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Best Photo Editing Software for Beginners

Best Photo Editing Software for Beginners

Looking for the best photo editing software for beginners to start editing photos like a pro? It doesn’t matter if you are shooting with a DSLR camera or use a smartphone, you need an easy to use photo editing software that will help you do basic photo editing, color correction, and portrait photo editing without experience in this sphere. Don’t know what software to download? Here is a full review exactly for you!

Best Photography Editing Software for Beginners

Product _____Price_____ Photo Retouchers' Rating Keyword Tagging Face Recognition Layer Editing Lens Profile Corrections Automatic Album Creation
Adobe Lightroom Classic CC $9.99/
month
5.0 + + + + +
Adobe Photoshop CC $9.99/
month
5.0 + + + +

+

Gimp Free 4.0 + + - + +
Adobe Photoshop Elements $9.99/
month
4.0 + - - + +
Pixlr Free/
5$
3.8 + - + - -
Corel Paint Shop Pro 84.99$ 4.0 + + + + -
CaptureOnePro 200$/
year
3.7 + - - + -
Paint.Net Free 3.8 + + - - -
ACDSee Ultimate 149$ 4.0 + - + + -
DxO PhotoLab 129/
99$
3.5 - - - + -

 

There are many softwares for photo editing for beginners and photo editing apps, and each has got the advantages, capabilities, and limitations. In the case you are an amateur or a beginner in a photo editing industry, you needn’t expensive or multifunctional software, such as Photoshop. Start from another software. So what good digital photo editing softwares should provide:

  • Many online tutorials
  • Your images organizing and import
  • Perform basic photo adjustment, like color correction and resizing
  • Provide a set of filters, effects, presets
  • Capability to share pictures
  • RAW format images post processing

1. Adobe Lightroom Classic CC

photo retouching software lightroom classic ccphoto retouching software lightroom classic cc
 

USE LIGHTROOM CLASSSIC CC

 

Overal Rating95
Color Correction           
0
100
100
Photo Retouching        
0
100
100
App's Design                 
0
95
100
Easy Navigation            
0
95
100
User-friendly Interface
0
95
100
Additional Functions    
0
100
100
Response Speed           
0
95
100
Advertising                    
0
100
100
 
 
Pros+
  • Professional color correction
  • Easy learning
  • Smart search tools
  • Automatic saving of original files and photo editing in the Cloud
  • Advanced Customization Tools
  • Additional export settings, which include user-defined watermarks
  • Many Lightroom presets and brushes
Cons-
  • Low quantity of import options
  • Watermarks are applicable to texts only
  • A limited number of portrait photo editing features
  • There is no HDR option and panoramas
 

Because of great number of free Lightroom tutorials and free Lightroom presets, this software takes the first place in my list of the best photography editing software for beginners. Adobe Lightroom gets a pretty big update and goes to Adobe Lightroom Classic CC.

photo retouching software lightroom

After 2018 update in April, Adobe Co made a joint effort to make Camera Profiles an important part of each photographer's workflow. Instead of adjusting the white balance first, this best photo editing software for beginners offers you to launch the workflow with its recently created camera profiles. Find out how to get Lightroom for free and start testing this software right now.

It becomes quicker to scroll lots of images to choose the pictures subset. New Color Range and Luminance Masking photo editing tools allow you to make photo editing faster and accurately.

Furthermore, Lightroom CC is speeding up many color correction processes. Adobe has lately acknowledged that Lightroom faces some challenges related to productivity, and it is releasing a large upgrade to make everything work well. Lightroom presets and brushes are a helping hand for many beginning photo retouchers.


 

Lightroom Classic gets the speeding improvements in the start-up time, preview, cycling between modules, images navigation, filters working. The export and import options began to work many times quicker that is rather good when you edit event or wedding photography. Despite the increased speed of work and responsiveness, this best photo editing software for beginners has also implemented a number of useful functions, like the elimination of the lens interference, chromaticity aberrations, geometric distortion, and others.

