10 Top-Rated Photo Editing Software For Windows [2021]

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Are you searching for the best Photo-editing software for Windows? Well, I can help you with this.

In today’s online world, you will see various options to pick the most suitable photo editors for Windows or for any other operating system. But, choosing the best one is a crucial thing for the best results.

To know more about all the things which you should consider while choosing a photo-editing software, read this article for sure.

I have covered most of the popular photo editors and added into this list of 10 best photo editing software for Windows. I have given rankings based on my personal testing and overall user-ratings on the internet.

So, make sure to read the article till end and visit the official websites to know more about these software.

Best Photo Editing Software for Windows in 2021

1. Luminar

luminar 4 image

Luminar is a highly popular and award-winning photo editing software for professional and beginner users as well. The software comes along with amazing AI-powered features and numerous editing tools.

Due to these reasons, Luminar can easily be used to edit professional-level photographs or your regular social-media photos.

Using its smart contrast, brightness, and other enhancement tools, you can convert your Windows machine to a full-fledged photo-editing station.

Landscape enhancer, noise removal, detail enhancement, and several other amazing tools are there to make your editing tasks much smoother and effective.

Why Luminar is good for photo-editing?

  1. A great feature of the Luminar photo-editing program is that it can convert a JPG to an animated GIF. This is a handy feature that many photo editing programs lack.
  2. Luminar photo editor is easy to use. Unlike many other photo editors, it doesn’t have a steep learning curve. You can find a lot of online learning materials to understand all its features and editing tools.
  3. Luminar photo editor is compatible with both Mac and PC.
  4. A lot of AI editing tools are available in Luminar which makes editing tasks fast and efficient.

Drawbacks of Luminar:

Because of its AI editing features, you are going to face several lags while doing hardcore editing tasks for RAW and HDR formats. Various other features like face thinning. Also, it should have a mobile version too.

2. Adobe Lightroom [Web-Based Photo Editor for Windows]

Adobe Lightroom is another impressive web-based platform most suitable for professional photo editing tasks. The software is highly suited for RAW, HDR, and other advanced editing processes.

Adobe Lightroom is most suitable for Photographers and professional photo-editing experts. However, as a beginner, anyone can start using it and get help from an extensive learning material available online and in-app tutorials.

Being a cloud-based editing software, you can easily organize your photographs and edited work and access it from anywhere at any time you want.

Why Adobe LightRoom is good for photo-editing?

  1. Batch processing is supported in Adobe Lightroom.
  2. Easy to learn as compared to Adobe Photoshop.
  3. Having a user-friendly interface is a definite plus when it comes to getting a program like this. The user interface is clean and straightforward, so there won’t be any problems getting things done.
  4. Lots of editing tools including layer management, image adjustments, quick view, and lots more.
  5. You can expect the elements to be completely customizable, something many people enjoy about a program like this.
  6. Non-destructive editing

Drawbacks of Adobe Lightroom:

Very deep adjustments are not possible in Lightroom because of its limited editing features. Also, its data-based pricing plans are highly expensive when we compare it with any other software. GIMP is another tough competitor that is completely free.

3. Paint.NET

paint.net photo editor image

Paint.NET is another great photo editing software for Windows. Because of its intuitive user-interface, it becomes a suitable photo editor for beginners and professionals.

Why Paint.NET is good for Photo Editing?

  1. With Paint.Net, you get unlimited undo, multiple layers, and different other editing tools.
  2. These features include canvas size, filters, brush size, layers, images, background colors, masking, textures, lightning, conversion to vector, transformations, and much more. The best part of this application is that it can be used with Microsoft.Net Framework.
  3. Red-Eye removal, noise, distortion, blurring and sharpening features included.
  4.  With this application, you can convert your images to SVG format or log format.

Drawbacks of Paint.NET

You can only edit a single image at a time on Paint.NET. Batch Processing is not supported. Also, as per my testing, I found its user-interface a bit outdated. But, still, because it is a free software, it is one of the best image editing software available for Windows.

4. Adobe PhotoShop Elements

adobe photoshop elements image

Adobe PhotoShop Elements is one of the best and easy to use photo editing software. It offers numerous editing tools and an intuitive user-interface to help you make your editing tasks easy for you.

