There is a plenty of image editing apps for MacOS, but it`s really challenging to pick up truly the best photo editing app for Mac. In this article we selected 10 best photo editing apps, some of them are paid, some photo editing apps are free, but each and every one will let you edit your images successfully and easy.
At first glance, it may be difficult to find the best free photo editor for a phone or Mac of the same level as those apps developed by Adobe Co. But there is a plenty of photo editing Mac apps and you have to browse a little and pick up what`s best for you. Take your time reading this article about Top 10 best photo editing apps for Mac.
A family of DxO products aimed at images editing. The main feature of this application is that it has a huge database of “camera - lens” combinations, named “profile” by the developer. Currently, the number of these profiles already exceeds 40,000, and this data supports the program to accomplish what others cannot. DxO OpticsPro for Photos is a basic powerful photo editor with the considered Lightroom-like interface, but as for me, it looks more like Adobe Premiere.
In addition to all the standard tools for basic image editing, I like the Lens Sharpness correction module, it replaces the previous filter version used by DxO and called Lens Softness. Based on the knowledge of the subject area, this feature allows overcoming the “softness” of the lens and adding micro contrast to the objects in the image. Particularly evidently, the filter works for noisy photos shot at high ISO, although it brings positive effect to mostly clear photos as well.
Another interesting tool is Repair: the same “magic eraser” that allows you to remove wires from your pictures, unwanted people, dirt and many other wasteful things. Retaining the old simplicity, the new Repair demonstrates the markedly improved algorithms of photo retouching, allowing no trace of “withdrawn” larger objects.
In fact, the tools that I have never seen before, and which is very handy for quick fixes in the editing are here, quite a lot. Should be mentioned, when it comes to speed, the DxO Photo Lab - is the fastest app for editing photos on your phone. The process of working with the program can be minimized: immediately after selecting photos “Photo Lab” loads the appropriate profile and implements the default settings, and here is the thing you should praise this application for – they are composed very reasonable, and their action resembles a button to “magic”. Overwhelmingly, you can even leave all other features untouched, you just need to select the photos that you want to improve, and click on the “magic” button.
Adobe Photoshop Elements is an Adobe Photoshop portfolio program that was designed for photo editing and holds its position among the best apps for mac photo editing tightly. If you are not going to seriously turn your hobby for photographing into a professional activity, then there is no point in studying all the options Photoshop offers. (view more about how to get Lightroom for free or download Photoshop free). The Adobe Photoshop Elements interface is significantly different from the “original” one. It is simpler in some features, but this does not make it too easy to understand. Thanks to the brand-new features, the new frames and new bookmarks it takes time to get familiar with these complex functions, but it is still simpler than Photoshop. The absence of some functions from the original does not mean you cannot process the photo with the same high performance.
Large colorful tool icons with clear and understandable, comprehensive text and graphics tips help both beginners and experienced users. The workspace is organized the same way as most Adobe products but is focused on the “home” user — that is, full of smart tips and controls. Same to other Adobe products, you can customize everything up to your taste, combining toolbars and panels in a way most convenient for you. Adobe Photoshop Elements contains all the most popular and necessary tools, such as intelligent selection of areas, scaling and cropping images, correction adjusted to the background image, restoration of damaged parts, and so on. Plus, complemented by special automatic tools that are only available within Photoshop Elements and not in the main version of Adobe Photoshop.
The original version of Pixelmator is, perhaps, one of the brightest success of third-party developers for the macOS. To succeed by releasing a photo editor, when Adobe itself is the main competitor offering the app for a single platform?
Setting Photoshop, it throes user into the extreme number of tool panels, Pixelmator Pro`s interface is neat and understood. It is simple enough to be user-friendly and even primitive, which provides the excellent user experience. An amazing feature that Pixelmator Pro offers is the naming of layers imported from external files by their content. This is provided by the means of neural network. Similar technology is involved with selection tools, allowing you to more accurately find the boundaries of objects, erase, offering improved performance when removing unnecessary parts of the image.
