- Best Photo Editing software, free download
- Photo Editing Software For Mac
- Best Photo Editing Software For Beginners
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.
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Affinity Photo has long been a top seller on the Mac App Store (although you can also buy direct from Serif), as it provides a really powerful selection of photo-editing tools for just under £50/$50. With the best photo editing software for Mac 2018, it is actually possible to create perfect photos. Choose one of the photo editors above and you will not be disappointed. All of them come with free trial periods whose lengths differ from one to the other. 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. Photo Editor. Download for Free Mac OS X 10.7 or higher Buy Now Mac OS X 10.7 or higher I need a Windows version. Need easy-to-use Mac video editing software.
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!
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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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Edit Video on Your PC
Nothing makes an impression like moving pictures with sound. That's why digital video continues to grow in importance online. Couple that trend with the ever-increasing availability of devices capable of high-resolution video recording—phones, GoPros, DSLRs—and the case for ever-more powerful video editing software becomes clear. Further, the software must be usable by nonprofessionals, and it has to keep up with newer formats such as HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) and 360-degree VR video, and it has to be able to handle 4K and higher resolution.
Increasingly, new capabilities trickle down from professional-level software to the consumer category. That's a good thing for nonprofessional movie editors, since the more consumer-oriented software tends to make easier procedures that can sometimes be pretty tricky in the pro-level software. Read on for a survey of the latest trends in video editing software along with our top picks in the field.
Multicam, Motion Tracking, and Yet More Motion
Advanced abilities continue to make their way into accessible, affordable, and consumer-friendly video editing software as each new generation of software is released. For example, multicam editing, which lets you switch among camera angles of the same scene shot with multiple video cameras, used to be a feature relegated to pro-level software. Now this and many other advanced effects are available in programs designed for use by nonprofessional enthusiasts.
Another impressive effect that has made its way into consumer-level video editing software is motion tracking, which lets you attach an object or effect to something moving in your video. You might use it to put a blur over the face of someone you don't want to show up in your video. You specify the target face, and the app takes care of the rest, tracking the face and moving the effect to follow it. This used to be the sole province of special effects software such as Adobe After Effects. Corel VideoStudio was the first of the consumer products to include motion tracking, and it still leads the pack in the depth and usability of its motion-tracking tool, though several others now include the capability.
The 4K Video Factor
Support for 4K video source content has become pretty standard in video editing software, but the support varies among the products. For example, some but not all of the applications can import Sony XAVC and XAVC-S formats, which are used by Sony's popular DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, camcorders, and professional video cameras. The same holds true for the H.265 High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) standard. Most of the applications here now can import and export HEVC, though there are still a few holdouts.
360-Degree VR Support
Several of the products here (Adobe Premiere Elements is a notable exception) still support 3D video editing if that's your thing, though the this has been replaced by 360-degree VR footage like that shot by the Samsung Gear 360 as the current home-theater fad. As is often the case, our Editors' Choice, CyberLink PowerDirector was the first product in this group to offer support for this new kind of video media.
Other programs have jumped on board with 360 VR support, including Adobe Premiere, Apple Final Cut Pro X, and Magix Movie Edit Pro. Support varies, with some apps including 360-compatible titles, stabilization, and motion tracking. PowerDirector is notable for including those last two. Final Cut offers a useful tool that removes the camera and tripod from the image, often an issue with 360-degree footage.
Video Editing 101
Of course, none of the extras matter if an app can't do the most basic editing tasks. At this point, however, all of the products included here do a good job of letting you join, trim, and split video clips. They also let you make use of special effects such as animated transitions, picture-in-picture (PiP), chroma-key (the technique that lets you place a subject against any background, often known as green screening), and filters that enhance colors or apply creative effects and distortions. With most of them you can add a multitude of timeline tracks that can accommodate video clips, effects, audio, and text overlays.
A tool coming to the latest versions of video editing applications is support for seamless transitions. Picture a scene showing people at a beach, and suddenly the sky zooms in and your in Rome or Paris, but it looks like you're in the same place because the transition glued the two scenes together using the sky. There are plenty of other examples of seamless transition; this magnificent video shows a good selection of them, and is partly responsible for starting the trend.