Its one-click select tool and easy to use object removal functions makes it a handy tool which is made for everyone.

Replacing backgrounds, adding effects, and creating creating memories with collages is pretty easy with this software.

Adobe Photoshop Elements comes along with its Adobe Sensei AI technology to make your photo editing tasks easy and fast. Also, you will love its offerings as an advanced photo organization software.

Why Adobe Photoshop Elements is good for Photo Editing?

  1. Lots of frames, effects, colors, and brush tools.
  2. Six different editing styles: standard, true color, classic, portrait, outdoor, and landscape. Also, there are four main editing tools: opacity, curve, sepia, and curve fill.
  3. There is a “shadow box” feature that lets you add an outline to a shadowed area of a picture, and there is a vignette that adds a lighted effect to space.
  4. Automatic colorization feature
  5. Order printed mugs, shirts, and Phone accessories online.

Drawbacks of Adobe Photoshop Elements:

As compared to Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, Elements has limited editing tools available for the users. With this software package, you do not get an access to the cloud storage as you do with other Adobe products. Lens geometry profiles are also not available with this software.

5. DxO PhotoLab

DxO photolab image

With its amazing color correction tools, DxO PhotoLab helps you to edit your photos effectively. DxO Colorwheel and color replacement tools are amazing.

More than 40 one clic presets are available in DxO PhotoLab. DxO lab supports more than 60 cameras to match the rendering perfectly.

DxO ClearView is its another amazing features that suits best when you want to remove haze from your photos. Also, this feature can also be used to automatically adjust the contrast, brightness, and sharpness.

DxO Noise is another amazing denoising feature that comes along with this amazing photo editing software for Windows. For local adjustments, you can make use of its Unrivaled U point technology.

Mask Manager, Automatic repair, brush, graduated filters, and various other tools are there which you can easily test with its free trial version. If you like this software, you can go for the paid plan too.

The price of DxO PhotoLab 3’s Essential edition is 129 US$ and Elite Edition is 199 US$.

Why DxO PhotoLab is good for Photo Editing?

  1. Advanced repair tool with clone mode
  2. DxO Smart Lighting feature to highlight details in RAW files
  3. Spot Weighted Correction
  4. ICC Profile management for effective rendering
  5. Color protection for rich textures
  6. Batch Processing and fullscreen viewing
  7. Moire Removal
  8. Customizable interface

Drawbacks of DxO PhotoLab:

Most of the time, image processing is a bit slower. Also, I find its noise-reduction tool a bit laggy. However, everyone has different requirements. So, it’s trial period it good if you want to just check out whether it can suit your requirements.

6. Adobe Photoshop

adobe photoshop image

Adobe Photoshop is one of the most popular products released by Adobe. Not only a good photo editor, but you can also use it for various graphic designing tasks such as logo, banner, pixel art, leaflet designing, etc.

PhotoShop is preferred by professional photographers and editing experts. With the availability of lots of editing tools and amazing features, this software becomes the first demand for various professional works. Graphic designing is one of the amazing features which you can expect from this tool.

Adobe Photoshop is known for its precise object selection tools. Not only this, you get enhanced transform wrap and impressive layer settings.

Numerous presets are there with latest swatches, patterns, layers, styles, and shapes. Also, it has separate versions for mobile devices such as iPad, smartphones, etc.

Why Adobe Photoshop is good for Photo Editing?

  1. Excellent layer and masking features
  2. Perfect for social media and web designing
  3. Good image retouching tools
  4. Lots of effects to add
  5. Create dynamic images
  6. Create unlimited layers to add different contents separately to your images

Drawbacks of Adobe Photoshop:

For the beginners, Adobe Photoshop could become a nightmare when it comes to learning it. Also, you can purchase this software because it is based on subscription system. Alongside this, Adobe Photoshop is going to consume a lot of your computer resources especially the disk space.

In order to open RAW files in Adobe Photoshop, you will have to install the Camera RAW plugin first of all. But, the features in Camera RAW are similar to Adobe Lightroom. So, if RAW editing is your goal, you should go for Adobe Lightroom instead of Photoshop.