Pixelmator Pro uses all the latest advantages of Apple native computer hardware and software environment and therefore requires the latest macOS version. It is thanks to deep integration with Apple's graphics API that allows Pixelmator Pro to manage amazing real-time tricks, for example, highlighting areas that will be selected using “smart selection”. The same smooth and natural effects accompany the user through the entire interface: moving and distributing objects into layers, drawing with brushes, applying effects - everything happens right before our eyes, with high sensitivity, and at high FPS rates. Some tools (color correction, layer styles and effects) now have “recipes” – they are profiles of preset or saved settings.
Pixelmator is perfectly integrated into macOS: file versions, a full-screen mode and split-screen mode, export and import options, TouchBar support – all this is done at a level appropriate satisfy even the most naughty Mac users.
Photolemur 3 is an ideal app for newbie and amateurish photographers, who want to improve their images in a quick and effortless manner. The app has a straightforward design and doesn’t require much time to master it.
If you feel that available controls aren’t enough for your needs, you should switch to a full-featured Luminar, which operates on Artificial Intelligence and comes with all the controls you can expect from a top-notch program.
Though I am quite satisfied with the result I got after editing my test shot in Photolemur, I believe developers should upgrade the app with light and color correction features. The same goes for face retouching and RAW professing functionality, which were far from perfect during testing.
Despite all that, I can say that Photolemur 3 is worth trying, so don’t miss a chance to download the trial version.
Official website: Affinity Photo
Alternatives: Lightroom CC, Photoshop Express, Pixelmator
As Photoshop keeps leading positions among the best photo editing apps for Mac desktop, Affinity Photo is its worthy competitor. The software is offered for one time $50 payment with no subscriptions or any other stuff required. The first start can be confusing as it resembles Photoshop interface a lot. It has almost the same style and design, but further examinations uncover a lot of unique peculiarities.
The most outstanding among them is segregation of editorial process into stages like in Lightroom. There are five of them: Photo, Develop, Liquify, Tone Mapping and Export. The Photo section contains basic photo editing elements and anyone will hardly be surprised by it. Layers, masks and image correction tools: starting from exposure up to manipulations with colors on the HSL-panel. The Develop section is handy for the RAW files processing. It resembles Adobe Camera Raw a lot.
Liquify adapted to correcting and imposition of distortions, Tone Mapping activates HDR effects for image processing. Another Affinity Photo feature is the smart Assistant. With it, you can “program” the app to react to actions. Affinity Photo is still a “young” application that regularly receives complex updates.. The two-week trial is offered by the developer, so try it now, you might even forget about Adobe Photoshop Express after it!
This is probably the most Photoshop-like application for the Mac, which can be downloaded from the App Store and is considered to be one of the best free Mac apps for photo editing. PhotoScape has almost everything you might need to view, optimize, edit, print or just having some fun with photos. The main panel of the application offers all the necessary tools: images views, optimization of failed shots, printing of multiple photos on one page as a collage, or adding filters.
The application supports a variety of formats, including RAW too. This app carries so many features, many consider it as a complete and free alternative to Photoshop. Of course, the level of Photoshop is undeniably higher, but this app is really an excellent alternative to the front-runner like Adobe and turns editing photos into a very exciting experience. PhotoScape had an older version, but then it did not have such great features, and the interface was more old-fashioned, but PhotoScape X brought it closer to the level of perfection. The way this application inherits the modern minimalistic style of Adobe in dark colors is particularly noticeable, and this makes PhotoScape X rock.
CameraBag Photo is a tool for editing photos without unnecessary functions, offering the user about 200 pre-installed filters and the ability to customize any filter to your taste. The interface is simple and intuitive to use. On the right side, you’ll find a complete set of filters and common customization tools. This makes it much easier to choose a preset but does not make it easy to use it. The bottom panel displays customizable settings to make color correction of your photos. The thing I personally find useful in CameraBag Photo is the preview of the image folder for applying of a specific preset or tool, for example, B&W converting. I can easily see which of the photos in this folder looks better with this preset. From the user's point of view, CameraBag Photo does not resemble Adobe product at all.
