Best Free Photo Editing For Mac

Posted By admin On 16.02.22

It’s been a while that the Pixlr Editor has announced to be free photo editing online software and now it is the best Mac application to edit pictures online. It was downloadable software for Mac and windows. Best free photo editors free download - Fotor Photo Editor, Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, ACDSee Pro 3, and many more programs. The best free photo-editing software Here are 4 free alternatives to Photoshop for all your editing needs By Jon Martindale @jonwhoopty — Posted on November 5, 2018 - 10:04AM 11.5.18 - 10:04AM. Fotor Photo Editor for Mac is also amongst the list of best free photo editing software for MAC. It can be used to edit photos on MAC, create collage, and perform batch actions. It can be used to edit photos on MAC, create collage, and perform batch actions. New version of award-winning photo editor created by Skylum team for Mac & PC. Order Luminar today and get an exclusive price for the most advanced image editing software.

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 exclusive province of art directors and professional photographers. Whether you're shooting from an iPhone XS 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 IQ3 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. 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, and whether you even need the checked feature depends on your photo workflow. For example, DxO Photolab may not have face recognition or keyword tagging, but it has the finest noise reduction in the land and some of the best camera- and lens-based profile corrections.

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. The Microsoft Photos app included with Windows 10 may surprise some users with its capabilities. In a touch-friendly interface, it offers a good level of image correction, autotagging, blemish removal, face recognition, and raw camera file support. It can even automatically create editable albums based on photos' dates and locations.

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 (Microsoft Photos now offers this feature, too). 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 they're often tied to online photo storage and sharing services. Flickr (with its integrated photo 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. Other notable names in web-based photo editing include BeFunky, Fotor, and PicMonkey.

Image Editing for Enthusiasts and Prosumers

Most of the products in this roundup fall into this category, which includes people who genuinely love working with digital photographs. These are not free applications, and they require a few hundred megabytes of your disk space. Several, such as Lightroom and CyberLink PhotoDirector, are strong when it comes to workflow—importing, organizing, editing, and outputting the photos from a DSLR. Such apps offer nondestructive editing, meaning the original photo files aren't touched. Instead, a database of edits you apply is maintained, and they appear in photos that you export from the application. These apps also offer strong organization tools, including keyword tagging, color-coding, geo-tagging with maps, and in some cases face recognition to organize photos by what people appear in them.

At the back end of workflow is output. Capable software like Lightroom Classic offers powerful printing options such as soft-proofing, which shows you whether the printer you use can produce the colors in your photo or not. (Strangely, the new version of Lightroom CC—non-Classic—offers no printing capability at all.) Lightroom Classic can directly share photos to sites like Flickr and SmugMug. In fact, all really good software at this level offers strong printing and sharing, and some, like ACDSee and Lightroom, offer their own online photo hosting.

The programs at the enthusiast level and the professional level can import and edit raw files from your digital camera. These are files that include every bit of data from the camera's image sensor. Each camera manufacturer uses its own format and file extension for these. For example, Canon DSLRs use CR2 files and Nikon uses NEF. (Raw here simply means what it sounds like, a file with the raw sensor data; it's not an acronym or file extension, so there's no reason to capitalize it.)

Working with raw files provides some big advantages when it comes to correcting (often termed adjusting) photos. Since the photo you see on screen is just one interpretation of what's in the raw file, the software can dig into that data to recover more detail in a bright sky, or it can fully fix an improperly rendered white balance. If you set your camera to shoot with JPGs, you're losing those capabilities.

Enthusiasts want to do more than just import, organize and render their photos: They want to do fun stuff, too! Editors' Choice Adobe Photoshop Elements includes Guided Edits, which make special effects like motion blur or color splash (where only one color shows on an otherwise black-and-white photo) a simple step-by-step process.

Content-aware tools in some of these products let you do things like move objects around while maintaining a consistent background, or remove objects entirely—say you want to remove a couple of strangers from a serene beach scene—and have the app fill in the background. These edits don't involve simple filters like you get in Instagram. Rather, they produce highly customized, one-off images. Another good example is CyberLink PhotoDirector's Multiple Exposure effect, which lets you create an image with ten versions of Johnny jumping that curb on his skateboard, for example.

Most of these products can produce HDR effects and panoramas after you feed them multiple shots, and local edit brushes let you paint adjustments onto only specific areas of an image. Affinity Photo has those features, but its interface isn't intuitive, and it lacks management and lens profile corrections. Capture One, Paintshop Pro, and Lightroom have those and even more precise tools for local selections in recent versions. For example they let you select everything in a photo within a precise color range and refine the selection of difficult content such as a model's hair or trees on the horizon.

