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best photo editing software

11 Best Image Editing Software Recommended by Experts

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The top photo editing software in 2024

  1. Adobe Lightroom — Best image editing software for professional photographers
  2. Adobe Photoshop Elements — Best for image manipulation
  3. DxO PhotoLab — Best for noise reduction and file management
  4. Capture One Pro — Best for live RAW photo viewing and editing
  5. Affinity Photo — Best budget-friendly image editing software
  6. Exposure X7 — Best for photo organization
  7. ON1 Photo RAW — Best image editing software with built-in filter effects
  8. PaintShop Pro Ultimate — Best photo editing software with preset AI backgrounds
  9. ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate — Best software with face recognition and AI-powered search
  10. CyberLink PhotoDirector 365 — Best user-friendly image editing software
  11. GIMP — Best free, open-source image editor

Looking for the best photo editing software? Whether you’re a photography pro or a budding artist, using the right photo editing software is essential to success.

With so many options on the market, it’s tough to choose, but we’ve done the legwork for you. Consider these highly recommended photo editing tools!

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2024’s best photo editing software

Below, we list the best image editing software that experts recommend. They are selected based on their:

  • Image enhancement capabilities
  • User friendliness
  • Sharing options
  • Image organization features
Best Image Editing Software Pricing G2 rating
Adobe Lightroom $9.99 per month 4.6 / 5
Adobe Photoshop Elements $99.99 4.3 / 5
DxO PhotoLab $229.00 4.3 / 5
Capture One Pro $299 (perpetual license) or $21.58 per month (subscription) 4.6 / 5
Affinity Photo $69.99 4.5 / 5
Exposure X7 $129.00 N/A
ON1 Photo RAW $69.99 to $199.99 (ownership) or $6.00 to $12.00 per month (subscription) 5 / 5
PaintShop Pro Ultimate $99.99 4.1 / 5
ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate $8.90 per month or $89.00 per year 4.4 / 5
CyberLink PhotoDirector 365 $169.99 (lifetime license) or $39.99 (subscription) 4.3 / 5
GIMP Free 4.3 / 5

Let’s dive into each one:

1. Adobe Lightroom

Homepage of Adobe Lightroom photo editing software

Adobe Lightroom is the best image editing and photo management software out there. Photography pros applaud Lightroom’s matchless cataloging, workflow-enhancing features, and premium presets. With Lightroom, photographers create striking images in less time.

Adobe Lightroom


$9.99 per month

Key features

  • One-click presets
  • Batch processing
  • Superior RAW file editor and filters


  • Non-destructive editing
  • Intuitive interface
  • Streamlined workflow


  • Limited manipulations
  • Only available by subscription
  • Steep learning curve for beginners

2. Adobe Photoshop Elements

Homepage of Adobe Photoshop Elements photo editing software

Adobe Photoshop Elements is a professional-quality image editing tool loved by beginners and experts alike. With countless tools and features, users can set their imaginations free with Photoshop Elements.

Adobe Photoshop Elements



Key features


  • Intuitive organization features
  • Guided edits
  • No subscription needed


  • Can be challenging for beginners
  • Priced higher than competitor programs
  • Does not include all the features of Photoshop

3. DxO PhotoLab

Homepage of DXO PhotoLab photo editing software

DxO PhotoLab uses AI to reduce noise and create sharp images. This comprehensive tool offers photo management and RAW editing on par with Lightroom.

DxO PhotoLab



Key features

  • Automatic lens correction
  • Geometry correction
  • Built-in photo library


  • Non-destructive editing
  • No subscription required
  • Best-in-class noise reduction


  • Not a complete workflow solution
  • No import function
  • No image stacking options

4. Capture One Pro

Homepage of Capture One Pro photo editing software

Capture One Pro offers powerful editing tools and RAW image processing. It’s also a tethering tool, allowing photographers to get the perfect shot in fewer takes.

Capture One Pro


$299 (perpetual license) or $21.58 per month (subscription)

Key features

  • Live RAW photo viewing and editing
  • Real-time collaboration
  • Supports a vast range of cameras and lenses


  • Simple interface
  • No subscription required
  • Complete photo management and editing solution


  • Steep learning curve
  • Does not integrate with Photoshop
  • Typically pricier than other options

5. Affinity Photo

Homepage of Affinity photo editing software

Affinity Photo is a robust photo editing tool offering key features photographers need to create brilliant images. It’s also the go-to choice for photographers seeking a more budget-friendly alternative to Photoshop.

Affinity Photo



Key features

  • RAW photo processing
  • Layer editing
  • Stacking tool


  • Great value
  • Subscription-free
  • Non-destructive editing


  • No image cataloging
  • Lacks photo management capabilities
  • Not the best in photo adjustment

6. Exposure X7

Homepage of Exposure Software photo editing software

Exposure X7 is an image editor offering Lightroom and Photoshop plug-in support. Users have access to a vast customizable preset library and eye-catching special effects.