Color, LUTs and CLUTs
One of the capabilities that has been making its way into consumer-level video editing software is more-detailed color grading. Color wheels, curves, and histograms give editors control over the intensity of every shade. Related to this is support for LUTs (lookup tables), also known as CLUTs (color lookup tables). This staple of pro-level software lets you quickly change the look of a video to give it a specific mood. For example, think of the dark blue look of thriller movies like The Revenant. You can download LUTs for free from several sites or use those included with some video software to give your video a specific look. One well-known LUT type is the kind that can make a daytime scene look like it was shot at night.
Where the Action Is
Many video editing apps now include tools that cater to users of action cameras such as the GoPro Hero7 Black. For example, several offer automated freeze-frame along with speedup, slowdown, and reverse time effects. CyberLink PowerDirector's Action Camera Center pulls together freeze frame with stabilization, slo-mo, and fish-eye correction, and color correction for underwater footage. Magix Movie Edit Pro Premium includes the third-party NewBlue ActionCam Package of effects. And Wondershare Filmora lets you subscribe to new effect packs on an ongoing basis.
Best Photo Editing software, free download
Titles That Zing
I've been seeing a lot of attention paid to creating title effects in the applications over the past year. Apple Final Cut Pro X has added 3D title creation, which is pretty spiffy, letting you extrude 2D titles and rotate them on three axes. Corel VideoStudio in its latest version also adds 3D Titling, though not as powerful as Apple's. PowerDirector's Title Designer offers transparency, gradient color, border, blur level, and reflection in titles; Magix has impressive title templates, complete with animations. Premiere Elements offers a nifty title effect in which your video fills the text characters, and Corel recently followed suit in VideoStudio 2019. Look for an application that lets you edit titles in WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) mode, so that you can type, format, and time it right over the video preview.
Video editing is one of the most computing-intensive activities around, so you'll want the best laptop or desktop you can afford if you're serious about cutting your own movies. Most applications help speed up the editing process by creating a proxy file of lower resolution, so that normal editing and previewing aren't slowed down by the huge full-resolution files.
Particularly intensive is the process of rendering your finished product into a standard video file that will by playable on the target device of choice, be that an HDTV, a laptop, or a smartphone. Most of the software can take advantage of your computer's graphics processor to speed this up. Be sure to check the performance section in each review linked here to see how speedy or slow the application is. In rendering speed testing, CyberLink and Pinnacle have been my perennial champs.
Other measures of performance include startup time and simple stability. Again, video editing is a taxing activity for any computer, involving many components. In the past, video editing programs took longer than most other apps to start up, and unexpected shutdowns were unfortunately common, even in top apps from top developers such as Adobe and Apple. The stability situation has greatly improved, but the complexity of the process, which increases as more powerful effects are added, means crashes will likely never be fully eliminated, and they often raise their ugly heads after a program update, as I found with the latest version of Pinnacle Studio.
Free Video Editing Software
If you don't want to invest a lot of money and effort into your video editing exploits, there are a few free options. Of course, if you use a Mac, the excellent iMovie comes with it. For PC users, Windows 10's Photos app (as of the Fall Creators Update) lets you join, trim, and even add background music, 3D animated effects, and titles to video.
There are also some free video apps on the Windows Store, including Movie Moments, PowerDirector Mobile, Movie Maker, and Magix Movie Edit Touch. Some of these are quite basic, but the Magix app is fairly capable, with clip joining, transitions, and effects, in a very touch-friendly interface.
Free video editing software often comes with legal and technical limitations, however. Some widely used codecs require licensing fees on the part of the software maker, meaning they can't offer free software that can handle these standard file formats. That said, the impressive open-source Shotcut does a lot of the same things that the paid applications in this roundup do, including things like chroma-keying and picture-in-picture. Shotcut is completely open-source and free, while another free option, Lightworks has paid options that remove a 720p output resolution limit. Note also that both Shotcut and Lightworks run on Linux as well as Windows and Mac.
