- January 02, 2020
- 18 min to read
Online Watermark Remover. If you want a free online watermark app for Mac, Online Watermark. Download PhotoPad photo editing software for Windows/Mac to easily edit digital photos. Resize, crop, touch up or add any number of effects to any image. PhotoPad lets you easily remove red-eye and blemishes, enhance colors, crop photos and more. GIMP – Best Open-Source Free Photo Editing Software for Windows 10. GIMP is an open source.
And with iCloud Photo Library, you can keep a lifetime's worth of photos and videos stored in iCloud and up to date on your Mac, iOS devices, Apple TV, and even your PC. ICloud Photo Library. 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. Gentlemen Coders offers a RAW photo editor for Mac and iOS called RAW Power that can run as standalone software or a Photos extension.
Most free photo editors available on the App Store are quite basic, offering just a limited number of filters and allowing you to easily and quickly liven up your photos before posting them on social media.
But if you’re an aspiring or professional photographer, you probably need a more powerful app with a broader set of tools to use your creativity to the fullest. Besides, you probably use your Mac for photo editing because working on a large screen makes it possible to adjust the slightest details.
1. Apple’s Photos (Built-in app)
Apple’s Photos app is included for free on all recently released Macs. It does a good job at organizing your photos, but its collection of photo enhancement tools leaves much to be desired. Hopefully, our selection of the best free programs for photo editing on Mac will help you choose the right app to suit all your creative needs.
2. Luminar (7 days trial)
Luminar is another full-featured photo editor that’s popular with both Mac and Windows users. It can work as a standalone app as well as a plugin for such popular programs as Apple Photos.
Luminar uses Artificial Intelligence to enable sophisticated yet quick photo enhancements. Among these AI features are Sky Enhancer, which adds more depth and detail to the sky in your photos while leaving other areas untouched; Accent AI, which analyzes a photo and automatically applies the best combination of different effects to enhance your image; and Sun Rays, which allows you to place an artificial sun and adjust the lighting to your liking or make the sun rays already in your photo look even more incredible.
Luminar has over 60 filters you can apply to your photos to enhance them in a moment. Luminar also provides a set of powerful tools for cropping, transforming, cloning, erasing, and stamping, along with layers, brushes, and many more incredible features. Luminar supports the Touch Bar on the latest MacBook Pro, making photo editing even more effortless and pleasing.
3. Photolemur 3 (Free Version with watermark)
Photolemur is a relative newcomer on the photo editing market but it has all the chances to win the favor of beginner photographers and hobbyists. Running on Artificial Intelligence, Photolemur is a completely automatic photo enhancer, meaning that it does all the editing for you in no time. It has the simplest interface, with only a few buttons and sliders to adjust the enhancement to your liking and view the before and after results.
All you need to do is choose a photo (or a few) that you want to improve, drag and drop or import them using the Import button, and let the program make enhancements. After it’s done, you can compare the edited version with the original image by using the before–after slider and, if you want, adjust the skin tone or even enlarge the eyes using additional sliders. Pretty easy, huh?
Photolemur also offers a number of impressive styles to touch up your photos and give them a sophisticated and professional look. With this app, you don’t need to stuff your head with photo editing nuances and terms. Just run Photolemur and watch the magic happen!
4. Aurora HDR (14 days trial)
As you probably can tell from the name, Aurora HDR is designed to help photographers enhance their HDR photos, making them even more detailed and beautiful. It’s an ideal tool for editing your photos, with an extensive collection of more than 20 tools including details, tone, mapping, color, glow, and vignette. Each tool has its unique selection of controls to adjust its effects.
Aurora HDR enables you to work with brushes, layers, and masks, and provides a number of automatic AI tools for recognizing and removing noise, enhancing colors, lighting, and details, improving clarity, and adding contrast to dull areas while leaving other areas untouched.
Aurora HDR does a great job dealing with difficult lighting situations and creating full-of-life images while being easy to use.
5. Pixelmator (Trial 30 Days)
Pixelmator is a photo enhancer beloved by many Mac users, as it offers a good combination of a modern and simple interface, the ability to work on multiple layers, and powerful features that take photo editing to a whole new level. With so many editing tools, brushes, and effects, you can enhance your photos to your liking. You can choose between two versions of Pixelmator – standard and pro – depending on your needs. The standard version is great for basic photo editing with its selection of essential tools and filters, while the pro version is packed with extra brushes, tools, and effects that let you push your creativity to new boundaries. You can decide which version is suitable for you according to what features you’re looking for in a photo editing app.
