The Best Photo Editing Software of 2018

Free Photo Editing Options
So you’ve graduated from smartphone photography tools like those offered by Instagram and Facebook. Does that mean you have to pay a ton for high-end software? Absolutely not. Up-to-date desktop operating systems include photo software at no extra cost. Windows 10’s Photos app may surprise some users with its capability. In a touch-friendly interface, it offers a good level of image correction, and it can automatically create editable albums based on photos’ date and place groupings. Apple Photos does those things too, though its automatic albums aren’t as editable. Both programs also sync with online storage services: iCloud for Apple and OneDrive for Microsoft. With Apple Photos, you can search based on detected object types, like “tree” or “cat” in the application, while Microsoft Photos offers this feature only for photos stored online in OneDrive. Apple Photos also can integrate with plugins like the excellent Perfectly Clear, appeasing power users who lament the company’s discontinuation of the prosumer-level Aperture program.

Ubuntu Linux users are also covered when it comes to free, included photo software: They can use the capable-enough Shotwell app. And no discussion of free photo editing software would be complete without mentioning the venerable GIMP, which is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It offers a ton of photoshop-style plugins and editing capabilities, but very little in the way of creature comforts or usability. Other lightweight, low-cost options include Polarr and Pixlr.

How to Edit Your Photos Online
In this roundup, we’ve only included installable computer software, but entry-level photo shooters may be adequately served by online photo-editing options. These are mostly free, and often are tied to online photo storage and sharing services. Flickr (with its integrated Aviary editor) and Google Photos are the biggest names here, and both can spiff up your uploaded pictures and do a lot to help you organize them. They even approach the two entry-level installed programs here, but they lack many tools found in the pro and enthusiast products. The latest version of Lightroom CC includes a good deal of photo-editing capabilties in its included website, too.

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