8 Best Photo Editing Software for PC Free: Windows & Mac

28/02/2024 website

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the 15 best photo editing softwares available for PC users, catering to a spectrum of needs and budgets. Whether you're a professional photographer, a budding enthusiast, or someone simply looking to enhance their social media presence, finding the right photo editing tool is essential to unlock your creative potential.

In this guide, we've meticulously curated a diverse selection of photo editing software, ranging from feature-rich paid options to robust free alternatives and convenient online platforms. Our aim is to provide you with an informed overview of each software's capabilities, usability, and compatibility, empowering you to make the best choice for your specific requirements.

The 8 Best Photo Editing Software for PC Free: Windows & Mac

1. Adobe Photoshop CC

Platforms: Windows, Mac OS | Price: Paid (Annually/Monthly subscription)

At the very top end of photo editing is Photoshop, which has no real rival. It is one of the most popular photo editing software tools on the market. Photoshop is the primary tool for its legions of fans across the world, including designers, artists, and illustrators.

Its layering, masking and retouching tools still set the standard by which others are judged, while the power of its layer-based editing system can handle the most complex of creative projects.

Anyone who knows anything about photo editing and graphic design will have used one of the various Adobe Photoshop versions.

Photoshop offers similar tools to any other software in this realm, but to the nth degree – there are often several ways for performing the same function in Photoshop, be it changing a background colour, cloning elements, frequency separation, or any of the myriad other photo editing tasks.

Then there are the special effects and healing tools that only Photoshop can accomplish – AI-assisted tools like content-aware scale and fill . Being able to recreate a scene that doesn't already digitally exist is a powerful feature for photographers .

This latest version increasingly relies on Sensei, Adobe's highly touted artificial intelligence engine, to facilitate a host of impressive features. The most high-profile of these include Sky Replacement, new Refine Edge selections. Plus, Neural Filters help simplify complex workflows.

Even though Photoshop can be difficult to master, it's not necessarily difficult to learn. It's pre-made workspaces, in-app tools descriptions and clear tools icons help make learning the program more manageable. Don't try to dive in all at once! A piece-by-piece approach to Photoshop will likely be the more successful route.

Adobe Photoshop CC is available only as a subscription service .For $10 per month, you get the Photography plan, which offers Photoshop, Lightroom and Lightroom CC for the desktop and 20GB of online storage. For $20 per month you get the same Photography Plan with 1TB of online storage.

If you're wondering why Adobe has two lots of photo-editing software on the market, it's because they do different things. Lightroom is mainly a RAW developer and photo organising tool, while Photoshop is the software that you will need for more complex adjustments, working on layers, masks and channels.

There are no image browsing or cataloguing tools in Photoshop itself, but since Lightroom is included in the same Photography Plans as Photoshop, that's not an issue. On its own, Photoshop is powerful but limited; with Adobe Lightroom it's half of the world's most popular image editing double-act.

2. Adobe Lightroom CC

Platforms: Windows, Mac OS | Price: Paid (Annually/Monthly subscription)

Adobe Lightroom is another powerful editing software by Adobe. Ideally, it is perfect for photographers who want a more straightforward yet capable tool to edit their images.

Lightroom is an all-in-one image cataloguing, raw-processing and editing program and the perfect partner for Photoshop. If your main work is photo enhancement rather than manipulation, you might not need Photoshop at all.

Unlike Photoshop's complicated and intimidating user interface, both Lightroom Classic and CC offer a more intuitive and user-friendly interface for image editing.

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.

Lightroom have a library of pre-made editing solutions called presets. These presets make it easier than ever to achieve a specific look in your photos. Simply find a preset package you like via Lightroom's preset marketplace or online, then apply it to one or more of your images for a flawless edit.

Of course, presets work wonderfully for batch editing your photos at a break-neck pace. And, you can even design your own custom presets. With Lightroom's presets, you have the opportunity to continually expand the software's editing capabilities.

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

Another great thing about Adobe Lightroom, that many people praise it for, is the organizing capability it offers – you can add tags and sort your photos in your own style.

Unlike Photoshop, Lightroom is built to handle entire photo collections at once. You can import, sort, and edit your files all within the same simple interface.

Lightroom is the fact that it supports nearly all formats of RAW files, no matter the camera you're using, so this can be a factor to consider when choosing one of these tools.

Lightroom is one of the best photo editing software for pc that allows you to retouch full resolution images. This tool allows you to view, download, or add photos on the web. It offers a wide range of layouts.