6. Adobe Photoshop Elements 2020 (Trial link)
Photoshop Elements isn’t as affordable as other photo enhancers for beginner photographers. But luckily there’s a trial version available, so you can check it out before deciding whether this app is worthy of your money. Photoshop Elements acquired many powerful features from Photoshop, only Elements is simplified for amateur photographers and enthusiasts. It includes a good number of effects and filters, plus automated editing options for improving lighting, color balance, and exposure, and even opening closed eyes and reducing the effects of camera shake.
In addition to all of these awesome features, Photoshop also offers editing modes for beginners, intermediate users, and experts. Beginners will probably prefer Quick mode, as it focuses on essential tools to quickly enhance your photos by improving color, lighting, and other basic settings. Guided mode provides intermediate users with step-by-step guidance with more professional features like artistic effects, skin tone correction, and background replacement. Expert mode gives you full access to the app’s really powerful editing features and is ideal for creating stunning images.
7. Affinity Photo (Free Trial)
Affinity Photo’s interface may seem overwhelming at first, especially for novices, but when you come to grips with it you’ll find that the app is just what you’ve been looking for. Its numerous professional tools, effects, and filters encourage you to get creative with your photos. Among the coolest features Affinity Photo has to offer is a before and after view to compare the original photo with its edited version.
Affinity Photo works with 15 file types, including common ones like PDF, PSD, JPG, and GIF as well as some less popular ones. The app amazes with its abundance of basic and top-notch editing tools, allowing you to tweak your photos using all possible kinds of instruments. Affinity Photo allows you to edit HDR photos, apply artistic filters and effects, play with masks and layers, and create breathtaking compositions by combining several images in one. If you find its interface a bit much and are afraid of getting lost in all those advanced tools, you should probably look for something more suitable for your level. But Affinity Photo is worth mastering.
8. Google Photos
Google Photos is a popular cloud storage service for photos and videos. It can’t boast countless masterly tools like other photo enhancers that we review in this article, but it includes some fundamental features like filters, color adjustment sliders, and transformation tools.
Although Google Photos may not be that helpful when it comes to editing photos, it does a pretty good job at storing high-resolution images and videos with 15GB of free online storage, compared to iCloud’s mere 5GB (which you can upgrade to 50GB for a monthly fee). If you’re planning to go on a trip and take plenty of photos, then it might be smart to sign up for Google Photos to use that extra storage space when you come back.
9. PhotoScape X (Free)
A relatively new photo editing app, PhotoScape X has been gaining popularity with many Mac and PC users since its release in 2008. Its interface is simple but unconventional, with a number of tabs running along the top of the window. Each is responsible for a specific stage of editing. The Viewer tab allows you to browse and organize your photos. After you pick a photo, you can switch to the Editor tab, which includes a broad set of instruments, filters, and effects and a useful feature that enables you to compare the adjusted photo with the original.
The next tabs, including the Batch tab, mainly concentrate on editing and renaming multiple photos at once. The GIF tab allows you to easily create an animated GIF from a group of selected photos.
The downside of PhotoScape X is a lack of selection tools, so all changes are applied to the whole image rather than to a selected part.
10. Gimp (Free)
Gimp is a free open-source photo editing app that has been on the market for over 22 years and is available for Windows, Mac, and even Linux. Unlike many free apps, Gimp doesn’t have any ads or in-app purchases. Its grey interface might seem a little old-fashioned and it may be a bit sluggish when it comes to complex effects, though.
Gimp offers a vast collection of advanced tools that hardly any free photo editor can boast. It has numerous enhancement options such as clone and heal brushes, layers and channels, accurate selection tools, a number of transformation instruments, and, of course, color adjustment controls. Gimp is one of the most powerful tools for enhancing photos and is beloved by so many users for its price (free) and versatility. But if you can’t come to grips with Gimp’s interface, it may be worth paying some cash for a more user-friendly program.
- January 02, 2020
- 27 min to read
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.
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. 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.
5. 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.
Free Edible Image Software For Mac
6. 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.
7. AfterShot Pro
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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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
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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.
13. 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.
Best Free Image Mounting Software For Mac
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.
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.
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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.