2. Adobe Photoshop CC

photo retouching software photoshop ccphoto retouching software photoshop cc
 

USE ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CC

 

Overal Rating100
Color Correction           
0
100
100
Photo Retouching        
0
100
100
App's Design                 
0
100
100
Easy Navigation            
0
95
100
User-friendly Interface
0
95
100
Additional Functions    
0
100
100
Response Speed           
0
100
100
Advertising                    
0
100
100
 
 
Pros+
  • Excellent color correction and photo retouching
  • Productive and stable work 
  • Many tutorials and updates
  • Actions, brushes, overlays, textures
  • Video editing
  • 3D designing
  • Synchronized libraries
  • Easy interface
Cons-
  • Only a monthly payment
  • Too many features for beginners
  • Some useless tools
 

It’s not surprising that Photoshop CC is a leader in my rating, it’s definitely a professional photo editing software that is widely used among beginning photographers and photo retouchers becase of a big number of free Photoshop tutorials and photo editing freebies as Photoshop actions, overlays, textures, etc.

photo retouching software photoshop cc 2018

Photoshop CC is famous for its stable work. It is really the best place to make any photo manipulation you can think about. If speaking about the beginner’s choice, you shouldn’t set your sights on this software.  Anyway, I am not going to talk you out of it, but the features and options it provides will be too complicated to learn from the scratch. Whereas you’ve decided to investigate the entire aspects of the software, the result will not be long in coming. I recommend downloading Photoshop free and test it for several days before paying a month subscription.


 

photo retouching software photoshop

Besides its functionality, Photoshop is also reclaimed and needed due to its data cloud, which is Adobe Creative Cloud Photography. Using the cloud hosting, it is easy to make photo editing, arrange, preserve and share your pictures from anywhere.

 
USD $9.99   20GB of cloud storage (about 4,000 JPEGs)
USD $9.99   1TB of cloud storage (about 20,000 raw DSLR images or 200,000 JPEGs)
USD $52.99   Includes 100GB of cloud storage, your own portfolio website, premium fonts, and social media tools
     

3. Adobe Photoshop Elements

photo retouching software photoshop elementsphoto retouching software photoshop elements
 

USE ADOBE PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS

 

Overal Rating80
Color Correction           
0
80
100
Photo Retouching        
0
70
100
App's Design                 
0
90
100
Easy Navigation            
0
95
100
User-friendly Interface
0
95
100
Additional Functions    
0
70
100
Response Speed           
0
70
100
Advertising                    
0
80
100
 
 
Pros+
  • Many high-powered options
  • Good output capacities
  • Auto Tagging and strong search parameters
  • Useful guide for advanced techniques
Cons-
  • Limited photo editing features
  • It’s got the large disc trace
  • No referral system
 

This easy to use photo editing software is designed for beginners who haven’t got an image editing experience yet. It includes simple features to create, edit, organize and publish various pictures. The software has implemented an AI option to automatically search for the most appropriate images and correct those that may be unsuccessful. In other words, this is considered to be the Photoshop’s younger brother. But, how do they differ?

It happens that you are not interested in studying of all the options and features of Photoshop software, then use Adobe Photoshop Elements.

photo retouching software photoshop elements 2018

The best photo editing software for beginners has a simple interface and has got a small number of activities that make it simple enough to be understood. There aren’t some features which the older brother obtains. This doesn’t mean that it is impossible to make high-quality photo editing. Despite the functions are cut down, they are quite well developed.

photo retouching software element 2018

Adobe Photoshop Elements 2019 is the best easy photo editing software for beginners, designed to facilitate photo editing and create even small video projects. It provides access to the core functions, intuitive systematization, and step-by-step image post editing instructions. Moreover, the work with photos is simplified thanks to Adobe Sensei technology (using artificial intelligence and machine learning). When applying this tech, Adobe Sensei removes redundant objects out of the picture, makes some color corrections and makes the image look more natural. All changes can be made in real time, giving several effects simultaneously. The facial recognition system is also added. It allows you to alter face position and person’s glance in the picture, depending on where it looks.

