10 Of The Best Photo Editing Software For Beginners

A perk of digital photography is the ability to alter images after taking them. You can get rid of blemishes, change the lighting, and even enhance colors. You might think that it’s too hard to do, but with the right photo editing software, a bright, white smile - or any other edits you may want done - are only a few clicks away. 

If you are new to digital photography, you might not know where to go. You know that Photoshop is a fan favorite among artists, but it can be pricey. It might even be too complicated or overwhelming for you. It does offer a lot of tools, which can be both a blessing and a curse.

Below, we put together a list of the best photo editing software on the market for beginners to make the search a little easier for you. Hopefully one of them will be a good fit to you.

Why You Need the Best Photo Editing Software for Beginners

You need photo editing software because you can’t get away with just pointing and clicking anymore. Pictures have to capture people’s attention, and you will be competing with millions of other photos. You can now alter photos easily with the right software, and it won’t take forever to make changes if you know what you are doing. A photo editing software can even help you change what kind of file the photo will be, and the size of it.

One word of warning: If you don’t have the right software for your task, it will probably take hours to make any changes. So make your photo editing software choice based on what you need it for.

Different Types of Photo Edits

Photo Editing

There are different types of basic editing projects that you can do with the right software. And, there are many more types of editing you can do once you’ve mastered some of the basics. Take it at your own pace and you will eventually learn them all:

Noise Reduction: This is basically smoothing out the picture through changing the pixel size.

White Balance: Changing the color of the light in the photo.
Contrast: Higher contrast can make an image more dynamic and lower contrast will make the photo seem flatter.

Exposure: This changes the brightness of the photo.

Lens Correction: This fixes any problems with the camera lens.

Color Adjustments: This lets you change the color of anything in the photo.

Resizing and Cropping: This changes the size of the image and cuts out any unnecessary space.

Background Removal: This will separate the background from the subject in the photo. This way the subject can be moved to another image.

How We Chose Our Ratings

We looked at what other photographers think are the best photo editing software for beginners. We did this because they know what to look for when it comes to editing tools and effects. They were beginners at one point as well and they understand the struggles that you are going to face. Once we had a list of software to research, we started comparing the pros and cons of each.

We then went to a consumer site, like Amazon, and see what others thought of each product. These people are in a similar place as you and have nothing to lose by reviewing.

10 Of The Best Photo Editing Software For Beginners

We tried to find a range in prices and computers that the software works on. Hopefully something below will be a good fit for you:

1. Adobe Photoshop Elements


Photoshop is a very popular software among all artists. This is a much simpler version though. However, it does have everything that you need to organize, edit, and share your photos. It has all the standard tools that you need. You can change colors, remove scratches, and even fix old photos. It will even help you make photobooks, scrapbooks, and greeting cards. It works for both Windows and Mac.

Though beware, the latest version has a low star rating. This low rating could be due to a glitch. People seem to have a hard time getting it downloaded properly. When it does work, it works well. It’s a very intuitive system. If you want to be safe, get last year’s version.


2. Corel PaintShop Pro


This is a software that both pros and newbies like to use. What’s especially great is that it’s a one-time purchase, unlike Adobe, that is subscription based. You can edit images, use photo paint, and you can even process multiple photos at once.

It features tools like Painter Essentials 5, Perfectly Clear 3 SE, Corel AfterShot 3, and Corel’s Creative Collection. It will even help with videos and making them as seamless as possible. However, only works on Windows. 

Pros of this software are the different tools and software within it, it’s easy to use, and the price is good. Cons are that some people seem to have problems with installation, some aspects are hard to learn, and the company can spam you with emails. 


3. Gimp


This program can do around 80% of what Photoshop is capable of. It’s good for simple and quick editing, however, the interface isn’t as easy to use as other software. It’s an open-source software and that means it’s free.

It will run on any system and you can upgrade it through the many different plugins that are available. While it can have a steep learning curve, you can’t beat the price.


4. Serif PhotoPlus


This has an interface that is designed for fast and easy edits. You can also make more complicated changes like making it look like a watercolor or oil painting. You can restore old photos by removing scratches, creases, marks, and anything else that messes up the image. This software only works on Windows.

This version gets a 2.5-star rating. Perks of this software are that it has good tutorials, the price is good, and the editing abilities are solid. Cons are that it isn’t as good as previous iterations, the interface can be confusing, and their customer service could be better. 