3. Corel PaintShop Pro

Platforms: Windows | Price: Paid (one-time payment of about $80)

Corel PaintShop Pro is a capable and one of the most inexpensive photo editing software tools out there. Some photographers call it an Adobe Photoshop alternative, but it lacks Photoshop's most advanced flagship features, including Camera Shake Reduction, 3D modeling, Faces Liquefy, detailed typography, among others.

Photographers who value simplicity will really like Corel PaintShop Pro . 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, color palettes , textures and backgrounds do not float your boat, do not dismiss the software just yet as brand new features are being added continuously.

Now boasting numerous powerful AI-Powered tools that go well beyond free Photoshop alternatives, PsP has become a fully-featured graphics manipulation tool that provides excellent value for money.

In many ways, Corel PaintShop Pro is a powerful program, and It's easy for novices to grasp, and has some additional tools, such as 360-degree photo editing. It's also touch-screen compatible and has a new streamlined workspace. Corel has even made the tool icons large and distinct so that they're easy to select on a touch device.

You can preview, organise, and streamline your photo editing workflow in the Manage workspace, which also allows you to add keyword tags to your photos, create catalogues, make batch edits to multiple images at once, and review metadata and file information.

If you need to extend its capabilities, Paintshop Pro supports various 64-bit plugins from Adobe, Topaz Labs, Nik Collection by DXO and many more. You can even import and export PSD files to work across platforms.

PaintShop Pro is a fantastic option that represents a unique amalgamation of Lightroom and Photoshop in one. Like some other software, it requires a one-time fee, which starts at around $60 to get a life-time license. For that price, you gain access to dozens of textures, backgrounds, and brushes to choose from. And, app updates add new features all the time.

This software is comprehensive and powerful enough to help you with any tasks, but remember the fact that you'll have to pay for most of the features offered. They have multiple payment plans, and with those come more and more options you can use – so this can be a little tricky. Other than that, there's only one more thing that can be a major drawback for some: it is only Windows supported. Think it through before making a choice.

4. Affinity Photo

Platforms: Windows, Mac OS | Price: Paid (one-time fee of about $50)

If you're looking for a pro photo editor like Photoshop, Affinity Photo is an excellent choice. Affinity Photo is sold at a budget price point, but it has the tools and the features and the power to compete with Photoshop head-on.

Serif has focused particularly heavily on the retouching market, with cloning, healing and retouching tools, an Inpainting tool for automatic object removal and a dedicated Liquify persona (workspace) for localized image distortion effects.

That being said, Affinity Photo's primary focus is photography, so it lacks a few of Photoshop's extra features (like 3D editing).

Other than this, Affinity Pro's main difference with Photoshop is how the tools are organised. It uses “personas” instead of workspaces and that might take a little getting used to for folks used to Photoshop.

It comes with layers, masks, smart objects, colour management, and both CMYK and RGB editing, as well as decent Raw file conversion. its filter effects can be applied ‘live' and its HDR tone mapping and workspace tools are excellent.

From focus stacking and panorama stitching to HDR merging and digital painting, it has just about everything you could want in a photo editor.

Like Photoshop, though, it's focused solely on in-depth, technical image manipulation. It doesn't have its own browsing and cataloguing tools and it doesn't do instant preset effects. Affinity Photo will bring the tools, but you have to bring the vision.

For just $50—or cheaper if there's a sale—Affinity gives users a surprisingly complete set of Photoshop-like features. but subscription-free, via a single extra-low payment.

As far as the learning curve is concerned, much like Photoshop, the tools in Affinity Photo are quite in-depth and will take some time to explore and learn. Luckily the interface is quite logical, and if you've used Photoshop before the tools will make sense.

5. Capture One Pro

Platforms: Windows, Mac OS | Price: Paid (Annually/Monthly subscription)

Capture One is a RAW image editor made by the camera company, Phase One. If you are a photographer who is mostly interested in enhancing RAW images, then this is a better option than Adobe Lightroom.

Capture One works both as tethered capture and editing tool for studio photographers with a 'sessions' based workflow and as a Lightroom-style image cataloguing, searching and non-destructive editing tool. It works in a single window rather than in Lightroom-style ‘modules' and has a highly customizable set of ‘tool tabs'.

One of the key differences is its layers-based local adjustment system which makes it much easier to see and edit your changes to your work, and this now includes 'parametric' linear and radial gradient masks which you can edit later. Capture One's conversions look smoother and sharper than Lightroom's.

Its raw conversions are sharper and less noisy than Adobe's, but it doesn't support such a wide range of camera raw formats or as large a number of lens correction profiles. It doesn't have Adobe's mobile apps and online synchronization options either, but it does offer professional-grade ‘tethering' tools for studio photographers capturing images via a computer.