4. GIMP

photo retouching software gimpphoto retouching software gimp
 

USE GIMP

 

Overal Rating80
Color Correction           
0
75
100
Photo Retouching        
0
70
100
App's Design                 
0
90
100
Easy Navigation            
0
95
100
User-friendly Interface
0
95
100
Additional Functions    
0
70
100
Response Speed           
0
60
100
Advertising                    
0
90
100
 
 
Pros+
  • The photo editor is free
  • Excellent technical support and active forums
  • Frequent updates
  • Open source software
  • It’s flexible and customizable thanks to plugins and scripts
Cons-
  • No 16 bits per channel color support
  • There are some lags
 

Gimp is considered to be the best free alternative to Photoshop today. Gimp has been created by the team of like-minded individuals that implemented the best free photo editing software for beginners afterward.

photo retouching software gimp 2018

For the first time, when I downloaded Gimp, I expected to see lots of advertisements, unfriendly features, and inexorable settings. But, what is the reality? Many brushes panels, layers, tracks, as well as other photo editing tools that make photo editing fast and smooth. Studying the program was many times easier than learning Photoshop, because of the great overlap between them.

photo retouching software gimp 2018 editing

So, what is the best photo editing software for beginners: Photoshop or Gimp? Basically, GIMP is a free image editor that is not nearly as cool as Photoshop but isn’t clearly inferior in performance. Actually, it is an open source code program which allows any user detecting a bug to fix it. Here you find the same Photoshop features, filters, settings, layers and so on. It is an obviously pure app that is working with no ads. It has proved to be the best photo editing software for beginners free, as it provides pretty good tools that are easy to explore..

5. Pixlr

photo retouching software pixlrphoto retouching software pixlr
 

USE Pixlr

 

Overal Rating70
Color Correction           
0
70
100
Photo Retouching        
0
70
100
App's Design                 
0
80
100
Easy Navigation            
0
95
100
User-friendly Interface
0
85
100
Additional Functions    
0
60
100
Response Speed           
0
60
100
Advertising                    
0
60
100
 
 
Pros+
  • Masks and layers
  • Adjustable interface
  • Lots of photo editing options and features
  • A mobile app
  • Reopens images from the desktop and URL
  • Pro and free version
Cons-
  • Flash player is required
  • Too many ads
 

Photo retouching software Pixlr promotes itself in several ways as Editor and Express. It’s got some advantages and almost no differs from Photoshop Elements. This image editor provides the very familiar interface and functionality. There is a RAW files support which is pretty awesome. But along with the positive sides, the serious drawback should be emphasized – this best photo editing software for beginners is pay-per-view and requires $5 monthly payment.

photo retouching software pixlr 2018

Pixlr Editor is a light Pro version. The picture editor is free of charge, but includes too many ads that get in the way of your working. Free version doesn’t provide RAW files support. The interface is streamlined, but the functionality is that level as Pro, being in a less disclosed format. The central issue is to move around in the picture, as it is poorly synchronized with a browser. But, you are still able to make a deep image retouching. This software seems to be the best software for photo editing for beginners and those people who want to get nice, fast and free photo post processing.

photo retouching software pixlr editor 2018

Pixlr Express is fully lightweight image editor. There isn’t anything special with the interface and the oversimplified functionality. It is right for people that require prompt applying of an effect or adding a shadow slider. Pixlr Express is free, that’s the reason why there are too many ads as in Editor Version.

photo retouching software pixlr express 2018

Basically, it’s the best free photo editor online that is quite comparable with the GIMP and Photoshop Elements, due to its high functionality.

6. Corel PaintShop Pro

photo retouching software corel paintshop prophoto retouching software corel paintshop pro
 

USE PAINTSHOP PRO

 

Overal Rating70
Color Correction           
0
70
100
Photo Retouching        
0
70
100
App's Design                 
0
80
100
Easy Navigation            
0
75
100
User-friendly Interface
0
85
100
Additional Functions    
0
70
100
Response Speed           
0
65
100
Advertising                    
0
60
100
 
 
Pros+
  • Useful effects and options to edit
  • Face recognition tools
  • Well-considered learning system
  • Well-balanced range of vector tools to draw
Cons-
  • There are operations that take a long time
  • Too conspicuous interface that cannot be changed
  • Very expensive subscription
  • Inefficient work of aberration removing
 

Corel Paintshop Pro is good replacement or addition to Photoshop CC. This photo editor software provides a number of options, unlimited functionality, frequent updates, as well as good technical support. If you need 3D modeling and typography, this image editor won’t work. It offers such options, but it isn’t Photoshop level.

