6 Best Photo Editing Software for Photographers (2021 Ultimate Guide)

6 Best Photo Editing Software for Photographers (2021 Ultimate Guide)
29 Mar

Do you want professional photo editing software on Mac or Windows to perfect your photos? For your beginner or pro, it is essential to edit your photos before uploading them to your photography website. In this guide, we will share the best photo editing software for photographers.

The best photo editing software helps to bring an image into focus, highlight your main points and transform an average image into something truly incredible.

But the question for most photographers is how do you choose the right editing software to complement your skills?

From well-known systems like Adobe's Photoshop and Lightroom, there are countless photo editing software options ranging from simple but effective choices to options, even some great freebies.

So, in today's post, we will find out once and for all, "What is the best photo editing software for photographers?" We look:

Today's free and paid top-rated software

Features of each software

How to maximize your software options

Let's get started!

Why should your photos be edited?

If you are a photographer, you can make your already stunning photos more perfect by adjusting exposure, white balance, and color metrics by editing part of the photo editing job.

Also, editing your images helps reduce the size of your image files. This is especially important if you plan to post your photos online on your photography website or a social media account. Smaller images will improve the loading speed of your WordPress sites, which in turn will improve your search engine rankings. And, small image files post faster and better quality to your social accounts.

So, photo editing is a win-win for you!

Having an intuitive and easy-to-use photo editing software can help you save your photo editing time while taking your photos to the next level.

Let's take a look at some of the best photo editing software available online today. We will evaluate this software on three basic principles:

Easy to use


Opportunity to expand

In other words, how intuitive are these programs to learn? What powers do they have as photo editors - and not -? And finally, do they offer the opportunity to increase their effectiveness through additions like plugins or presets?

Without further ado, let's see what this photo editing software has to offer!

1. Adobe Lightroom

It's impossible to ignore Adobe Lightroom when talking about the best photo editing software for photographers. In fact, after the advent of image editing software, Adobe products were considered the gold standard.

But why? What makes lightroom so great? Let's see.

Adobe Lightroom interface

If Photoshop gets too complicated and complicated, you're sure to like Lightroom's simple, beginner-friendly interface.

A clean and simple workroom in the lightroom allows you to focus on what?s important - your image. The left panel gives you quick access to your image library, so you can toggle between photos as you edit. In the right panel, you'll find drop-down menus for quickly adding keywords to your images and adjusting to more.

To truly access your photo editing you need to access the lightroom horizontal tabs at the top of the workspace. All your basic and advanced photo editing tools live in the development module. From there, you can manipulate your photos with lens correction, split toning, effects, and other basic adjustments.

Having a central panel for all your photo editing tools separates lightroom and makes it super intuitive to use!

And, the Lightroom on the left-hand panel of the development module puts a stroke-down labeled history of your photo edits. This way, you can easily scroll back through your image edits, and change and review your edits before saving them to a custom preset.

Also, you may notice that Lightroom gives you a guided walkthrough of each module when you first open the program after downloading the software. Unlike some other app tours, the Lightroom tutorial hits all the highlights so you don?t miss a thing. With this brief introduction, you will be able to start your editing.

Multi-use program

This program is more than just a photo editor. It is also a

photo organizer. Lightroom lets you easily store and rank your images inside the program, eliminating the need for an external photo organizing program. Simply give your photos a star rating based on priority - or any other metric for the topic and get it done!

Adobe designed Lightroom to work for photographers at every skill level. So rest assured, lightroom?s navigable interface doesn?t mean it?s powerful. This is what makes lightroom even more impressive - it doesn't leave functionality for ease of use!

The main feature of the lightroom

Before and after Adobe Lightroom

Image edited with Adobe Lightroom

For most freelance photo editors, Adobe Lightroom provides all the tools you need to create stunning portraits, landscapes, real estate, and other photography. Lightroom Host has great features:

Face detection for photo companies

Camera and lens-based correction

Brush and gradient adjustment

Fixing and blurring tools

Presets and professional filters

Customizable slider

Multiple device support and sync

You can find Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop on Adobe's Creative Cloud Plan here.

Adobe Lightroom Extra

Its pre-sets offer a library of editing solutions, one of the most comprehensive photo editors on the Lightroom market. These presets have made it easier than ever to achieve a certain look in your photos. Find a preset package of your choice in the Lightroom Preset Marketplace or online, then apply it to one or more of your images for absolutely flawless editing.

Of course, presets work wonders for editing your photos at break-neck speeds. And you can even design your custom presets, which work like editing recipes for future photo editing. You can always edit pre-made or custom presets before applying them or you can adjust their sliders for a suitable application depending on your image.