What About Apple?
Though Mac users don't have the sheer number of software choices available for PCs, Apple fans interested in editing video are well served, by four products in particular. At the entry level, the surprisingly capable and enjoyable-to-use iMovie comes free with every Mac sold since at least 2011. iMovie only offers two video tracks, but does good job with chroma-keying, and its Trailers feature makes it easy to produce slick, Hollywood-style productions.
In the midrange, there's Adobe Premiere Elements, which is cross-platform between Macs and PCs, and offers a lot more features and lots of help with creating effects. Professionals and prosumers have powerful, though pricey options in Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro. Final Cut is a deceptively simple application that resembles iMovie in its interface and ease of use, but it offers massively deep capabilities, and many third-party apps integrate with it for even more power. It also makes excellent use of the Touch Bar on the latest MacBook Pro, as shown in photo above. Premiere Pro uses a more traditional timeline and adds a large ecosystem of companion apps and plug-ins. It also excels in collaboration features.
We still live in the days of talkies, so you want to be able to edit the audio in your digital moves as well as the images. Most of the products included here offer canned background music, and many, such as Pinnacle Studio, can even tailor the soundtrack to the exact length of your movie. All of these programs can separate audio and video tracks, and most can clean up background noise and add environmental audio effects such as concert hall reverb. A couple of the products have an auto-ducking feature, which lowers background music during dialog—a definite pro-level plus.
Photo Editing Software For Mac
What's Not Here
There are more video editing software applications than we can fit into this roundup of the best options, which includes only software rated three stars and higher. The best known among them is probably Vegas Movie Studio, which was recently acquired by Magix from Sony. Sony's product used a very cluttered interface that more resembled high-end professional video editing software from the early days of the craft. Magix has made some progress in simplifying it and bringing it up to par with the competition, but more work is needed for it to be included here.
Another program, VSDC Video Editor Pro, simply has too outdated an interface, making common tasks difficult. Longtime pro video editors will note the absence of Avid Media Composer, which is simply too unwieldy for PCMag's primarily consumer audience. There are a couple of more interesting applications—NCH VideoPad and AVS Video Editor among them—that we simply haven't tested yet.
The Finish Line
The video editing application you choose depends on your budget, the equipment you're using, and how serious you are. Fortunately, you're spoiled for choice with the products available. Peruse our in-depth reviews of enthusiast-level video editing software reviews linked below to see which is the right one for you.
One final note about the features table at the top of this story: Check marks represent differentiating, above-the-call-of-duty features, rather than essential ones. So, just because Nero Video and Wondershare Filmora don't have any checks, it doesn't mean they're not good choices. In fact, both offer decent basic editing on a budget.
Best Video Editing Software Featured in This Roundup:
Best Photo Editing Software For Beginners
Adobe Premiere Pro CC Review
Pros: Clear, flexible interface. Lots of organizational tools. Responsive speed. Ultimate power in video editing. Rich ecosystem of video production apps. Excellent stabilization. Unlimited multi-cam angles.
Cons: No keyword tagging for media. Some techniques require additional applications such as After Effects or SpeedGrade.
Bottom Line: An expansive professional-level digital video editing program, Premiere Pro CC has everything today's pro video editor needs, particularly when it comes to collaboration.Read Review
CyberLink PowerDirector Review
Pros: Fast rendering. Clear interface. Loads of effects. The most 360-degree video capabilities of any video editor. Multicam editing. 3D and 4K capability. Motion tracking. Screen recording.
Cons: No trimming in source panel. Number of options can make interface overwhelming. Weak color matching.
Bottom Line: PowerDirector is one of the fastest and most capable consumer-level video editing apps for Windows around, and the first to support 360-degree VR footage.Read Review
Corel VideoStudio Ultimate Review
Pros: Wide selection of fun video-creation tools. Clear, simple interface. Fast rendering. Support for 360-degree VR, 4K Ultra HD, and 3D media. Multipoint Motion tracking. Multicam editing. HTML5 video page creation. Stop-motion tool.