Professional Photo Editing Software

At the very top end of image editing is Photoshop, which has no real rival. Its layered editing, drawing, text, and 3D-imaging tools are the industry standard for a reason. Of course, pros need more than this one application, and many use workflow programs like Lightroom, AfterShot Pro, or Photo Mechanic for workflow functions like import and organization. In addition to its workflow prowess, Lightroom offers mobile photo apps so that photographers on the run can get some work done before they even get back to their PC. Those who need tethered shooting (taking pictures in the software from the computer while it's attached to the camera) may want Capture One, which is offers lots of tools for that along with its top-notch raw-file conversion.

Photoshop offers all and more of the image editing capabilities in anything mentioned above, though it doesn't always make producing those effects as simple, and it doesn't offer a nondestructive workflow, as Lightroom and some others do. Of course, some users with less-intensive needs can get all the Photoshop-type features they need from other products in this roundup, such as Corel PaintShop Pro. DxO OpticPro is another tool pros may want in their kit, because of its excellent lens-profile based corrections and unmatched DxO Prime noise reduction.

Photoshop is also where you find Adobe's latest and greatest imaging technology, such as Content-Aware Crop, Camera Shake Reduction, Perspective Warp, and Detail Enhancement. The program has the most tools for professionals in the imaging industry, including Artboards, Design Spaces, and realistic, customizable brushes.

Another advantage of pro-level photo editing software is that you can take advantage of third-party plug-ins such as the excellent Nik Collection by DxO. These can add more effects and adjustments than you find in the base software. They often include tools for film looks, sharpening, and noise reduction.

Some users have taken umbrage at Adobe's move to a subscription-only option for Photoshop, but at $9.99 per month, it hardly seems exorbitant for any serious image professional, and it includes a copy of Lightroom, online services like Adobe Stock, and multiple mobile apps. It definitely makes the app more affordable for prosumer users, too, when you consider that a full copy of Photoshop used to cost a cool $999.

If you're an absolute beginner in digital photography, your first step is to make sure you've got good hardware to shoot with, otherwise you're sunk before you start. Consider our roundups of the Best Digital Cameras and the Best Camera phones for equipment that can fit any budget. Once you've got your hardware sorted, make sure to educate yourself with our Quick Photography Tips for Beginners and our Beyond-Basic Photography Tips, too. That done, you'll be ready to shoot great pictures that you can make better with the software featured in this story. Click the links below for to read the full reviews.

Best Photo Editing Software in This Roundup:

  • Adobe Photoshop CC Review


    MSRP: $9.99

    Pros: Multitude of photo correction and manipulation tools. Slick interface with lots of help. Tools for mobile and web design. Rich set of drawing and typography tools. 3D design capability. Synced Libraries.

    Cons: No perpetual-license option. Premium assets aren't cheap. Interface can be overwhelming at times. Lacks support for HEIC.

    Bottom Line: Adobe continues to improve the world's leading photo editing software. The 2018 edition adds a new auto-select tool, raw camera profiles, loads of font and drawing capabilities, and support for the Microsoft Surface Dial.

    Read Review
  • Adobe Lightroom Classic Review


    MSRP: $9.99

    Pros: Excellent photo management and organization. Camera and lens-based corrections. Brush and gradient adjustments with color and luminance masking. Face detection and tagging. Plug-in support. Connected mobile apps.

    Cons: Although improved, import is still slow. Initial raw conversion is slightly more detailed in some competing products.

    Bottom Line: Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom remains the gold standard in pro photo workflow software. It's a complete package, with top-notch organization tools, state of-the-art adjustments, and all the output and printing options you'd want.

    Read Review
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements Review


    MSRP: $99.99

    Pros: Many powerful image-manipulation tools. Strong face- and geo-tagging capabilities. Excellent output options. Auto-tagging and powerful search options. Helpful guidance for advanced techniques.

    Cons: Large disk footprint. No HEIF support on Windows. No chromatic aberration correction or lens geometry profiles. Lacks many social sharing outputs. No local help system.

    Bottom Line: Adobe Photoshop Elements, our favorite consumer-level photo editor and organizer, adds AI-powered auto-curation, an open closed eyes tool, and new Guided Edits.

    Read Review
  • DxO PhotoLab Review


    MSRP: $129.00

    Pros: Clear interface. Best-in-class noise reduction. Excellent autocorrection based on camera and lens characteristics. Haze remover. Geometry corrections. Powerful local adjustments.

