In this age of social media and massive consumption of digital media, good photos are in constant demand. It could be an Instagram worthy personal photograph or pictures of products for advertisement.

Either way, how good a photo is will determine the response it attracts. Unfortunately, despite our intent and desire, cameras do not always capture a flawless image. Therefore, a good photo editing software that can remove the imperfections, enhance clarity and make the overall image more appealing is essential.

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The industry offers a myriad of photo editing software with varying degrees of cost and complexity. Evaluated according to the organization capability, creative potential, versatility, ease of use and sharing options, below are five of the best free and paid photo editing software.

  • Adobe Photoshop CC And Adobe Photoshop Elements

It is not a secret that to many people, editing or manipulating an image means the same thing as “photoshopping.” Photoshop is popular and has dominated the industry for a while just because it is that good. Adobe offers two iterations of Photoshop.

  • Photoshop CC

A lot has been said about Photoshop and has remained true over the years; Photoshop CC is considered the most powerful photo editing software available. It is an excellent software that covers all manner of editing needs from layering and retouching to simple contrast and brightness adjustments.

However, even experts agree it is a complicated software, and as a result, Adobe also offers Photoshop Elements geared towards beginners, hobbyists, and casual enthusiasts.

  • Photoshop Elements

Less complicated than Photoshop CC but with just as many editing tools. An important distinction is that Photoshop Elements has guided workflows. This is a feature that walks users through functionality for example retouching.

  • Corel Photo-Paint

Corel PhotoPaint is also a paid for editing software that provides for a wide range of editing needs.

Popular because it is effortless to use and it has an added drawing and painting functionality. Though it lacks some advanced tools like some blurring effects, the verdict is that it is still one of the best.

  • Capture One Pro 9

Regarding file management and workflows, Capture One Pro 9 is touted by industry experts as Adobe’s Photoshop strongest competitor.

It supports various camera types and is uniquely capable regarding color management when editing. Another critical benefit of Capture One Pro 9 is its capability in tethered shooting. Tethered shooting is when a photographer connects the camera to a laptop or tablet and instantly views the images as he/she takes them.

Capture One Pro goes for approximately $200.

  • GIMP

GNU Image Manipulation Program is widely touted as the free version of Photoshop. It offers a wide range of tools and editing options that can be used for both professional editing and by beginners or enthusiasts.

It is an open source software which means that volunteer developers are always trying to improve the product day in day out.

The software allows for cropping, removing of backgrounds, and various effects.

  • Nik Collection

The Nik Collection is a free editing suite developed by Google. It is a powerful online tool that has the necessary image editing provisions with an extra six dedicated plugins.

  • Analog Efex Pro – Effects to make an image appear more natural.
  • Color Efex Pro – Color filters.
  • Silver Efex Pro – Black and white photos.
  •  Viveza – Alter pictures without applying filters
  • Sharpner Pro and Dfine – Alter the clarity of images and reduce noise.

Though Google stopped offering patches for the software in early 2017, DxO acquired the suite, and a new version will be released in mid-2018.

Conclusion

I guarantee that whatever your editing needs you cannot go wrong with any of the above editing software. They have been vetted by experts in the industry and are considered the best.