Edit A Photo On A Mac

By | 21/10/2022

Artistic types tend to favor Apple tree’southward Mac computers, and photographers are no exception. The top-notch screens on iMacs and MacBooks make for fine palettes when working with digital photos. Users of macOS also have plenty of first-class choices when information technology comes to photo editing software—so many that it can be hard to selection the right app for your particular needs. That’s where we come in.

Apple no longer produces its ain pro-level photo software, having abandoned the outstanding Aperture program years ago (it still maintains its professional
editing software Final Cut Pro in land-of-the-art condition, however). That said, the Apple Photos app that comes with Macs is both easy to utilise and powerful. Just you don’t have to stick with software exclusively from Apple tree, as a plentiful crop of Mac photo apps is available from imaging powerhouses Adobe, Capture One, and CyberLink, among others.

Here nosotros list the best photo editing apps for Mac and explain how they’re different, followed past more than tips on how to choose and buy the best photo editing software.

More Nearly Our Picks

Adobe Lightroom Classic

All-time for Professional person Photo Workflow

Lesser Line:

Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom remains the gold standard in pro photo workflow software. It’s a consummate package, with top-notch arrangement tools, state-of-the-art adjustments, and all the output and printing options you could want.


  • Excellent photo management and organization
  • Camera and lens-based corrections
  • Brush and slope adjustments with color and luminance masking
  • Face detection and tagging
  • Plug-in support
  • Connected mobile apps


  • Initial raw conversion is slightly more detailed in some competing products
  • Requires subscription

Why We Picked Information technology

Adobe Lightroom Classic is the longtime software choice of working professional photographers. In add-on to top-notch importing and organizing tools, Lightroom Classic gives photographers the all-time tools for correcting and enhancing photos in a raw file process. It includes things missing from the non-Archetype version of Lightroom (meet below) that pros demand, such as press, soft-proofing, tethered shooting, and plug-in back up. Y’all don’t, however, become some of the features amateurs and hobbyists might similar, such as basic video tools and lots of learning content.

Who It’southward For

Lightroom Classic is primarily for professional photographers. In fact, information technology’s the industry standard. When pros and manufactures directed at them talk about
they invariable mean Lightroom Classic. It’south also merely for those willing to pay a recurring subscription fee. For pros who tin’t stomach that, they can always choose options like Capture Ane and DxO PhotoLab, only then they’d miss out on the abiding period of new state-of-the art imaging tech coming from the leader in the field, Adobe.

Read Our Adobe Lightroom Classic Review

Adobe Photoshop

Best for Detailed Epitome Manipulation and Design

Bottom Line:

Adobe Photoshop, the world’south nearly capable image editing software, includes mind-bravado AI-powered neural filters, automatic sky replacement, and unmatched pick tools, all in a helpful and polished interface.


  • Vast set of photo correction and manipulation tools
  • Slick interface with a lot of guidance
  • Tools for mobile and web design
  • Rich ready of drawing and typography tools
  • Synced Libraries and Cloud Documents


  • No perpetual license option
  • Premium assets aren’t cheap
  • Interface can be overwhelming at times

Why Nosotros Picked It

Photoshop is the photo editing software that started it all. Information technology is the nearly powerful image-editing software, bar none. It’s oft where Adobe puts its latest state-of-the-art features commencement, such equally the new AI-powered Neural filters. It includes the complex layer, masking, text and shape tools, gradients, and filters that professionals need.

Who It’s For

Photoshop is not for people who compress from complexity, just rather for pros and serious paradigm editing enthusiasts. Even though it has an incredibly deep ready of tools, its interface is flexible and has gotten more manageable in recent versions, with things like hover-over aid tips and a persistent search box at the top. Equally with other Adobe offerings, however, information technology’due south not for anyone unwilling to cough up a recurring subscription fee, as that’southward the only mode to keep using it.

Read Our Adobe Photoshop Review

Adobe Photoshop Elements

Best for Photography Hobbyists

Bottom Line:

Adobe Photoshop Elements is an excellent pick for photo hobbyists who don’t desire to pay a subscription or learn complex Photoshop techniques.


  • Many powerful image-manipulation tools
  • Strong face-tagging and geotagging capabilities
  • Excellent image output options
  • Powerful search
  • Helpful guidance for advanced techniques


  • No chromatic aberration correction tool
  • No lens geometry profiles
  • Too few social sharing options
  • No local help system

Why We Picked It

Photoshop Elements includes much of the capability of its big sibling, Photoshop, merely it wraps that functionality in a friendlier interface that emphasizes hand-holding. Guided Edits ease the procedure of creating stunning effects with your photos. You still get layers, filters, and a smart Organizer utility to keep track of your photo collection.

