAW processing and optical corrections.

Higher price point compared to some competitors.

Advanced noise reduction technology.

Limited file management capabilities.

Intuitive local adjustments with U Point technology.

Fewer third-party plugin options

Price: DxO PhotoLab is available for purchase through two main editions: Essential and Elite. Pricing for the Essential edition starts at around $139, and the Elite edition is priced at approximately $229. These are one-time purchase prices, and DxO frequently offers promotions and discounts.

Best For: DxO PhotoLab is best suited for photographers who prioritize image quality, particularly in terms of RAW processing and lens correction. Its advanced editing tools and noise reduction capabilities make it an excellent choice for landscape, portrait, and low-light photography.

8. Skylum Luminar

8. Skylum Luminar- Photo Editing Software

Skylum Luminar is a powerful and innovative photo editing software that stands out for its use of artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the photo editing process. It’s designed for photographers of all levels. Luminar boasts a range of AI-powered tools that automate common editing tasks, such as sky replacement, portrait enhancements, and structure adjustments. Its versatility makes it suitable for a wide range of photographic styles and needs.

Pros & Cons 



Advanced AI-powered editing tools.

Performance can be slow on older systems.

Intuitive interface suitable for all skill levels.

Some professional features may be lacking.

Flexible workflow with customizable workspaces.

Dependency on AI might limit manual control for advanced users.

Offers both a standalone application and a plugin for other software.

Price: Luminar is available for a one-time purchase at $149. The pricing typically starts at around $7/month and $59/year.

Best For: Skylum Luminar is best suited for photographers looking for a straightforward and efficient photo editing solution that leverages the latest AI technology. It’s particularly appealing to those who wish to automate routine editing tasks without sacrificing control over creative processes.

9. ON1 Photo RAW

ON1 Photo RAW

ON1 Photo RAW is a comprehensive photo editing software designed to offer photographers a powerful suite of RAW processing, editing, and organizing tools. It combines the speed and flexibility of a RAW processor with the capabilities of a pixel editor. ON1 Photo RAW is known for its user-friendly interface and extensive library of presets and filters. It also includes advanced features like HDR merging, panorama stitching, and AI-powered enhancements.

Pros & Cons



Comprehensive all-in-one solution for RAW processing, editing, and organizing. Can be resource-intensive, requiring a powerful computer for smooth operation.

Extensive range of presets and filters for quick edits.

Learning curve for beginners, given its wide array of features.

Advanced features like HDR merging, panorama stitching, and AI enhancements. Some users may find the interface less intuitive compared to competitors.

Price: The perpetual license for the latest version typically costs around $84.99. For those who prefer continuous updates and access to cloud services, ON1 offers a subscription model starting at approximately $7.99 per month or $89.99 per year.

Best For: ON1 Photo RAW is best suited for photographers who love to combine the power of RAW processing with the flexibility of pixel editing in a single package. It provides a robust platform for managing and enhancing photos with precision and creativity.

10. Pixelmator Pro

Pixelmator Pro

Pixelmator Pro is a powerful, beautiful, and easy-to-use image editor designed exclusively for Mac users. It provides a wide array of professional-grade, non-destructive image editing tools. Well! Pixelmator Pro leverages the latest Mac technologies, offering speedy and efficient processing. Key features include advanced layer-based editing, AI-powered enhancements, and an extensive collection of effects and presets.

Pros & Cons



Intuitive and beautifully designed user interface.

Limited to macOS, not available for Windows or Linux.

Advanced AI-powered tools for quick edits.

Some professional features might be lacking compared to competitors like Adobe Photoshop.

Strong performance leveraging Mac’s hardware.

Price: Pixelmator Pro is available as a one-time purchase at $49.99. This is highly appealing for users looking to avoid subscription fees. This pricing model makes Pixelmator Pro an affordable option for high-quality photo editing on the Mac.

Best For: Pixelmator Pro is best suited for Mac users seeking a powerful yet intuitive photo editing solution. It’s particularly appealing to those who prefer a one-time purchase over a subscription model.