photo retouching software corel paintshop pro 2018

The interface of PaintShop has been improving all the time. It can’t be compared to Photoshop’s speed and responsiveness. Despite the price tag on the photo retouching software rolls over 84.99. This payment is made once, in other words, you needn’t pay a monthly subscription, as in Photoshop. You just buy it once and use it by your personal account.

photo retouching software corel paintshop pro 2018 free

Whenever you open Corel Paintshop Pro, you get the full set of instruments. You may add layers, work with the grouped objects and customize the levels, as in Photoshop. The curves tool is very effective as it lets you apply about 16 control points and create incredible effects. There is a retro lab option that allows you to adjust the blur, scatter, glow, background, color, and other effects. Smart Selection and Auto Selection are two selection tools look like Photoshop magic wand. The best photo editing software for beginners can delete and move objects, as well.

7. Capture One Pro

photo retouching software capture one prophoto retouching software capture one pro
 

USE CAPTURE ONE PRO

 

Overal Rating75
Color Correction           
0
80
100
Photo Retouching        
0
70
100
App's Design                 
0
80
100
Easy Navigation            
0
85
100
User-friendly Interface
0
85
100
Additional Functions    
0
70
100
Response Speed           
0
70
100
Advertising                    
0
80
100
 
 
Pros+
  • Excellent set of options and tools
  • Friendly and easy interface
  • Fast import and export
  • Keyword tagging tool
  • Layers photo editing
  • Available cloud storage
  • Great price tag
Cons-
  • Some tools are not user-friendly
  • Bad Help function
  • Requires a good PC configuration
  • No online sharing features
  • No face recognition
 

Many photographers still argue about what software is better: Capture One vs Lightroom, what are the differences between them? They both offer the same photo color correction features. Capture One Pro is the best photo editing software for beginners that offers tools to import digital images, file conversion, and basic photo editing. The picture editor has such features as live viewing and focusing options, excellent mask tools and markup function.

photo retouching software capture one pro 2018

This best free photo editor app has a worked out tools and features. If we talk about the differences that Capture One Pro can be proud of, it is Capture Pilot. It is a good free software for iPhone and iPad. Using it, you see the ready photos almost at once. Now you are able to control the settings of the files and the camera, change the exposure, focus and shoot directly from the program interface.

Capture One Pro suggests buying software at prices ranging from $200 up to $350, depending on your requirements and preferences. You may also subscribe for $20 per month. But you do not need to buy the best software for photo editing for beginners at once, because after registering you will get the free fully operational 30-day trial version.

photo retouching software capture one pro 2018 price

If we talk about the performance, Capture One Pro is resource-intensive software with excellent functionality. I do not recommend you to use it on a weak configuration and as the first photo editing software, as it will take too much time to make photo retouching. I find Lightroom CC a better choice.

8. Paint.Net

photo retouching software paintnetphoto retouching software paintnet
 

USE PAINT.NET

 

Overal Rating75
Color Correction           
0
70
100
Photo Retouching        
0
70
100
App's Design                 
0
80
100
Easy Navigation            
0
85
100
User-friendly Interface
0
75
100
Additional Functions    
0
70
100
Response Speed           
0
70
100
Advertising                    
0
80
100
 
 
Pros+
  • Free
  • Simple and handy
  • Easy to learn
  • Many useful features and effects
  • A lot of plugins
  • Well-designed interface
Cons-
  • A limited brush tool
  • No Burn and Dodge
  • Text correction is impossible when the app is used
 

Paint.Net is just a solution for photo retouching. It’s got easy to understand interface. Despite the fact that it is a free picture editor, it matches its functionality. It fits to perform non-complex actions related to photo retouching.

photo retouching software paint.net 2018

Before the release of 4.0version version in 2014, almost no one knew about Paint.Net. This best free photo editing software for beginners was in low demand because it was very similar to the built-in Windows Paint. Paint.Net does not support RAW format, but you can work with such files as JPEG, BMP, PNG, TIFF, etc.

Paint.Net offers a standard interface with layers and a large range of tools available. Unfortunately, the toolset in Pain.Net is not a high-quality indicator, because the additional settings are trimmed. You can’t perform several actions at once by using a couple of options. You shouldn’t still give up on this photo editor. Its simple features give you a chance to get awesome results by applying basic retouching: remove skin blemishes, background, and red eyes.

photo retouching software paint.net 2018 free editor

Talking about the similar functions, Paint.Net is one of the main competitor to GIMP, but only its improved version, since there are no recent updates yet.

