In this article, we list down our top recommendations for the 10 best photo editing apps for Mac that will help you improve your images. Both beginners and advanced users alike can use these photo editing applications, depending on what type of content needs editing and how much time it takes to complete specific tasks.
Each photographer has different applications for their photo editing software and that is why we have awarded four winners for the following use cases, best pro photo editing app, best budget-friendly app, best AI photo enhancer, and best free photo editing software.
What Makes a Great Photo Editing Software?
When looking for the best photo editing app for your Mac, it's important to consider a few things:
Is it easy to use?
The best photo editing applications are intuitive. Ease of use ensures that users can start and end their tasks more quickly and efficiently.
How many features does it have?
Go for a Mac photo editing app that can give you more than just the basic tools like cropping and adjusting brightness levels. You’ll want it to have other essential photo editing tools like presets, quick selection, and text.
Can I edit photos in batches?
Find Mac photo editors that will allow you to process multiple images at once. This means automatically renaming or applying filters to all images before sending them on their way. This feature saves users time and effort that would otherwise have been spent adjusting every single image. Some apps even let users save progress and make minor adjustments in real-time rather than wait until all images have been processed.
How much does it cost?
In your search for the best photo editor for Mac, you will encounter both paid and free photo editing apps. A free app can be great for basic image editing, but if you're planning on using it regularly, you'll want to ensure it can provide all the tools and all the features you need, without any hidden fees.
To know more about all the features of specific photo editing apps for Mac, feel free to visit their official websites. There, you can also find customer reviews.
The Best Photo Editing Software for Mac
Best Pro Photo Editing App
Free Version: No | Editing Features: Neutral Filters, Sky Replacement, Photoshop Brushes, Content Aware-Fill, Masking, Selection Tools, Retouching Tool, Photoshop 3D | Effects: Color Subtraction, Retro Filters, Artistic Filters, Glitch Photo FX, Shimmer Photoshop Action, Painterly Effects | Compatibility: Mac OS X 10+
Adobe Photoshop is the most popular photo editing software because it has advanced editing and retouching features that most professional photographers need. Though it’s one of the most expensive options on the list, it’s worth its price tag considering what it can offer users.
Adobe Photoshop has a steep learning curve. So, if you're new to editing photos digitally or are just starting out with photography as a hobby, you might have a hard time using all the Adobe Photoshop elements. Don’t worry, there are a lot of tutorials available online. Once you learn how to use this photo editing software, you will be amazed by what you can accomplish with it.
- One of the best photo editors because of its top-notch tools
- Easy to render high-quality images
- There is a free trial available
- A complicated interface that may not be suitable for beginners
- 7-day free trial
- Monthly rate starts at $20.99/month
- Annual rate starts at $239.88/year
Best Budget-friendly App
Free Version: No | Editing Features: Sizing, Cropping, Warping, Layers, Retouching, Real-Time Image Rendering, Skin Retouching | Effects: Fill Opacity, Gaussian Blur, Outer Shadow, Inner Shadow, Outer Glow, Inner Glow, Outline, 3D, Bevel/Emboss, Color Overlay, Gradient Overlay | Compatibility: macOS Mavericks or later
Affinity Photo is a powerful photo editing tool that makes it easy for users to transform and polish their images. It is available in most OS, including Mac. Affinity Photo is perfect for users who are in the market for software with Adobe Photoshop elements, minus the hefty price tag.
This app offers full support for layers and masks, and it has advanced tools like an HDR tone map generator and color correction controls that include temperature. It offers various filter options, such as vintage film effects, sharpening images with radial blur effects, or adding vignette effects on photos taken outdoors under cloudy skies.
- An affordable alternative to Photoshop
- The interface is easy to learn
- Has a lot of professional tools that can elevate the quality of photos
- No built-in way to create photo collages
- 30-day free trial
- $54.99 one-time payment
Free: No | Editing Features: Design Templates, Smart Replace, Background Remover, Photo Enhancer, Element Alternative, Editable Mock-ups, Camera Noise Remover | Effects: Gaussian, Box, Disc, Motion, Zoom, Spin, Bokeh, Tilt-Shift, Focus | Compatibility: macOS 11.0 or later
Pixelmator Pro is a powerful photo editing app that has an extensive list of features but is still very intuitive. The app comes with various tools for creating images, such as collages, stickers, and frames.
