Top 20+ Best Photo Editing Apps & Softwares in 2021!
Do you know that up to thirty-two percent of marketers believe visual images are a necessary form of content for their business?
Of course, every business wants to catch their customers’ attention through high-quality photographs. However, this could be extremely difficult to do, especially in the age of social media, when attention spans are shrinking to just about a few seconds.
In fact, there are a ton of both free and paid photo editing apps that allow you to shoot, edit, and organize images better. The question is: Which ones are worth your while and give you the best results?
So, in this guide, we’re focusing on the 20 best photo editing apps for your business, which includes three separate parts: photo editing apps for PC and Laptop, for iPhone, and Android.
Let’s explore right now!
Table of contents
- What is a photo editing app?
- Best Photo Editing softwares for PC and Laptop
- Best Photo Editing Apps for iPhone
- Best Photo Editing Apps for Android
- The bottom line
What is a photo editing app?
Photo editing, in simple words, means modifying the original photo, and manipulating it in a desirable way to enhance its appearance. Starting from editing basic parameters of the photo, such as brightness and contrast, to managing and morphing the photo, all fall into the term “photo editing.”
So, to help smooth out the process of editing, a lot of photo editing apps have been designed and developed. A photo editing app, or application, is a software program consisting of various tools with which editors alter the parameters of a photo.
This term is mostly used to describe a program that runs on mobile devices contextually but can also refer to computer programs. The main task of a photo editing app is to help with cropping, touch-ups, controlling shutter speed, and adding filters. You can find photo editing apps that can organize a group of photos into a collage or create automatic settings for different scenes.
When searching for ways to improve your business’s visual side, you can do so much with one of the photo editing apps listed above.
Best Photo Editing softwares for PC and Laptop
1. Adobe Photoshop CC
It’s unreasonable to write an article about the best photo editing softwares without giving Adobe Photoshop CC a well-deserved mention. For designers, artists, and illustrators around the world, Adobe Photoshop is their go-to editing tool.
In 1989, Adobe launched its product for the first time. Then, it took the photo industry by storm by offering a massive number of possibilities for amateur and professional photographers to capture the bright moments.
Adobe Photoshop CC has many tools and functions, allowing users to crop, change backgrounds, brighten or darken, resize, make animated GIFs, remove spots, draw digital elements for websites, and much more.
- A huge number of photo editing tools
- Many filters/ brushes/ textures/ overlays/ actions
- Integrated image library
- Cloud storage
- Many tutorials and active community of +1,000,000 users
- 3D design functionality
- 14-day refund
- Overwhelming interface to new users
- Some tools don’t show the progress bar
- Not cheap
- Incomplete updates or untested beta versions
Pricing information: Starts from $9.99/ month.
2. Adobe Lightroom CC
Adobe Lightroom CC and Adobe Lightroom Classic CC used to be one program, but it was later divided into two separate applications. However, the common share of these programs is both lighter versions of Adobe Photoshop, as they are limited in what they offer.
Adobe has admitted that their Photoshop CC is not good enough for color correction. So, they decide to create the best photo software from scratch, which isn’t designed to have a wide range of tools like Photosop, but is aimed at one function - image color correction. This feature is vital for outdoor events like weddings and event shooters.
Unlike Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom CC has a user-friendly interface and simple learning curve, which makes it the best among other alternatives. With a range of free presets, Lightroom is an excellent choice for newbies and for those who want to work fast.
- Professional color correction
- Easy learning
- Multiple device support and sync
- Automatic saving of original photos and files in the Cloud
- Many brushes and presets
- Advanced customization tools
- Additional export settings that include user-defined watermarks
- A limited range of portrait photo editing features
- Watermarks are available in texts only
- Low quantity of import options
- Lack of professional image retouching
Planning information: Starts from $9.99/ month.
3. Capture One Pro
Capture One Pro, formerly known as Lightphase capture, was developed and launched in 2011 by Phase One. This unique and powerful tool allows users to work with photos on a professional level, do photo retouching, perform color correction, and so on.
Similar to Adobe Lightroom CC, Capture One Pro enables the use of presets, which significantly speeds up the process of color correction. Besides, it is necessary to remind you that this software is the best choice for photographers who shoot with Phase One cameras.
- A large set of tools and functions
- Interface customizability
- Quick import and export
- Well-developed layers and masks
- Cloud storage
- Option to pay a one-time flat fee
- Bad help and support function
- Requires a good PC configuration
- Not cheap
- No online sharing features
Pricing information: Capture One Pro recommends that you should buy at prices ranging from $200 to $350, depending on your preferences and requirements. You can also subscribe for $20 per month, or $180 if you pay for a whole year at once. But you don’t need to buy the best one for beginners at once, because you will get the free fully operational 30-day trial version, right after registering.