With Lightroom Presets you have the opportunity to constantly expand the editing capabilities of the software.

Not to mention, many third-party plugins and applications have been integrated with Lightroom to make the program easier. Envira Gallery, for example, includes WordPress integration with Adobe Lightroom that lets you easily sync your Lightroom photo gallery with your photography website.


Adobe Lightroom is available as a standalone application or as part of one of Adobe's Creative Cloud packages. You can get Lightroom and Photoshop together for only $ 9.99 / month.

2. Skylium luminaire

Skylim luminaire 4

For a variety of reasons, the luminaire has quickly become one of the most popular editing tools for professional photographers worldwide. For one, you pay a one-time flat fee for the program rather than a monthly subscription like Adobe. And, a ton of luminaire built-in tools and accessories are available!

Lumina is a one-stop shop for photo editing that you can use manually or as a plugin with Lightroom, Photoshop, and even Apple Photos.

Skylim luminaire interface

Believe it or not, Skyline Lumina uses the same keyboard shortcuts as Adobe Lightroom. This is especially helpful if you are already familiar with the Lightroom interface. If this is true for you, you will find switching on the luminaire easy by getting compatible keyboard shortcuts between the two software.

And, like Lightroom, you can use the luminaire as both a photo editor and a photo organizer. Again, this means you can upload your images to your Luminaire Library so that all your photo editing workflows are centralized in one place!

Like Lightroom, you can sort, tag, and categorize your images inside the Lumina Library to make them easier to find. Many find the luminaire library simpler and more intuitive than the lightroom library.

Where the luminaire exceeds the lightroom, its preset workspace options provide a specially designed preset workspace with each edit in mind. For example, luminaire preset workspaces include:


Fast and great


Taking pictures from the sky

Black and white



The road

In addition to these presets, you can create your workspace by storing the tools you use most often in an empty workspace.

If this feature seems familiar, it is because Photoshop provides a predefined workspace. However, you will notice that Luminaire's preset workspace options are much wider and cover a larger number of photography-specific requirements. Something to stream your photo editing!

Skyrim's luminaire provides more editing tools than Lightroom but less than Photoshop. Having more editing tools is both an advantage and a disadvantage - they make running the program more challenging, but they allow you to do more with your photos.

Here's what we like about Lumina's editing tools:

Key features of Skylum Luminaire

Before and after with Skylum Lumina

Image edited with Skylim Lumina 4

Lumina has gained popularity for its AI slider that applies automated quick solutions including brightening, clarifying, toning, and other basic adjustments to your photos.

It comes with a host of built-in tools to make your photo editing easier and faster. Features of this Skylum Lumina include:

AI Editor

Exclusive filters like Sunrise filters (which allow you to add more sunlight to your images than real) and Orton filters (famous by The Lord of the Rings and blurring parts of the image when focused on others)

Adjustment level

Image layer

Dedicated presets for DJI drone photos

Skylum lumina additions ras

Gallery of Skyline Lumina NV

What we like most about Skylim Luminaire is the expanded gallery of luminaire looks. These looks are a set of editing solutions, much like lightroom presets. However, luminaire looks are much easier to use and have a lot more to offer!

Skyrim?s extensive luminaire looks collection makes it easier than ever to acquire specific, stylized photos. And, when Skylium comes pre-packaged with its own high-quality sets, you can find them all over the internet for free. Some of these have been created by freelance photographers, while others have been created by popular, professional photographers so that you can achieve your desired look towards their work.

Once you apply a luminaire look to your image, you can remove the editing intensity and fine-tune it to fit your photo. You can also create and save your luminaire looks, which saves you long-term editing time.


If you like the sound of Skylim Luminaire, you can buy it online for a one-time fee. This purchase gives you access to Skyline Luminaire for life! There is also a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Get 25 25 now from Luminaire.

3. Adobe Photoshop

The best photo editing software for photographers

It's hard to write an article about the best photo editing software for photographers without mentioning Adobe Photoshop properly. Photoshop has proven to be a capable and reliable editing tool for artists, illustrators, and designers around the world.

Adobe Photoshop interface

We will be truthful, not known for the simplicity of Photoshop. If you've ever heard of the Photoshop interface, how difficult it is to navigate and it's true - to learn Photoshop

4. DxO PhotoLab 4

Best photo editing software for photographers dxo photo lab

DxO PhotoLab is a solid alternative photo editor. It converts your RAW images to JPG very smoothly, and it works great with both Mac and Windows operating systems.