Who Information technology’s For

Adobe describes the audience for Elements as “memory keepers,” those members of the family unit who desire to create highly-seasoned keepsakes from family occasions. Elements also offers anyone a skilful way into the processes backside the pro-level effects designers become with Photoshop proper. It’s also good if you don’t want to go along paying a subscription, as it’s available for a reasonable ane-time purchase price.

Read Our Adobe Photoshop Elements Review

Apple tree Photos

All-time for Gratis, Piece of cake Photo Editing

Lesser Line:

Apple tree’s already-impressive costless desktop photo editor now has back up for the ProRAW format used by the iPhone 12 Pro, better retouching features, and a vibrance slider.


  • Free
  • Intuitive, slick interface
  • Face recognition
  • Capable auto-corrections
  • Plug-in support
  • Smashing tricks for iOS Live Photos


  • Car-created Memories non editable
  • No chromatic aberration or geometry correction
  • Sharing limited to Apple tree ecosystem

Why Nosotros Picked It

Aye, Apple Photos is included with every Mac for free, and it’s an excellent photo editing application. It includes potent organization and photograph adjustment features and is particularly suited to those who take pictures with iPhones. Only the app supports raw photographic camera files from popular SLR models, too.

Who It’s For

Anyone with a Mac is likely to have used Apple Photos, and iPhone owners will need to apply it. Consumers and fifty-fifty hobbyists are likely to be pleased with its functionality, only pros and more invested amateurs will want more capable software. That said, the fact that it’southward free makes it highly-seasoned to all.

Read Our Apple tree Photos Review

DxO PhotoLab

Best for Dissonance Reduction and Camera Profile Corrections

Bottom Line:

Though it’southward still not a consummate photo workflow solution, DxO PhotoLab tin can deliver image corrections beyond what’s possible in other software.


  • Clear interface
  • Best-in-class racket reduction
  • Excellent autocorrection based on camera and lens characteristics
  • Haze remover
  • Geometry corrections
  • Powerful local adjustments


  • Few workflow tools
  • Noise-reduction is a scrap ho-hum

Why We Picked It

DxO pioneered several technologies that went on to be used by other software products. Lens profile based corrections, geometry fixes, and deep fourth dimension consuming noise reduction have all shown upwardly later in competitors. In fact, its DeepPrime noise reduction is unmatched and can make unusable photos usable, and PhotoLab is worth getting for that alone. It’s also first-class at removing chromatic aberration and automatically fixing the lighting with its SmartLighting tool. The U Point engineering science offers unmatched control over local adjustments, also.

Who Information technology’s For

DxO PhotoLab is mostly for professionals who need to get the all-time out of their raw camera files, but it will be of interest to engaged amateurs as well. If you just need the noise reduction and lens corrections, the more than limited DxO PureRAW product volition exist of interest. It’s not for those looking for a inexpensive solution, simply its pricing is one-time perpetual rather than a subscription—like most Adobe software.

Read Our DxO PhotoLab Review

Adobe Lightroom

Best for Serious Apprentice Photographers

Lesser Line:

Photography enthusiasts volition appreciate this updated version of Adobe Lightroom. This professional photograph workflow plan is slick and nimble, and it now boasts most of Lightroom Classic’due south photo-editing tools.


  • Simple, clear interface
  • Syncs photos to cloud storage for access on other devices
  • Light, color, and particular adjustments equal to Lightroom Archetype’due south
  • Powerful raw profiles and filters
  • Stiff community features


  • Expensive
  • No local press or plug-in support
  • Limited sharing
  • Forces y’all to upload all photos to its deject storage

Why We Picked Information technology

Lightroom combines some of the well-nigh powerful photo editing and organizing tools in i of the most usable, appealing interfaces. Information technology simplifies the more pro-oriented Lightroom Classic, and keeps all your photos and edits in the cloud for anywhere-access. The learning and customs features are hard to match, cheers to Lightroom’s Discover feature.

