The 5 most used photo editing programs

If you are looking for programs to edit photos, here are my 5 recommendations to work on your RAWs , prepare your photos to upload them to your blog or social networks or simply manage your photographic library.

Digital photography radically changed the rules of the game, before photographic editing was reserved for “artisans” who were able to edit photographs taken with analog cameras by hand, not by clicking. They came into play programs to edit photos , with which we could tweak, change backgrounds, add or elements or catch the head of our friends and place it on another body in a few steps. For better or for worse, editing images was within everyone’s reach and the love for photography grew exponentially until today, when we edit photos taken with the mobile by applying a filter, retouching some of the contrast, brightness and voila, to share .

What is the best program to edit photos?

The taste of each one really influences a lot when choosing an editing software , personally I give more importance to programs with an intuitive interface, effective image library management, that the way of editing the photos is not destructive, that is, , that the original file is not altered in the edition or that the program has the option of applying adjustments by zones.

In this article I will recommend the best photo editing programs for me , some free, others paid through a fairly affordable subscription for the possibilities they offer, to the mess.

Edit photos with Photoshop

What to say that you have not already heard of this wonder. An intuitive interface that many of us have grown up with and that is not only used to remove cellulite. It may seem complicated at first if you have not used any Adobe program, but once you understand the basic tools you will enjoy its options. The best thing about Photoshop is its scalability, it can serve both a beginner photographer and be the best option for professional photography together with Lightroom.

Its layer editing system allows you absolute freedom to edit images , local adjustments (to be able to edit by zones without affecting the rest of the image), layer masks, impossible cuts like the hair of your models and many more tools to unleash your creativity.

It is true that to use Photoshop efficiently you need a certain level or knowledge of the program but I assure you that you can start using it today . You know that I always endorse trial and error as the best way to loosen up with a photo editing program and Photoshop is perfect for practice.

From my point of view Photoshop is not comfortable for me for a basic editing of a photograph but for something more advanced such as erasing elements or photomontages , but this has nothing to do with editing or digital development.

The best way to get Photoshop is to pay for the Adobe “Photography” plan, this pack includes Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, 20 GB of storage in the Creative Cloud and Lightroom Classic CC 10$ for about  per month (annual payment).

Adobe Lightroom for Mac and Windows

It is my favorite, I started using it  because of its way of managing the library and because of a fast and efficient workflow . He took a daily photograph and of course, that doesn’t mean he only shot once. Managing all the RAWs , selecting the good one, classifying them by theme to keep an order or scoring each photograph in case I ever needed to use that folder has saved me a lot of time .

One of the options that I use the most when I develop photographs taken in the same place, time and lighting is ” copy settings “, with this we can paste the settings of a photograph that we have developed in all the ones we select. In this way, if we have several photographs taken in series, we will not have to edit one by one. Imagine the possibilities for studio sessions in the same light, concert photos , photos taken in an interior during a wedding reception, churches, etc.

Lightroom also prepares the images for the web and self-publishes on your social networks, so it is very convenient to manage everything from its panel with one click and not have to publish the photo one by one.

As you can see, it is its workflow that makes it the king of this category, as well as being able to use its files on PC and Mac, something that is basic to me today. It would not be the first time that I have to develop on a PC or send a file to another person who does not use the apple brand. From my point of view it is the best program to edit Point for Lightroom!

To get it, visit the official Adobe page, you have the link just above.

Simple program to edit photos

GIMP, the best program to retouch photos for free

Gimp is a free and free photo editor , available for most platforms such as Mac OS X, Linux or Windows. The fact that it is free means that more and more users choose to use it as their favorite editing program, especially users who are just starting out and do not want to pay the price of the Adobe program.

Photoshop is a much more developed tool, so if you are going to dedicate yourself professionally or want to go further in the world of editing and retouching, Photoshop and Lightroom are the best options.

Gimp is usually used for quick tasks if you don’t want to complicate your life, for example to erase people or objects from a photograph, prepare an image to upload to your website or social networks , place a watermark or simply cut it out.

In Gimp you can find the tools that are most used in typical photo editing programs such as layer work , adjustment brushes, gradients, selection tools, smart cutting, etc.

The function of opening PSDs (Photoshop files) was also added, so it has surely won some followers who were doubting whether to make the leap. We will see how it unfolds in the coming years.

Photos, editing software signed by Apple

Apple’s bet for photo editing came to replace iPhoto and Aperture, the previous official Apple programs for editing images. Photos, has been integrated into OS X since Yosemite version 10.10.3. It is also available for iOS from iOS 8 but the desktop version has many more options than the mobile version.

It manages libraries that have too many photos very well, it is an agile program, with easy-to-use tools, an intuitive design without neglecting options for the more advanced ones.

Photos allows you to create calendars, presentations or albums from the program itself, as well as intelligently search your library by date, place or keywords, among others.

It is Lightroom’s biggest rival and although they share many options, the fact that there is only a Mac version means that many of us do not think of it as an option. Also once you have gotten used to the possibilities of Lightroom it is difficult to switch to other software no matter how similar it is.

It makes use of the “Shared” function as in iOS where you can share your activity, photos with other contacts and have them add images to the catalog or comment on them.

Choosing between Photos or Lightroom is a decision of tastes and needs, only you will know which one you feel more comfortable with.

Camera RAW and Adobe Bridge

It is also very similar to Photos and Lightroom, its engine and sliders are identical but it needs a program like Adobe Bridge to manage the image library. Those who use it defend that Camera Raw does not create an extra file like Lightroom does where it saves the development settings. In this way, even if the brand stopped supporting or updating the program, you would still have the photos edited, which if it happened in Adobe, you would have to continue using Lightroom to recover the development settings .

In summary

The best photo editing programs for me are Lightroom and Photoshop , I think they complement each other perfectly. You can use Lightroom for developing and editing and Photoshop for photo retouching.

The two are connected, so you can send a photo from Lightroom to Photoshop at any time. Imagine you are editing an image and there is something you want to remove with Photoshop’s clone stamp. You would right click on your image and export to Photoshop , there you delete the part you want and when you click to save it directly, it will appear modified in Lightroom, creating an alternative file of the original version.