Capture One Pro also has a better system for applying local adjustments, using adjustment layers and masks. It's expensive, but very, very good.

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.

You do need a relatively powerful computer to run Capture One Pro smoothly. The only real strikes against it are the fact that there's no HDR or panorama options, the steep learning curve, limited plugin support compared to other software, and the price.

The full-fledged version retails at close to $300. There's also a subscription option at $20/month ($15/month if you prepay for a year) – considerably more expensive than Adobe's Creative Cloud Photography Plans.

6. Gimp

Platforms: Windows, Mac OS, Linux | Price: Free

GIMP is a free, open-source photo editing software that's easy to download and install on your computer. It has multiple features which help you with retouching photos, photo composition and picture enhancement. It also includes a built-in file manager.

If you're a photographer, graphic designer or illustrator with a limited budget, GIMP offers many powerful features that with other software you'd have to pay to use.

The user-interface takes some getting used to and isn't as refined as Photoshop, but as with any editing software, once you're familiar with it, movements become second nature.

Once you launch the program, you'll find a dedicated window that displays the image. You'll also see two floating docks: One with the toolbox and another for managing layers, paths, brushes, and more.

It's also completely customisable, with dialogues allowed to float anywhere on the screen. You can customize not only the tools available, but also your workspace's color, widgets and widget spacings.

All the essential image editing tools are there: noise reduction, cropping, colour adjustment, gradients, brushes, curves and image enhancements.

For blemishes, there is the clone stamp, healing tools and you can even apply changes to isolated areas.

When using a large display, or two monitors, you'll have an expansive workspace to edit your images. Icons in the toolbox represent specific tools, like Scale, Pencil, Paintbrush, Bucket Fill, Airbrush, Smudge, and more. You can apply numerous filters, too, such as dropping a shadow, adding a neon effect, adding a glass tile, removing devilish red eyes, and so on.

It can handle all the usual file types, including RAW, JPEG, TIFF, PSD, GIF and more.

Because GIMP is open-source, there's a very active community of users who have created plugins to add even more functionality to the program. However, despite a more user-friendly interface than past versions, Gimp offers almost nothing in the way of guidance, which makes it much more difficult to learn than other photo-editing software.

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.

Gimp is good for starters and professionals with limited requirements. However, it is not an ideal option for pro-level editing work.

7. Paint.Net

Platforms: Windows | Price: Free

Paint.Net is an easy and convenient image editor with a clear and well-ordered interface. It offers you tons of Layers and filters, Plugin support but when compared with the GIMP, It is less powerful than GIMP.

With Paint.Net you can make some basic editing without deep changes and professional retouch. The software will come in handy for Social media marketing Specialists and Photography lovers who need to put pictures in order fast.

Paint.Net has a similar Adobe Photoshop interface. Tools like a magnifier, crop frame, color picker, and brushes are placed on the bar on the left side, history of editing and layers to work on - on the right side in different windows. All image editing functions are available in the Adjustments menu, including tools of Hue / Saturation and Curves.

These tools are usually used by professional photographers and photo retouchers. In this program, you can overlay layers, mix them, for this you need to choose a "Layers" palette tool. You can return to any stage of photo editing.

The name doesn't sound all that fancy. Although it sounds like Microsoft Paint, it is a dedicated photo editor. Albeit a basic one. It is easy for beginners as it has layers, unlimited history, and special effects.

Editing with Paint.Net is very fast and easy, even on older systems, despite the fact that it lacks some advanced tools. It is free, but unfortunately for Mac users, it is exclusive to Windows.

Sometimes it is important to work with a YouTube photo editor that does not include very many complex features. While going with this software, You see it's a quick, easy to work with and help you to create new look images.

8. Photofiltre Studio

Platforms: Windows | Price: Free and Paid (one-time payment of about $30)

Photofiltre is not a widely known photo retouching program which won't cost you a penny, but it has plenty of features that casual photo editors will find useful.

As its name suggests, PhotoFiltre offers plenty of terrific filters and tools for enhancing images. There are filters for adjusting brightness, contrast, increasing and decreasing saturation as well as sharpening or blurring images.

It has a host of artistic filters, too, including textures, watercolor, pastels, sepia tone, black and white, night and sunlight effects and emboss. It even has a puzzle effect.

The program doesn't offer layers, though it does allow you to put text over an image. Many don't use layers anyway so, for them, the lack of this feature is no loss.

Whatever filter you apply it can be undone. It also can be faded. So if the original effect is too strong, you can reduce the amount via the Edit menu.