    Cons: Few workflow tools. Highest noise-reduction setting can require long waits.

    Bottom Line: Though it's still not a complete photo workflow solution, DxO PhotoLab can deliver image results beyond what's possible in other photo software.

    Read Review
  • Corel PaintShop Pro Review


    MSRP: $79.99

    Pros: Photoshop-like features at a lower price. Powerful effects and editing tools. Tutorials. Good assortment of vector drawing tools.

    Cons: Interface can get cluttered. Ineffective chromatic aberration removal. No face or object recognition. No Mac version.

    Bottom Line: Corel continues to add new photo editing possibilities to its PaintShop Pro software, making it a worthy Photoshop alternative at a budget-conscious, one-time price.

    Read Review
  • CyberLink PhotoDirector Review


    MSRP: $99.99

    Pros: Friendly yet powerful interface. Effective noise reduction. Cool multiple-exposure and faux HDR effects. Body shaper and other powerful editing tools. Layer support. Cool AI styles. Tethered shooting support.

    Cons: Not enough lens-profile corrections. Inadequate chromatic aberration correction. No geotag maps.

    Bottom Line: Photo workflow and editing program CyberLink PhotoDirector offers a smooth interface and powerful capabilities. New in this version are multiple-exposure effects, more layer options, and a video-to-photo tool.

    Read Review
  • Phase One Capture One Pro Review


    MSRP: $299.00

    Pros: Excellent raw file conversion. Pleasing interface. Fast import. Good photo-adjustment toolset. Keyword tagging tool.

    Cons: Some usability quirks. No online-sharing features. No face recognition. No panorama or HDR merging capabilities.

    Bottom Line: Phase One Capture One offers pro and prosumer digital photographers excellent detail from raw camera files, and local adjustments including layers, but it trails in organization tools.

    Read Review
  • ACDSee Photo Studio Professional Review


    MSRP: $99.99

    Pros: Full set of image editing tools. Good performance. Lens-profile-based geometry correction. Face recognition and geotagging. Good skin-improvement tools. Responsive performance. Cloud storage integration.

    Cons: Interface not as polished as others. Lens-profile-based image correction tools less effective than the competition's. Weak noise and chromatic aberration tools.

    Bottom Line: ACDSee's pro-level tool offers many powerful photo organizing and editing tools, but it falls short of competitors in raw camera file conversion and usability.

    Read Review
  • Exposure Review


    MSRP: $149.00

    Pros: Pleasing interface. Lots of nifty effects and filters. Fast image transfer. Layers and local adjustments. Good printing options.

    Cons: No auto-correction tools. Weak lens-profile corrections. No chromatic aberration correction. No face or geo-tagging.

    Bottom Line: Photo-workflow application Exposure is similar to Adobe's Lightroom. It boasts lots of filter effects, but it's missing some key capabilities, such as automatic image correction.

    Read Review
  • Skylum Luminar Review


    MSRP: $69.00

    Pros: Pleasing interface. Good automatic photo fixes. Lots of filters. Local adjustments with brush and gradients. Curves. Multiple workspaces and catalogs.

    Cons: Some speed and reliability issues on Windows. No Library search. Some standard controls are buried. No face recognition or keyword tagging.

    Bottom Line: Skylum Luminar offers effective automatic photo enhancement, a modern interface, and some unique filters and adjustment tools. Its organization capabilities, however, fall short of the competition's.

    Read Review

Editing your photos on your iPhone is one thing, but editing your photos on your Mac can take your photography skills to a whole 'nother level.

Many of us still keep our main libraries on our Macs because of its faster processors, larger storage, and all-around bigger computing power. The Mac is still the best device for serious photo editing, so you need some serious photo editing apps to make an impact.

The built-in Photos app on Mac offers several useful photo editing tools. You can crop, adjust lighting and color, set the white balance, add filters, remove unwanted blemishes, and a few more things. However, in all honesty? It's not really meant to be a robust editing app, so If you are looking for something to really finish your photos right, we've got a list of the best photo editors for Mac right here. Let's go!

Affinity Photo

If you're looking for a photo editing app that goes above and beyond for the pricetag, while still allowing you complete creative control over your images, then it might be worth it to take a peek at Affinity Photo.

Affinity Photo supports unlimited layers, groups, layer adjustments, filters, masking, and more: you also have access to tools like dodge, red-eye fix, burn, blemish, clone, and patch (so pretty much Photoshop without all the convoluted bells and whistles). Nondestructive auto-saving makes undoing everything you've done easy, so if you need to start from the beginning, the option is there.

