Best photo editing software for PC

Updated on May 18th. All of us have retouched photographs more than once. When you only had basic knowledge, you managed with pre-installed programs to make simple fixes, but nowadays the world of publishinghas changed a lot. From minor tweaks to lighting to contrast changing colors of dresses , the features are just impressive. 

In this article, we are going to see the best photo editors for PC, from basic Free programs to the most paid elaborate ones.

What is a photo editor ?

A photo editor is software that allows you to readjust parameters to images and even apply filters, textures or brushes with specific effects to it . Saving photos in various formats and color profiles is also common. Photo editing is today in almost any product we consume, from the images of our most visited web portals to decoration, fashion or sports magazines. In the professional field, no image reaches the media as it has been taken , hence the importance of a good editor.

What is the best photo editor for PC? What do you need?

In the list that we offer below, we bring samples of publishers from the most basic to advanced ones that usually require prior knowledge and management to take full advantage of them. Also for those who are looking for something quick, we bring you a list of editing websites. This is an excellent solution if you don’t need a local program. Definitely what we want to indicate is that not because the editor has a greater number of options it is ideal for you if you are not going to use them.

Basic PC photo editors

We start with the simplest content section . Those users who make a first contact with photo editing can take these formats as a starting model . Basic functions such as cropping, rescaling, contrast or saturation are given priority here . Some programs have more options than others or more or less updated interfaces, but all of them are functional.

Windows Photos App

Windows Photos app can be an excellent solution for quick image fixes .

Software data:

  • Initial release date: 2012
  • Type of program: raster graphics editor; pictures viewer
  • License: Microsoft
  • Latest stable version: Windows 8 and Windows 10
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows
  • Programming language: TypeScript

Generally we use them only as a viewer , but inside it in the upper right corner we have a button called Edit and create . Clicking Edit the panel changes to an edit viewer with an extremely simple and functional interface . Here we can crop and rotate, apply color filters and make adjustments for red-eye correction, intensity and clarity.

Read: Best website design software 2020

Advantages and disadvantages:

  • Included by default in Windows 10
  • Free software from Microsoft
  • Receive updates with the operating system
  • Interface friendly user
  • It may be a bit short for the advanced user
  • We may miss alternatives to save extensions


Picasa may be familiar to many of you. It appeared in 2002 and from the first moment the influences of primitive Photoshop were noticeable on its interface . In 2016 Google acquired it and offered it for all users for free.

Software data:

  • Initial release date: 2002
  • Type of program: raster graphics editor; pictures viewer
  • License: Freeware
  • Latest stable version: 2014
  • Operating system: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux (via Wine)
  • Programming language: C ++

Picasa’s main navigation panel has six basic tabs: File, Edit, View, Folder, Image, Create, Tools, and Help .

In general, the editing options are similar to those included in Microsoft Photos, only alternatives are included to create photo albums or apply artistic filters.

Advantages and disadvantages:

  • Free software
  • Simple navigation
  • Similarities to Photoshop but with fewer options
  • A bit old interface
  • It offers practical solutions , although it is more rudimentary than Photoshop


PhotoScape photo editing# application is a program that has already a certain age, but far from being anchored in the past, it continues to make impressions.

Software data:

  • Initial release date: 2008
  • Program type: raster graphics editor
  • License: Freeware
  • Latest stable version: 2019
  • Operating system: Windows, Mac OS
  • Programming language: C ++

The options it offers start with a file browser, graphic editor, effects editor (frames, collages, templates, compositions …), gif creator or print manager . The enormous number of predefined effects allow us to carry out modifications that are typical of an expert with little effort. 

Read: Best Free online photo editing software

Advantages and disadvantages:

  • Free software
  • Updated with new versions
  • Lets you create animated gifs
  • Wide catalog of predefined effects
  • The interface could have been refined a bit more

Advanced PC photo editors

In this category, you will find the largest number of editing programs in this article. This is mainly due to the fact that advanced editing features are usually available in larger software.