Pixelmator Pro offers flexibility in terms of editing options and tools for modifying your photos. You can use its massive collection of filters or choose from more than 200 color schemes to give your pictures a unique look. The toolkit contains all the basic photo editing features you need to edit photos without a fuss.
- Developers are continually adding new features
- It can detect the subject of the image and cut it out of the background
- Supports RAW files
- Not the easiest software for adding and editing text
Best AI Photo Enhancer
Free: No | Editing Features: AI-Powered Tools, Automatic AI Masking, Relight AI,
Portrait Background, Layers, Background Remover | Effects: Golden Hour, Dramatic Effect, Sky Enhancer, Split Color Warmth, Texture Overlay, The Orton Effect | Compatibility: macOS Mojave (10), High Sierra (10) or Sierra (10)
Luminar is a photo editing software for Mac that has a wide range of AI features that makes it stand out among other photo editing software. It is easier and more powerful to use than other apps because of its AI-based enhancements.
Luminar has a wide range of tools available in its interface. There are filters and effects like black and white, color correction, HDR photography, sharpness enhancement, contrast enhancement, and more. You can also adjust lighting using presets or create custom settings for each photo you take with Luminar's built-in camera software.
The app offers advanced editing capabilities like the ability to process RAW files, allowing users to access all their original image data without losing quality.
- The AI features let you edit photos automatically
- It uses light corrections, improves foliage, and retouches faces
- It eliminates the natural imperfections of photos such as haze or smoke, and recovers color
- On the higher end in terms of price
- 7-day free trial
- One-time purchase that starts at $79 to $207
Free: Yes | Editing Features: AI Sky Replacement, Glitch Art, Multiple Exposure Effect, Content-Aware Features, People Beautifier, AI Style Transfer, Photo Animation, AI Blur Fixing, Express Layer Templates | Effects: Glitch Effect, Cartoon Effect, Sky Replacement, Light Effect, Sparkle Effect, Photo Animation Effect | Compatibility: macOS 10.14.0 or later
PhotoDirector is a photo editing software on Mac with many features and tools that will help you quickly edit your photos. You can crop, rotate, adjust color and brightness, add filters, or do other things to make your photos look better than before. It also has AI features like intelligent cropping. This feature finds the best part or area for each shot automatically and aligns the entire image.
From time to time, the developers add new features. One of their latest addition is image noise reduction, which is an AI feature that removes grains or fuzz from your photos in order to improve their quality. A lot more features are available on this software such as its RAW images support for all professional file formats, lens correction to correct common imperfections like vignetting, and multi-exposure that can create a motion trail effect or multi-exposure photo from multiple photos.
- It has a user-friendly interface
- Supports RAW files
- Has a lot of features good for quick photo editing
- Occasionally lags when editing
- $54.99 yearly subscription
- $14.99 monthly subscription
6) Apple Photos
Best Free Photo Editing Software
Free: Yes | Editing Features: Rotate, Crop, Color Adjustment | Effects: Loop, Bounce, Long Exposure | Compatibility: macOS 10.14 or later versions
Apple Photos is a free photo editor that offers basic editing features, such as adjusting saturation and brightness, as well as tools for cropping and straightening images. Users can import RAW files from their cameras or other devices to Apple Photos, and then use the app to edit those photos taken in low light conditions without worrying about color clipping when you export them back out again.
Using Apple Photos' Book Creator feature, users can even make custom book covers with different fonts, colors, and layouts. Images from Mac’s library can then be imported into these books so users can flip through them like pages in real life.
- Its UI is easy to navigate
- You can now zoom in when editing
- Storage is expandable, for a price
Free: Yes | Editing Features: Multiple Undo/Redo, Foreground extraction tool, Transformation tools, Selection tools | Effects: Generic, Combine, Artistic, Decor, Map, Render, Web, Animation, Noise, Edge Detect | Compatibility: macOS/OSX
GIMP is an open-source, free photo editor that has been around since the early 1990s. It is a good alternative to Adobe Photoshop and other proprietary image editing software because of the similarity of its features.
Like Adobe Photoshop, GIMP is mainly for advanced users who want to take their photos to the next level. If you are a beginner looking for a simple photo editor that can do basic tasks like crop and rotate images, then GIMP may be overkill for your needs. But do not fret for there are a lot of video tutorials available online. Take your time learning how to use this software, and you will have a reliable photo editing app in your arsenal that you can use for free.
