December 27, 2020 Azka Munir

Top 10 Photo Editors to use in 2021

If you belong to the field of photography, you will be aware of the importance of editing.

In this competitive field, photo retouching and photo enhancement become a need.

This need is fulfilled by editors also called photo editing software.

Keep reading the to find out the top photo editors you will require in 2021.


Why do you need to edit photos?

You may not realize the importance of photo editing and photo retouching if you are an amateur.

However, raw photos do not give the best results.

A little enhancement elevates your photos to the next level.

Small things like adjusting the white balance and saturation can make your photo look more polished.


In fact, now editing is a part of post-processing in photography and is a part of a photographer’s job.

A photographer is expected to edit photos before giving the final product.

You do not take away from a photo if you edit. In fact, you make your gorgeous photos even more amazing.

You will not lose your touch or style, in fact, your editing style can become your trademark and your customers will remember you from your editing style.

Moreover, editing helps reduce the size of your photographs.

Therefore, if you want to post your photos to your website, a smaller size image will equal more website speed.

It will also facilitate you when you will post on social media or other photography platforms.

Small images not only upload fastly improving website speed but also helps retain the quality of the image.

photo editing

So, now you know why editing is a must. Post-processing is as much important as shooting.

However, you will need some tools to edit your photos.

These tools are photo editors and editing software.

Read on to find out about the useful editors and tools you will require in 2021 to upgrade your photography.


Top 10 Photo Editors

The industry standards are Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom.

However, you should keep experimenting to find the right fit.

While choosing your photo editor, look for ease, good functionality and tools.

As a beginner, you can also look up to free options to get yourself started.

photo editors

1. Adobe Lightroom

You may have heard about Adobe Lightroom if you are in the photography industry.

Lightroom is a simple, user-friendly photo editor.

Amateur photographers love Lightroom because it is very simple and clean.

It allows photographers and editors to direct all their focus on the image.

Lightrooms’ best features are:

  • The blurring and fixing tools
  • Face detection
  • Customizable slider
  • Gradient and brush
  • Camera corrections and lens-based corrections
  • Sync to devices
  • Filters

Adobe Lightroom has a subscription plan like the rest of the Adobe products.

It is available as a single product as well as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud and together with Adobe Photoshop, which we discuss below.

photo editors photoshop

2. Adobe Photoshop

Besides being the top choice for design, Adobe Photoshop is also the top choice for photo editing.

Photoshop is not only used for image editing but also for photo retouching and designing.

Unlike Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop is used by professionals who understand this meticulous photo editor.

That is not to say that Photoshop is not for amateurs. It is just a little advanced and difficult to understand in the beginning.

However, if you start learning post-processing from Adobe Photoshop, your editing skills will be much higher than your peers.

Its best features include non-destructive editing due to layers and masking and selection tools.

You can use photo effects and editing tools such as the crop tool, tilt shift and blemish remover.

Photoshop is the main software for retouching and cloning.

Moreover, it supports image files of all kinds and works well with even larger size images.

Adobe Photoshop also comes with a subscription, as a sole product, as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite and as a package with Adobe Lightroom.


GNU Image Manipulation Program, also known as GIMP is a free photo editor whose image-enhancing tools are at par with paid software.

Photo editing is possible through the use of layers, masks, selection tools, clone stamps.

It is an online photo editing tool that can edit multiple images.

Moreover, GIMP is an open-source editor where the community and developers have developed plugins to extend its utility.

In fact, you can even use Adobe Photoshop’s plugins in GIMP.

canva tool

4. Canva

Essentially a designing tool, Canva can also be used to enhance your photos to incorporate them in a design post.

You can apply tints, vignette effects, crop image, adjust sharpening, saturation and contrast.

Canva uses a simple drag and drop to design and enhance your images and design. Therefore, it is very beginner-friendly.

However, Canva does not have any fancy features that will give you great accuracy.

But it is a free online tool (with premium features available)and you can incorporate your photos directly into a design.

So, Canva can be a good photo editor for beginners who want to warm up to the world of photo editing.

That said, Canva is also used by professionals and businesses because of its ease and a wide variety of tools, vast image library and templates.

