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  • January 02, 2021
  • 29 min to read

The Best Photo Editing Software for Beginners

The Best Photo Editing Software for Beginners

Before you can upload your images to your personal blog, social media page or website, it is key that you first edit your images. Nowadays this is a step that you cannot afford to skip if you want your photos to be taken seriously. In fact, as there is such a wide range of software solutions on the market, there is no reason why you should skip this important step.

[Top10] Good Photo Editing Software for Beginners - Windows/ Mac

  1. Luminar AI
  2. Photolemur
  3. Adobe Lightroom
  4. Aurora HDR
  5. AirMagic
  6. Adobe Photoshop
  7. ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate
  8. Serif Affinity Photo
  9. PortraitPro

Though, seeing that users are spoilt for choice, to find the best photo editing tools that will boost your current set of skills can be quite a challenge. If you thought that Adobe Photoshop is the only photo editing software, you would be mistaken. Nowadays there are many much simpler software solutions too! The following are some of the best photo editing software that both professional and beginner photographers should check out.

1. Luminar (7-day Trial)

If you need a photo editing tool to get the job done in a flash, Skylum Luminar can help you to take your photos to new heights. It boasts a really useful AI slider that lets you play around with clarity, brightness and much more. There are also exclusive filters such as the Orton and Sunrays filters that you will absolutely love.

In fact, this software can give Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop a run for their money. Speaking of which, as you only have to pay a fixed fee once (eliminating those annoying monthly subscription payments), it makes sense why Skylum Luminar has become so popular amongst professional photographers. That being said, if you prefer to use Photoshop or Lightroom, it also boasts a plug-in that you will find quite handy.

2. Adobe Lightroom (7-day Trial)

When Adobe Photoshop is too advanced for those straightforward touch-ups, Adobe Lightroom will be more suited for the task at hand. As a matter of fact, the fact that it is not as complicated as Photoshop is the whole beauty of Adobe Lightroom.

Some of its excellent features include: customizable sliders, gradient and brush adjustments, presets, blurring tools and other professional filters. Plus, you can use it with multiple devices and to help you keep your photos organized it uses face detection. All things considered, with this wide range of functional features and its easy-to-use interface, you can create just as remarkable photos with Lightroom.

3. PicMonkey

If you are searching for a more comprehensive graphic design solution as opposed to just photo editing features, PicMonkey is the perfect pick. With this package, you can create collages, edit your photos, crop and add touch-ups to mention only a couple of its features.

It is the ideal software solution to help you take your design skills to a more advanced level and unleash your creativity. Some of its other main features are basic filters, blank canvas design, and templates. Plus, if you regularly have to work with the different social media platforms, you will love its automatic sizing feature. 

4. Aurora HDR (7-day Trial)

Aurora HDR can either be used as a stand-alone app or Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom plug-in. Boasting more than 80 looks, you can transform your photos instantly to deliver first-class final results. Some of its more sophisticated features that professional photographers will welcome include masking and layers, blending modes, powerful batch processing and support for RAW files.

On top of that, it also offers exclusive tools like HDR Denoise and HDR Smart Structure. The Denoise feature will automatically identify any noise and remove it while still retaining all the details, while the latter tool is a slider that uses AI to create astonishing depth. 

5. Pixlr Editor

If you have grown accustomed to Adobe Photoshop, but are exploring alternatives, be sure to try out Pixlr Editor. With this online photo editing software, you can add an image to a blank canvas and come up with one-of-a-kind effects. Some of its other main features include overlays, filters and more than two million effects free of charge. If you prefer to use an app, rest assured you can download it to your mobile device or desktop as an app. At the end of the day, if you are not entirely impressed with the features and options offered by Pixlr Editor, you can upgrade to another version (there are various to choose from) that offers more sophisticated options.

6. Fotor

Fotor is another photo editing software solution that boasts an intuitive interface. Some of its main features include: design templates, filters, HDR effects, and portrait retouching. Alternatively, if you are looking to create a bit more informal design, there are countless shapes, fonts and stickers that you can play around with. And, when you feel as if your creative juices are running low, you can save your design and continue editing from where you last stopped.   

This well-known cloud-based software boasts more than 300 million users already. Surely millions of users cannot be wrong? You simply need to upload your pics to their site and you are all set to begin the editing process.

7. Adobe Photoshop (7-day Trial)

You are most likely already very familiar with Adobe Photoshop. It is arguably the best known photo editing tool that countless photographers and designers rely on and is aimed at professionals that require all the extra features.

Its layering, masking and retouching features are still arguably the best and ideal for those advanced touch-up jobs. It also offers a wide range of brushes and filters, three-dimensional design functionality and multilayer editing. If you are searching for photo editing software, you can rest assured that Adobe’s products are really superior.

8. ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate (Free or Full version with 30-day moneyback option)

Do not let the oversimplified interface of ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate fool you as it can still get any job done. This comprehensive photography software is still relatively new on the market and boasts a couple of useful features. Two of its best features are that it uses facial recognition to organize and index your photos and there is no need to import. This means that you can edit your source file directly from your drive.

9. Serif Affinity Photo

This vector graphic design app has very similar features to the popular Adobe Photoshop and shares identical interfaces. For an affordable once-off fee, you can access professional tools similar to the likes of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop for editing your photos.

10. PortraitPro

If your niche is portrait photography, PortraitPro is the tool you should give a go. This professional image editor app boasts all the features you require to remove wrinkles, sagging cheeks and other skin imperfections, enhance skin tone and add eyeshadows. Some of its other features include make-up tools, sliders, skin smoothing and sophisticated layering.

