Great pictures tell stories. Although your camera only captures one way to tell a story, you can give it multiple angles in post-production. Therefore, you need the right tools to edit your photos.
In this article, we will discuss the best photo editing software for Windows which you can use for different purposes depending on your needs. Whether you need to edit your photos a bit to upload to your social media accounts or need them for professional photography, you’ll have options.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Photo Director Essential is an all-in-one photo editing software for beginners. It has some features similar to Lightroom and Photoshop, such as photo processing and image enhancement.
Other features offered by the software are intuitive layer editing, ready-to-use templates, hundreds of filters, frames and overlays. Additionally, you can apply photo masks and effects, adjust colors, combine multiple photos, and perform basic edits like adding text or cropping the image.
Photo Director also lets you remove objects from photos, tag faces, and add blur effects. If you are editing portraits, you can use its face beautifying features. You can also import Shutterstock and Getty images if you need them for the background or to add some kind of effect to your photos.
All these features are accessible in the free version. However, you can purchase its one-time subscription plan to access its AI-powered features like sky replacement, GIF animation, and more.
In addition, the software is updated regularly and introduces new features. It offers several guides on how to edit your images in different ways. Therefore, if you are a beginner, you can choose this software to start with.
Fotor is a free web-based photo editing software specially designed for beginners. It has both mobile and desktop versions, and it lets you perform basic edits. Some of the features you can use to edit your photos are crop, tilt, rotate, and straighten.
You can also create collages of your photos, convert raw files, enhance your images, add filters, frames and borders, improve photo appearance and add blur effects.
To get access to its full HDR support, you will need to purchase its paid version.
Adobe Lightroom has become one of the standard photo editing software that most professional photographers use and recommend these days. All of its desktop versions are paid, but you can use its mobile app for free which also comes with great features.
Adobe Lightroom has two different versions: Lightroom and Lightroom Classic. The latter is intended for professional photographers. It allows them to invite others to work on the photos and share them by creating a link for them. On the other hand, Lightroom is designed for beginners – who are serious about learning photography – and offers all the features you need to edit your photos.
To start editing your photos, you can import your files from your device or cloud into the Lightroom library. It allows you to correct the lens, fix the colors and lights of the whole image or a selected area and improve details.
It keeps a record of your original files and any changes you make to the images. You can access it from the History tab and also compare the changes to the original image.
Moreover, there are a number of presets available in the Lightroom effect library that you can use to instantly add different effects to your images. You can also save your own edits as presets to apply similar effects to multiple images at once.
It lets you tag photos, both manually and automatically, using AI. It is done according to the place and the dates. This saves you a lot of time and makes it easier to find your files later.
The software is compatible with Windows 10 (64-bit) and later versions.
Luminar AI is also a paid tool with no free version available. It is fully AI powered.
It lets you adjust composition, lights, colors, and details, and even replace the sky. You can edit or retouch your photos to get great results without much effort. It comes with Composition AI, Atmosphere AI, Iris AI and Body AI.
Moreover, it comes with several pre-made templates created by professional photographers to achieve instant high-quality results. The different types of effects you can add to your photos include augmented sky, sunbeams, dramatic mood, tone, matte, mystical, glow and film grain from the Creative section of the dashboard.
You can also edit specific areas of portrait mode photos like face, skin, and body. In addition, you can correct distorted images and remove chromatic aberrations from the Professional Section.
The software is non-destructive, meaning any changes you make to your images are reversible. If you want to add the effects offered by Luminar AI, but edit your images yourself without the help of AI-powered features, you can use this software as a plug-in for Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop.
Darktable is free and open-source software, which means it’s created by a community of photography software professionals that anyone with the right skills can modify. It’s ideal for beginners, students, and novice photographers who want to learn the most without much initial investment.
The software is comparable to Adobe Lightroom as it has many similar features. Plus, it’s non-destructive, so your original image is safe.
Moreover, it comes with features like selection, metadata editor, tagging and file export that make file management easier. You can also sort your imported files by a range of filters. These features are available under the Light table tongue.
Editing functions such as adjusting curve, tone, exposure, contrast, RGB level, noise, haze, lens correction, sharpness, vignetting , masking, etc. are all available under black table tongue; not to mention that it also comes with presets.
You can also adjust the print quality by adjusting the print option settings if you have a high performance photo printer. Although there is a learning curve in this software, you can download the user guide to understand most of the features.
Find the best software for your photo editing needs
To start editing your photos, you need the right tool. Depending on your needs and skill level, you can decide which of the photo editing tools we talked about will work best for you.
For example, if you are a beginner, you can consider choosing Darktable or PhotoDirector Essential, as these tools are comparable to paid tools and offer great features. Also, if you just need to tweak your photos a bit, you can try Fotor. And when you’re finally ready to take your photography to the next level, you can consider investing in paid tools.