Everyone knows that you can create stunning videos on Mac computers thanks to their powerful processors. However, photo editing is also something you should keep in mind when you’re buying your Mac. It’s no secret that in today’s world photos are the currency of social media and everyone has to be perfect, especially if you’re creating photos for brands on Instagram, for example. Because there’s such a focus on making amazing photos, we thought we’d go over some of the best photo editing software for Mac and why you should download each of them.

Adobe Photoshop Elements

Price: $69.99 (free trial available)

You’ve no doubt heard of Photoshop. Photoshop has been the gold standard of photo editing software for years now and there’s a good reason for that. That’s because Adobe Photoshop Elements has everything you need to make amazing photos or if you want to just touch up photos quickly. For example, Elements uses intelligent AI to optimize your images. You can turn a black and white image into a color image instantly, adjust the tilt of faces seamlessly, add motion to your images and smooth your face with the click of a button. 

In total there are 58 total guided edits so you can learn how to make professional images as you go. Photoshop used to be quite intimidating for beginners because of the complex UI it used to have. Now, Photoshop Elements has been simplified and you’ll be guided along as you edit your images. 

Adobe Photoshop Elements is perfect for content creators too. You can make bold thumbnails for YouTube by stacking layers of images on top of each other. You can also add white outlines to objects easily with the click of a button to make them really stand out.

Key features;

  • Remove motion blur
  • Add color pop to black and white images
  • Remove background
  • Add text to images
  • Create double exposure images
  • Adjust facial features easily
  • Select subject

Apple Photos

Best photo editing software for Mac

Price: Free

Apple Photos comes installed on your Mac. It’s a free photo editing app that is simple yet powerful for everyday use. Whilst you won’t get professional-level features as you would with Photoshop, you still get a variety of tools to use. You can adjust the lighting of a photo and add different filters. Apple Photos doesn’t have jazzy filters like Instagram, instead, it has subtle filters that will make your image look cool or warm. You can also add motion to your images which essentially turns them into GIFs. The interface looks like a mini video-editing suite and you can adjust the saturation, highlights, contrast, and exposure.

You can also make simple collages and all of your photos will automatically be assigned to a folder based on the time and date they were taken. This just makes them easy to find.

Because Apple Photos is native to your Mac, your images will also be synced to the cloud so you can be sure they’re saved properly and can be accessed on your other Apple devices. All in all, there’s not too much to shout about and Apple Photos is what you’d expect from any built-in free photo-editing app.

Key features;

  • Lighting adjustments
  • GIF maker
  • Curve tool

Adobe Lightroom

Best photo editing software for Mac

Price: $9.99 a month

If you have Photoshop Elements then you can move seamlessly between Elements and Lightroom. If you don’t have Photoshop, fear not, you can still use Lightroom on its own for $9.99 a month. Lightroom is a great ‘light-weight’ photo editing program because you can use it on your Mac and your iPhone so if you start editing a photo you can pick it back up once you’re back on your Mac.

Adobe pushes Lightroom as a simple photo editing program and I think that’s fair. It’s got a very friendly interface, just like Photoshop Elements. The difference is, Lightroom is cloud-based. Lightroom is great because you can use its Curve tool to mix the color and tones of a photo, change the focus of the foreground and background with a few clicks of a button and adjust the harshness of an image by playing around with the features; Clarity and Dehaze.

Lightroom is also great if you want to highlight a certain part of an image. You can select an object from within your photo and adjust its light and tone to give the elements in your photo a nice contrast.

Key features;

  • Healing brush for smooth edges
  • Lots of pro filters
  • Reduce image noise
  • Detail isolation and manipulation
  • Cloud-based

Affinity Photo

Price: $49.99 (50% discounts run often though)

You may not have heard about Affinity Pro but if you’re after something that arguably rivals Photoshop for a cheaper price, this is the program for you. Affinity comes in two flavours; Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo. Affinity Photo is similar to Photoshop in that you can create professional photo edits easily. The learning curve might be higher for some but once you get used to it, it becomes easy. Like Photoshop you’ll be working with unlimited layers. You can add filters to your whole photo or by layer too so you can essentially stack your filters to give your photos some really cool effects.

With Affinity Photo you can easily blend, crop, adjust, create stunning vectors and touch-up your photos with digital painting. Affinity Photo steers itself towards artists who want to create amazing and dynamic effects on top of their photos, rather than just basic adjustments, although it can do both. Even if you prefer Photoshop you can still export your PSD files and then open them into Affinity Photo and Affinity will read them properly.

For $49.99, you’re getting a real bargain and the best part is, there’s currently a 90-day free trial, not to mention they often run 50% deals throughout the year!

Key features;

  • Image stitching
  • Selection brush and magic tool
  • Advanced selection refinement
  • Merge from RAW
  • Reads PSD files

Pixelmator Pro

Best photo editing software for Mac

Price: 39.99

Pixelmator Pro has gone through a few versions over the years, there’s a classic version for Mac and a pro version which we’ll be discussing here. Pixelmator Pro is an exclusive photo editing app for Mac and is compatible with the latest version of macOS. The UI is very modern and features all of the effects on the right-side panel. You can select various preset effects to add to your images or create your own that you can use again later. 

You can also add vector shapes with the pen tool, place text over photos and manipulate the highlights and shadow of your photos. It’s easy to remove imperfections on your photos magically and you can even clone your images too. Pixelmator Pro will let you crop and tilt your photos in any way you want but it is more of a basic photo-editing program compared to the other programs on our list. However, some people will find it easy to use because it can be downloaded right from the App Store. It’s also nice to know that new updates will happen automatically so you’ll always have the latest version. It’s an easy app to get the hang of and you’ll be able to do most of the edits you want.

Key features

  • Lots of preset filters and effects
  • Make vectors with the pen tool
  • Large library of text fonts to use on your photos
  • Work with simple layers

The Bottom Line

Most of these photo editing apps will be useful for anyone wanting to create stunning photo edits but one really takes it to the next level. If you want the best photo editing experience then Photoshop Elements still holds the top spot. It’s a professional photo editing program that is now easier than ever to use. Combining all of the features, Photoshop Elements offers them all to beginners. In my opinion, it’s definitely worth the money if you want an easy way to manipulate photos the way you want them.

This can literally be done at the click of a button. Find out more here.

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