PhotoFiltre includes an Image Explorer, which is accessed through the Tools menu. Open any image folder on your hard drive and its contents are shown along the bottom of the window. Simply double click on a photo to open it and begin editing.

You can do automated batch processing of any number of photos. Select the Source and Output folders and file format such as JPEG, GIF and TIFF. Next select the image size and if you want a frame automatically added to the images. The size and color of the frame can be adjusted.

During the batch process, brightness, contrast, saturation and Gamma correcting can be applied to photos. You can apply a few filters such a sharpening and scanlines, and rotate or flip images. The batch process is fast and easy. Since not all photos need the same amount of processing, do a test run to see if the results are to your liking.

An advanced version of PhotoFiltre , called PhotoFiltre Studio, is also available for a nominal fee. Unlike the free version, PhotoFiltre Studio has layering capabilities. It is shareware and can be tried for a 30-day period.


Do I need a graphics tablet for photo editing?

When I first started editing photos in Photoshop, I used a mouse on my desktop and laptop for everything, from drawing complex masks to painting contrast into the sky. It worked, but it was difficult to do accurately and caused a whole load of hassle. It took me some time to make the leap and go from using a mouse to using a graphics tablet for photo editing, but once I switched to a Photoshop tablet, I have never looked back.

My first run-in with a pen tablet for Photoshop was in 2022 with a Veikk VK640 Tablet. I can still remember getting it. It felt awesome to use but was also very difficult to get used to. At first, I used it for everything because, well, I could! After a while, I realized the pen and tablet are just tools for post-production and it doesn't need to be used for everything. There are two main tasks I use my pen for while I edit.

Before I discuss what I use them for, let's take a look at why I use them.

The pen and tablet is kind of like a mouse with one very special characteristic that makes it stand out, pressure sensitivity. When you are using a brush in Photoshop with a mouse what you click is what you get. What I mean is, whatever brush presets you have set, the brush will respond with. Sometimes that means you will get a harsh line and the only way to make it less abrasive is to lower the opacity. However, you can only have one opacity set at a time, right?

Wit a pen and tablet things are a little different. A Pen and Tablet will use your hand's pressure on the tablet to respond with the appropriate opacity, flow, or size. So, the softer you brush with your pen, the smaller or lighter the stroke will be. The harder you press, the darker or larger the line will be.

As you can see in the photo above, with the mouse, what you click is what you get. With the Pen and Tablet, you have a lot more versatility and all with the delicate stroke of the pen on the tablet. This give you a ton of control when you are editing your images. I primarily use the Deco Mini7 drawing pad for two things in Photoshop, Masking and Dodging & Burning.

The Veikk VK640 tablet has 6 programmable shortcut keys, while the pen has two buttons. it's useful as they allow fast adjustments and a more intuitive workflow. 

Rather than reaching for the mouse, finding the right icon clicking it and then moving back to my image, I would reach over and hit a shortcut and keep right on truckin'! Magic! After what seemed like no time at all, I felt like I was playing a Beethoven concerto on my keyboard as I edited my images. I was much more efficient AND my wrists thanked me too!

The Veikk VK640 small portable tablet has only about 6 x 4 inches active working area , but this will still be sufficient for most home users and those starting out with their photo editing, making the VK640 the best beginner drawing tablet. I would recommend the small size as sufficient for most users, although there exists of all sizes from A7 to A3.

When looking for the best pen pad for Photoshop, you need to make a personal decision on whether you want a drawing tablet with a screen or not. You definitely don't need a graphics tablet with a screen, but they can improve the accuracy of your Photoshop work, depending on your technique. If you do want one, you will be looking at a significantly increased cost, although it is possible to get a relatively cheap drawing tablet with screen, such as the 11.6" VK1200 V2 drawing display, if you are more budget limited.The Veikk Studio VK1200 V2 is an excellent budget drawing tablet with 1080P IPS fully laminated screen. Technically, the pen pressure and accuracy are superb, P05 Battery-free Stylus features 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, ±60° tilt-response and virtually lag-free tracking. In addition, There are many more models in the Veikk Studio series if you have more to spend and are looking for a larger screen.


There are many photo editing software's on the web ,depend on what type of photo editing you usually do. Whether you are a professional or beginner, you can use any of these photo editing tools.

Not all software is meant for everybody. For example, Adobe Photoshop needs months/years of practice to become an expert.

However, other software like Canva, Fotor, etc. are browser-based, and they need you to be familiar with their layout. Of course, you needn't be a design expert to get going with any of these.

We hope this article will help you pick the best photo editing software for your computer. Check the pros and cons and go to the official website to download the chosen software.


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