In the world of photography, the right editing software is like a magic wand that turns good photos into breathtaking masterpieces.

We’ve all been there, snapping away, only to realize our shots need a little extra sparkle.

That’s where we come in.

We’ve sifted through the endless sea of options to bring you the crème de la crème of photo editing software.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, we’ve got something for everyone.


Best Professional Photo Editing Software [Photoshop and Lightroom Alternatives]

What Is Professional Photo Editing Software?

Professional Photo Editing Software is used for manipulating and enhancing digital photographs.

These tools provide advanced features for image correction, color grading, retouching, and compositing.

Professional photo editors like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are staples in photography, advertising, and media industries.

They enable photographers and designers to achieve desired visual effects, correct imperfections, and prepare images for various outputs, from print to web.



Best Professional Photo Editing Software

When we jump into the world of professional photography, the choice of editing software becomes crucial.

It’s not just about enhancing photos, it’s about bringing a creative vision to life.

Choosing the right editing software relies on understanding our specific needs and workflow.

We’re committed to helping you navigate these choices, ensuring that your creative vision isn’t just realized but elevated.


1. Luminarai

LuminarAI stands out in the world of professional photo editing software due to its revolutionary approach to image editing.

Powered by artificial intelligence, it streamlines the editing process, making it faster and more intuitive for photographers at all levels.

One of the key features that set LuminarAI apart is its template-driven editing.

This allows users to apply complex edits and adjustments in just a few clicks, shifting the focus to creativity rather than technicalities.

  • Key Features –,
  • AI Sky Replacement: Change the sky in your photos with just a click.
  • Skin Enhancer & Portrait Enhancer: Automatically retouch portraits with customizable settings.
  • Structure AI: Add depth and clarity to images without overdoing sharpness or details.

Not only does LuminarAI offer these innovative editing tools, but it also supports a non-destructive workflow.

This means photographers can experiment without altering the original image files, a crucial aspect for professional photography.

Beyond its advanced AI features, LuminarAI emphasizes ease of use.

Its user-friendly interface and the ability to adapt to the user’s style and preferences make it an attractive choice for those looking to increase productivity and focus on creative expression.

Integrating seamlessly with existing workflows, LuminarAI can be used as a standalone application or as a plugin for other major photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.

This flexibility ensures that professionals can incorporate LuminarAI into their workflow without disrupting their established processes.

Plus to its powerful editing capabilities, LuminarAI also offers an extensive library of tutorials and resources.

These help users to fully leverage the software’s AI capabilities, ensuring that they can bring their creative visions to life with precision and efficiency.

While discussing professional photo editing software, LuminarAI’s unique blend of AI-driven features and user-centric design makes it a noteworthy contender.

Its ability to enhance creativity and streamline the editing process resonates well with the demands of modern-day photographers.

2. Affinity Photo

When diving into the world of photo editing, we all seek software that not only delivers versatility but also precision in every edit.


Affinity Photo answers this call with its robust feature set designed for professionals who demand excellence.

As a powerful alternative to Adobe’s suite, Affinity Photo boasts a one-time purchase model.

This is attractive for those of us aiming to avoid monthly subscription fees.

The software’s commitment to quality and affordability makes it a standout choice.

Affinity Photo’s performance is optimized for speed and fluidity, even when working on complex, high-resolution projects.

Its real-time editing and preview capabilities ensure that we see the effects of our adjustments instantly.

Key features of Affinity Photo include:

  • Comprehensive RAW editing,
  • HDR merge,
  • Panorama stitching,
  • Digital painting with a variety of brushes.

We appreciate its non-destructive workflow, allowing us to experiment and adjust edits without permanently altering our original images.

This feature is crucial for maintaining the integrity of our work.

Also, Affinity Photo’s interface is user-friendly, yet packed with advanced tools that cater to our intricate editing needs.


Whether it’s retouching, layering, or masking, the software provides detailed control over every aspect of the editing process.

Support and learning resources are abundant, ensuring we can master Affinity Photo’s offerings.

Tutorials, forums, and video guides are readily available, aiding in our pursuit of perfecting photo editing skills.

3. Pixelmator Pro

In our journey to find the best professional photo editing software, we can’t overlook Pixelmator Pro.

