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Best Photo Editing Software 2020

1. Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom CC
The Best Photo Editing Software: Adobe Lightroom CC

Adobe Lightroom started off in a much simpler avatar when it was first launched. It still does all of the original functions though it has evolved manifold from the first version.

You can now accomplish a large part of the basic post-processing work (that you would normally do in Adobe Camera RAW) in Lightroom.

One thing that Lightroom was, however, never known for is speed. This is one checkbox that no photographer would ever happily tick against Lightbox. Interestingly, the primary function of Lightroom was to assist culling hundreds and thousands of photos.

But all that changed when Lightroom 6 and the Creative Cloud Plan was launched.

Performance, and I mean loading performance, have reduced significantly. But still, this is one area where Adobe has room for improvement and also the reason why Perfect Browse 10 finds a place on this list of the best photo editing software.

Lightroom is my favorite when I need quick edits. Definitely, for more complicated editing I still import my images to Photoshop. But for the most part noise reduction, exposure adjustment, tonal adjustment, HDR, panorama stitching among other things have found a new platform in Lightroom.

A good thing about Lightroom is the ability to use presets. You could make presets of your own, using your very own selective steps for basic post-processing. Else, if you want something very specific, try downloading some of the hundreds and thousands of presets designed by other photographers and photo editors.

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I am a big landscape fan and this is one area I spend a lot of my shooting time. Evidently, I am excited about the new HDR and Panorama modes that are now available in Lightroom.

Earlier, creating an HDR image in Photoshop involved some extensive work or you had to use other Software solutions like Photomatix.

Even if Lightroom is doing a pretty good job on HDR you may still want to get Photomatix or Aurora HDR in addition to Lightroom or as a plugin, as it is an awesome piece of software!

Lightroom now does HDR processing in a few seconds and it even aligns the images and ghosts them while at it. That’s not all.

Lightroom now has facial recognition feature and this is something that Adobe Capture users always bragged about. The new feature works rather well too.

2. On1 Photo RAW

Adobe’s professional suite of photo editing software has been for long the benchmark in the photography industry. For most photographers and photo editors, there isn’t much out there to look at beyond their suite of applications.

On1 Photo RAW 2017
Update: ON1 Photo RAW 2017 is now available. We will review it soon. You can try it for free here.

But there are areas where Adobe’s creative photography suite can be better and these are the areas where other applications score big to find a foothold in the market.

On1 PhotoRaw is one such application and its utility is in the area of previewing your images after they are downloaded onto your computer.

Sorting, calling and marking photos is an important step before you get down to the main post-processing work. Lightroom has never been quick enough for this job.

One area that Adobe Lightroom has always been notoriously slow is in loading RAW files in Library. Larger the file size the longer you will have to wait before your photos open for preview.

If you are on a slow computer the waiting time simply goes up. With Perfect Browse 10, this painstaking wait is finally over.

Perfect Browse 10 allows you to speed up your post-processing workflow. Think of it as a necessary step before you pull your images into Adobe Lightroom, but one that guarantees less of that hair-pulling experience after each photo shoot.

The software itself loads pretty quickly on your computer; something that’s very reassuring after the constipated experience with Photoshop and Lightroom. The importing photos bit is where it really blows your mind.

An average 50MB RAW file opens up in the blink of an eye. Multiply that with a whole folder weighing several gigs and Perfect Browse 10 still hold its own. Just a couple of seconds is all that it needs.

Scrolling through images is as easy as holding down the arrow keys. It’s an experience that’s bound to bring a smile on your face (and that’s a big thing).

Exporting images to popular applications is easy too. Perfect Browse 10 is primed to work with Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture.

3. Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo
One of the best Software for Photo Editing for your Mac: Affinity Photo

It’s not easy to come across a professional photo editing application that can give Adobe’s creative suite a run for their money. Adobe has remained the premiere photo editing application for the last couple of decades.

After the exit of Apple’s Capture, its control over the market has been consolidated. Notwithstanding, there are a few products that can hold their own in the face of this stiff resistance and challenge for the position of the best photo editing software. Affinity Photo is one such application.

Designed for Serif Europe, Affinity Photo is a solution that’s designed for Mac. Windows or Linux users, unfortunately, have to wait.

On a Mac, the software is a better performer in terms of usability when compared with Lightroom.

Image importing, dragging, zooming and panning works a good deal smoother than Lightroom. The best thing is the software is very affordable. You can download a standalone copy for under $30 and that’s something that gives it a considerable edge over Lightroom or Photoshop.

Working on Affinity Photo is a much more pleasurable experience; simply because it occupies a larger screen reality when compared to Adobe Lightroom on a Mac and the basic functions of importing photos to your Mac and flipping through them is a lot quicker and user-friendly.

There are different modes inside Affinity Photo for different tasks. They are referred to as Persona. Need to work on post-processing of a photo? Turn on Photo Persona. This ‘Persona’ offers you all the intuitive options that you would normally find in Photoshop.

There are other persona options such as Develop Persona which has more Lightroom like development tools. The other two Personas are the Liquify, which is similar to the feature on Photoshop and Export Persona which offers options to export an image.

Affinity Photo is definitely a good option to go especially if you don’t like to get Lightroom.

There are some shortcomings like facial recognition, HDR and advanced HDR modes; things that still keep the crown of the best photo editing software firmly on the head of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. These will hopefully be incorporated in the near future.

So, the verdict is out in this debate for the best photo editing software?

  • If you are price conscious and want absolute value for money, go for Affinity Photo.
  • If you want absolute speed in calling and sorting photos go for Perfect Browse 9.5.
  • But the best of the best photo editing software still remains Adobe Lightroom (now you can get Lightroom & Photoshop for only 9.99/mo).


  • Rajib is an avid travel photographer and an overall shutterbug. He loves to test and review new photography gear. He has been writing about cameras and lenses for over 10 years now. You can consider him as your "master guide" here at PhotoWorkout.

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