If you are interested, it might be worth checking out a previous version. We are hoping that the bugs will be worked out of the latest version, though.


5. Adobe Lightroom CC


Here is another Adobe favorite, though it’s different from Photoshop. This is perfect for you if Abode Elements seems like too much. It mostly lets you adjust the tonality, exposure, and color of the photo. You can organize this with keywords that are automatically applied without you having to tag anything. It also offers you cloud based storage. Sadly, it is limited in its ability to make big changes like removing blemishes and mixing it with other photos.

It works on both Windows and Mac. Adobe Lightroom gets a 3.2-star rating. People like how fast they get the download code, it’s easy to use, and you can work with it on your phone and computer. However, some people do have a bit of trouble getting the code to work. Also, Adobe’s customer service isn’t good.


6. Cyberlink PhotoDirector 8 Ultra


This is a great software for beginners because it has an intuitive interface. It features tutorial videos to help you learn about all the tools within the software. You can even take still images from videos and transform them into photos. This is good for making panoramic vistas and perfect group photos. It features lots of filters, effects, and blurs. It will also get rid of any blemishes. 

This works on both Windows and Mac. It gets a 4-star rating because it’s all about helping you learn. People like this software because it features tutorials, the price is good, and because of the online support team. One note, people have complained about it lacking some expected features and the interface being difficult.


7. DxO Labs OpticsPro 11


DxO PhotoLab is one of the most dynamic photo editors. The photo software has promoted itself with its automatic correction of the lens and camera image, noise reduction, simple and handy menu, advanced settings and other features.

Raw and JPEG photos are being processed based on optical corrections from mathematically established laboratory models, according to DxO, as well as such features as PRIME noise reduction technology and DxO Smart Lighting intelligent exposure optimization.


8. Capture One


Phase One Capture One offers pro and prosumer digital photographers excellent detail from raw camera files, and local adjustments including layers, but it trails in organization tools.

Excellent raw file conversion. Pleasing interface. Fast import. Good photo-adjustment toolset. Keyword tagging tool.


9. Luminar 2018 Jupiter


This software offers a collection of preset effects for beginners. They are organized into different categories, so it’s easy to use and you can apply quick edits. You can also do black and white photos, portraits, and more. There’s also an option to use layers to blend any photo edits together. And, Luminar will also remove blemishes and red skin. 

It has over 40 non-descriptive filters, 70 presets, lens correction, brush edits, and one click preset. You can get everything started in less than a minute. Then, you can adjust the interface to what you prefer to make everything quick and easy to use. 

Pros of this software are that it supports Photoshop plugins, it’s easy to use, and the price is good. Cons are that it doesn’t make JPG files, it can crash, and some people feel it’s missing a few tools.


10. Photomatix Pro 6


This software will highlight and shadow details to make photos more interesting to look at. It will also remove ghosts, reduce noise, and adjust colors. It supports Adobe Lightroom plugins. You can create realistic, surreal, or painted-looking photos. Photomatix Pro 6 works for both Windows and Mac. 

Perks of this software are that it’s easy to use, there are lots of options, and it’s quick to install. Cons are that it can take a while to get used to, people feel that it doesn’t give the user enough control, and some want more effects to work with. 


Buyer’s Guide to Picking the Best Software

There are a few things you should keep in mind when purchasing photo editing software. These specific aspects will make everything much easier for you:

File Formats

Depending on your needs, you will need to change your photo’s file format. Any software should let you save it as a JPG, GIF, and PNG. It should also let you change the size that will fit your needs.

Specific Editing Tools You Need

The best photo editing software for beginners should at least let you resize, crop, rotate, and adjust the brightness and contrast of your photos. They should also be easy to use too. It should help you keep track of your images by using thumbnail previews, naming schemes, and search. This is really good when you have a lot of photos. 

Photo Editing Can Be Fun and Easy – With the Right Tools

While many photographers hate the editing process, it can be fun and easy if you get the right program. The best photo editing software for beginners will let you create your edits with ease. It will have an easy-to-use interface and should be pretty intuitive. Before you buy one, see if they offer free trials. This way you can see how you like it, and if it doesn’t work for you, try another one. 

Always make sure to read the reviews. These people have tried the software and will tell you if it’s good or not. As seen above, some software will have bugs or crash. This can be frustrating, and it’s best to avoid those types of programs, if possible.

Just because you are a beginner doesn’t mean that you can’t create masterful works of art. You may even fool people into thinking that you are an expert.

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