Known for its powerful suite of editing tools, it’s a favorite among Mac users seeking a highly intuitive interface combined with advanced image editing capabilities.

One of Pixelmator Pro‘s standout features is its machine learning-enhanced tools.

This includes ML Super Resolution, which allows users to upscale images without losing detail, and ML Match Colors, for effortlessly matching the color styles from one image to another.

What sets Pixelmator Pro apart is its commitment to simplicity without sacrificing functionality.

Users can enjoy a streamlined workflow that makes complex editing tasks more manageable.

Here are some highlights of Pixelmator Pro:

  • Non-destructive editing ensuring original images remain unchanged,
  • A vast selection of professional-grade tools for precise adjustments,
  • Advanced layer-based editing for complex compositions.

We appreciate how Pixelmator Pro supports a wide range of formats including RAW files.

This is essential for professional photographers who need the highest level of quality and control over their images.

Also, Pixelmator Pro is not just for photographers.

Its powerful digital painting tools and vector graphic design features make it a versatile software for various types of digital artists.

We find the software’s continuous updates particularly noteworthy.

The development team is committed to adding new features and improving performance.

This ensures that Pixelmator Pro remains at the forefront of image editing technology, meeting the evolving needs of professionals.

4. Pixstudio

Moving further in our exploration of top-tier photo editing software, we jump into Pixstudio.

Known for its sleek design and user-friendly interface, Pixstudio stands out as a choice for professionals looking for efficiency and innovation in their editing workflows.

One of the key features that set Pixstudio apart is its versatility.

It caters to both beginners and seasoned professionals, offering a range of tools that are both powerful and easy to navigate.

  • Customizable templates – With an array of pre-designed templates, Pixstudio allows for quick edits while maintaining a high level of creativity and personalization.
  • Advanced editing tools – From precise color correction to intricate layer management, the software equips users with everything needed to bring their vision to life.

Its compatibility with various file types, including RAW, guarantees that Pixstudio can handle projects of any complexity.

This ensures that no moment captured by your lens is too challenging to perfect.

Another hallmark of Pixstudio is its collaborative features.

Real-time collaboration tools allow teams to work together seamlessly, breaking down the barriers of distance and accelerating the creative process.

Incorporating AI technology, Pixstudio enhances photos with minimal effort.

Features like auto-retouching and smart resizing adapt to the users’ needs, promising results that are not only quick but also of unparalleled quality.

With Pixstudio, the focus is always on innovation and delivering an exceptional user experience.

Its robust toolset, combined with an intuitive layout, empowers photographers to unleash their creative potential without being bogged down by complex technicalities.

5. Paintshop Pro

As we jump into the vast ocean of photo editing software, we can’t overlook PaintShop Pro.

A powerful yet affordable alternative for professionals and enthusiasts alike, PaintShop Pro stands out for its comprehensive toolset designed for high-quality photo editing.

This software combines the simplicity of use with advanced editing capabilities, making it an excellent choice for those who seek to elevate their photography without the steep learning curve associated with other platforms.

One of the most compelling features of PaintShop Pro is its versatility – it caters to a range of needs from basic photo adjustments to complex compositions.

The software boasts an array of tools that enable users to easily manipulate their images to perfection.

With features like layer-based editing, RAW file support, and a suite of creative filters, PaintShop Pro provides a canvas for infinite creativity.

Another standout aspect is its cost-effectiveness.

While delivering professional-grade features, PaintShop Pro remains significantly more affordable than some of its higher-end competitors.

Here’s a quick look at some of the key features that set PaintShop Pro apart:

  • Robust editing tools for photo adjustments and compositions,
  • Support for RAW files,
  • Layer-based editing for advanced image manipulation,
  • A wide selection of creative filters and effects,
  • A user-friendly interface that simplifies the editing process.

Also, the software’s commitment to user satisfaction is evidenced by its continuous updates.

These updates ensure that PaintShop Pro remains compatible with the latest camera models and file types, alongside introducing new editing features.

Users also benefit from a dedicated support community and extensive online tutorials, making it easier than ever to master the software and produce stunning photographs.

As we explore the realm of professional photo editing, PaintShop Pro emerges as a noteworthy contender.

Its blend of advanced features, affordability, and user support make it a valuable tool in the arsenal of any photographer aiming to push the boundaries of their creative expression.

