Which Photo Editing Software Should You Use?

Photo editing tools continue to evolve, with some becoming more advanced while others are more beginner-friendly. Still, you need to consider things like your style, budget, where you’re going to edit, and what features can produce your desired effect. So, which photo editing software should you use?

Which Photo Editing Software Should You Use?

Photoshop and Affinity One are lifesavers when it comes to photo retouching. For RAW file processing, Lightroom and Darktable are some of the top editing programs. There’s also Snapseed and Afterlight for mobile users.

As you can see, there are several photo editing tools you can try. However, it pays to compare their features to know which one would work best for you.

Mastering professional photo editing software is one of the best ways to step up your photography game. Before you can master any software you choose, you need to make sure you pick the right one. To do that, let’s look into some of the best professional photo editing software.


Lightroom boasts a clean workspace for you to work on pictures. It has a panel that provides access to your library, allowing you to toggle between images as you edit. There’s also another panel that contains basic and advanced photo editing commands.

From there, you can do corrections and apply a preset to thousands of images in one click. The best part—Lightroom won’t change the original picture; it will only save the changes like layers on top of the edited photo.


Darktable is a great alternative to Lightroom if you want free software and only need basic editing. While it also has a file management system and non-destructive image editing, its file importation isn’t at par with Lightroom.

However, Darktable may be ideal for you if you’re knowledgeable about programming. Having an open-source code, you can add or modify the features as you like.


Photoshop is perfect for you if your style is more on image manipulation. Its masks and layers enable you to incorporate graphics and animation in your pictures.

The downside is that unlike Lightroom, which has an intuitive interface, Photoshop has a steep learning curve. However, Photoshop is worth learning if you want to create complex composite images.

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo is a good option if you prefer an old-school version of Photoshop yet contains almost the same basic editing features. Like Photoshop, it focuses on retouching, healing, and cloning tools.

However, Affinity Photo lacks Photoshop’s 3D features and animation. While you may be better off with Photoshop if you have an Adobe subscription, you may opt for this software if you want a free version.

Skylum Luminar

Skylum Luminar is a newcomer in the photo editing industry, yet it has made quite a reputation for being an image editor and file organizer in one place. It also provides one-click presets to enhance images quickly.

However, it doesn’t have Lightroom’s capacity to manipulate metadata and add image keywords for better organization. Instead of a subscription, Luminar offers a one-time, flat fee for the use of its tools.

Corel PaintShop

Like Photoshop, Corel PaintShop includes powerful creative tools for advanced editors. It also contains tools for texts, brushes, shading, patterns, and more than 90 filters to improve pictures.

Unfortunately, Corel Paintshop is not a cross-platform software, as it’s only compatible with Windows. Despite that, this is an excellent option for newbie photographers or hobbyists looking for inexpensive editing software.

Capture One Pro

Capture One Pro is suitable for studio photographers as the software works both on tethered shooting and editing. Its workflow is a bit similar to Lightroom in terms of image cataloging and non-destructive editing.

Despite smooth conversions and advanced color editing, not all editing tools have layers. Hence, you may experience some lagging if you pile on too many layers.

DxO PhotoLab

DxO PhotoLab is another great photo editor that works with both Windows and Mac operating systems. Its best features include customizable interface options, as well as masking, correction, and filter tools.

While the software is good for RAW processing, it doesn’t have tools for layering. Besides, it’s more expensive than a Creative Cloud subscription.

Mobile Photo Editing Software

Facebook posts with pictures receive 120% more engagement than the average post. In the age of social media, you would want to edit even a few images to post an update.

To ensure you’re ready to edit wherever you are, here are some photo editing software you can use on your phone:

  • Snapseed: Has an intuitive interface and range of photo editing features. Despite being free for Android and iOS, Snapseed offers several preset filters.
  • Afterlight: Contains basic features for adjusting exposure, contrast, hue, saturation, and tone. You can also customize available filters and frames.
  • VSCO: Also contains basic image-editing features and lots of filters. This is ideal for photographers who like film-like effects.
  • Visage: Lets you quickly retouch portraits to smoothen skin, apply eye makeup, whiten teeth, and more. It also contains backgrounds and effects.


Photo editing software is an essential tool for a photographer as it enables you to enhance your shots digitally. Whether you try Lightroom, Darktable, Photoshop, Snapseed, or all of them, what’s important is that the software helps streamline your workflow.

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