Best Software for Photographers in 2022
The best Software for Photographers in 2022 for editing photos is getting better and better at a faster rate than ever before. Simple tasks that used to take hours can now be done with just one click thanks to intuitive AI. This means that there has never been a better time to update your photo-editing software.
But what’s the best software for editing photos in the year 2022? Creative people will know that Photoshop used to be the go-to tool, with little else to choose from. Now, though, there are a lot of paid and free alternatives. Some are easy-to-use programs that are great for making quick changes to images, while others are complex programs made for professional image editors.
In this guide, we’ve listed our favorite software for a range of budgets and operating systems. These tools can be used on your phone or tablet, but if that’s your thing, you’ll want to check out our list of the best photo apps. When we’ve used the software ourselves, we’ve linked to the full reviews so you can learn even more (see How We Test Software for more on our testing process).
Once you’ve decided on the software, you might want to look at our guide to the best laptops for editing photos. But for now, let’s talk about the best software you can buy to edit photos.
Table of Contents
Why Should You Edit Your Photos?
As a photographer, you have to edit photos as part of your job. By editing, you can change things like exposure, white balance, and color to make photos that are already beautiful even better.
Also, editing your photos helps make your image files smaller. This is especially important if you want to put your photos on your photography website or a social media account. Your WordPress site will load faster if the images are smaller, which will also help your search engine rankings. And, smaller image files post to your social accounts faster and look better.
What is the Best Photo Editing Software?
Here are my choices for the best photo editing software to try this year:
1. Plan for Adobe Photography
Adobe Photoshop is a great piece of software for editing photos, so if you want to use it, you should. It has all the tools you need to make beautiful art or just edit your photos. Photoshop is sure to meet all of your needs because it is easy to use and has a lot of features.
2. Capture One 22
Capture One seems expensive compared to Lightroom, but its strengths are the quality of its raw processing and editing tools, the power of its layer-based local adjustments, and its appeal to professional workflows. It can be used both as a tethered capture and editing tool for studio photographers who work in “sessions” and as cataloging, searching, and non-destructive editing tool for images like Lightroom.
Capture One 2022 has a new HDR merge feature and a panorama merges feature. The HDR merge feature only works with raw files, but it is very effective and looks natural. Capture One doesn’t have “modules” as Lightroom does. Instead, it has a single window with a set of “tool tabs” that can be changed in many ways. One of the biggest differences is its layers-based local adjustment system, which makes it much easier to see and change the changes you make to your work. This now includes “parametric” linear and radial gradient masks that you can change later. Most of the time, the raw processing in Capture One is smoother and sharper than in Adobe. The latest update adds support for the iPad version of Capture One, which is coming soon.
3. Capture One.
Capture One is a great addition to this list. It was made by a company called Phase One. At first glance, this RAW image editor looks like any other software for editing photos, but it has a lot of features that aren’t found in other programs. This is a better choice than Adobe Lightroom if you’re a photographer who mostly wants to improve RAW images.
4. Stellar Photo Recovery
Every day, professional photographers take tens of thousands of pictures. Their hard drives hold a lot of pictures, and all of them are important. If a photo or album gets deleted by accident, or if an image becomes corrupted and can’t be opened, or if the drive gets formatted by accident, the only way to get all the deleted photos back is to use a reliable application, which is why Stellar Photo Recovery Software is the best choice for photographers.
5. Affinity Photo 1.10
We complain that Photoshop doesn’t do enough, but the truth is that many photographers need this kind of old-fashioned image editor. And Affinity Photo gives you the same thing, but you don’t have to pay for it every month. Instead, you pay one extra-low price. Affinity Photo has a low price, but it has the tools, features, and power to go head-to-head with Photoshop. It focuses a lot on the retouching market, with cloning, healing, and retouching tools, an Inpainting tool for automatic object removal, and a dedicated Liquify persona (workspace) for localized image distortion effects. Affinity Photo is a very powerful photo editor with more tools and features than we have room to list here, like high-end frequency separation and HDR tone mapping. Since its release, Affinity Photo has steadily gotten better and has now reached version 1.10. However, Affinity has never charged for an update.