Adobe photoshop

Everyone knows that Photoshop offers a universe of possibilities : if you want to edit something, it is practically impossible that you cannot do it with the Adobe program. However such a volume of tools carries a complex interface that requires some dedication on the part of the user. Of course, once you master it there will be nothing to resist you.

Software data:

  • Initial release date: 1990
  • Program type: raster graphics editor
  • License: Adobe
  • Latest stable version: 2020
  • Operating system: Microsoft, Mac OS
  • Programming language: C ++, Pascal

Photoshop is a complex program in which you can edit images not only with panels , but with tools such as cloning tampons, brushes, pen, concealers , etc. This implies that you not only limit yourself to correcting mathematical parameters, but you can also modify specific sections or aspects of the images yourself .

The versatility it offers means that it is the favorite tool for a large number of people who work with multimedia content. Among the PC photo editors we’ve seen so far, this is the best. Unfortunately, Adobe products are not cheap, so buying a recent version of Photoshop for people who do not intend to put it to commercial use offers no advantage.

Advantages and disadvantages:

  • Updated this year
  • Extremely comprehensive program
  • Lets you create animated gifs
  • Wide catalog of artistic effects and tool panel
  • Somewhat high price
  • Its interface is complex
  • It requires learning to take advantage of it

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

Yes, Photoshop again. This time it is a very complete extension specifically aimed at professional photographers and editors . Photoshop Lightroom is a cross-platform tool , something that gives you more flexibility when editing.

Software data:

  • Initial release date: 2006
  • Program Type: Digital Asset
  • License: Adobe
  • Latest stable version: 2017
  • Operating system: Windows
  • Programming language: C ++, Lua

If Photoshop is such a comprehensive editor, why would I need Lightroom? Well the question is that Photoshop is a software that has better options for montages or final touches, while Lightroom is better for developing or pre-preparing images. As a general rule, the professionals (who are the target audience of the tool) proceed to import the photos into Lightroom, adjust essential parameters with it and then retouch them in Photoshop.

Read: Best mobile video editing apps

Advantages and disadvantages:

  • Highly specialized software
  • Cloud storage
  • Large number of parameters to regulate
  • Very clean and simplified interface
  • Integrated tutorials
  • Requires monthly payment or purchase a full license


PhotoWorks is an AI-powered program that requires minimum input on the part of the user. Its well-considered interface makes editing super easy for people of all skill levels and backgrounds in post-production. That is exactly what makes it a strong competitor for alternative software.


Software data:

  • Initial release date: 2017
  • Program type: Photo post-production
  • License: Shareware
  • Latest stable version: 2021
  • Operating system: Windows 10, 8, 7, XP
  • Programming language: Qt, С++

Most editing in PhotoWorks can be done with a quick slider drag or a click because the program does all the heavy lifting for the user. It recognized faces, details, and objects and edits accordingly. The photo editor offers both essential and advanced tools. So apart from cropping, rotating, and automatically color-correcting your shot, you can digitally reshape and retouch your face and body, reduce noise, change the background, erase uninvited people, and much more. Experienced editors will also appreciate such professional enhancement tools as 3D LUTs, Curves, and HDR.

Advantages and disadvantages:

  • Essential and advanced editing 
  • Batch Processing mode
  • Portrait and body retouch and sculpting 
  • Diversity of artistic effects
  • Affordable price 
  • Ease-to-navigate interface 
  • No Mac version

Capture One 20

Capture One has progressed at its own pace in recent years. For many, its latest versions (2019 and 2020) have outperformed Adobe software in speed and efficiency , making it a rather interesting alternative for a large number of professional and amateur photographers.

Software data:

  • Initial release date: 2005
  • Program Type: Post Image Production, Editor
  • License: Phase One
  • Latest stable version: 2020
  • Operating system: Windows, Mac
  • Programming language: OpenCL

The interface of Capture One 20 is very modern , and although for some, it has an excess of menus and quick access panels , everything can be distributed to your liking . Its strongest point is that in its software updates there are features specially oriented to work with Fujifilm or Sony cameras: color profiles and custom lenses or noise reduction for shots with high ISO are some of them.