4. Skylum Luminar 4
For the last couple of years, Skylum Luminar 4 has quickly grown to be one of the most popular photo editing tools for professional photographers around the globe. Unlike Adobe and other editing softwares, Skylum Luminar 4 doesn’t have monthly subscriptions.
An outstanding feature of Luminar is its AI slider, which quickly does an automatic fix for everything from clarifying, brightening, toning, and other necessary adjustments. In general, Luminar is a robust professional contender to Adobe’s products.
- AI slider/ editor
- Customizable panels
- Powerful RAW converter
- May be used as a plug-in for Lightroom and Photoshop
- Exclusive filters like the top and bottom lighting filter, or Sunrays filter (which allows users to add realistic looking sun rays to your images)
- Isn’t fast as Photoshop and Lightroom
- Can’t choose specific lens profiles
Pricing information: Free trial or $89
5. ON1 Photo RAW
ON1 Photo RAW is a one-stop shop that combines photo editing, organizing, and effects all in one program. You can install this software on up to 5 computers (Mac or Windows), and there is a 90-day money-back guarantee.
Many people suppose this tool as a combination of Adobe Lightroom’s simplicity and some tools from Capture One Pro. The photo editor is equipped with excellent tools, enabling users to perform color correction, correct photo defects, and do photo retouching.
- Low price with one-time payment
- Live adjustments and previous
- Monthly trial version without subscriptions and long logins
- Excellent presets
- Available to download on any device
- Export in the background mode is quite slow
- Challenging to back up (no built-in way to backup ON1’s database)
- ON1 Photo RAW 2021 Upgrade: $79.99
- ON1 Photo RAW Full Version: $99.99
- ON1 Photo RAW Professional: $149.99
6. Serif Affinity Photo
Established by a European company and released in 2015, Serif Affinity has become a strong competitor against Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Not only does it cost less than other softwares, but it also works well on different devices and platforms, such as iPads and mobile apps.
Also, with a wide variety of editing tools that can be used by both amateurs and experts, Serif Affinity becomes a tough one to compete with.
- An extensive set of capabilities and functions, including image editing, color correction, and picture retouching
- 60 configurable effects, brushes, filters, and more
- The least expensive option
- Simple interface
- Fast customer support
- You can’t use the same license on different operating systems
- They don’t offer cloud storage
Pricing information: One-time Affinity price is $49.99. Besides, there is also a simplified version for iPads for $19.99.
Often regarded as the best free alternative to Adobe Photoshop, GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is open-source software created by a team of like-minded volunteers in 1977.
GIMP has become popular as it was designed on the base of open-source code, enabling anyone to make changes, correct bugs, and supplement the software with new necessary functions manually without updates.
- Open-source and free
- Works great on Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems
- Powerful image color correction tools
- Intuitive user interface
- Excellent technical support and active forums
- Customizable and flexible thanks to plug-ins and scripts
- Weak optimization
- There are some lags
Before the release of the 4.0 version in 2014, almost no one heard about Paint.Net. This free photo editing software for beginners was in low demand at that time, because it was quite similar to the built-in Windows Paint.
This photo editor will not give you the opportunities to make creative photo manipulations or in-depth skin retouching as the above softwares do, but you may easily edit photos to make them look excellent without visible imperfections.
- Absolutely free
- Convenient and straightforward to use
- Clear and well-ordered user interface
- Many plug-ins
- Different formats for saving images after editing
- Only available for Windows platform
- Limited brush tools
- No text correction after applying other effects
- No burn and dodge
- Photo editing lags
9. ACDSee Photo Studio
ACDSee Photo Studio is an excellent photo editing software from ACD Systems to showcase and manage significant images collections. It’s an all-in-one photography software solution that can do everything you need within a simple interface.
ACDSee Photo Studio is actually non-destructive: it won’t alter the original image files. But when you edit a photo, it’ll be better to save the adjustments. So, be sure to activate autosave to speed up the workflow.
- Customizable interface
- Advanced editing tools
- Quick photo management with the help of face recognition
- Straightforward image importing
- Extremely high price
- Not for in-depth photo retouching
Pricing information: $8.9/ month or $89/year.
Polarr is a professional image editing software that stands out with many unique filters. It also allows you to save the editing history, perform color correction, add watermarks, and much more. You can even use Polarr to work with .GIF files.
