Best Photo Editing Software and Apps 2015

Nearly everyone has a camera these days, even if it's only the smartphone variety. Many people take their photography very seriously, and some even make a living out of it. But most people simply want to enjoy looking at and sharing their photos. Whatever the reason for taking pictures, even lightly editing the photos will make them look far better.

We put five of the best and most popular PC and Mac photo editing programs to the test: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5, Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Corel PaintShop Pro X7 and Google Picasa 3. (We'll also review Photos, Apple's successor to iPhoto, when it becomes available in the first part of 2015.) There is no best, one-size-fits-all photo-editing program. Instead, we'll help you select the best app for your needs (from beginner to pro), interests and budget.

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For instance, a casual snap-shooter wants quick, fun sharing capabilities but isn't willing to spend a lot of time or money on editing. Amateur photographers want to improve their pictures more and are willing to learn new skills. A serious, advanced hobbyist is fascinated by the process of improving photographs, and enjoys spending time at the computer discovering new creative possibilities. Professional photographers need versatile, high-performance, efficient software that will enable them to explore their artistic visions and produce the best possible quality, so they can make a living.

We tested these programs based on seven criteria:

  1. Design and interface: Is the program easy to navigate and intuitive?
  2. Organizing photos: How useful are the tools for sorting, tagging and face recognition?
  3. Photo editing tools: What are the adjustment capabilities, and how easy are they to use?
  4. Projects and workflow: How well does the program guide you through the process from camera to final output? For those programs that have creative projects, how well do they work, and how interesting and attractive are they?
  5. Potential for creativity: Does the program have advanced tools for sophisticated effects?
  6. Sharing and output: What formats can you output? Can you create items such as books or Web pages? Does the program integrate with social media sites?
  7. Access to help and learning: Are the help functions easy to access? Does the company provide instructional documents or videos?

Related Buying Guides:
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  • I am using on of them i.e. Adobe Photoshop and the software is awesome.
  • Is Picasa really the best free option? I prefer on Windows as it's also free and apart from its fairly advanced feature set, it hasa bunch of third party plugins to add to that.
  • Two things that could improve these reviews. First a summary chart showing the features each has. Second, a chart showing what formats each opens and saves to. We need to use eps images and being a non-profit the only affordable package we found was GIMP + Ghostscript.
  • I dont quite understand these test results. They seem more like a review than a "best of" list (as suggested by the title). I would have liked to see comparisons to other Software like Capture One Pro or DxO. The programs mentioned here are simply the most well known... in any segment.. and have been for years. This makes the article somewhat pointless for anyone other than those completely new to photo editing or photography.
  • Picasa, I will say, is my favorite.It's simple, and sometime you only want to do a simple touch up.
  • Picasa, I will say, is my favorite.It's simple, and sometime you only want to do a simple touch up.
  • Gimp and PhotoFiltre, both are simple in use and free
  • Use gimp. It's free and has TONS of uses to your expense. A good paid software is Adobe Illustrator. It is somewhat easy to learn and can make great graphics with just a few touches.
  • do not forget of macphun photo editing software - they also offer tons of great apps
  • therealduckofdeath said:
    Is Picasa really the best free option? I prefer on Windows as it's also free and apart from its fairly advanced feature set, it hasa bunch of third party plugins to add to that.

    It's been mentioned before, but GIMP is an extremely attractive alternative to Photoshop and it's free. It is definitely more feature-rich than Picassa.
  • myphotofilter is a free online photo editor. Enhance photos by applying photo filters, photo frames, textures, flares and other photo effects
  • Camera PROset Ultimate iOS app is excellent. It come with HD camera plus PHOTO & VIDEO editors. It has multiple editing options all packed in one single app which no other app offers. I downloaded and enjoying this app. Out of all bunch of camera apps I tested, this is the best.
  • Hi!

    Can anyone help me please? For a Windows 8 machine, I am looking for a free, basic photo editing software that has the features listed below, prominently. And not much more. I have downloaded and tried at least 20 of them, and haven't found the right fit yet. It's for my Mom, who is kind of a techniphobe. Too many options scare her, but she definitely wants the options below...

    Tools to adjust exposure (i.e. contrast, brightness...)
    tools to adjust color (i.e. red, green, blue...)
    Adjust sharpness,
    auto adjust
    maybe undo

    If you have an idea of one, please email it to
    I appreciate any ideas you might have.
  • Hey friend, I guess you have missed the best of the best full featured and Free Photo Editor, With PicsArt photo editor you can create amazing photo edits, retouches and real works of art. Share it in various social nets, or the PicsArt art network, where you can get in touch with profi photographers, learn many editing tricks and tips following the PicsArt Daily Journal.
  • I was hoping to find detailed comparisons among those software so I can decide on the one that suits my requirements. This isn't the case in this article - is it a review of some sort?
    I like PT Photo Editor - a free software and would recommend to anyone though.