11. Corel PaintShop Pro

Photographers who value simplicity will really like Corel PaintShop Pro (and if you still get stuck, you can rest assured as there are learning tutorials available as well). That being said, do not let its simple approach to photo editing fool you as it does not make its editing capability any less effective.

This software boasts everything you require to enhance your pics from AI enhanced presets to graphic design templates to options such as blur and fix. Plus, if the wide range of brushes, textures and backgrounds do not float your boat, do not dismiss the software just yet as brand new features are being added continuously. Overall, it really offers some of the best user experiences.

12. DxO Optics Pro 10

It does not matter if Windows or Mac is your preferred operating system, DxO Optics Pro 10 works equally well with both. It boasts a suite of tools and features such as automatic and manual mode, customized profiles, optical corrections and U-point local adjustment technology. All things considered, it is a reliable tool that professional photographers can use to edit their photos and convert their RAW files to JPG format without any issues.

13. Inkscape

Just like DxO Optics Pro 10, Inkscape is also compatible with both Mac as well as Windows operating systems. What is more, you can use its source code if you would prefer to use it in your very own application.

It is ideal for aspiring photographers and boast a great number of features such as copy-paste object cloning, decorative handwriting tools, and a colour picker. It also supports multiple text formats and offers available extensions and add-ons. With the help of these tools, it is real easy to clone an object, overlay text or add a specific colour to your pics.

14. Capture One

This RAW image editor boasts some features that set it apart from the other software solutions available. For starters, if you need to work with big volumes of photos that are more than 20 megapixel RAW files, you will be impressed with its speed. What is more, to help you work more efficiently, the interface boasts some great customizability which means that you can change the keyboard shortcuts and layout to suit your preferences better.

If you often work with layers, you will also love the fact that it does not become slower when you have too many layers. Plus, it lets you make several adjustments per layer.

Some of its other fabulous features that will help you to work more efficiently are its sophisticated color editing and annotations. Its sliders make it much easier to tweak the granularity, while the annotations feature lets you jot down ideas to ensure that you can collaborate smoothly with other photographers and designers.

15. Gimp

This free professional software for editing photos is another excellent Photoshop alternative for beginners. It boasts a variety of features that can assist novices with digital photo retouching and composition. With the help of features like vignette and corrective mode, you can also take your photos of any file format to the next level.

If this sounds like the photo editing software solution for your needs, all you have to do is download it and install it on your device (it is compatible with Linux, Windows and Mac operating systems). Plus, thanks to its built-in file manager, file management will be one less thing on your to-do list.

16. AirMagic (7-day Trial)

No photo editing software list will be complete without including a solution for drone photography. Similar to Photolemur, AirMagic uses sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence to enhance your aerial photography automatically. This drag-and-drop photo editing app boasts many unique features that help you to get rid of haze, improve the colours, enhance the sky and bring detail to the fore. As haze is unfortunately a common issue with drone photography, getting rid of haze is a must-have feature. After you have applied these unique features, you can also play around with different creative styles eliminating the need to purchase extra filters.

AirMagic can be used either as an Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom plug-in or stand-alone app. Plus, it can identify the type of camera that you have attached to your drone and adjust its lense corrections and enhancements to that particular camera. 

17. Snappa

Snappa is a great solution for photographers who work with social media platforms on a regular basis. It lets you convert pics into Facebook banners and share images on different social media sites.

In short, it is a graphics and design software that enables you to add new effects (such as texts or graphics) to your photos in a flash or change the dimensions easily with the help of image dimension templates. Alternatively, if you are searching for some inspiration or running out of time, you will be glad to know that there are also stock photos available and a useful drag-and-drop photo editing feature. As the software is available online, users do not first have to download something in order to start designing.

18. Canva

Canva is another easy-to-use graphics and design software that you have most likely heard about before. Trusted my millions, it boasts various tools and features to help you edit your photos. Whether you simply want to crop or straighten a photo or want to get creative with textures, fonts, badges and stickers, Canva can help. Some of its other features include vignette, photo blur, a speech bubble maker, an image transparency tool, photo frames and design grids.

Though, if you do not know where to start, be sure to visit the Canva Marketplace where you can find more than 8000 templates. Its basic features are available free of charge, but the more advanced features must be paid for. If you need to edit on the go, you will be happy to know that you can download it to your smartphone. All things considered, it is one of the best resources if you need to come up with visual content that you can use on your website or personal blog. Thanks to its user-friendly drag-and-drop editor, you do not need to be a professional photographer to take advantage of all its features.

19. Photolemur (Free version with watermark)

Photolemur is another photo editing software solution that realizes no photographer or designer has any time to waste behind a screen. With the help of AI and very sophisticated algorithms, this photo enhancer app will analyze all the necessary details and complete intricate adjustments on the spot.

All you have to do is just import your images to Photolemur and leave the rest to the app. The beauty of this tool is that you do not need any prior photo editing experience to complete basic things like getting rid of skin blemishes, whitening teeth or creating perfectly smooth skin as the app will automatically improve your images. Some of its other impressive features include sky enhancement, exposure compensation, color recovery and foliage enhancement. It is really easy to use (you can even enhance multiple photos at the same time) and compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems.

Easiest Photo Editing Software for Beginners

With the right photo editing software, you can turn any photo into a masterpiece. Whether you want to highlight an important object, bring more focus to your pic or just want to reduce the size of your photo files to improve the loading speed of a website, there is the right photo editing tool for the job and your skills.

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