5. Skylum Luminar

Skylum Luminar is thought to be a good alternative to Adobe Lightroom.

Just like Lightroom, it has an easy interface and can be used as a photo organizer alongside being a photo editor.

You can upload all your images in the Luminar library to keep your workflow centralized.

Luminar also has a presets workspace that caters to specific editing tasks.

These include professional, black and white, landscape, portrait and many more.

These preset workspaces allow you to edit quickly and efficiently.

These presets are present in Photoshop but not in Lightroom. Therefore, Luminar combines these two software to give you an ideal photo editor to use.

Skylum Luminnar is also comparatively cheaper. It is available as a one-time subscription for a year.

mobile editing

6. PicMonkey

PicMonkey is another beginner-friendly tool for beginners to brush up their skills over photo editing.

Like Canva, PicMonley is also a designing tool alongside a photo editor.

It has tools like touch up, crop and collages among others.

If you are looking to edit a photo for fun and for your personal photos, then PicMonkey should be your pick.

Want to make that family collage? Make a polished one on PicMonkey easily.

It has a very easy user interface and you do not need to be a pro to use it.

However, it will give you good results because of its advanced touch-up tools.

Furthermore, it is also available as a straightforward, easy mobile app.

PicMonkey has a 7-day free trial and a monthly subscription.

7. Corel PaintShop Pro

Corel PaintShop is considered a good alternative to Adobe Photoshop.

It is a comparatively affordable and basic photo editor.

It is capable to edit 360-degree images, has a smooth user experience, templates and a vast library of colors, palettes and pictures.

You get textures, brushes and backgrounds. Moreover, the updated version has a photography workspace to specifically cater to your post-processing needs.

Its best features are AI presets, SmartClone, blur and fix and  RAW image processing.

Furthermore, it has layers and masks and incorporates graphic design tools and templates to make design products alongside.

However, it is only available for use on Windows so Mac users have to look elsewhere.

Corel PaintShop has a one-time purchase plan.

It is an ideal photo editor for beginners who want to get a grip over the basics of editing to lead them to professional editing.

snappa tool

8. Snappa

Like Canva, Snappa is an online design tool for photographers who want to make something else out of their photos.

Maybe you want to make social media posts to promote your photography page.

After all, you will need to spread your work for it to get recognition.

Then Snappa can help you delve deeper but with ease.

You can add effects, do easy drag and drop photo editing, get access to lots of stock images, and use image design templates.

9. Capture One

Another competitor to Adobe Lightroom, Capture One focuses on RAW footage editing.

Fast performance with larger image size, inbuilt masking tools eliminating the need for Adobe Photoshop and flexible color editing features that adjust colors and white balance precisely are the key features for Capture One.

Moreover, you can customize your working space and layout according to your needs.

CaptureOne uses layers for editing.

Though layers piling up can make the software sluggish, CaptureOne holds through and does not lag.

It has inbuilt annotations where you can make notes on the edit and these annotations make collaboration easy.

You can purchase Capture One as a monthly subscription or as a one-time purchase.

Capture One is more expensive than Adobe Creative Cloud CC as a monthly subscription so a one-time purchase is more feasible.

However, given its cost, it is best to dive into Capture One when you know you have enough editing skillset that only Capture One can enhance as a photo editor.

adobe photoshop software

10. Adobe Photoshop Express Editor

Adobe Photoshop Express Editor is a free and toned-down version of the industry-standard Adobe Photoshop.

It is available to use online and also as a mobile app but the online version offers more tools.

However, it does have some limitations given it is free and has a similar and advanced software for purchase.

You can crop, adjust the colors, resize the image, and remove its background.

But you can only upload a picture in JPG not greater than 16MB. Moreover, it does not use layers.

That said, the tools present are polished and precise. Your editing result will not be compromised.

If you need basic editing then Adobe Photoshop Express Editor is your free pick that can fulfill your needs.


photo editors and tools


We discussed the top 10 photo editors to look out for in 2021.

Editing has become a requirement for photos and these editors and software will elevate your photos to the next level.

Hence, attracting more customers and generating business.


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