11. Fotor

11. Fotor- Photo Editing Software

Fotor is a versatile and user-friendly photo editing and graphic design software that caters to serious photographers and designers. It offers a comprehensive set of editing tools, including basic adjustments, advanced effects, and a rich collection of templates. Fotor operates on a freemium model. It provides users with access to a wide range of features for free.

Pros & Cons



Easy to use with an intuitive interface.

The free version includes ads and limited features.

Wide range of editing tools and effects.

Advanced features require a Pro subscription.

Extensive library of templates for graphics and social media. Performance can vary, especially with high-resolution images.

Price: Fotor offers both free and Pro versions. The free version provides a basic set of editing tools and templates, suitable for casual editing tasks. Fotor Pro subscription is priced at $3.33 or $7.49 per month, offering an ad-free experience, and advanced editing capabilities.

Best For: Fotor is best suited for casual photographers, social media enthusiasts, and small business owners. Its straightforward interface and comprehensive feature set make it accessible to users of all skill levels.

Comparison Criteria


Compatibility Key Features Ease of Use Price Model

Best For

Adobe Photoshop Windows, Mac Advanced photo manipulation, 3D design Steep learning curve Subscription Professionals, designers
Adobe Lightroom Windows, Mac Cloud storage, intuitive interface User-friendly Subscription Professional photographers
Affinity Photo Windows, Mac Comprehensive editing tools, PSD support Moderate One-time purchase Professional photographers, designers
Corel PaintShop Pro Windows Photo editing, graphic design tools Moderate One-time purchase Hobbyists, small business owners
GIMP Windows, Mac, Linux Free, customizable, extensive file format support Steep learning curve Free Individuals, small businesses
Capture One Windows, Mac Superior color editing, tethering Steep learning curve Subscription, one-time Professional photographers
DxO PhotoLab Windows, Mac RAW processing, optical corrections Moderate One-time purchase Photographers, image quality enthusiasts
Skylum Luminar Windows, Mac AI-powered tools, easy interface User-friendly One-time purchase Hobbyists, professional photographers
ON1 Photo RAW Windows, Mac All-in-one solution, advanced features Moderate Subscription, one-time Photographers looking for comprehensive tools
Pixelmator Pro Mac Intuitive design, AI tools User-friendly One-time purchase Mac users, amateur photographers
Fotor Windows, Mac, Web Easy to use, templates for graphics Very user-friendly Freemium Casual photographers, social media enthusiasts

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right photo editing software is crucial for enhancing your photography and achieving the desired outcomes. This guide has explored the 11 best photo editing software options for Windows and Mac, considering a wide range of needs and skill levels.

Investing time in mastering your chosen software can significantly impact the quality of your work. So, take yours wisely and take your editing and design passion to the next level.


Can I use these photo editing software on multiple devices?

Many subscription-based software options allow use on multiple devices, while one-time purchase products typically offer a single license per purchase. Check the specific license agreement of the software for details.

What software do professional photographers recommend?

Professional photographers often recommend Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom for comprehensive editing and workflow management. Although many praise Capture One for its color handling and tethering capabilities.

Are there free photo editing software options that are good?

Yes, GIMP is a highly regarded free and open-source photo editing software. It offers a wide range of features comparable to paid software.

Can I edit RAW photos with these tools?

Most of the software listed, including Adobe Lightroom, Capture One, and DxO PhotoLab, provide robust RAW editing capabilities.

Do I need a powerful computer to use an image editing software?

While some software, like Photoshop, may require more powerful hardware for optimal performance, others are designed to be more lightweight. However, editing high-resolution images generally benefits from a more powerful computer.

Is it worth paying for photo editing software?

If you require advanced features, frequent updates, and professional-grade tools, investing in paid software can be worth it. However, free alternatives may suffice for basic needs and beginners.

How can I learn to use image editing software?

Most software providers offer tutorials, user guides, and community forums. Additionally, numerous online courses and YouTube tutorials cover various aspects of photo editing software.

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