In reality, it is not the best for professional photo retouching, but it’s quite useful for basic changes. However, its design is more accessible and intuitive than complex programs like Adobe Photoshop CC.
- A large number of photo editing tools
- User-friendly and intuitive interface
- A comparison mode “before” and “after”
- 100+ filters with the ability to create by yourself
- Not for professional photo retouching
- No guides and tutorials
- Higher price than other alternatives
Pricing information: Free version or $9.99/ month
Best Photo Editing Apps for iPhone
VSCO is a fantastic photo editing app designed to make your images look like film. VSCO is one of the best iPhone apps that combine a camera, editing tools, and an online community.
At first glance, you will immediately appreciate VSCO’s user-friendly design. The main menu is straightforward and clean, and tools are designed with easy-to-understand and simple icons.
As a photograph app, VSCO offers 2 methods to users, including presets or manual adjustment tools. With a total of 10 presets, VSCO allows you to quickly and easily apply to your photos. In case you’re into serious editing, the manual adjustment tools will help you a lot. They include, but not limited to, exposure, clarity, contrast, saturation, shadow save, cropping, and sharpening.
- Impressive camera features
- Natural-looking effects
- Lots of editing options
- No batch editing, as you can only edit one photo at a time
- Weak on social interaction features. There are no “loves,” or comments when you post your photo to the VSCO community
- Purchase required for some content
- Free version
- Membership version: $19.99/ year
Snapseed is a professional-grade image editing app designed by Google. It features a large number of editing options to help even the most boring photos jump to life.
This free photo editing app also comes with a broad range of preset filters. However, unlike other apps, you can edit these filters and even generate your own from scratch. Besides, it has all of the basic tools, such as straightening, cropping, text, frames, vignettes, and much more.
There’s also a “Selective Adjust” tool, which enables you to select a specific area of your photo, and adjust the brightness, saturation, and contrast of that single point. Plus, the photo editor saves your editing history, so you can adjust your previous edits at any time.
- FREE from the App Store, with no extra in-app purchases
- Advertisement-free with no annoying ads and pop-ups
- Easy-to-use and powerful editing tools
- Flexible color, sharpening, and exposure adjustments
- Outstanding features such as healing, structure, brush, perspective, HDR, etc.
- Requires a slight learning curve, even though it’s quite user-friendly
- Not for complete beginners
- Social network integration options are not as clear as they could be
- Save options are not really intuitive
13. Afterlight 2
Afterlight 2 dubbed itself “the most powerful, and feature-packed photo editing experience on mobile.” While it seems a bit hyperbolic, it’s in fact, not far from the truth.
Afterlight 2 has all of the classic photo editing tools you need, as well as built-in frames, filters, local adjustments, and RAW support on both iOS and Android. Best of all, there is a set of textures, including real film light leaks, prism effects, and dusty film overlays. These allow you to create unique photos that stand out and capture others’ attention.
- User-friendly interface
- Wide range of tools, from basic ones to more intense capabilities
- One-time purchase with no need to spend more on in-app purchases to unlock more features
- Some unnecessary features
- Lack of framing options
Pricing information: $2.99/ month or $17.99/ year
Like Snapseed, Darkroom comes with a full-fledged library of advanced features for iPhone photography. This app has been specially optimized for iOS, so you can implement things like edit Live Photos, create Siri Shortcuts, and sync your Photo library.
It also works well on RAW and large photo files, up to 120-megapixels, which means you can use it to edit your images on both your iPhone and DSLR. Furthermore, batch processing also enables you to select multiple images at once.
- A number of filters to choose from, together with the ability to create your own.
- Track, undo, and redo edits with Darkroom’s history button
- Ability to share directly to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
- Can work without an Internet connection
- Available for iPhone only
- Uses battery power quickly
- Free version
- Premium version with $3.99/ month or $19.99/ year. You can also shell out a one-time fee of $49.99
If you are finding an awesome app to apply textures to your iPhone photos, Mextures will be one of the best choices.
Mextures has a formula feature which allows you to combine different effects for quickly applying to your photos. Once you create a great combination and you’re satisfied with it, you have the option to replicate it again by saving it as a formula. Plus, you can access formulas generated by professional photographers.
In case you don’t like your edits, you can quickly change by navigating the history panel, and delete without getting rid of other edits. This feature makes Mextures outstanding, as other apps will require you to start over your editing process again.
