The Best Photo Editing Software in 2019

We’ve all heard it:

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” And science says it’s true.

In fact, according to a study published on Social Media Examiner photos get 87% engagement on Facebook whereas no other form of content could get past 4%.

Another study says, adding a photo in your tweet can boost your retweet rate by 35%.

Now there’s no doubt, photos are important, but the real question is:

How can you make your pictures more beautiful to convey your message more effectively?

The answer is ‘Photo Editing Software’.

I’m sure most of you know what a photo editing software is but the thing that leaves most of us puzzled is; which software is the best?

Well, this is exactly what I’m going to address in this blog post.

I’m going to show you what I found after analyzing the top five photo editing software along with their biggest upsides as well as downsides.

So, without any delay, let’s get going.

THE TOP 3

1. ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CC

2. ADOBE LIGHTROOM CLASSIC CC

3. ADOBE PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS

OVERALL

★★★★★

★★★★

★★★★

BEST FOR

All-Around

Professional Photographers

Beginners or Hobbyists

NUMBER OF EDITING TOOLS

24+

24+

10-15

ORGANIZATION/STORAGE

Local and 20GB cloud storage with paid plan

Local and 20GB cloud storage with paid plan

Local

COMPATIBILITY AND SHARING

Yes

Yes

Yes

DEVICE COMPATIBILITY

Mac & Windows

Mac & Windows

Mac and Windows

FREE TRIAL?

Yes

Yes

Yes

PRICE

Starts from $9.99/mo

Starts from $9.99/mo

$99.99

USABILITY

Easy to use

A bit difficult

Very easy to use

RESPONSE TIME

Only online chat (no email support)

Only online chat (no email support)

Only online chat (no email support)

Best photo editing software review

Ideally, I was looking for a photo editor which is easy to use, offers a wide range of editing options, and one which is pocket-friendly too.

Besides this, I also wanted the guarantee of a full refund in case; I don’t like the product. And luckily, I found that all these tools have a money back guarantee policy.

Now let’s see in detail what impressed me the most about each tool and where I was left with a sour experience.

1. Adobe Photoshop CC

creative cloud

When it comes to photo editing, Adobe Photoshop is the boss. It is the longest-running photo editing software among the group and a leader of its kind. After being introduced in 1990, it has gained in popularity until finally taking the lead.

Photoshop CC Pros

#1.Editing tools

Adobe offers a wide selection of tools that you can use to edit and enhance your photos. The tools are all found in the left toolbar. Use them for cropping, changing backgrounds, brightening or darkening your image, resizing, making animated GIFs, removing spots, and more. Tools with a tiny triangle have even more options available; just right click on it to see what they are.

Photoshop CC toolbar1

#2. 2GB – 20GB+ Storage

You can now get extra space to store your files when you subscribe to use Adobe Photoshop CC. How much space you get differs between subscription plans. If you decide to take advantage of the free 7-day trial, you will get 2 GB of storage in the cloud, then when you upgrade to a paid subscription plan you will get 20 GB or more.

Photoshop Cloud

#3. Up to Two Devices

Purchasing a subscription plan with Adobe Photoshop allows you to use the program on two separate computers and they don’t even have to be running the same operating systems. The only problem is, you can’t use the program on both computers at the same time.

#4. 14-Day Refund:

If you are not satisfied with the program, you can get your money back within 14 days, after that, you can still get a partial refund. Contact the Adobe Team to find out more.

#5. Sharing

Let’s face it, most of us edit photos for the sole purpose of sharing it on social media, right?

Well, Photoshop CC knows it very well, and that’s why it allows you to share your photos on your favorite social media platforms in just a few clicks without minimizing the current window.

Photoshop CC Cons

#1. No more single payment to purchase

Although it used to be possible to pay a onetime fee and own Adobe Photoshop for life, with the integration of the cloud you must now purchase a monthly subscription plan for $9.99 and up to use the program. However, you do get some perks with this deal, like file storage in the cloud, and access to other programs including Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic. As always, teachers and students can get a 60 percent discount in their first year with the “All Apps plan”.

#2. Compatible with limited devices

Many people prefer using software programs on their phone rather than on their PC or laptop. If you are one of them, then this is not the program for you since it is not mobile-friendly as of yet.

Do I recommend Photoshop CC software?

Yes, we do.