6. Capture One

Capture One stands out as an industry-leading choice for many professional photographers who demand high-end image quality and precise control.

Its reputation is built on superior color handling and sharpness, making it an indispensable tool in high-stakes photography environments.

One of its most praised features is the tethered shooting capability, which allows photographers to connect their camera directly to the computer.

This feature is a game-changer for studio photography – ensuring immediate feedback and adjustments.

  • Tethered Shooting – for real-time image capture and review,
  • Advanced Color Editing – providing unmatched color accuracy.

Capture One supports a wide array of camera brands and models, offering tailored profiles for specific cameras.

This ensures that photographers can extract the highest quality from their RAW files, a critical factor in achieving the best end results.

Another aspect we appreciate is the customizable workspace.

Capture One allows for significant personalization which means that every photographer can set up their own efficient and comfortable workflow.

  • Customizable Workspace – adapt the interface to suit your workflow,
  • Camera Profiles – specially tailored for various brands and models.

The software’s commitment to image quality is underlined by its powerful editing tools, including layers, masks, and a vast selection of adjustment options.

These features give us fine-grained control over every aspect of our images, enabling precise editing and creative freedom.

Capture One also excels in speed and efficiency, thanks to its optimized processing engine.

Editing high-resolution images is smooth and responsive, which is crucial when working on large projects or tight deadlines.

  • High-Resolution Image Editing – for smooth and efficient workflows,
  • Powerful Adjustment Tools – offering precise control over images.

Understanding the importance of ongoing support and updates, Capture One consistently introduces new features and enhancements.

This commitment ensures that the software remains at the forefront, meeting the evolving needs of professional photographers.

7. Acdsee

Among the plethora of options for professional photo editing software, Acdsee stands out for its comprehensive toolset that caters to both amateurs and seasoned professionals.

It’s known for speed, efficiency, and its broad array of features that help an all-in-one workflow.

Acdsee offers a robust DAM (Digital Asset Management) system, allowing users to organize, tag, and find photos in a highly efficient manner.

This feature is particularly useful for professionals dealing with large volumes of images, ensuring that no time is wasted searching for that perfect shot.

The software also delivers powerful editing capabilities:

  • Layered editing – letting users create complex adjustments without altering the original image.
  • Advanced lighting and color control – to bring out the best in each photo.
  • Automated features – reducing the time spent on repetitive tasks.

One of Acdsee’s standout features is its Face Detection & Facial Recognition technology.

This not only helps in organizing photos more intuitively but also streamlines the editing process for portraits.

Implementing such sophisticated technology, Acdsee ensures photographs are both flawless and easily accessible.

Besides, Acdsee boasts a user-friendly interface that can be customized to fit any photographer’s style and workflow.

This adaptability makes it easy for users to switch from other platforms without facing a steep learning curve.

In embracing Acdsee, professionals gain access to a tool that enhances their creativity while also elevating their productivity.

Its comprehensive suite of editing tools, combined with powerful organizational capabilities, ensures that every project is delivered with utmost precision and efficiency.

8. DXO Photolab

When diving into the realms of professional photo editing, DXO Photolab mustn’t be overlooked.

Its reputation for unparalleled noise reduction and optical corrections sets it apart from competitors.

We’ve found its interface to be a harmonious blend of sophistication and usability – making it a favorite among pros seeking both efficiency and quality.

With features tailored for high-end photography, DXO Photolab enriches images with a level of detail and color accuracy that’s hard to match.

One thing that particularly stands out is DXO Photolab’s RAW processing capabilities.

The software renders RAW files with such fidelity and detail that images often require minimal post-processing.

This is a significant time-saver for professionals who deal with large batches of photos regularly.

Besides, its toolset is designed to be intuitive, enabling photographers to achieve desired edits without the steep learning curve associated with some other software.

Key Features Include –

  • Exceptional noise reduction,
  • Advanced optical corrections,
  • Intuitive RAW processing.

Beyond its technical prowess, DXO Photolab offers a range of editing tools that cater to creative needs.

Its local adjustment options are particularly noteworthy, allowing for precise edits without affecting the overall image integrity.

Whether it’s adjusting brightness, contrast, color, or applying complex edits, the control is in the user’s hands.