Who It’s For

Lightroom will appeal to serious amateur photography enthusiasts. It will also entreatment to professionals who don’t need printing, plug-in support, or tethered shooting adequacy. Those who recoil at its $9.99 per month subscription fee will desire to look elsewhere at software like Adobe’s own Photoshop Elements or CyberLink’due south PhotoDirector, both available as ane-time purchases.

Read Our Adobe Lightroom Review

Phase 1 Capture 1 Pro

Best for Top-Notch Raw File Conversion

Bottom Line:

Capture One offers professional and prosumer photographers excellent item from raw photographic camera files, as well as local aligning, advanced color, and layer tools, simply information technology nevertheless trails in photo-organizing features.


  • Superb raw file conversion quality
  • Pleasing, improved interface
  • Fast import
  • Fantabulous photo aligning tools


  • Interface can get complex, specially with layers
  • No face recognition
  • Weak for online sharing
  • Expensive

Why Nosotros Picked It

Capture One is the software most often heard in connection with Adobe Lightroom alternatives. It is super-powerful professional photo workflow software, and information technology does the all-time job of interpreting a camera’s raw image date to a sharp, accurate photo. Information technology also include an abundance of adjustments and local edit tools, as well every bit layers and advanced color grading. A unique speed edit feature lets you lot get to frequently needed tools with a keypress. It still trails Lightroom when it comes to workflow abilities, however.

Who It’due south For

Capture One is squarely aimed at pro photographers and its interface could exist intimidating to those not willing to put in the time to larn it. The plan is priced like a professional person application, too, available every bit both a subscription (costing more than Lightroom’south) and a quondam buy.

Read Our Phase One Capture One Pro Review

Skylum Luminar

Best for Unique AI Corrections and Effects

Bottom Line:

Luminar Neo has unique AI photograph tools like electric line and dust removal as well as a vast selection of effects and adjustments, all in a clear, pleasing interface. Workflow and organization are weak points, however.


  • Unique AI photograph-fixing tools
  • Pleasing, clear interface
  • Lots of adjustment tools, filters, and effects


  • Some operations slow
  • No face recognition or keyword tagging

Why We Picked It

Skylum Luminar is a well-designed photo app with some unique innovative tools, such every bit AI-based power-line removal and a tool that relights unlike parts of a photo based on distance. Information technology’s also aces at fixing drab skies in your shots, as its name suggests. The interface is clear and simple.

Who It’south For

Anyone who wants to have a lot of fun enhancing their photos should check out the like shooting fish in a barrel-to-use Luminar, whether pro or amateur. The program is a good value for a reasonable one-time price.

Read Our Skylum Luminar Review

What Is the Best Photo Editing App for Macs?

When choosing a Mac photo editing app, look for a make clean, well-designed interface with lots of aid and tutorials. Some applications excel at
which but means you select a layout for the stage of work y’all’re doing—one mode for importing and organizing, one for adjusting and correcting, and another for exporting. Our choice for the all-time in this form is Adobe Lightroom Classic.

Some programs also divide
editing, with the former beingness basic lighting, color, and sharpness corrections and the latter the more than artistic aspects, like filters, overlays, and image alterations.

Some non-workflow software gives you all its tools all the time, and Adobe Photoshop is the undisputed best pick in this category, with an unmatched and always-increasing set of country-of-the-art image editing tools. It excels at layer editing, which lets the user overlay other images and effects. It also is the best at letting you lot select areas and subjects within your paradigm to cull where an result applies. You also go plentiful drawing and typography tools in this beast of an application.

You demand software that lets y’all organize your photograph collection after you lot import the images. Some helpful features around this include pick, pass up, colour tags, keyword tags, and star ratings. This lets yous quickly find an image yous’re looking for. You should likewise be able to search for an image based on the equipment (camera and lens), shot settings (aperture, exposure, and ISO), engagement, and whether yous’ve edited it. Some software lets you organize images by faces and places, as well. The apps apply AI to identify and group shots of the same face up, and they show geotagged photos in thumbnails on a map.

What Is the Best Free Photo Editing Software for Macs?

Our elevation pick for best complimentary photo editing software for Mac is Apple Photos, every bit mentioned above. It’s “free” in that it comes included with the buy of any Mac. Aside from Apple Photos, in that location are other free tools for editing your photos on a Mac.

