Best Photo Editing Software and Apps 2019

Product Use case Rating
Adobe PhotoShop Elements 2019 Best Photo Editor Overall 4
Corel PaintShop Pro Best for Editing Novices 4
Affinity Photo Best Budget Pro Photo Editor 4.5
Google Photos Best for Sharing Photos 4
Apple Photos Best Free Editor for Mac Users 4
GIMP Best Open-Source Photo Editor 3.5

What do you do with all the photos you took with you DSLR or mirrorless camera? Rather than letting them languish on an SD card, good photo editing software will let you touch up your pictures so that they're looking their best when you share them with family and friends, or for when you want to print out your photos.

Regardless of what you want to do with your photographs, there’s a slew of photo-editing programs and apps from which to choose. To help you select the best software, we tested six popular photo-editing programs, all either free or under $100: Apple Photos, Corel PaintShop Pro, GIMP, Google Photos, Adobe Photoshop Elements and Serif Affinity Photo.


We're currently testing new photo editing apps, as well as new versions of our current picks, so stay tuned for updated recommendations.

Our Recommendations

Adobe PhotoShop Elements 2019 ($99 on Amazon) remains our top pick for its robust yet accessible editing tools. Available for PCs and Macs, it also has a gentle learning curve for novices, as well as tons of features to make the most of your photos.

While it doesn’t offer much in the way of editing tools, Google Photos is the best at aggregating and organizing all of your photos, no matter which device they’re on. And, it’s free.

For pros or more advanced users, we recommend Affinity Photo ($49.99 on Affinity) . While it will be harder for novices to pick up, it has a great range of powerful tools.

 

Adobe Photoshop Elements 2019 is our pick for best consumer photo-editing program for its ease of use, fun creativity and underlying power. New for this year are automated collages and slideshows, new collage templates, creative guided edits, and a revised home screen. 

Affinity Photo offers powerful tools, resolution-independent editing, RAW processing within the interface and most of the other features that professional photographers want and need — all for only $49.99. While its learning curve is steeper than most, you’ll be rewarded with a robust set of features, including Photoshop-like exposure controls, paintbrushes, layers and more.

Corel PaintShop Pro came in as a very close second to Elements, with many of the same advantages, and at a lower price. It's a powerful program, yet is easy for novices to grasp, and now has some additional tools, such as 360-degree photo editing. However, Photoshop Elements is available for both iOS and Windows devices, while PaintShop Pro is a Windows-only program. 

Google Photos is better than any other tool for organizing and consolidating all your photo libraries, no matter where they are. However, in terms of photo editing, it offers only the barest minimum, helping you quickly prepare pictures for easy sharing. In fact, it’s best used in tandem with another app that offers greater editing features, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements.

Though it doesn’t have editing tools that are as robust as those for paid programs, Apple Photos is a free, fun and very easy-to-use app for accessing, organizing and sharing your photos and videos. And, Apple Photos makes it easy to sync your library across multiple Apple devices. 

This free, open-source photo editor is beloved by many for its ability to help you get under the hood and customize the program. It also has a powerful set of editing tools, but it offers almost nothing in the way of guidance, which makes it more difficult to learn than other photo-editing software.

How We Tested

We considered the following criteria when evaluating these programs:

  • Organizing, syncing and accessing your photo library
  • Photo editing versatility and depth
  • Ease of use
  • Power
  • Sharing options
  • Device and file format support
  • Creative freedom
  • Fun

Each of the programs we tested didn't try to be the end-all, be-all for everyone. Therefore, we gave the various criteria different weights in our final ratings, depending on what the program's objective was and the kind of photographer to whom it would appeal.

Photography Guides

Looking for some tips to become a better photographer? Then check out our tips for taking great photos on your vacation, at weddings, of your kids, of your foodfireworksand more.

Photo Printing Services

Once you've edited your photos, you'll want to show them off to your friends and family. We've tested a number of photo printing services; here are our the best for photo booksphoto cards, and photo calendars.



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9 comments
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  • zer0c00l587
    The average user only needs GIMP, unless you're photographer, the rest is a waste of money in my opinion, long as the camera is good and you know hot to take shot, those programs is for when you do not know how.
  • Michaelfx
    Thank you!
  • Kora C
    Great list! I personally would add the app Deep Art Effects. Cool art style filters and a lot of fun!!
  • STSinNYC
    Nice article. Affinity looks interesting. Nikon shooters can get two free editing programs from Nikon, View NX-i and Capture NX-D. View is easy to learn, has essential tools for editing RAW, esp. White Balance and Exposure, and then convert to TIFF or JPEG for further editing. Capture NX-D has more features but also not hard to learn. I am a working photographer, advertising and events, I do nearly all of my RAW (NEF) work in these two programs.
  • marvelartlover
    Photoshop is the best tool for images.
  • rashisaxsena
    Adobe Photoshop CC is the best photo editing software I have ever used
  • noseyparrot
    I like the article. I'd add PhotoWorks software to the list - it's good for beginners and professionals (easy improving image quality, raw files processing, applying creative effects with one click)
  • jonhgaarg
    I prefer online photo editing services.