Cons: No keyword tagging for media.
Bottom Line: Corel VideoStudio remains one of the most feature-packed consumer video editing packages around. The 2019 update adds powerful color-grading tools, seamless transitions, and text masks.Read Review
Pinnacle Studio Ultimate Review
Pros: Clear interface. Edits 360-degree VR content. Fast rendering performance in testing. Tons of effects. Multicam editing. 4K and H.265 support. Tagging and star ratings for media. Good audio tools.
Cons: Motion tracking issues on one test PC. Occasional crashes in testing. Uneven 360-degree VR implementation.
Bottom Line: Pinnacle Studio is a fast, full-featured, near-professional-level video-editing application with support for 360-degree VR, 3D, and multicam edits. New color grading and four-point editing make it even more appealing, though our testing uncovered some instabilities.Read Review
Magix Movie Edit Pro Premium Review
Pros: Lots of video effects. Multicam. Good titling tools. Trailer-like movie templates. Solid audio editing tools. Strong disc authoring. Fast rendering. Good stability. 360-degree media support.
Cons: Not much help with difficult procedures. Lacks import and organization tools. Extra costs and coded downloads for some video formats.
Bottom Line: Now with faster rendering, Movie Edit Pro offers solid stability, up-to-date support for 4K, 360-degree, and multicam editing, but it trails other video editing software in ease-of-use.Read Review
Adobe Premiere Elements Review
Pros: Clear, simple interface. Guided Edits ease basic and advanced projects. Lots of video effects. Solid text tools. Powerful Audio editing. Good control over stabilization. 4K support.
Cons: No 360-degree VR or 3D editing. No multicam feature or screen recording capability. Slow rendering speeds. No HEVC support in Windows.
Bottom Line: Adobe's consumer video editing app adds a new start page, Auto Creations, a redesigned quick-editing interface, and faster performance.Read Review
Wondershare Filmora Review
Pros: Pleasing interface. Inexpensive. Lots of effects and overlays. Good title tool.
Cons: Action Cam and Cutter modes only allow one clip at a time. No search for effects or transitions. No motion tracking. No DVD menu or chapter authoring. Not a touch-friendly interface.
Bottom Line: Wondershare's Filmora video editing software may not have multicam or the hottest new VR tools, but it does have a pleasing interface and lots of effects.Read Review
Apple Final Cut Pro X Review
Pros: Magnetic, trackless timeline. Superior organization tools, including libraries, ratings, tagging, auto analysis for faces, scenes. Support for 360-degree footage and HDR. Multicam support. Fast performance. MacBook Touch Bar support.
Cons: Nontraditional timeline-editing may turn off longtime editors. Can't import projects from previous versions without a third-party plug-in. No stabilization or motion tracking for 360-degree video.
Bottom Line: Apple's professional-level video editing software, Final Cut Pro X, brings a wealth of power in an interface simple for pros and consumers alike. Recent highlights include rich support for 360-degree content and improved stability.Read Review
Nero Video Review
Pros: Inexpensive. Plenty of video effects. Good audio tools. Solid file format support, including H.265. Compatible with 4K content. Burns DVD, Blu-ray, and AVCHD.
Cons: Light on features. Outdated, unconventional interface. No 360 or 3D support. No motion tracking. No direct output to social networks.
Bottom Line: For less money than the competition, Nero offers a wide array of enthusiast-level video editing capabilities, but the interface is dated and it trails in support for new formats and techniques.Read Review
Apple iMovie Review
Pros: Beautifully simple interface. Color matching for consistent movie looks. Classy themes. Great chroma-keying tool. Lots of audio tools. Theater feature shares movies to all your Apple gear.
Cons: Not as flexible as some PC video editors. In the name of simplicity, some useful controls are missing. Does not support tagging. Lacks multicam or motion tracking capabilities. Limited to two video tracks.
Bottom Line: Apple's excellent entry-level desktop video editing application can turn your footage and photos into impressive productions.Read Review