Google Photos, for one, excels at organization and backs up your photos online, with upward to 15GB worth for free. It syncs photos from both Androids and iPhones. Another excellent choice is Polarr, which, similar Apple tree Photos, has both mobile and desktop versions, though it does offer in-app purchases. Picktorial(Opens in a new window)
is some other popular choice in the Mac App Store, and it handles raw photographic camera files. Of form, the open up-source Photoshop wannabe GIMP(Opens in a new window)
raises its ugly interface in every discussion of free photo software, and if you don’t mind navigating its Byzantine, outdated UI, it could adapt your needs, as the powerful tool gear up is there.

What Do Mac Photo Apps Exercise?

Photo editing software must be able to import and organize your digital photos. After that, yous demand tools to ingather the pictures and adjust their lighting, color, and detail (adding sharpness or removing dissonance, for example). And so comes the fancy stuff: bokeh, artistic effects, overlays, black-and-white, colorization, and pixel manipulation—things like removing unwanted objects or creating selection masks. Finally, you have to output the epitome to the destination and in the format of your option.

Some tools perform most all these functions, such as Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop Elements, CyberLink PhotoDirector, and ON1 Photo RAW. Other products specialize in one or another of them. For example, DxO PureRAW and Topaz DeNoise are all about reducing racket and, in the case of PureRAW, photographic camera and lens distortions.

The most famous photo application of all, Adobe Photoshop, does image adjustment and manipulation—corrections, selections, layers, furnishings, compositing, adding text, and so on. It’due south not for importing and organizing your photo collection, all the same. For that, you lot’ll need Lightroom. Serif Affinity Photo is like in that regard, though as you’d look, it lacks Photoshop’s state-of-the-fine art tools and polished interface. Some tools (not included in this roundup) are but well-nigh organizing and importing: Adobe Span, Photo Mechanic, MyLio, WidsMob, Phototheca, and the open-source digiKam.

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How to Cull Photograph Editing Software

Editing Raw Camera Files on a Mac

If you use a DSLR or mirroless camera, you’re all-time off shooting in raw photographic camera files rather than JPGs; that manner you can get a lot more out of the image at the editing phase, in terms of lighting and color adjustment. This is particularly of import when yous’re trying to recall item from a very dark or lite office of an image. In particular, a Shadows slider is used to bring out detail in a nighttime area, while the Highlights adjustment tin bear witness the blue and clouds in an otherwise bleached-out white sky.

Adjusting raw files also lets y’all modify the white balance you chose at the time of shooting. For example, if a photo looks overly warm—towards the red, orange, and yellowish side of the spectrum—irresolute the white balance tin brand the colors more true-to-life.

Most of the higher-end software at present includes some automatic corrections based on your camera model and lens. This includes corrections for lens geometry distortion (think warped edges on a wide-angle shot), vignetting (night edges), and chromatic aberration (color fringes). Make certain the software you choose has profiles for your equipment.

Recommended by Our Editors

Other tools you want in your photo software involve
detail—this includes sharpness and dissonance reduction. Useful related tools include dehaze, clarity, texture, and microcontrast (called
in Lightroom).

Getting Creative

For more than creative editing, expect for selection tools, blotch repair, masks, filters, and text overlay capabilities. Photoshop at present has tools that let yous reshape a face, and CyberLink PhotoDirector has body-reshaping tools. Some software supports LUTs (aka CLUTs—color lookup tables); these are filters that create moods by shifting color. The move picture industry has long used LUTs to give a shot a sunny dreamy effect or to simulate nighttime fifty-fifty if the shooting took identify during the day.

Mac Photo Output Options

Finally, y’all want output options. All the software in this roundup lets you output from raw format to JPG, which is universally accustomed, especially for online use. Some let you lot create images optimized for social networks and directly upload them to online services. Many support online galleries for your work, to which you can upload from inside the app. If you need to print, look for a programme with soft proofing, which shows whether all the colors in your image tin can be printed. Applications like Apple Photos, Google Photos, and Lightroom include excellent book layout options and allow you order custom photo books directly.

Side by side Footstep: Get a Photographic camera

If you’re a beginner in digital photography, your first pace is to brand sure you have some skilful photography hardware. Phones have better and meliorate cameras these days, but they withal tin can’t crush a adept defended camera. For help choosing i, read our roundups of the best digital cameras and the best camera phones for equipment that tin fit any budget.

Once you’ve got your hardware, make sure to educate yourself with our quick photography tips for beginners and across-basic photography tips. Later on that, yous’ll be ready to shoot great pictures that you lot tin make even better with the software included here.

Source: https://www.pcmag.com/picks/best-photo-editing-software-for-macs