- Best for creating GIFs
- It supports various photo formats
- Lack of customer support since it's an open-source software but good amount of information on forums
Free: Yes | Editing Features: 1-Tap Enhance, AI Photo Effect, Background Remover, Blur Effect, Color Splash, Cool Photo Effect, Crop, Funky Effect, HDR, Lomo Effect, Mosaic | Effects: Crisp, Dulled, Toy, Flash, Light Saturation, Lomo, Tilt-Shift and Color Splash | Compatibility: macOS 10.13 or later
Fotor is a free photo editing app for Mac that offers various creative effects, filters, and other tools to enhance your photos. The app has a simple and intuitive user interface that is easy to use, even for beginners.
With Fotor, you can adjust the brightness, contrast, color temperature, and sharpness of your images using sliders or presets. These can be found in the menu bar at the top of each image preview screen. If desired, you can also apply special effects like a motion blur, vignette, tilt-shift lens distortion, and rainbow effect. Batch processing of photos is possible through this software. Quickly add borders, effects, and filters to your images to save time.
- It is best for editing graphics for social media posts
- Suitable for non-tech savvy people
- Supports batch editing
9) Photoscape X
Free: Yes | Editing Features: Cut Out, Batch, Collage, Combine, Create GIF, Color Picker, Screen Capture, RAW Converter, Splitter, Paper Print | Effects: Color, Filters, Film Effect & Light Leak, Bloom, Sepia, Black & White, Frames, Speech Bubbles | Compatibility: macOS 10.12 or later
Photoscape X is a lightweight, free photo editor that’s easy to use. It has all the essential editing tools, including exposure, contrast, and saturation. One of its features allows users to adjust the color temperature of an image using a slide bar in the toolbars. It also includes an expressive brush tool that lets you paint over parts of an image, including its border.
This app is less complicated than Photoshop but has advanced features like selective blurring, liquefying text, or converting images into vector art files. And, best of all, it is completely free to use.
- Basic photo editing tools for beginners
- A significant number of tools are added from time to time
- Not compatible with some graphic formats
10) Movavi Picverse
Free: Yes | Editing Features: Adjust, Erasing Objects, Change Background, Old Photo Restoration, Retouching, Text, Cropping | Effects: Color Filters, Vignettes, Textures, Artistic, Retro, Disco, Color Fantasy, Creative, Partial Eclipse, Wood, Canaletto, Bonnard, Grayscale, Dramatic | Compatibility: macOS 10.13 or later
Movavi Picverse is a free photo editing software that allows you to edit photos, create collages, cards, and more. It's an excellent app for those who do not want to commit to any amount just yet for a subscription.
Movavi Picverse has some of the most advanced tools available in this category, but they're also simple enough for anyone to use. The interface looks clean and modern on Mac computers, with big buttons that make it easy for users to find what they need without taking up too much screen space.
- Simple user interface that anyone can easily understand
- It has AI features that are good for quick photo edits
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best photo editing app for Mac?
Arguably, the best editing software for Mac is Photoshop. It is the most popular and powerful software on this list because of its extensive list of features and effects. It’s also one of the most expensive software that is worth investing in if you edit photos for a living. For casual users, the best free photo editing software is Photoscape X because of its easy-to-use interface and basic tools that require little editing skills to use.
What is the easiest photo editing app for Mac?
Apple Photos is the easiest photo editing app for Mac that offers a few essential tools like cropping and resizing, as well as more advanced features like red-eye correction and selective color adjustments. Additionally, despite being freeware, Apple Photos has a lot of effects that can help elevate the quality of your photos.
Why is Mac best for photo editing?
Many people prefer to use Mac computers for photo editing because they are easier on the eyes and more stable. After all, Mac displays tend to have a higher pixel density that supports millions of colors. This means higher resolution, sharper images, and more accurate color compositions. Macs are also optimized to prevent crashes, have a better battery life, and are unlikely to slow down even while running in high-performance mode.
What should you not do when editing a photo?
You should not use auto-correct features. Using this feature can be a big mistake if you’re trying to edit a photo taken at night or in low-light conditions. Auro-correct can make your photos look unnatural, give them an artificial feel, and make them dull and flat.
There are a lot of great Mac photo editing apps in the market. Choose the right one for you by considering your need, your budget, and your level of commitment. We hope this list is helpful to you in choosing the best photo editing apps for your needs. We're sure many more great tools will come out in the future, so be on the lookout and stay updated.