9. ACDSee Ultimate

photo retouching software acdsee ultimatephoto retouching software acdsee ultimate
 

USE ECDSEE ULTIMATE

 

Overal Rating80
Color Correction           
0
90
100
Photo Retouching        
0
70
100
App's Design                 
0
60
100
Easy Navigation            
0
85
100
User-friendly Interface
0
75
100
Additional Functions    
0
80
100
Response Speed           
0
90
100
Advertising                    
0
75
100
 
 
Pros+
  • Convenient search management
  • Innovative Light EQ and Color EQ Controls
  • Corrections are based on lens profile
  • Adjustable interface
  • Lots of effects
  • A large number of options
Cons-
  • No face recognition
  • No easy-to-use start interface
  • Not suitable for weak configurations
  • A paid software
 

ACDSee Ultimate is a great alternative to Lightroom and Photoshop. To say for sure, it's like 2 photo editors in one software. Tools ACDSee Pro takes the workflow and settings similar to Lightroom, and layers editing, filters and photo effects from Photoshop.

photo retouching software acdsee ultimate 2018

The image editor interface is flexible, but it can be a bit suppressing. It is possible to show any taste panels and pull them out of the main window and arrange them the way you like. You can also choose any background color using the color palette.Using the best photo editing software for beginners, you will notice powerful options in Photoshop style, including layer changes, text, filter effects, brushes, geometry changes, and many others. Now your photo editing can be also automated after you save them as Actions.

photo retouching software acdsee ultimate 2018 editor

An additional benefit of this image editor is the cloud storage, but just in a different form. SeeDrive is the cloud storage for ACDSee Ultimate, which is basically a web browser to access your saved photos. You can get 20 GB of memory for $20 per year or 100 GB for $60.

10. DxO PhotoLab

photo retouching software dxo photolabphoto retouching software dxo photolab
 

USE DXO PHOTOLAB

 

Overal Rating80
Color Correction           
0
90
100
Photo Retouching        
0
70
100
App's Design                 
0
60
100
Easy Navigation            
0
85
100
User-friendly Interface
0
75
100
Additional Functions    
0
80
100
Response Speed           
0
90
100
Advertising                    
0
75
100
 
 
Pros+
  • Convenient interface.
  • Best-in-class settings to reduce noise.
  • Excellent autocorrection based on the camera features and lens.
  • Geometric corrections.
  • Direct export to Flickr, Facebook or another image app.
Cons-
  • No local-brush editing tools. Few workflow tools.
  • Few retouching items.
  • Time-consuming for some editing elements.
  • High cost for the offered functionality.
 

DxO PhotoLab is one of the most dynamic photo editors. The photo software has promoted itself with its automatic correction of the lens and camera image, noise reduction, simple and handy menu, advanced settings and other features.

photo retouching software dxo photolab 2018

The recent update has demonstrated that the company acquired a professional manufacturer of Nik filters from Google, and implemented them into an image editor.

It has got a friendly and simple enough interface, but it seems to be the only advantage of the program because tools number is as limited as possible. For basic and simple photo retouching it can be quite enough, but the application will not be able to withstand Photoshop. However, this picture editor has some priorities over others. This is an excellent autocorrection effect based on the camera and lens characteristics, which is done in just two clicks. It’s a fact that the best photo editing software for beginners has a very good noise reduction tools with a huge amount of additional settings.

photo retouching software dxo photolab 2018 editing

To discuss the price, PhotoLab is available in two versions: Essential - $129 and Elite - $199. To get the great features of DxO PhotoLab, like Prime de-noising and Clearview, you need the Elite type. This version also provides pro-features, which are the ability to manage calibrated cameras with ICC profiles, custom palettes, and presets applying.

Flipping through the list of free and paid photo editors above, I’d advise you to choose what is more important for you - performance or functionality? If you are using an old PC with an outdated configuration, apply such photo editors as Gimp, Pixlr. They are quite enough for image retouching. But, if you are interested in professional photo processing and wish to grow, use any of the Adobe programs as above. These are the best image editors that are top 1 in all world ratings. These programs have been on the market for decades and have no competitors because they are updating all the time.


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ABOUT US

Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.

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