Integrations with other photo management tools also make DXO Photolab a versatile choice for those looking to streamline their workflow.

Its ability to work seamlessly alongside other software ensures that professionals can maintain an efficient editing process from start to finish.

With all these features combined, it’s clear that DXO Photolab stands as a formidable tool in the professional photography landscape.

9. On1 Photo Raw

In the ever-evolving world of professional photo editing, On1 Photo Raw has carved out a space for itself.

It’s a comprehensive solution that appeals to photographers looking for an all-in-one program.

On1 Photo Raw stands out for its non-destructive editing workflow.

This ensures that original images stay untouched, offering immense creative freedom.

The software is known for its powerful blending options.

It allows for seamless integration of different exposures into a single, dynamic image.

One of the software’s strongest suits is its extensive library of presets and filters.

These tools are not just versatile but also customizable, enabling photographers to fine-tune their work to perfection.

Here are some notable features of On1 Photo Raw:

  • AI-powered technologies for quick enhancements,
  • Advanced masking tools for precise editing,
  • Fast raw photo processing.

Handling vast photo collections is a breeze with its efficient digital asset management system.

Photographers can organize, tag, and quickly find their photos.

For those delving into the world of HDR and panoramic photography, On1 Photo Raw provides robust support.

It simplifies these complex processes without compromising on quality.

Tethered shooting is another feature that professionals will find invaluable.

It allows for immediate feedback on a connected computer, an essential tool for studio photography.

The software’s user community is an excellent resource for tutorials, which eases the learning curve for new users.

On1 Photo Raw is continuously updated to keep pace with the latest in photography trends and technologies.

This commitment to innovation ensures it remains a top choice for professional photographers seeking a reliable and feature-rich editing tool.

10. Portraitpro

When it comes to specializing in portrait editing, PortraitPro emerges as a formidable contender.

It’s specifically designed to enhance facial features, making it a vital tool for photographers focused on portraiture.

This software stands out for its intuitive interface and powerful editing tools.

We’ve found that even beginners can navigate PortraitPro with ease, thanks to its user-friendly design.

Key features include:

  • Advanced skin smoothing,
  • Face sculpting tools,
  • Eye enhancement.

One of PortraitPro‘s most praised qualities is its AI-driven touch-ups.

These allow for automatic adjustments that still maintain the subject’s natural look.

Also, the software offers extensive customization options.

Users can adjust the intensity of each edit, ensuring the final product aligns with their vision.

Professionals often highlight the software’s efficiency in workflow.

PortraitPro integrates seamlessly with other editing platforms, streamlining the editing process.

Also, its ability to handle raw files and support for various file formats makes it incredibly versatile.

This compatibility ensures that photographers can work with high-quality images without the need for conversions.

With ongoing updates, PortraitPro continually adapts to the evolving demands of professional photography.

Its developers add new features and refine existing ones, keeping it at the forefront of portrait editing technology.

Exploring the capabilities of PortraitPro, it’s clear why it earns its place among the top professional photo editing software.

Its dedication to portrait perfection, combined with a user-friendly interface, makes it a standout choice for photographers who specialize in capturing the human form.

Characteristics To Look For In Photo Editing Software

When we’re diving into the world of professional photo editing software, it’s crucial we highlight certain features that stand out as must-haves.

Each of these characteristics ensures that the software not only meets today’s professional standards but also provides a canvas for creativity and efficiency.

User Interface – The interface should strike the perfect balance between being feature-rich and user-friendly.

A cluttered or unintuitive interface can significantly slow down the editing process, whereas a well-organized one can enhance productivity.

Performance and Speed – Given the large file sizes we often work with, the software must be optimized for speed.

It should handle complex layers and effects without lagging or crashing, ensuring a smooth workflow.

Key features we always look out for include:

  • Non-destructive editing capabilities,
  • Advanced color correction tools,
  • Wide range of export options.

Compatibility and Integration – The best editing software isn’t just a standalone tool but integrates seamlessly with other applications.

This includes cloud storage options, compatibility with various camera models and lenses, and the ability to work with different file formats easily.

Advanced Tools and Features – For those of us looking to push the boundaries of creativity, having access to advanced editing tools is non-negotiable.

This encompasses everything from layer masks and blending modes to vector graphic capabilities and 3D modeling tools.