This photo editing and organizing system comes with customizable interface options, presets, color protection, and multiple export formats so that you can accomplish all your tasks in one place. Of course, those perks come alongside a host of interesting and helpful features.

Before and after DxO PhotoLab

Photo edited using DxO PhotoLab

DxO PhotoLab offers a suite of processing and correction tools that meet the needs of real photographers.

Some features include:

U Point local adjustment technology

Manual and automatic mode

Customized profiles

A multitude of optical corrections

Also, you can sign up for a free-day trial before committing to a subscription, so get DxO PhotoLab now.

5. ON1 Photo RAW

ON1 Photo RAW Extras

ON1 Photo RAW is a complete photo editing software that you can try for free. It works wonders on your photographs!

ON1 Photo RAW Interface

Not only is Photo RAW easy to download and install, but it offers a free trial! Simply follow the on-screen instructions to download the software, then use it on any major operating system, including PC and Mac OS X.

After you?ve installed and opened ON1 Photo RAW, you?ll find a selection of getting started video tutorials waiting for you! See, ON1 Photo RAW is so dedicated to saving your time during your photo edits that it even eliminated the need to search for tutorial videos.

Once you enter the software?s workspace, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. Like most photo editors, ON1?s selection of editing tools can be a bit intimidating if you?re not a practiced photo editor.

Just take your time exploring ON1?s features, and you?ll be set!

Key Features

before and after with ON1 Photo RAW

Photo edited using ON1 Photo RAW

Speaking of features, ON1 Photo RAW offers several that are unique to this software! For one, this program doesn?t require you to upload your RAW photos to edit them. All you have to do to edit your RAW images in ON1 Photo RAW is find your images where they?re stored on your device and select them.

Because ON1 doesn?t have to load your RAW images into the software, you?ll find that it works lightning fast ? even faster than Photoshop and Lightroom!

Other ON1 Photo RAW features include:

Stackable filters

Custom presets

Textures and borders

Live adjustments and previews

Available to download on any device

Selectively apply the effects option

ON1 Photo RAW Extras

With ON1 Photo RAW, you?ll gain access to hundreds of presets, stackable filters, and other solutions to enhance your pictures in no time. And, of course, you can download even more online from fellow photo editors!

Plus, ON1 Photo RAW offers an addon for Lightroom, Aperture, and Photoshop! So, if you?re considering pairing photo editing software, this one works with a host of other programs.


ON1 offers three primary Photo RAW plans:

ON1 Photo RAW Software Only ? Purchase for $99.99 and own ON1 Photo RAW outright for use on up to 5 computers.

Monthly Subscription (ON1 Photo RAW Software + ON1 360) ? A subscription license to the software ensures you always have access to the latest updates, plus 1TB cloud storage for $15.99/month.

Yearly Subscription (ON1 Photo RAW Software + ON1 360) ? Enjoy the free update benefits of a subscription to ON1 Photo RAW for just $89.99/year (comes with 200GB storage) or $179.99/year (comes with 1TB storage).

Try ON1 RAW free for 30 days.

6. Corel Paintshop Pro

Corel Paintshop Pro is easily one of the most intuitive photo editing software options online for those who want a simple but effective way to upgrade their images. While this may not be the most advanced tool on the market at first glance, your images need to be taken to the next level without breaking the bank.

Like other software, it requires a one-time fee, starting at about $ 60. For this price, you get access to dozens of textures, backgrounds, and brushes to choose from. And, app updates always add new features.

The latest version of Corel PaintsPro Pro also boasts a new photography workspace, specially designed for photographers. This simplified workspace streamlines your editing workflow by providing the best photo editing tools in a simple format. You can apply most of the tools in the photography workspace with just one click!

And, because this workspace is touch-ready, it's perfect for editing photos on any tablet. Corel has even made the tool icons bigger and distinct so that they are easy to select on any touch device.

The main advantage

Before and after Paintshop Pro

Image edited using Corel Paintshop Pro

Other current features include:

Levels and masks

Refine the brush for selection

SmartClone technology

AI extended presets

360-degree photo editing

Imaginary user experience

Graphic design tools and templates

Photo editing options like Blur and Fix

Learning tutorials

RAW image processing

Like many other photo editing programs, Corel's Paintshop Pro also provides plugins, brush extensions, color palettes, and textures that you can import to give yourself more editing options.

Paintshop Pro

You can own Corel Paintshop Pro for just $ 79.99. If they have a 30-day money-back guarantee if you find that it doesn't work for you.

Let us know what to do with your images