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Your Comprehensive Guide to Photography Post-Processing Software

My recent article, 3 Alternative Post-Processing Applications that Challenge the Adobe Throne, presented just three of the many post-processing software packages available (both free and paid) that provide excellent post-processing capabilities. In this article, I’ll give you a much longer list of post-processing software. To be impartial, I’ll list the titles in alphabetical order.

Your Comprehensive Guide to Photography Post-Processing Software

DXO Photolab 2

A few of the titles added by readers in the Comments section of the “3 Alternatives” article impressed me with their power and innovative design. I’ve been editing digital images with every software package available since late 1986, and I thought I’d seen most of them. However, it seems that the list of capable editing software grows weekly.

As you will notice, I do not mention ALL the software available for download or online use. Those that made the cut will be actual production titles with a minimum set of well-designed editing functions.

To be honest, I’ve looked at a significant number of offerings that are little more than public domain routines. They are not fully implemented or even adequately defined. These were considered but not listed.

Listed below is a wide variety of packages on both mobile and laptop/desktop platforms; a true variety pack that covers the field from hobbyist to professional users. No matter what your preference, you’ll find something here to tickle your fancy and meet your demands.

Your Comprehensive Guide to Photography Post-Processing Software

ACDSee Photo Studio Professional

As was welcomed in my first article, additional post-processing software titles should be added to this list by readers who have discovered (and used) them.

It is important to recognize all such products in a desire for fairness and sharing information. Because this list includes many more titles, I will not mention individual features of these titles, only a brief mention of the product’s most notable features.

This is where you can really contribute…

I’ll rely on you to describe your favorite features and benefits of your favorite titles. Let’s make this a very collaborative group effort BUT with one important request: please be brief and succinct with your comments. Limit your comments to one or two of the features that make your favorite app stand out from all others. That way, we learn from each other without monopolizing the mutual pulpit.

Image: Skylum Luminar 3

Skylum Luminar 3

List of photography post-processing software

ACDSee Photo Studio

Publisher: ACDSee Systems International

Website: https://www.acdsee.com/en/index/

Trial: Free/30 days

Price: $60 Mac/Win/Mobile

Afterlight 2

Publisher: Afterlight Collective

Android Website: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fueled.afterlight&hl=en_US

Apple Website: https://apps.apple.com/app/id1293122457 

Trial: Free/30 days

Price: $60 Mac/Win/Mobile

Affinity Photo

Publisher: Serif

Website: www.affinity.serif.com

Trial: Free/30 days

Price: $50 Mac/Win/iPad

Capture One

Publisher: Phase One

Website: https://www.phaseone.com/en/

Trial: Free/30 days

Price: $299 or $20/month Mac/Win


Website: www.darktable.org

Price: Free

Exposure X4.5

Publisher: Alien Skin

Website: https://www.alienskin.com

Trial: Free/30 days

Price: $119 Mac/Win Computer


Publisher: Fotor

Android Website: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.everimaging.photoeffectstudio&hl=en_US

Apple Website: https://apps.apple.com/app/id440159265?referrer=click%3D8cd7ac09-77a3-42f6-9005-ed622bd3e17f

Price: Free


Publisher: Gimp

Website: https://www.gimp.org

Price: Free Mac/Win Computers

Google Photos

Publisher: Google

Website: https://www.google.com/photos

Price: Free online

Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic

Publisher: Adobe Systems

Website: https://www.adobe.com/creativecloud/photography.html

Trial: Free/30 days

Price: $10/mo Mac/Win

Your Comprehensive Guide to Photography Post-Processing Software

Adobe Lightroom Tablet/Computer/Mobile

Online Photo Editor

Publisher: PicMonkey

Website: https://www.picmonkey.com/

Trial: Free/7 days

Price: Starts at $7.99/month

Photo RAW

Publisher: ON1

Website: https://www.on1.com/products

Trial: Free/30 days

Price: $80

PhotoLab 2

Publisher: DxO

Website: https://shop.dxo.com

Trial: Free/30 days

Price: $129 Mac/Win Mobile/Computer

Paint Shop Pro X9

Publisher: Corel

Website: https://www.paintshoppro.com/en/

Trial: Free/30 days

Price: $80 Mac/Win

Anthropics Portrait Pro 2 post-processing software

Anthropics Portrait Pro 2

Photoshop/Camera RAW

Publisher: Adobe Systems

Website: https://www.adobe.com/creativecloud/photography.html

Trial: Free/30 days

Price: $10/mo Mac/Win

Photoshop Elements

Publisher: Adobe Systems

Website: https://www.adobe.com/creativecloud/photography.html

Trial: Free/30 days

Price: $59.99 Mac/Win

Photoshop Express

Publisher: Adobe Systems

Android Website: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.adobe.psmobile&hl=en

Apple Website: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/photoshop-express-photo-editor/id331975235?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Price: Free


Publisher: NCH Software

Website: https://www.nchsoftware.com

Trial: Free/30 days

Price: $40


Publisher: PicsArt

Android Website: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.picsart.studio

Apple Website: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/picsart-photo-studio/id587366035

Price: Free

Pixlr Editor

Publisher: Pixlr

Android Website: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pixlr.express&hl=en_US

Apple Website: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/pixlr-photo-collages-effect/id526783584

Price: Free online

Pixlr Mobile Android/IOS post-processing software

Pixlr Mobile Android/IOS

PortraitPro 18

Publisher: Anthropics

Website: https://www.anthropics.com

Trial: Free/30 days

Price: $45 Mac/Win

RAW Therapee

Publisher: Softpedia

Website: https://www.softpedia.com

Price: Free (but only offered on Windows)

Skylum Luminar 3

Publisher: Skylum

Website: https://skylum.com/luminar

Trial: Free/30 days

Price: $70 Mac/Win Computer

Smart Photo Editor

Publisher: Anthropics

Website: https://www.anthropics.com/smartphotoeditor/product/

Trial: Free/30 days

Price: $30 Wind/Mac


Publisher: Google

Android Website: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.niksoftware.snapseed&hl=en_US

Apple Website: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/snapseed/id439438619

Price: Free

Sumo Paint

Publisher: Sumo

Website: https://www.sumopaint.com

Trial: Free/30 days

Price: Free version, but Sumo Pro is $4/month

Topaz Studio 2

Publisher: Topaz Labs

Website: topazlabs.com

Trial: Free/30 days

Price: $100 Mac/Win

Your Comprehensive Guide to Photography Post-Processing Software

Anthropics Smart Photo Editor


Some titles didn’t make this list’s cut simply because they are only marginally useful. Needless to say, in today’s market, there is an innumerable slew of entertainment-level phone/tablet-based image “editing” apps also available. There are way too many even to mention, let alone keep current information on.

Many of these apps are made for the amusement of the younger social media crowd who appreciate more unicorns and stickers than serious editing power. Not to sound judgmental, there is an app for everything and everyone, but this listing is “focused” on actual photo editing capabilities more than the social media aspect.



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Herb Paynter
Herb Paynter

is the owner of Imageprep Communications, a photographer, author, and print consultant suffering in sunny Ormond Beach Florida. He is an award-winning Photoshop plug-in software developer who has been teaching digital imaging and production image editing for more than 20 years. Check his blog The Way Eyes See It, download his iBook Digital Color Photography from the iTunes store or view his digital color video series at Gotta Know Videos.com.

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