- January 02, 2020
- 29 min to read
- Photo Editing Software For Macbook Air
- Professional Photo Editing Software Free
- Photo Editing Software For Mac Free
- Which Photo Editing Software Is Best For Mac
- Photo Editing Software For Mac Reviews
Fotor is fully optimized for retina displays, allowing you to view and edit your high-resolution photos in brilliant, full color. Jan 04, 2020 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.
A comprehensive review of the best RAW photo editors on the market
There are many RAW photo editors available, and they get better every year. It can be hard and time-consuming to try all of them, so we’ve tried them for you and come up with a list of the best RAW photo editors you should consider right now.
Professional photographers shoot in RAW to preserve as much detail as possible. They want high-resolution images with a wide dynamic range, natural-looking colors, and sharp details. RAW files are large files that need powerful editors. A good RAW photo editor is able to edit RAW files while preserving image quality and color accuracy.
The first criterion in choosing a RAW photo editor is how good the RAW processor is and how well it renders the RAW data. But there are also other criteria to consider, such as support for batch processing, digital asset management, preset libraries, layers and masks, and local editing tools. Practicality is also important. Consider system requirements, processing speed, the user interface and workflow, and, of course, the price.
Because RAW editors are sophisticated software that require a long time to develop, you’ll hardly find free RAW photo editors. The only free editors on our list are darktable and RawTherapee, cross-platform image processing programs with enthusiastic communities around them. Nevertheless, all paid RAW photo editors on this list offer free trials that allow you to test them before buying.
The best RAW photo editors on the market
1. Luminar 4
Released at the end of 2019, Luminar 4 is a RAW photo editor that includes AI-based technology. Yes, it provides support for most RAW file formats and all the basic adjustments you need, but it also provides content-aware automatic adjustments. Its smart features and friendly interface have already convinced many professional photographers to become Skylum Ambassadors.
Luminar’s AI-based features analyze your images and make decisions based on their contents. Luminar 4 recognizes objects and people and applies custom adjustments for different types of pictures. It includes AI-based features for sky replacement, skin and portrait enhancement, structure enhancement, general image enhancement, and adding sun rays. Daylight simulation software for mac pro.
Moreover, Luminar 4 comes with more than 70 built-in presets, called Looks, that provide easy access to the most popular artistic styles. You can also create your own presets and download Signature Looks designed by renowned photographers from the Luminar Marketplace.
Luminar 4 allows you to fine-tune every aspect of an image, which is great because in RAW editing, every detail counts. Luminar works with layers and masks and provides easy tools for controlling opacity and blending modes. The workflow is fluid and easy to learn, and you’ll find features such as batch processing, adjustment synchronization, digital asset management, and image rating and labeling.
Luminar 4 works as standalone software, a plugin for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, and an extension for Apple Photos. It’s available for Mac and Windows and costs $89.
2. Aurora HDR
Aurora HDR was the first Skylum solution for RAW photo editing and is one of the most appreciated HDR photo editors. It’s the perfect choice if you want to create images with a wide dynamic range. Aurora provides tools for bracket merging that create high-quality images without halos, chromatic aberrations, or artifacts. It also includes basic tools such as color toning, a polarizer filter, detail enhancer, and LUT mapping.
Like Luminar 4, Aurora HDR makes use of AI technology to separate noise from detail and deliver exquisite denoising and detail enhancing tools. As Aurora is a RAW photo editor, its support for layers and masks is especially useful. Also useful are the presets designed in collaboration with professional photographers, which deliver amazing effects in seconds.
In terms of practical features, Aurora HDR offers batch processing, support for most popular cameras, and the ability to run as standalone software or a plugin for Adobe and Apple products. Aurora HDR is available for Windows and Mac and costs $110.
3. Adobe Lightroom
Due to its prestigious producer, Adobe Lightroom has been the standard in RAW photo editing for a long time. But it has lost many fans since Adobe introduced the monthly subscription plan. Yes, Lightroom is a RAW photo editor that gives you access to cloud space and synchronizes your edits across all your devices. But it’s expensive, and people have started to look for cheaper alternatives. Adobe Lightroom costs $9.99 per month, which means almost $120 per year. That’s more than other software costs for a lifetime license.
For this money, Adobe Lightroom offers endless sharing capabilities, image synchronization, exquisite image management tools, and easy-to-use image editing tools. It also has many presets, and you can find more in the large Adobe community, which also offers books, tutorials, and video materials.
Adobe Lightroom is available for Windows and Mac, but check the system requirements before you buy it because it requires relatively new operating system versions.
4. ON1 Photo RAW
ON1 Photo RAW 2020 is the latest version of the ON1 RAW photo editor. It’s a complete solution that includes photo management functionality, a powerful RAW processor, and tools for professional photo editing. Like Skylum products, ON1 Photo RAW 2020 includes AI-based functionalities for applying automatic adjustments, creating masks, and producing RAW photos that look like ones from the in-camera display.