6. Adobe Photoshop
Photoshop is, without a doubt, the most advanced software for editing images. Serious photographers and designers can use it to do things like edit layers, work with raw camera files, draw, change fonts, and work together. Even though you have to pay for it now, the company keeps adding new, cutting-edge features like its new AI Neural Filters.
7. DxO PhotoLab 5
PhotoLab’s real strength is its great raw processing, amazing DeepPRIME denoise tool (only available in the Elite edition), great local image adjustments, and very good (and automatic) lens corrections. PhotoLab makes pictures that can’t be beaten when it comes to quality. On the other hand, you’ll have to pay more for the Elite edition to get DxO’s DeepPRIME and ClearView Plus features, and you’ll also need the DxO ViewPoint add-on if you want to make perspective corrections, which were once built into Optics Pro. DxO has also added PureRAW, a raw batch processing tool that turns regular raw files into “Linear DNGs,” to its software suite. Other programs still treat these as raw files with all the tonal and color room you would expect, but they already have DxO’s better demosaicing, noise reduction, and lens corrections applied. PhotoLab 5 finally works with Fujifilm X-Trans files. It also has a new selection/masking tool and other new features. PhotoLab 5 is neither cheap nor easy for beginners to use, but the results from raw files are among the best, if not the best.
Canva is one of the most popular tools for making photo templates that look great. Because of how easy it is to use, millions of people can edit graphics without having much technical knowledge.
It has a drag-and-drop editor that makes adding layers to your photos easy. Plus, you can easily add text and other graphics to your photos so you can share them on social media or on your website.
9. DxO Nik Collection 4
DxO PhotoLab is a good option for editing photos. It makes it easy to convert RAW images to JPG, and it works well with both Mac and Windows.
This system for editing and organizing photos has a customizable interface, presets, color protection, and more than one way to export photos, so you can do all your work in one place. These perks come with a lot of interesting and useful features, of course.
A stencil is a web-based tool for graphic design and photo editing that lets you make and edit images for your website and social media. It has an easy-to-use interface and is good for people who work in social media marketing, blogging, or running a small business.
It makes it easy to create images for social media, like ads, headers, profile pictures, posts, and more.
11. ON1 Photo RAW 2022
ON1 Photo RAW might be the most complete solution of all these programs, and the 2022 version is the best one yet, with new Sky Replacement AI, the integration of ON1 NoNoise AI, and, with the latest update, the integration of ON1 ReSize AI, which was previously sold separately. There is also an ON1 subscription service that lets you share and sync images with mobile devices like Adobe. ON1 Photo RAW 2022 has a built-in hybrid browsing and cataloging module that makes it easy to look through your image folders and gives you more powerful search tools if you need them. It has an Edit module with Develop, Effects, Portrait, and Local (adjustment) panels. The Effects module alone has a huge number of filters that can be adjusted, masked, and combined in an infinite number of ways. It does a really cool trick by putting layers, masking, and compositing tools into a workflow that is completely non-destructive.
12. Skylum Luminar.
The best alternative to Adobe Lightroom is Skylum Luminar AI. Because of this, it has become very popular among photographers.
It has powerful tools for editing images and is priced more affordably. Its newest version, Luminar 4, is faster and combines Lightroom and Photoshop in a great way. You get the best of both worlds in one piece of software.
13. Exposure X7
Exposure X7 is a program that isn’t as well-known as ON1 Photo RAW 2022, but it deserves a lot more attention than it gets. It is a subtle, powerful, and efficient all-in-one photo editing and browsing tool that focuses on analog film effects and comes with a huge library of simple one-click preset effects. It doesn’t have image layers, only adjustment layers, so you can’t combine photos, but that won’t matter to many photographers. Exposure X 7’s best features are its clean and easy-to-use interface, its beautiful effects and presets, and its simple but useful tools. Like ON1 Photo RAW 2022, it has non-destructive adjustments and “virtual copies” that let you try out different looks for a single image without having to save multiple files. Exposure X7 has great presets and analog looks, but its raw processing isn’t the best, and it can take a long time to render high-resolution images. You should keep an eye out for special deals, but the people who made this software didn’t make it to be cheap.
