Even the best-looking interiors require the occasional behind-the-camera touch-up. Therefore, having a pulse on the best photo editing software in the marketplace is essential for adjusting the light here or retouching a blemish there. After all, creating impactful images is essential for accurately conveying the essence of your professional aesthetic.
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In the design industry, where a scroll through a firm’s Instagram feed or website can generate a client lead, powerful photography is just plain good for business. Beyond attracting potential clients, stunning photography can help brand your firm, showcase your projects to press, and engage new business and industry collaborations. Need more convincing? Here’s the truth: Sloppy snaps carelessly posted onto a social media feed or rudimentary website is not going to cut it in today’s competitive market.
Is it worth springing for a subscription to Photoshop or an outright purchase of Affinity Photo or Skylum Luminar? Is Lightroom too advanced for your simple image editor use? Or will a free photo editor like Canva, Pixlr, or Fotor provide all the basic features you require? After researching the best photo editing software, we’ve compiled a list of the top seven image editors that will have photos of your work looking top-notch in no time.
Hailed as the most powerful photo editor there is—and one that’s become a household name—Adobe Photoshop ranks as most outstanding on lists of best image editing software for professional photographers, designers, and novice photo editors alike. The 30-year-old program is so synonymous with image editing, in fact, that it has become a verb for everyday use: Simply saying you’d “Photoshop” an image has become widely understood as a way to remove an unwanted object from a picture or to revise the lighting or cast of an interior space.
More than adept at providing all you need for layered image editing, typography, and drawing, Photoshop also provides a wide array of effects, tools, and filters. Available for both macOS and Windows—Linux users are out of luck—the program’s most recent update is lauded for its awesome neutral filters, automatic sky replacement, live shapes, pattern preview, improved gradients, and better Illustrator integration, as well as new features like a commenting function (to get other team members’ feedback) and AI-powered tools like Landscape Mixer and Color Transfer. AI one-click handling saves time and effort when working with commonly used functions, as does the new Refine Hair button. Photoshop’s interface is highly customizable, with options for workspace layouts and toolbars that may be rearranged according to user preference. The highly intuitive workspace adapts to the task at hand, meaning only the tools that would be useful during a particular workspace are shown as active.
While Photoshop might be a more complex user experience—with more detailed and advanced features, tools, and UI—than a beginner or average hobbyist needs, Adobe Photoshop Elements represents a more basic, less-expensive photo editing tool that may be purchased outright for those who don’t need or want to learn the pro-level techniques or to pay the monthly subscription of Photoshop. With simple tools for editing and organizing images, this photo editing app allows users to shoot, edit, export, and upload to social media seamlessly, and its new Moving Photos tool converts 2D shots to animated 3D images that really make a social media feed stand out. While you could achieve this moving photo effect in the full version of Photoshop, it’s more complicated and time-consuming, and the animated GIF results in Elements are fast and effective, ideal for a quick Instagram post. With Adobe Photoshop Elements 2021 users can also proficiently deal with raw files via its Camera Raw workspace that lets you quickly enhance color and fix lighting and shadows without the advanced color correction tools of the full version of Photoshop. While Photoshop most appeals to professional-level photographers and graphic designers for its advanced capabilities, useful in-app and online tutorials and worthwhile classes can introduce this robust software to any user. Plus, Photoshop has popup tips that can be turned on to guide new users to better understand the software.