7. Color Efex Pro 4

Color Efex Pro photo editor image

As a part of Google NIK, Color Efex Pro 4 is one of the most utilized photo editing software by the professionals. The software come along with various features.

To adjust focus, contrast, brightness, sharpness, and various other parameters of your image, Color Efex Pro 4 can become handy.

You can’t directly edit the RAW files using this software, but once you are finished with the basic color correction, you can use it to add amazing effects.

Why Color Efex Pro 4 is good for Photo Editing?

  1. Easy to use a plugin for Photoshop
  2. Hundreds of effects
  3. Suitable for photographers
  4. Easy color management
  5. Friendly user-interface

Drawbacks of Color Efex Pro 4:

The software is pretty good for normal editing tasks. But, when it comes to the serious editing tools like Photoshop, you can’t expect much from it.

8. Capture One Pro

Capture One Pro

Capture One Pro is another highly effective and advanced photo editing software you can use in your Windows PC. When it comes to color management, this software is capable to produce impressive offerings.

To adjust contrast, saturation, brightness, and other visual parameters in your image, this software is going to offer you amazing features. The curve adjustment features and layer management tools are great also.

Halo Suppression feature is also there which you will not find either in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Color balance and color correction features are great in Capture One Pro.

In my opinion, Capture One Pro should be in your list if you have professional goals. However, you must be ready to spend some time to understand it because the UI is bit different from other popular editing software available in the market.

Why Capture One Pro is good for Photo Editing?

  1. Focus Adjustment tool
  2. Noise reduction, Moire Removal, and spot removal features
  3. Exposure, vignetting, and clarity adjustment features
  4. Painting and text insertion tools are excellent
  5. Free Access for 30 days
  6. Lots of presets

Drawbacks of Capture One Pro:

Capture One Pro doesn’t support HDR and panorama merging. Along with that, no online sharing features are there. In capture one pro, when you use layers, the user-interface becomes complex and tough to handle.

Krita [Free]

Krita image

As one of the popular digital painting software, Krita can also help you with various photo editing tasks. Krita has improved a lot in recent years and now it is ready to be used as a full-fledged photo-editing software.

While I was using it, I found its user-interface a bit similar to Adobe Photoshop. But, because it is oriented towards the painting, you can find a lot of brushes, text, and drawing tools.

To keep your work organized, Krita is equipped with layer management features. You can easily order, combine, flatten, and group your layers as per your needs as your do with Photoshop.

If you want to know more about this software, I have written an article where I have discussed whether Krita is good for photo editing or not. Make sure to read it.

Krita has its full support for PSD file formats. Also, it is OpenGL enhanced and full of amazing color management tools.

Why Krita is good for Photo Editing?

  1. Krita is completely free software
  2. Selection and transformation tools
  3. Edit HDR and RAW files
  4. Use third-party plugins
  5. Easy to learn and understand

Drawbacks of Krita For Photo Editing:

There are no serious drawbacks to Krita when it comes to photo editing. But, most of the time, the software is going to consume a lot of your RAM which can offer numerous problems while doing HDR or RAW editing works.

GIMP [Free]

gimp image

GIMP [GNU Image Manipulation Program] is an open-source but powerful photo editing software and graphic design software as well.

When it comes to the utilization of its features and tools, it will take some time to learn the things. Its complex user-interface is the things which you will have to deal with. But, do not judge its capabilities by its looks.

GIMP is an amazing software with numerous advanced editing task. This is the reason why it is considered as the best free alternative to the Photoshop.

Whether you want to retouch you image or refine it by removing the unwanted lights, objects, and noise, GIMP can help you with everything.

Since, it is a free and small-sized software, you should give it a try and check whether it can work for you.

In my opinion, it is an impressive software which you should definitely use if you have limited budget and even a low-end computer.

Why GIMP is good for Photo Editing?

  1. Automatic image enhancement tools
  2. Digital Retouching with clone and healing tools
  3. Customizable user-interface
  4. Easy to improve its features using plug-ins

Drawbacks of GIMP:

Although GIMP is full of various editing features, you can’t select multiple layers once in it. Also, you can’t add the same text styles to different layers. It doesn’t support images other than 8Bit RGB.

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I hope, you will now be able to choose the best photo editing software for Windows. If you get some help from this article, please share it with others too.


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