2. Adobe Lightroom Classic CC

Lightroom classic cc homepage

Adobe Lightroom Classic CC and Lightroom CC used to be one program, but it was later divided into two separate programs. These programs are both lighter versions of the Adobe Photoshop as they are limited in what they offer.

Lightroom Classic Pros

#1 Tons of editing tools for professionals

This program is more used by photographers and other professionals who have experience with photo editing programs as the layout is quite complex. However, it does offer some great tools for those who know how to use them. If you are a beginner with photo editors, you can view these helpful tutorials provided by Adobe.

Lightroom classic CC

#2 Storage

Lightroom Classic offers the same storage options as Photoshop where either you can keep your files stored in the cloud or local storage drives. Again, how much storage you get depends on the type of plan you purchase; 7-day free trial grants you 2GB of storage where a premium plan offers 20GB to 1TB.

#3 More than one device per license

Also like Photoshop, your subscription plan will allow you to use the software on two separate computers, whether it is a Mac or Windows, no matter which operating systems they are running, but you can’t use the program on both computers at the same time.

#4 14-Day Refund

This program also uses Adobe’s standard money-back agreement where you can get a full refund within 14 days if you are not impressed with the software. If you have had the software for more than 14 days, then you still may be able to get a partial refund.

Lightroom Classic CC Cons

#1 No one-time payment

And again, we have reached the same policy as Adobe Photoshop where if you want to use this program, you will have to pay a $9.99 and up monthly fee, as they no longer have the onetime payment feature where you can buy it outright. And, you will also have access to other Adobe programs and your storage is included as well so it’s a good deal.

#2 Limited compatibility

This program is also not yet compatible with your cell phone or other devices except a Mac or Windows PC running certain operating systems.

#3 Not beginner-friendly

If you are new to photo editing, then you might want to pass this software up since it is not very user-friendly. The interface is quite complex but great for those who know what they are doing.

If you are a beginner who would like to learn more about using Adobe programs, click here to view some tutorials presented by Adobe.

Do I recommend Lightroom Classic CC?

Yes, we do. But only if you’re a professional.

Otherwise, we’d recommend this next one instead…

3. Adobe Photoshop Elements

photoshop elements homepage

Adobe Photoshop Elements is very similar to Adobe Photoshop only it is much easier to use and it has fewer tools available. The program is geared toward first-time photo editing users as it provides a friendly interface where everything is easy to find and clearly understandable.

Photoshop Elements Pros

#1 Perfect for beginners

This is the perfect program for newbies who have never used a photo editing program as it has an easy-to-navigate, clean interface with fewer tools making for much less complication of figuring out which to use. You will find the editing tools on the left toolbar just like the Photoshop program and there is also a quick demo found in the “Guided” tab that you can view to learn more about what you can do with Photoshop Elements, such as making a sketch from a photo, changing the background of a picture, creating a collage, and more.

Photoshop elements expert mode

#2. One-Time Payment Option

Unlike the other programs already discussed, where you must pay a monthly subscription fee to gain access, Photoshop Elements allows you to buy the program with a one-time payment of $99.99 and keep it for life.

#3 More than one device per license

The Standard Typical Adobe policy applies where you can use the software on two separate Mac or Windows computers, but can only use one at a time.

#4 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee

This program gives you more of a threshold with your purchase. Unlike the other programs already reviewed that only, allow you 14 days to decide whether you want to keep the programs, this software comes with an extended money-back guarantee. You have 30 days to return it for a refund.

Photoshop Elements Cons

#1 Not suitable for experts

Due to its lack of editing tools, this program is not recommended for expert image editors as you can’t work with CMYK files, raw files, or 3D objects.

#2 Zero cloud storage

You do not get storage when you purchase Photoshop Elements as the other Adobe programs provide.

#3 Limited compatibility

This software only works on Windows and Mac PC’s and will not work on your mobile device; however, it does work with more operating systems than the other Adobe programs.

Do I recommend Photoshop Elements?

Yes, we do for beginners. Not for experts, though.

4. Serif Affinity Photo

affinity photo homepage

Serif Affinity was made by a European company and recently released in 2015. Not only does it cost less than the other programs in my review, but it also works on other devices as well, such as iPads and has a mobile app available. And, with its wide range of editing tools that can be used by both amateurs and experts alike, makes Serif Affinity a tough one to compete with.