When we talk about the bad things in CameraBag Photo, it lacks the tool to reduce noise. So you should avoid it in case you do specialize in freeze light. There is also no perspective correction or tools that can replace it. CameraBag Photo has serious limitations: lack of evaluation of color space. In addition, unlike working on a Mac, for Windows, you must have the appropriate “codec” preinstalled to convert RAW. Codecs for many old cameras come with Windows, but for the latest cameras, you may have to buy a codec.
Luminar 2018 offers most of the features that a modern amateur photographer needs for photo editing. It has new filters, increased application speed and a dedicated RAW processing module. Luminar adapts for a handier workflow by means of adaptive toolbars and feature sections.
Luminar 2018 app has been restructured and developed from scratch to speed up it. Latest filters combine more natural, rich and deep colors. The program offers basic tools like layers, masks and blending modes, so you can easily cope with complex and creative photo retouching. Luminar 2018 runs a new RAW processor that can operate high-resolution images in a shorter time. What I like the most is lens distortion correction features. This app has over 40 filters for color, sharpness and detail correction. New filters include the ability to enhance color with Brilliance, selectively brighten or darken certain areas of an image with Dodge & Burn, as well as the ability to change lighting and add sun rays to a photo with sun rays.
Fotor for Mac is recognized for its web version. Later as the company developed, they created an application for phones, Mac and Windows. It`s one of the best free photo editing apps for Mac, with an option to extend to Fotor Pro version, but the app does not require it and you will not see any built-in ads there. The range of tools is pretty wide, quite common and basic. Photo editing, cropping, text editor, various elements and more profound options like color correction, image retouching, textures along with the use of presets are all on board.
The program has four operating modes: Photo Editor, Touch Up, Collage and HDR, which generate a lot of space for work. Worth saying, Fotor supports manipulations with RAWs, which is rarely offered by free apps for photo editing. The app adds lots of noises to the image while I`m working with it, but they all vanish after saving the photo. Excellent presets are available, the variety is outstanding and quality is much higher than many best photo editing apps provide. Sincerely speaking, the retouch quality is less than average, but if you just need slings corrections of small defects of the skin, background, or just add shadows, then Fotor will cope with this very easily and conveniently.
Movavi Photo Editor is a fast, simple and fairly functional image editor compared to most photo editor apps. It is like the mix of Photoshop, Lightroom and Pixelmator. This is a program with quite impressive photo enhancement features, with an elegant interface and effective workflow. Guide and tips help in onboarding – they are much more informative than in the Photoshop, so you get used to the interface elements shortly after you start using it. The photo editing app itself is functional enough for people who have no desire to study Lightroom or other similar photo editing apps.
The great feature in Movavi Photo Editor is the “restoration” of old photos. It automatically removes scuffs and scratches. The function is based on neural networks technology. This means that with each following upgrade it is to edit photos even better because it is trained on the basis of previously edited materials. The only thing that “Restoration” cannot do is to add color to black and white photos. But if the photo turned yellow with time or was in sepia originally, then it will turn black and white after using “Restoration” tool.
After a few days using Movavi Photo Editor, it became clear that the photo app for Mac is designed for those who want to quickly edit photos on the non-professional level without additional actions taken. It does not replace both Photoshop and Lightroom, or analogues developed by Affinity Co.
Polarr is a photo editor that has professional tools, but this application is simple and user-friendly. There is a large number of features, but it does not overload the app. There are internal purchases offered, but all the key features are free so it can be compared to any of the listed photo editor app free here. For those who do not want to do color correction manually, there are filters. Worth saying that filters in this app are not just covered effects, instead they are implemented as the quick setting of image parameters.
As for the functionality of the photo editing app in general, it supports work with most image formats available, including RAW, provides a set of color correcting masks, filters, curves, gives users access to a variety of tools that allow managing hue, brightness, clarity, sharpness, balance tone, blur etc. In the matter of fact, it takes some time to deal with all the features Polarr Photo Editor offers, but taking into account the great variety of tools, the interface looks pretty light and laconic. The developer visually divided mainframe into two parts sharing all the tools and feature icons between them, so that user can focus on the image while being supported by all features available at a glance.