Among the best features of ON1 Photo RAW are non-destructive editing using layers and masks, local adjustments, lens correction, custom camera profiles and support for more than 800 camera models, HDR tools, and many presets and effects. ON1 Photo RAW 2020 allows you to copy adjustments to multiple images and synchronize your edits with your colleagues. It also supports tethered shooting and cloud storage applications.
ON1 Photo RAW 2020 is available as a standalone program for Windows and Mac and runs as a plugin for Adobe and Apple products. It costs $99.99.
5. Capture One Pro 2020
Capture One develops a RAW photo editor that supports many RAW file formats and has dedicated versions for Fuji and Sony camera users. Capture One Pro 2020 is a complete photo editing solution for all cameras, and it provides tools for image editing and management.
While Capture One Pro 2020 isn’t very easy to learn and use, once you get to know it, you’ll have full control over every aspect of your images. This software’s features range from tools for basic image adjustments (fixing exposure, color, and contrast) to HDR tools, advanced color adjustments, and presets. Essential for a RAW editor, Capture One Pro 2020 works with layers and masks and provides non-destructive editing.
Capture One Pro 2020 is a powerful photo editor even if its workflow isn’t for beginners. It provides lens and camera profiles, lens correction, high color accuracy, and tools for printing and creative artwork. All these features come with a price, however: Capture One Pro 2020 costs $27 per month. It’s available for Windows and Mac.
6. DxO PhotoLab
Like Capture One Pro, DxO PhotoLab is a complex RAW photo editor for professional photographers. It focuses on color accuracy and camera compatibility. DxO PhotoLab matches the rendering of over 60 camera models and provides optical corrections and custom lens profiles.
Among its best features are exquisite color tools such as ICC profiles, Moiré removal, and the new HSL tool, more than 40 presets, haze removal based on colorimetric component analysis, noise removal that’s been optimized to process RAW files at high speed, and local adjustments. DxO PhotoLab is an editor for color perfectionists and aims to satisfy the most demanding professionals.
DxO PhotoLab provides digital asset management with all you need for organizing images in a neat interface. It’s available for Windows and Mac and costs $140.
7. PaintShop Pro
PaintShop Pro is one of Corel’s solutions for photo editing that includes RAW functionalities. Keeping to Corel’s long tradition in graphic design, PaintShop Pro provides not only photo editing tools but also graphic design tools. So if you want tools for creating artistic compositions, drawing, and painting onto images, PaintShop Pro is the best editor for you.
In terms of RAW photo editing, PaintShop Pro offers a powerful RAW processor, lens correction, HDR editing, geometric transformations, basic adjustments for image retouching, and layers and masks. It doesn’t have too many filters and presets, but it offers support for third-party plugins such as the NiK Collection from DxO and Topaz Labs plugins. This may cover the need for extra features, but these plugins come with an additional cost.
PaintShop Pro is available only for Windows and costs $79.
8. AfterShot Pro
Another RAW photo editing solution from Corel is AfterShot Pro. Designed to compete with Adobe Lightroom, AfterShot Pro focuses on increasing processing speed while delivering high-quality images.
Unlike PaintShop Pro, however, AfterShot Pro is dedicated to photography. This means is has RAW camera profiles, lens corrections, a large library of presets, and highlight recovery for images with a wide dynamic range. It also provides efficient digital asset management and integrates with other editors. In exchange, it doesn’t have graphic design tools.
In terms of RAW photo editing, we’re more interested in color accuracy, noise reduction, and HDR tools than in drawing tools. Still, the advanced selection tools provided by Corel’s programs are always welcome for local adjustments and subtle image retouching.
AfterShot Pro is a better option than PaintShop Pro for RAW editing. It’s also more expensive, as it costs $99.99. But if you compare it with Adobe Lightroom, you’ll see that it’s worth the money.
Darktable is an open-source, free RAW photo editor available for Linux, Mac / macports, BSD, Windows, and Solaris 11 / GNOME. It’s designed to be a virtual darkroom and allows you to view negatives through a zoomable lighttable.
Aiming to be more than a RAW convertor, darktable provides tools for image enhancement, batch processing, and tethered shooting. It also allows you to develop your own image processing modules and add them to the program.
For a free editor, darktable offers exquisite tools, from an optimized RAW processor that can manage large files to non-destructive edits and professional color management. It has ICC profiles, several demosaicing methods, base and tone curves, lens corrections, and tools for dithering, haze, fringing, noise removal, color, contrast, and white balance adjustments. It also offers a few filters for creative effects.
However, darktable has minimal image organizing functionalities. It does allow you to search for images by tags, stars, and labels, and it works with metadata.