Affinity Photo Pro

#1 Lots of editing tools

Affinity Photo is known to be a cheaper alternative to Adobe Photoshop as it has numerous editing tools and a layout that’s easy to navigate. In fact, it may even have more tools than Photoshop provides since it includes the same tools found in Photoshop, such as layering, raw processing, masking, and retouching and contains some features from Lightroom Classic as it supports.PSD files and precise curving.

Affinity Photo toolbar1

#2 The least expensive option

You can purchase Affinity Photo for just $49.99 and it is yours for life without having to get one of those monthly photography plans. You may not get all the added extras that you get with Adobe, but you do get a lifetime of updates after purchase.

#3 iPad compatible

This is the only program of all the others in this review that you can use with your iPad.

Affinity for ipad

#4 Fast customer support

Serif responded to our customer support test within 24 hours.

affinity customer support

#5 14-day refund

Affinity’s refund policy is similar to Adobe’s 14-day policy where you can return the program within 14 days of purchasing, for a full refund. However, they do not offer a partial refund after 14 days like Adobe does in their refund policy.

Affinity Photo Cons

#1 There is a learning curve…

It’s not that you have to be a pro to use Affinity, but you will at least need to know the basics of photo editing in order to use this program or you will be stumped.

#2 You can’t use the same license on different operating systems

One of the major setbacks of Affinity Photo is that you can purchase a license either for a Mac computer or a Windows PC, but the Mac license will only work on Mac Computers and not on a windows computer and vice versa.

#3 They don’t offer cloud storage

You do not get any storage when you purchase Affinity Photo, but the images are very small files and take up little space on your hard drive or you can always buy an external drive to keep your files safely stored.

Do I recommend Affinity Photo?

Yes, especially if you’re looking for something that isn’t Adobe, that’s a little cheaper, and works with your iPad.

5. Corel PaintShop Pro

paintshop pro homepage

Corel Paintshop Pro is another popular image editing type software that can be used by both amateurs and pros as it has many adjustment tools. However, when you gain more experience using the program you can then move on to Paintshop Pro Ultimate with more tools and features. What makes this program a favorite of many users is that it is low priced, has a clean, easy to navigate interface, and offers numerous editing tools.

Corel PaintShop Pro Pros

#1 Good for everyone from beginners to professionals

Paintshop Pro is a great program for both new editors and pro users, but it’s more of a benefit to novice users as everything is where you would expect it to be making it very easy to use.

paintshop pro 2019 toolbar

#2 30-day trial and refund period

Paintshop Pro has the best trial offer and refund policy among all the rest as you get a free 30-day trial and then you have 30 days to return the program for a full refund.

#3 One-time payment

Corel Paintshop Pro is the second cheapest program in my review as it is available for a one time purchase of $79.99.

#4 Fast Customer Support

Corel responded to our question within 10 hours, providing a detailed answer along with a support link to read more.

corel customer support

#5 Multiple devices on a single license

They also have the same policy as Adobe where you can use the program on two different computers, but only one at a time can be running.

Corel PaintShop Pro Cons

#1 Only works with Windows

This is a total game-changer for Mac owners as you can only use Corel Paintshop Pro on a Windows PC.

paintshop pro system requirements

#2 No cloud storage provided

Unfortunately, there is no cloud storage option.

Do I recommend PaintShop Pro?

Potentially, yes.

If you are a Windows user, and looking for something a photo editing software in the sweet spot between something for beginners and experts, this might be the tool for you.

Conclusion

Phew! So we finally came to an end.

I’m sure; by now, you know which photo editor is the most ideal for you. But if you’re still not convinced, here’s a quick rundown to clear all your confusion.

If you’re looking for an all-around tool with cloud storage and can afford to pay at least ten bucks every month, then Photoshop CC is the go-to editor for you. And not to forget, it comes in a bundle pack with Lightroom Classic CC and Lightroom CC that makes it a deadly combo.

Photoshop Elements is an excellent choice for those who are particularly new to photo editing and just want a modest editing tool to perform or learn the basic editing tricks without opting for a monthly subscription plan.

However, if you are a professional and want to avoid Adobe products altogether and thinking if there’s anything that can give you the same amount of features in half of the price then you would want to buy Affinity Photo. It’s the cheapest one-off product that enables you to do pro-level editing.

And last but certainly not the least, PaintShop Pro, because of its simple interface and robust set of tools, is suitable for both novices as well as experts. But the only concern is if you don’t have a Windows device, this tool is of no use for you.

Now, I’d like to turn it over to you:

Let me know what kind of photo editor are you – beginner, intermediate or pro, and which software would you like to try?