- Allows you to combine various effects
- Easily switch layers
- Appropriate for adding textures, light leaks, dust, gradients, and grains
- Over 150 texture presets with 12 blending modes
- Easily save your edits to formulas for later use
- Not meant for Android
- Requires users to produce square photos for sharing
Pricing information: $1.99 on the App Store
Best Photo Editing Apps for Android
With more than 500 million installs in 30 languages, PicsArt becomes one of the best photo editing apps for both iOS and Android.
If you love re-mix photos more than simple filters and touch-ups, PicsArt may be more your style. Think of PicsArt as a combination of Adobe Photoshop and Paint.Net. You can edit your images while you can add some sparkle, decorate with text, adjust colors, or generate whatever re-mix you can dream up.
- A wide range of tools which can create cutouts, crop the image, clone, stretch, adjust curves, and add text on the image.
- Collage maker gives you more than 100 free templates
- Customizable brushes and great drawing tools in PicsArt Draw
- PicsArt Camera allows users to take photos with live effects
- Help you easily develop animated GIFs to impress your audiences on social media
- Free version is limited to a few features
- Free version
- Premium version at $59.99/ year
17. Prisma Photo Editor
We have to admit that many apps which turn photos into “paintings” or “drawings” are downright terrible. But, Prisma is the exception!
This fantastic photo editing app applies artificial neural networks, which allow users to “make images appear like they were painted by Munch, Picasso, or even Salvador Dali.” Here you can access a range of graphic artworks, amazing filters, and intelligent algorithms that can execute every job quickly.
You might be surprised by how much you like this app, so give it a go!
- More than 300 art styles in the filter library
- Stunning photo effects
- Fun-oriented editing options
- They release a new art filter every day
- Prisma has its own online community, so you can follow other users, discover the latest publications, and chat with others
- Only work on specific devices
- Not a true editing platform
- Free version
- Paid version: $4.99 per month or $19.99 per annual
Previously known as Pixlr Express, Pixlr is one of the sought-after photo editing apps for Android. This app offers four different web apps, and all HTML 5 applications which load right in your browser.
Pixlr is a toned-down version, with a lot of preset filters and simplified user experience. Pixlr Pro is a paid tool which provides a free trial and opens a Photoshop PSD file and saves it as a JPG or PNG. And Pixlr Today is a task manager extension for the Google Chrome Browser. This app is cost-free but will offer in-app purchases of things like effect packs. Once you’ve completed your work, you can save it directly to your social media accounts or emails.
- More than 2 million of free photo effects, filters, and overlays
- Powerful feature sets
- Allows users to create photo collages with various backgrounds, layouts, and spacing options
- The app can stylize your photos with a doodle, ink sketches, and pencil drawings
- Auto fix, double exposure
- Quite challenging for beginners, so they need to follow tutorials to start with
- Their “Help” section is not truly comprehensive
- Free version
- Advanced version: $3.99/ month
- Professional version: $14.99/ month
Photo editing on mobile devices has never been easy due to the smaller screen size and limited resources, but things are different now. By installing Aviary in your Android, you can edit and beautify your photos in just a few simple steps.
Once you launch the app, you will see a display of all the photos in your device using an image flow. You can slide and select the image you would like to edit. Or, in case you want to try the app on a fresh photo, hit the camera button to activate the shutter.
- Good color correction, with brightness, contrast, temperature, saturation adjustments
- One-tap auto enhance
- Lots of fun stickers, cosmetics tools, and advanced filters to help you with editing tasks
- Draw and add text
- No tilt-shift
- Some effects are extra costs
- Not all settings are customizable
- Free version
- Paid version: $1.99 per month
Have you ever taken a photo, but unfortunately, it has an object that you wish you could remove? Well, if you have, TouchRetouch will be your perfect choice.
You can use this photo editing app to remove things like power lines, telephone wires, trash cans, street signs, and virtually any other mark or object that you don’t want in your picture. You can also remove pimples, blemishes, or even pesky photobombers.
All you need to do is simply touch the area or object you want to remove with the tip of your finger, and then the app will immediately analyze and determine the best way to smooth out the process. As a result, you will have clear and natural-looking photos.
- Advanced tools to remove objects
- Extremely easy to use
- Portrait editing with spot removal
- Available tutorials within the app teach you how to harness its full potential
- Too narrow-focused instruments
- Not possible to resize or crop images
Pricing information: $1.99, available for both iOS and Android
The bottom line
As you can see, there are multiple photography apps out there that can take your images to the next levels and help you impress your audiences. The 20 best photo editing apps that we’ve mentioned above are here for a reason. So, after all, we recommend that you should choose the one that suits you best.
Have you used any awesome photo editing apps that you think we should include in our list? If so, let us know in the below comment section. We’re always willing to discuss this with you!