Photo Editing Software for Windows

Photo Editing Software for Windows

Great pictures tell stories. While your camera captures only one way to tell a tale, you can give it multiple angles in post-production. Hence, you need the right tools to edit your pictures.

In this article, we'll discuss the best photo editing software for Windows that you can use for different purposes depending on your needs. Whether you need to tweak your photos a bit to upload on your social media accounts, or need them for professional photography, you will have options.

1. Photo Director Essential

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 that the software offers are intuitive layer editing, ready-to-use templates, hundreds of filters, frames, and overlays. Moreover, you can apply masks and photo effects, adjust the colors, combine multiple photos, and do basic editing like adding text or cropping the image.

Photo Director also allows you to remove objects from photos, tag faces, and add blur effects. If you’re editing portraits, you can use its face beautification features. You can also import Shutterstock and Getty images if you need them for background or to add some kind of effect to your photos.

All of these features are accessible in the free version. However, you can buy its one-time subscription plan to access its AI-powered features like sky replacement, GIF animation, and more.

Additionally, the software gets updated regularly and introduces new features. It offers multiple guides on how to edit your pictures in different ways. Hence, if you're a beginner, you can choose this software can to get started.

2. Fotor

Fotor is a web-based free photo editing software that’s designed especially for beginners. It has both mobile and desktop versions, and it allows you to do basic editing. Some of the features that you can use to tweak your photos are cropping, tilting, rotating, and straightening.

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'll need to buy its paid version.

Price: Freemium; Pro plan starts at $9.99/month

3. Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom has become one of the standard photo editing software as most professional photographers use and recommend it these days. All of its desktop versions are paid, but you can use its mobile app for free, which comes with some great features as well.

Adobe Lightroom has two different versions: Lightroom and Lightroom Classic. The latter one is designed for professional photographers. It allows them to invite other people to work on the photos and share them by creating a link for them. On the other hand, Lightroom is made for beginners—who are serious about learning photography—and offers all the features you need to edit your pictures.

To begin editing your photos, you can import your files from your device or cloud into the Lightroom library. It allows you to do lens correction, fix the colors and lights of the whole picture or of a selected area, and enhance the details.

It keeps a record of your original files and all the edits you make on the pictures, you can access them from the history tab and compare the edits to the original picture as well.

Moreover, there are a number of presets available in the Lightroom effects library that you can use to add different effects to your pictures instantly. You can also save your own editing as presets to apply similar effects on multiple images at once.

It allows you to tag photos, both manually and automatically, with the help of AI. It’s done based on location and dates. This saves you plenty of time and makes it super simple to search for your files later on. The software is compatible with Windows 10 (64-bits) and later.

Price: $9.99 per month (photography plan) , $19.99 per month (photography plus cloud storage)

4. Corel PaintShop Pro

In many ways, Corel PaintShop Pro is superior to Photoshop Elements, as it's a powerful program, yet is easy for novices to grasp, and has some additional tools, such as 360-degree photo editing. It's also touch-screen compatible and has a new streamlined workspace.  

PaintShop Pro (and the upgrade, PaintShop Pro Ultimate) are also usually much less expensive than Photoshop Elements, making it a bargain.The biggest knock against Corel vs. Photoshop is that while Photoshop Elements is available for both macOS and Windows PCs, PaintShop Pro is a Windows-only program. 

Price: $79.99

5. Luminar AI

Luminar AI is also a paid tool with no free version available. It’s entirely powered using AI.

It allows you to adjust the composition, lights, colors, and details, and even replace the sky. You can edit or retouch your photos to get great results without putting in 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 get instant high-quality results. The different types of effects you can add to your photos include augmented sky, sunrays, dramatic mood, toning, matte, mystical, glow, and film grain from the Creative Section of the dashboard.

You can also edit any specific areas of the photos in the portrait mode like face, skin, and body. Furthermore, you can fix distorted images and remove chromatic aberrations from the Professional Section.

