The Greatest Picture Enhancing Softwares in 2021

Photo editing that was once reserved for photographers and graphic designers is now done on a daily basis by most of us. Whether you're applying a filter to a selfie on Instagram or cutting out an unwanted photo bomber before posting a picture on Facebook, we're all amateur photo editors these days.

But what if you really want to make the photos you took on your phone sing, or if you're a budding photographer with a DSLR camera aiming to become a professional shutterbug? Then you probably want to invest in photo editing software.

PhotoDirector 365

  • Starts at $ 3.17 per month
  • Windows and Mac (iOS and Android available)
  • Free version available
  • A.I. makes routine corrections and corrects imperfections
  • Glitch, rays of light, dispersion, photo animation and other effects
  • Free access to a royalty-free premium Shutterstock photo and video library

PhotoDirector 365 began life as a workflow program, however CyberLink has made numerous upgrades to position it as a viable (and cheaper) alternative to Adobe Photoshop. A.I.-enabled skills such as masking and replacing the sky were introduced, as well as style effects such as adding brushstrokes and making routine corrections to correct imperfections. It has a palette of effects, light rays, clutter and scattering and can easily bring your photos to life using its animation features. It even has a body slimming feature that you can use to prepare your photos for Tinder. You also get access to Shutterstock's world-class image library. A subscription to PhotoDirector 365 typically costs $ 55 per year ($ 4.58 per month) but is currently offered for only $ 38 per year ($ 3.17 per month).

Adobe Photoshop

  • Starts at $ 10 per month
  • Windows, Mac and iPad (iOS and Android available)
  • Free trial available
  • Customizable interface
  • Ability to collaborate through the cloud
  • Cloud storage included

Adobe Photoshop has long been the gold standard for working with digital images. Thanks to its extensive and customizable range of customizable tools, it is a must-have in any graphic designer arsenal, especially when paired with the other industry-leading graphic design software from Adobe, InDesign and Illustrator. It has A.I. Features like Sky Replacement and Super Resolution that double the resolution of your image. However, Photoshop's capabilities are not limited to still images. It comes with video editing tools as well as the ability to work with 3D images. Plus, you can use Photoshop on multiple devices – including your iPad – and sync your preferences to use them no matter what device you're using or where you might be.

Photoshop subscriptions are available with or without Lightroom (Adobe's photo-focused imaging software) and different amounts of cloud storage. It's also part of an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, which may be the best option for graphic designers using Adobe's other software.

PaintShop Pro 2021

  • From $ 55 per month
  • Windows Compatible (Aftershot Pro for Mac available)
  • Free trial available
  • A.I. driven
  • Supports RAW files
  • Time-saving scripts and one-click corrections

If you are looking for an inexpensive, non-subscription photo editor and you happen to be running a Windows computer, Corels PaintShop Pro is a great choice. It starts at $ 55 and comes with ParticleShop and the free Artistic Effects Script Bundle (valued at $ 110) thrown in, so you get big bang for your buck. It has a number of tools with A.I. support such as Upsampling, Artifact Removal, Smart Photo Fix and Denoise, and an expanded split screen workspace so you can compare your original photo with the work you did. You can also record a number of tasks that you often script out for use as an automated action. It has a range of editing tools and effects that should be more than adequate for most users.


  • Starting at $ 67 per year
  • Windows and Mac
  • No subscription required
  • Intuitively with A.I. Tools
  • Comes with pre-installed object images

In its fourth iteration, Skylums Luminar is available both as a standalone editor and as a plug-in for Photoshop and MacOS photos. Given its features, we're not sure why you'd pay for both Luminar and Photoshop, but it's a great option nonetheless. It includes several easy-to-use tools with A.I. support: Sky Replacement, Augmented Sky, Skin Enhancer, Portrait Enhancer, a texture slider that detects areas for improvement, and an accent tool that shows focal points with one click. Other features like Smart Contrast, Landscape Enhancer, and the Erase Tool are very intuitive and allow non-design professionals to create images at the pro-level level.

Affinity photo

  • $ 25 for Mac or PC or $ 10 for iPad
  • Windows, Mac and iPad
  • Free trial available
  • Edits PSD files
  • Panorama sewing
  • Both RGB and CMYK color spaces

Affinity Pro is our pick as the best Photoshop alternative and powerful photo editing tool at a fraction of the price of its Adobe competitor. While it feels like a mobile app, which makes sense given the iPad version always has priority, this award-winning software has a long list of features. It has all the retouching tools you would expect from a professional editor, as well as a huge brush library, an extensive range of effects and an unlimited number of layers available. It also offers HDR merging and 360 photo editing. Even better, it supports RAW files and you can even use it to edit PSD files! If you're using the iPad version, it will work with your Apple Pencil.

  • One time payment of $ 60
  • Windows and Mac (iOS and Android available)
  • Free trial available
  • Automated A.I. tasks
  • Noise reduction
  • AI restoration of old photos

Movavi's Picverse photo editor combines ease of use with pro-like results. This software is available in both Mac and PC versions and includes A.I. Technology to automatically adjust color and contrast, or to perform more complicated tasks like repairing scans of old photos. It has more than 100 pre-installed filters and is compatible with RAW files. In addition to removing objects and custom sharpening tools, Movavi Picverse AI helps restore old photos that hide wrinkles, scratches, smudges and even the addition of color.

$ 60 one time

  • One-time payment of $ 129
  • Windows and Mac
  • Free trial
  • Library of film looks
  • GPU processing
  • Intuitive design

Exposure X6 is a robust photo editor designed to appeal to photographers and Photoshop rivals. It was developed with the involvement of experienced film photographers to create a library of film looks. The extensive selection of tools allows precise changes, especially when it comes to color correction. You can add realistic film grains and choose from a variety of textures, lighting effects, and borders. It has 500+ customizable presets and functions, advanced masking tools, and one-click automatic adjustments. Earlier versions of Exposure had high processing speeds, but X6 now supports GPU processing for even better performance (depending on your GPU, of course).

$ 129 one time

  • One-time payment of $ 40
  • Mac only
  • Free trial
  • Native MacOS appearance
  • Optimized design
  • Support for RAW photos
  • Machine learning

Pixelmator Pro is a top-notch MacOS photo editor. It has a simple, streamlined design that makes it very easy to use, and while it may not have as many features as some of the other programs on this list, it has advanced features like non-destructive layers, RAW file support, and a number of Functions of brushes and retouching tools. What's even more impressive is that you can use Pixelmator's machine learning enhancements to make many adjustments automatically. At just $ 40, this software certainly won't break the bank.

$ 40 one time

With so many great photo editing programs, you can find the photo editing software that suits your needs. Free trials are available through most software programs, or you can download one of the many photo editors or photo editing apps that have free options.

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