What Kind of Photo Editing Software Do You Need?
Whether you merely shoot with your smartphone or you’re a professional photographer with a studio, you need software to organize and edit your photos. We all know that camera technology is improving at a tremendous rate. Today’s smartphones are more powerful than the point-and-shoots of just a few years ago. The same can be said for photo editing software. “Photoshopping” pictures is no longer the province of art directors and professional photographers. Whether you’re shooting from an iPhone X or a DSLR, if you really care how your photos look, you’ll want to import them into your PC to organize them, pick the best ones, perfect them, and print or share them online. Here we present the best choices in photo editing software to suit every photographer, from the casual to the professional.
Of course, novice shooters will want different software from those shooting with a $50,000 Phase One XF 100MP in a studio. We’ve included all levels of PC software here, however, and reading the linked reviews will make it clear which is for you. Below is a cheat sheet of which category each product fits into. Note that some products are suitable for both enthusiast and pros, and most products included fit into the sweet spot of enthusiast/prosumer level.
Entry Level: Apple Photos, Microsoft Photos
Enthusiast/Prosumer Level: Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Corel PaintShop Pro X9, CyberLink PhotoDirector, DxO Optics Pro 11, ACDSee Ultimate
Professional Level: ACDSee Ultimate, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, DxO Optics Pro 11, Phase One Capture One Pro
Nothing says that pros can’t occasionally use an entry-level application or that a prosumer won’t be running Photoshop, the most powerful image editor around. The issue is that, in general, users at each of these levels will be most comfortable with the products that are intended for them. Note that in the table above, it’s not a case of “more checks mean the program is better.” Rather, it’s designed to give you the quick overview of the products. A product with everything checked doesn’t necessarily have the best implementation of those features, and one with fewer checks still may be very capable—whether you even need the checked feature depends on your photo workflow.