Finally, the support for third-party plugins can significantly extend the functionality of the software.

It allows us to customize the editing environment to our specific needs and workflow, incorporating new tools and features as they become available.

This adaptability is vital in keeping pace with the evolving landscape of professional photography.

What Is Photo Editing Software?

In today’s digital age, photo editing software has become an indispensable tool for photographers of all skill levels.

It allows us to enhance, manipulate, and transform images, turning the ordinary into the extraordinary.

At its core, photo editing software encompasses a wide range of applications designed to improve and alter photographs.

These applications range from simple tools that adjust brightness and contrast to advanced systems offering layer-based editing, 3D modeling, and more.

The primary goal of photo editing software is to help photographers achieve their creative vision by providing the tools needed to adjust various elements of an image.

Key adjustments often include:

  • Exposure and brightness,
  • Color balance and saturation,
  • Sharpness and clarity,
  • Removal of unwanted elements.

Beyond basic adjustments, sophisticated photo editing software introduces features like artificial intelligence-driven filters, batch processing capabilities, and extensive plugin support.

This empowers us to streamline our workflow and push the boundaries of digital photography.

Besides, with the rise of social media and online content creation, photo editing software has broadened its scope to cater to an audience far beyond professional photographers.

Now, content creators, social media influencers, and hobbyists alike rely on these tools to create visually appealing content.

It’s essential to recognize that the choice of photo editing software can significantly impact the final outcome of our photographic projects.

Factors to consider when selecting software include the user interface, performance and speed, compatibility with various operating systems, and the range of editing tools available.

By carefully selecting the right photo editing software, we empower ourselves to bring creative ideas to life, optimize our workflow, and maintain high standards of quality in our work.

Professional Photo Editing Software – Frequently Asked Questions

What Features Are Essential For Professional Photo Editing Software?

When selecting professional photo editing software, certain features stand as non-negotiable for us.

These include:

  • Non-destructive editing capabilities,
  • Advanced color correction and manipulation,
  • Comprehensive RAW file support,
  • Layers and masking for intricate editing,
  • Fast and efficient workflow tools.

Is It Necessary To Have Experience Before Using These Software?

Yes and no.

Some software options boast user-friendly interfaces tailored for beginners, while others may require a steeper learning curve.

We believe dedication and practice can significantly bridge this gap.

Can Professional Software Improve My Photography Business?


By enhancing photo quality and offering creative control, the right software can elevate your portfolio.

This, in turn, attracts more clients and potentially increases revenue.

What Is The Difference Between Adobe Photoshop And Lightroom?

  • Adobe Photoshop is designed for detailed image editing with a vast array of tools for intricate work.
  • Adobe Lightroom focuses on photo management and post-processing in bulk. It is preferred for adjusting light and color, adding presets, and organizing digital photo collections.

How Much Should I Invest In Photo Editing Software?

Investment should match your usage level and professional needs.

Here’s a basic guideline:

  • Beginners: Consider affordable or free software to grasp the basics.
  • Intermediate to professionals: Aim for software with a comprehensive set of tools that support a seamless workflow.

Do These Software Work On Both Windows And Mac?

Most top-tier photo editing software are compatible with both Windows and Mac.

But, it’s crucial to check system requirements before making a purchase to ensure optimal performance.

Through enhancing your skills and leveraging these powerful tools, the potential to take our photography to the next level is within our grasp.

Professional Photo Editing Software – Wrapping Up

Choosing the right professional photo editing software is a pivotal decision that can significantly impact our creative output and efficiency.

From the comprehensive capabilities of Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom to the specialized prowess of PortraitPro, each option presents its own set of advantages tailored to different aspects of professional photography.

We’ve explored industry leaders like Capture One for their unmatched color handling and Acdsee for its robust toolset, alongside innovative solutions like On1 Photo Raw that blend advanced technologies with user-friendly interfaces.

It’s clear that whether we’re focused on tethered shooting, noise reduction, or AI-driven touch-ups, there’s a software solution designed to meet our professional needs.

Remember, the best choice depends on our specific requirements, including user interface preferences, performance needs, and the types of editing tasks we regularly undertake.

By prioritizing these factors, we can select a software that not only enhances our productivity but also elevates our creative potential.