Exposure X7



Key features

  • Masking and layer editing tools
  • Catalog-free organization
  • Auto correction


  • No subscription required
  • Hundreds of presets
  • Unique filters and effects


  • Slower loading time
  • Limited support for camera and lens models
  • No face recognition

7. ON1 Photo RAW

Hompage of ON1 Photo Raw photo editing software

ON1 Photo RAW is a complete RAW photo editor that leverages AI to create stunning images. Photographers love ON1’s world-class filters.

ON1 Photo RAW


$69.99 to $199.99 (ownership) or $6.00 to $12.00 per month (subscription)

Key features

  • Cloud syncing capabilities
  • AI-powered presets
  • Masking and layer editing tools


  • Top-notch filters
  • Non-destructive editing
  • Fast RAW image processing


  • Limited organization features
  • Crowded interface
  • Some navigation delay

8. PaintShop Pro Ultimate

Homepage of PaintShop Pro photo editing software

Experts or beginners looking for simple photo editor software often choose PaintShop Pro. This image editing software offers all the tools you need at a competitive price.

PaintShop Pro Ultimate



Key features

  • Noise removal
  • Helpful tutorials
  • Preset AI backgrounds


  • Budget-friendly
  • Easier to use than similar editors
  • Subscription-free


  • Limited control
  • Can be slow
  • Not the best RAW image processing tool

9. ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate

Homepage of ACDSEE photo editing software

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate is an all-in-one image editing solution. With Photo Studio Ultimate, you will completely control your workflow and edit photos using an intuitive interface.

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate


$8.90 per month or $89.00 per year

Key features

  • Layer editing
  • AI background selection and face retouching tools
  • Batch processing


  • Robust set of editing and management tools
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Free online workshops


  • Made only for Windows
  • Limited control with some features
  • Slow importing

10. CyberLink PhotoDirector 365

Homepage of PhotoDirector365 photo editing software

CyberLink PhotoDirector 365 offers an easy-to-use interface, advanced features, and fun, creative options like anime tools. Experts frequently recommend PhotoDirector as an alternative to Adobe products.

CyberLink PhotoDirector 365


$169.99 (lifetime license) or $39.99 (subscription)

Key features

  • Animated effects
  • AI editing tools
  • Tethering options


  • Easy to learn
  • Affordable
  • User-friendly interface


  • Can be slow
  • Not the best management solution
  • Limited pro-level editing tools

11. GIMP

gimp editing software

GIMP or GNU Image Manipulation Program is a free and open-source image editor available on various operating systems like Linux, macOS, and Windows. You can retouch images and even create your original artwork.

Because it’s an open-source software, you can change its source code according to your needs.




Key features

  • Color management
  • Integration with programming languages like Scheme, Python, and Perl
  • Image manipulation and retouching


  • Available in various operating systems
  • Free image editing software
  • Open-source


  • Not as user-friendly as other tools
  • Does not have full CMYK support

What should you look for in a photo editing software?

Here are the top features to look for in image editing software:

  • Non-destructive editing: Non-destructive editing keeps your original photo untouched, no matter the edits you make.
  • Compatibility: Ensure image editing software is compatible with your camera, lens, and operating systems.
  • Fundamental editing tools: Your software should include image editing essentials, such as cropping, resizing, and color adjustments.
  • Device syncing: Consider if you need software to edit photos on the go or access multiple devices.
  • Batch processing: If you typically need to edit a large number of photos, batch processing is a must-have.
  • Presets: An extensive preset library can simplify your workflow and help you save time.
  • Effects and filters: Consider what effects and filters you need to support your artistic vision.
  • Layer editing: Layer editing allows you to work on an isolated section of an image, helping you produce photos that pop.
  • Tutorials: Make sure your picture editing software provides training materials so you know how to maximize its features.
  • Organization and management tools: If you have a vast library of photos, consider software that will help you store and organize them in a streamlined way.
  • User-friendly interface: Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, an intuitive interface can make photo editing a pleasurable experience.
  • RAW file support: If you want to create the highest-quality images possible, make sure the software supports RAW files.

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Choose the best image editor to unlock your creativity

Whether you’re looking for a free image editing software or a paid one, there’s an image editing software program for you.

Need help finding the best photo editor for your needs? Let WebFX help.

We’re a full-service digital marketing agency with over 28 years of experience helping businesses with their digital marketing needs. We take the time to get to know your business, industry, and goals, so that we can deliver the results that you need.

Contact us online or call us at 888-601-5359 to learn more about our digital marketing services!

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