14. Luminar AI/Luminar Neo
Luminar AI(opens in a new tab) fills the gap between simple image editors and professional programs like Photoshop. It uses artificial intelligence to make quick, high-quality edits through a clear, easy-to-use interface. Don’t know how to fix the color or make curves? You can just point Luminar AI at an image and it will fix it right away. Or, if you already know how you want the picture to look, Luminar AI can help you add a new sky, remove skin flaws, or sharpen only certain parts.
The whole process is based on Templates, which let you make changes to your photo with just one click and make it look better right away, and Edits, where effects are automatically added. If you try it on a bunch of pictures, you’ll probably get results that are close to what a pro would make, without having to spend hours editing. Tools are simple, but they work well.
On the other hand, you won’t learn how to edit images because all of the complicated stuff happens behind the scenes. Moving between images can also be slow, and some of the overlay effects give the same results over and over. Even so, Luminar AI is a new kind of photo editor that is great for photographers who don’t want to do much.
15. Corel PaintShop Pro 2022 Ultimate
Corel PaintShop Pro is one of the easiest photo editing programs you can find online if you want a simple but effective way to improve your photos. At first glance, it may not seem like the most advanced tool on the market, but it has everything you need to take your photos to the next level without spending a lot of money.
Like other software, it has a one-time fee that starts at about $60. For that price, you can choose from a lot of different textures, backgrounds, and brushes. And app updates always add new features.
In the latest version of Corel PaintShop Pro, there is also a new Photography Workspace that is made for photographers. This simplified workspace makes editing photos easier by putting the best editing tools in a simple layout. Most of the tools in the Photography Workspace can be used with just one click.
And because this workspace can be used with a touch screen, it’s great for editing photos on a tablet. Corel has even made the tool icons big and clear so they are easy to choose on a touch screen.
16. ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2022
There aren’t many options for all-in-one image editing software, and maybe that’s for the best. It’s hard to be great at everything. Even though it has layers, filters, masking, and adjustment layers, ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2022 might not be as good at editing images as it is at cataloging and processing raw images. But it’s a good idea to think about it just for image management and raw processing. The ACDSee 2022 version adds a Media mode to make it easier to manage digital assets and a People mode that uses AI to recognize faces. There are new selection tools, a new color wheel for making “surgical, pixel-based selections,” and brush-on noise reduction. The interface of ACDSee PhotoStudio, on the other hand, is quite dense and complicated, which is likely to turn off new users. There is an ACDSee Photo Studio for Mac 8 version, but this is a different product, and it would be better if there was just one program that worked on both platforms. ACDSee has also put out a new photo editor called Gemstone 12, which is interesting but has only a few features. We won’t argue about how useful ACDSee is, though.
17. Corel PaintShop Pro.
Corel PaintShop Pro is a good photo editing program that is also one of the least expensive ones out there. Some photographers call it an alternative to Adobe Photoshop, but it doesn’t have Photoshop’s best and most advanced features, like Camera Shake Reduction, 3D modeling, Faces Liquefy, and detailed typography.
Corel PaintShop Pro isn’t a bad choice, though, if you want simple software for editing images that works well. Just don’t think it will be as smart as its more advanced cousins.
18. Adobe Lightroom
Adobe is a well-known name in the world of editing photos. In fact, it has been a leader in putting out updates to cutting-edge photo editing software for many years.
Adobe Lightroom is another powerful program that can be used to edit photos. It’s ideal for photographers who want an easier-to-use but still powerful tool to edit their photos.
Lightroom Classic and CC both have easier-to-use interfaces for editing images than Photoshop, which is hard to figure out and can be intimidating.
19. Adobe Lightroom Classic
Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom is still the best photo workflow software for pros. It comes with all the output and printing options you could want, as well as some of the best tools for organizing your work.