Advantages and disadvantages:

  • Very specialized software
  • Free 30-day trial version
  • Highly customizable user interface
  • Archive catalog according to sessions or projects
  • Display of photography in real time
  • Monthly, annual or single perpetual payment plan
  • Requires a certain period of adaptation
  • Complex interface
  • Photo sessions made on Mac cannot be imported to PC from the program itself

Paintshop PRO

This software appeared on the scene in the same year as the original Photoshop, so the rivalry between the two is longstanding. Currently and although the most recent version of Paintshop PRO dates back to 2013, the truth is that the interface is extremely similar, sharing not only settings through meters or filters, but also editing tools like brushes or magic wands.

Software data:

  • Initial release date: 1990
  • Program type: vector and raster graphics editor
  • License: Jasc Software
  • Latest stable version: 2013
  • Operating system: Windows
  • Programming language : Python

Advantages and disadvantages:

  • Same actions and tools as Photoshop
  • Slightly lower price
  • It is less popular than Photoshop although its interface is almost identical

Serif PhotoPlus

Serif PhotoPlus and Gimp are the last programs on the list and although they do not have such a clean interface as paid ones, they are able to perform almost the same functions completely free of charge .

Software data:

  • Initial release date: 1999
  • Program type: raster graphics editor
  • License: free
  • Latest stable version: 2015
  • Operating system: Windows
  • Programming language: C ++

The navigation and options bar that you find in Serif PhotoPlus is almost identical to that of Photoshop and the same thing happens with its image editing toolbar. In this regard, as a free program, it offers certain advantages since you save yourself the need to acquire licenses that Adobe Photoshop and PaintShop require.

Read: How to compress JPEG or PNG images in Linux using the terminal

However, the future does not shine very bright for the software since it has been announced that it will not receive new updates .

Advantages and disadvantages:

  • Free software
  • Navigation very similar to other image editors
  • Wide catalog of predefined effects
  • There are no plans for future updates .


Our latest advanced photo editor program. Gimp is a very complete and free photo editor .

Software data:

  • Initial release date: 1996
  • Program type: raster graphics editor
  • License: free
  • Latest stable version: 2020
  • Operating system: Windows, Mac OS and Linux
  • Programming language: C

As a graphic editor, Gimp options favor both an artistic use of the tool with plugins and custom brushes, apart from traditional image modifications . Its interface has been updated following the structure of other payment programs, so it is possible that you will find fewer options . However Gimp has been updated this year 2020, making it a software with continuous support and in fact has a large community of users.

Advantages and disadvantages:

  • Free software
  • Recently updated
  • Very similar interface to Photoshop and PaintShop PRO

Online Editors

The last category consists of online editing tools , perfect for quick and punctual retouching of images to avoid the download and installation of any program.

I love IMG

It has a very visual design and offers basic editing options oriented mainly to resizing , compression , cropping or converting images. You can also access a basic editor to adjust the lighting of the images, add frames , stickers , etc.


With the free version of Fotor you can edit a photo, create designs or make collages . The Editor options are subdivided into a side menu where you have everything from basic parameters to artistic effects to beauty filters . In this aspect Fotor offers a greater number of options than I Love IMG , so if you want to edit in depth it is a recommended alternative. You may want to check out their interesting tumblr banner templates.


Pixlr is a platform that offers a payment option and a free one to edit your images. Its editing system is reminiscent of a synthesized version of Photoshop , with a toolbar on the left and a layer window on the right. Here you can use brushes, clone buffer and blur regardless of the traditional parameter settings.

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Marianne elanotta

Marianne is a graduate in communication technologies and enjoys sharing the latest technological advances across various fields. Her programming skills include Java OO and Javascript, and she prefers working on open-source operating systems. In her free time, she enjoys playing chess and computer games with her two children.

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