Best Free Photo Editing Programs For Macs

Play, manipulate, edit, and get hella creative with Affinity Photo whether you're a serious graphic designer or someone who's just looking to do some basic editing. Your photography will seriously thank you.

  • $49.99 - Download now

Fotor Photo Editor

Searching for a super simple, straight-forward photo editing app that's there to help you edit and not confuse you to the point of ripping out your hair? Then check out Fotor Photo Editor!

With this photo editor, you can easily adjust contrast and color of more washed-out photos, add borders, tilt and shift your images, add different text, slap on a few filters, and so much more, all from the easy-to-find toolbox on the right side of the app. You can even create collages of your photography masterpieces!

The BBC once called Fotor Photo Editor 'light Photoshop', and they're kind of right! You can go above and beyond editing your images with Fotor Photo Editor without getting bogged down by more complicated editing buttons and tools.

  • Free - Download now

Lightroom

When you look into photo editing software, one of the first things that'll pop up is Adobe's Lightroom, and for good reason! It's essentially a staple in the photo editing community.

Lightroom is great for photographers who need to manage a large image library, and who are prepared to commit to (and pay for) Adobe's cloud storage space. But it is purely a photography tool that's a little outside the regular Adobe design ecosystem. (Creative Bloq)

Pretty much anything you want to do with your photo, you can accomplish with Lightroom. You can blend and merge shadows and highlights, sharpen dull, blurry images so they look crisp and clear, add details and tint colors to make a photo stand out, and so, so much more.

While it is a bit more on the complicated side, people who use the program and know how to navigate it are hooked. Keep in mind, there are two versions of the app — there's the Classic version, which is more preferred, and the 2018 CC version.

If you're hesitant about the program and paying for it, you can download Lightroom free for 30 days as part of a trial period. After that, you can add it to your Photoshop CC subscription for $9.99 per month.

  • Free trial - Download now

Pixelmator

Amp up your photo editing skills with a little bit of help from Pixelmator!

This particular photo editing app allows you to combine two different photos into one (while still allowing you to edit over each layer), add shapes, gradients, filters, tints, and more, and completely change and edit your photography to make it fit perfectly to your aesthetic. You can even mask and cut off certain areas of the photo, giving you more creative control over your final image.

Similar to other photo editing apps, you can also adjust contrast, color, saturation level, definition, and so much more.

It's another great alternative to Photoshop, at least according to our managing editor Lory Gil.

  • $29.99 - Download now

GIMP

Love Photoshop (or the idea of Photoshop...) but don't want all the complicated components and nonsense that comes along with it? Then it might be worth it to take a peek at GIMP.

Similar to Photoshop, GIMP allows you full control over editing your photos: it's an advanced image manipulation program with detailed customization for color reproduction.

You can add layers to your photos, edit and tweak colors, adjust contrast, crop, adjust saturation, and so much more. If you're someone who admires Photoshop but is terrified of the price (or just thinks it's not worth it) then GIMP might be the perfect pal for you.

  • Free - Download now

Snapheal

Best Free Photo Editing For Mac

Say 'bye-bye' to nasty photobombs, zits, perky distractions, and so much more in your photos thanks to Snapheal!

Snapheal is a little bit unique in the sense that it's more of a 'delete now, ask questions later' app. It's more about cleaning up a photo than it is editing it and adding a whole bunch of layers. The tools can either remove large objects or smaller imperfections depending on the mode. You can even adjust the masking tool, use a magic rope, or clone stamp your way to a new photo.

If you're someone who's a perfectionist when it comes to your photography and you just can't stand that one stupid, distracting blur in the background, then Snapheal is the guy for you.

  • $7.99 - Download now

Preview

I know what you're thinking: 'Preview? Really, Cella?'

To which I respond: 'Uh, yeah. Duh, my dude. You use it every day!'

Sure, you can't do a bunch of fancy things with Preview like add filters, adjust contrast, and fix saturation, but you can quickly crop a photo, adjust the color, rotate it, add shapes, texts, and a signature, export as a different format, and more.

Yes, Preview isn't perfect, but it is easy to use and fantastic for making small, fast changes to your photography.

  • It's already on your Mac.
Best Free Photo Editing For Mac

How do you edit your photography?

What is your favorite photo editing app for the Mac? Why does it work the best for you? Let us know what your top picks are in the comments down below!

Updated August 2018: All the choices on this list are still the best of the best!

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