The software is non-destructive, which means all the changes you make in your images are reversible. If you want to add the effects Luminar AI offers, but edit your pictures yourself without the help of AI-powered features, you can use this software as a plugin for Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop.

Price: $99

6. Darktable

Darktable is free, open-source software, which means that it's created by a community of photography software professionals that anyone with the right skills can edit. It’s best for beginners, students, and newbie photographers willing to learn the most without much initial investment.

The software is comparable with Adobe Lightroom as it has many similar features. Plus, it’s nondestructive, so your original image is safe.

Additionally, 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 Lighttable tab.

The editing features like adjusting the curve, tone, exposure, contrast, RGB level, noise, haze, lens correction, sharpness, vignetting, masking, and more are all available under the Darktable tab; not to mention, it comes with presets too.

You can also adjust the print quality by adjusting the settings in the print option if you have a high-performance photo printer available. Although there’s a learning curve in this software, you can download the user guide to understand most of the features.

Price: Free and open-source

7. Paint.Net

Paint.NET is one of the best free photo editing software for anyone who needs a free solution for multi-level image editing. Editable layers are typically reserved for paid software, but offers this functionality for free. Even better, every edit to a layer is recorded, and you can go back and undo any change.

This free photo editing software also has adjustment tools so you can tweak brightness, contrast, saturation, hue, and curves. You can make an image sepia-toned or black-and-white, apply blur, or sharpen images. You can also edit pictures with perspective and tilting with the unique 3D Rotate/Zoom effect. 

This is not a replacement for more professional editing software like Photoshop, but Paint.NET is a good practice tool for beginners who want to learn more advanced editing techniques.

Price: Free and open-source

8. Pixlr

Pixlr's lightweight free photo editing software works well for beginners and more experienced editors in need of a quick solution for editing photos. Without a fully-loaded editing suite to search through, you can easily locate tools like spot-healing brushes and stamps, or make minor adjustments to the photo's color and lighting. Pixlr's streamlined layout and minimalistic array of tools help simplify the process of editing photos for beginners. 

The software supports layers and masks and features several essential tools for editing photos such as customizable brushes and visual effects. Advanced users familiar with Photoshop will find the software’s toolbars familiar.

Price: Free (basic editing tools), $1.99 per month

9. Microsoft Windows 10 Photos

Photos is a free built-in photo editing app that comes with Windows 10. Few people use it for more than viewing photos, though Microsoft has included a bunch of features in their Photos app that can come in handy. This app allows Windows users to sort your photos into collections, albums, and folders. A useful people tagging feature uses facial recognition to organize your photos, making it easier for you to browse photos of specific people on your PC.

This feature is disabled by default, so if you want to use it, you should enable it manually in the People tab. There are a number of basic image editing functions in Photos too, including crop, rotate, photo enhancing filters, basic light and color adjustments, blemish removal, and red eye correction. Also, it has got a simple interface and can be used with cloud storage.

Price: Free 

10. InPixio Photo Studio

With a simple interface and basic yet powerful photo manipulation tools, InPixio photo editing app for PC is designed to help photo enthusiasts make their photos look better without putting in too much effort. Packed with tons of useful tools for photo editing, InPixio is a great tool for improving your photos and making creative montages. It allows you to manually or automatically remove backgrounds or unwanted objects from photos, adjust the hue, brightness, contrast, shadows, and temperature, transform images, fix red eye, retouch photos, and add various effects, textures, styles, filters, and frames. InPixio also comes with a bunch of built-in presets.

Although the interface is simple, the app has a wide range of features to help you improve your image quality. Great for users of all levels. You can buy free standard version or buy Premium. 

Price: $49.99 per year (InPixio Photo Studio)

To begin editing your pictures, you need the right tool. Depending on your needs and skills level, you can decide which of the photo editing tools we discussed will work the best for you.

For instance, if you're a beginner, you can consider choosing Darktable or PhotoDirector Essential, as these tools are comparable to the paid ones and offer some great features. Moreover, if you just need to tweak your pictures 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.

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