10. PhotoDirector Ultra
With PhotoDirector Ultra, Cyberlink aims to deliver a photo editor that accumulates the functionalities of Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom at a better price. PhotoDirector Ultra supports many RAW file formats and provides AI-based tools for image retouching, layer editing, and presets.
This software is aimed at a wide variety of users, from professional photographers to the general public. It mixes powerful content-aware image adjustments with tools for making videos out of images, frame templates, and 360-degree photo editing. Delivering a wide variety of features isn’t always the best idea, however. Professional photographers are more interested in color accuracy, noise reduction, and detail preservation than in applying brushstrokes that simulate painting styles.
But despite the features unrelated to RAW editing, PhotoDirector Ultra is very good at recovering blurred images, eliminating haze and fog, and retouching portraits. It also provides image management tools, cloud storage, and additional products such as special effects and dedicated plugins.
PhotoDirector Ultra is available for Windows and Mac and costs $74.99.
11. ACDSee Photo Studio
ACDsee is known for its image organizing software, but its latest products show that it has become a powerful competitor on the photo editor market. Photo Studio is a complete editing solution that includes RAW processing, image editing tools, and the amazing ACDSee digital asset management.
ACDSee Photo Studio Professional 2020 supports more than 500 camera models and offers RAW editing tools such as LUTs, non-destructive color grading, lens corrections, noise and haze removal, contrast and brightness adjustments, layers and masks, selection tools, and local adjustments. It’s fast and supports many file formats, offers batch processing, and has a lot of tools for zooming, previewing, and reviewing images. In terms of the interface and image management, it’s one of the best RAW photo editors.
ACDSee Photo Studio Professional 2020 is available only for Windows. There’s also a separate ACDSee Photo Studio for Mac 6. You can choose between a monthly subscription at $8.90 and a lifetime license for $99.95.
12. RAW Power
Gentlemen Coders offers a RAW photo editor for Mac and iOS called RAW Power that can run as standalone software or a Photos extension.
RAW Power uses Apple’s RAW decoder to provide high-quality images. Among its best features are support for hundreds of camera models, precise curve adjustments, white balance recovery, lots of presets, and perspective and chromatic aberration corrections.
RAW Power also provides digital asset management, batch processing, synchronization between devices via iCloud Photo Library, multiple editing windows, and batch export. It comes as an extension to Apple Photos and costs $29.99.
RawTherapee is a free RAW photo editor for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It provides high-quality images with high dynamic range and uses state-of-the-art demosaicing algorithms. Although it’s open-source software, RawTherapee supports most common RAW file formats, including those from Pentax and Sony.
Among its best features are RAW histograms, adjustments for fixing exposure, contrast, detail, and color, color profiles, and advanced controls. RawTherapee also lets you save your current editing profile for later use or batch editing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support layers, and you have to apply all adjustments to the same layer, which may be confusing.
RawTherapee has a neat workspace that allows you to find all you need in seconds. It’s intuitive, well-labeled, and has shortcuts for everything. It also provides file browsing, ratings, and color labeling, and it supports metadata. For those who want to see how printed images will look, RawTherapee runs a simulation with a specific printer profile.
14. Affinity Photo
Affinity Photo provides powerful photo editing and graphic design tools. Alongside RAW editing, it provides HDR editing and focus stacking, panorama stitching, support for editing Adobe Photoshop files, and painting tools.
In terms of RAW photo editing, Affinity Photo’s big advantage is its ability to process very large files (more than 100 Megapixels) and to offer smooth zoom at 60 frames per second. It gives you full control over the smallest details of your images and provides editing tools such as levels, curves, HSL, and exposure and white balance adjustments. All edits are non-destructive because Affinity Photo works with layers and masks. You can perform local adjustments using advanced selection tools, analyze histograms, and edit EXIF information.
Photo Editing Software For Macbook Air
Affinity Photo provides lens corrections, noise reduction, and hot pixel removal, which is essential for RAW editing. It also provides presets and effects, including brush libraries and text and vector tools. It’s one of the best RAW photo editors for creating artistic compositions and collages.
Affinity Photo is available for Windows, Mac, and iPad and costs $49.99 respectively $19.99.
We’ve tested the most powerful RAW photo editors on the market, but the final decision is yours. Choose the best editor for your needs. Consider your budget, frequency of use, skills, and artistic preferences. For example, you shouldn’t buy an editor with graphic design functionalities if you don’t do abstract photography and strong editing. If you work with large amounts of similar images, batch processing is a must. So is digital asset management when you have lots of albums and catalogs. Keep in mind that trying before buying is the wisest thing you can do.
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!
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 â€” 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.
Professional Photo Editing Software Free
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!
Photo Editing Software For Mac Free
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Which Photo Editing Software Is Best For Mac
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Photo Editing Software For Mac Reviews
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