20. Adobe Lightroom Extras
Lightroom is one of the most powerful photo editors on the market because it has a library of pre-made editing tools called presets. With these presets, it is easier than ever to give your photos a certain look. Find a preset package you like in Lightroom’s preset marketplace or online, and then apply it to one or more of your photos for a perfect edit.
Of course, presets are a great way to quickly edit a large number of photos at once. You can also make your own custom presets, which are like editing recipes that you can use to edit photos in the future. You can always change pre-made or custom presets before you use them, or you can move their sliders to make them fit your photo better.
With the presets in Lightroom, you can keep adding to the software’s editing capabilities.
Not only that but many third-party plugins and apps have been made to work with Lightroom to make it even easier to use. Envira Gallery, for example, lets you easily sync your Lightroom photo galleries with your photography website because it works with both Adobe Lightroom and WordPress.
Photo Studio Ultimate has advanced tools for editing and organizing photos, as well as amazing special effects and high-quality photo projects, all in one piece of software.
With the InPixio Photo Editing Software, it will be easy and quick to crop, straighten, fix color and brightness, and get rid of flaws. You can also make your skin smoother, whiten your teeth, get rid of dark circles, and fix, restore, and improve old photos. Read the review on InPixio for more information.
22. Skylum Aurora HDR.
Skylum Aurora HDR makes it easy to combine images in a way that makes the final shot look natural and beautiful at the same time. It can be used on its own or plugged into other programs like Adobe Photoshop.
You can also use it as an add-on for Apple Photos. Aside from the traditional ways to make HDR images, Aurora’s AI-based neural network lets photographers make HDR images from a single file.
23. Adobe Photoshop Elements 2022
24. Phase One Capture One Pro
25, Skylum Luminar
26, Adobe Photoshop Express
27. ACDSee Ultimate
28. Serif Affinity Photo
31. Pixlr Editor
36. Capture One
38. inPixio Photo Studio 1
39. Sumo Paint
40. Exposure X7
How do we test photo editing software, what do we look for
Here are the six things that we look at when we test photo editing software. You can think of this as a list. You might not need all of these features, but we do take them into account when we review products.
1. Powerful tools for touching up, masking, and putting images together
2. Tools for organizing and keeping track of pictures
3. Editing without destroying
4. Good processing of the raw materials
5. Creative settings that only need one click
6. Beginner friendliness
So, what’s the best software for taking photos? That depends, and there is no one answer that is always right. But let’s break it down a bit more and quickly go over the choices you have.
Adobe Lightroom Classic, Capture One 22, DxO PhotoLab 5, ON1 Photo RAW 2022, Luminar Neo, and Exposure X7 are your best choices for an all-in-one photo editor that lets you organize and edit RAW images.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Best Software for Photographers in 2022
Which is the No 1 photo editing software?
Pixlr is the best photo editor for adding filters.
There are some basic editing tools, filters, and overlays in the free version
What is the most common photo editing tool used?
Most people talk about Adobe Photoshop, which is the tool that seems to be used the most. As good as Adobe is, it’s not the only software that can edit photos well. In fact, there are a lot of different kinds of photo editing software out there for you to look at and choose from.
Is Photoshop better than Lightroom?
Lightroom is the best tool for managing and editing the thousands of photos you have on your devices. Photoshop is best at giving you more control so you can make bigger changes that will help you make a few pictures look perfect
Is Photoshop still the best?
Still, Adobe Photoshop is our favorite image editor in general. It is the most powerful image editing software you can download today. It comes with a full set of tools for illustrators, designers, and photographers.
Is there anything better than Photoshop?
Photopea is the best free option for photographers who don’t want to use Photoshop. Krita is the best free option for artists who don’t want to use Photoshop. Pixelmator Pro has to be the best alternative to Photoshop in almost every way. Pixelmator wasn’t as good at editing photos as Affinity or Luminar, but its art tools gave it the edge.
What app do photographers use to edit pictures?
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a free, powerful camera app and photo/video editor that lets you take and edit beautiful photos.
What’s the new photo app everyone is using?
Everyone is talking about Dispo, a new app that can only be used by people who have been invited. David Dobrik made it. He is a well-known YouTuber who got his start on the now-defunct social network Vine.