The Most Popular Photo-editing Software: A Ranking of the Top Choices

Choose the photo-editing software you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 14, 2024 07:26
Welcome to the ultimate showdown of photo-editing software at StrawPoll! We've gathered the most popular and powerful editing tools used by professionals and hobbyists alike, and now it's your turn to cast your vote and make your favorite software shine. Photoshop or Lightroom? GIMP or Affinity? The battle is fierce, and every vote counts. Don't see your go-to editing tool on the list? No worries! You have the power to suggest a missing option and rally fellow enthusiasts to secure its spot in the rankings. Dive into the world of photo-editing, explore the potential of each contender, and decide which software deserves the crown. Let the voting begin!

What Is the Most Popular Photo-editing Software?

  1. 1
    Adobe Photoshop
    Screenshot: Own work Photograph: Frederic Eugene Ives (1856–1937) · Public domain

    Adobe Photoshop

    Adobe Inc.
    Photoshop is the industry standard for photo editing software, used by professionals worldwide. It offers a wide range of tools and options for editing images.
    Adobe Photoshop is a powerful image editing software that allows users to manipulate, enhance, and create digital images. It is widely used by professional photographers, graphic designers, and digital artists.
    • Layers: Support for multiple layers to organize and edit different elements of an image.
    • Image Manipulation: Extensive tools for cropping, resizing, retouching, and adjusting color and tone.
    • Filters and Effects: A wide range of filters and effects to apply creative and artistic enhancements to images.
    • Selection Tools: Various selection tools like lasso, magic wand, and quick selection for precise editing.
    • Brushes and Painting: Customizable brushes and advanced painting tools for digital artwork and photo enhancements.
    Adobe Photoshop in other rankings
  2. 2

    Adobe Lightroom

    Adobe Systems
    Lightroom is another Adobe product that is popular among photographers. It offers a variety of tools for managing and editing photos, and it is particularly useful for batch editing.
    Adobe Lightroom is a popular photo editing and management software designed for photographers and digital artists. It offers powerful tools and a user-friendly interface for organizing, editing, and enhancing photos with exceptional precision and control. Lightroom allows users to import, organize, and manage large collections of photos effortlessly. It also provides a wide range of editing features such as exposure adjustments, color correction, noise reduction, and lens correction. Additionally, Lightroom supports non-destructive editing, meaning the original image remains untouched while all edits are stored separately. The software integrates seamlessly with Adobe Photoshop, enabling a smooth workflow between both programs. With its advanced features and intuitive design, Adobe Lightroom has become an essential tool for professionals in the photography industry.
    • Platform: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
    • Latest Version: Lightroom Classic CC, Lightroom CC
    • File Formats: RAW, DNG, JPEG, TIFF
    • Organization Tools: Folders, Collections, Keywords, Ratings
    • Editing Features: Exposure adjustments, White balance, Tone curve, HSL adjustments, Lens correction
    Adobe Lightroom in other rankings
  3. 3
    GIMP is a free open-source image editor that offers many of the same features as Photoshop. It is popular among users who do not want to pay for expensive software.
    GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a powerful and popular free and open-source image editing software. It offers an extensive set of tools and functionalities, making it comparable to commercial editing software. GIMP is widely used by professionals and enthusiasts for various purposes, such as photo retouching, image composition and authoring, and graphic design.
    • License: GNU General Public License
    • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, BSD, and more
    • Supported File Formats: JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, PSD, RAW, and more
    • Layers: Supports unlimited layers and layer masks
    • Brushes and Tools: Customizable brushes, selection tools, transformation tools, paint tools, and more
  4. 4

    PaintShop Pro

    Corel Corporation
    PaintShop Pro is a powerful photo editing software that offers many advanced features, such as support for layers and masks. It is popular among users who want a more affordable alternative to Photoshop.
    PaintShop Pro is a popular photo-editing software that provides a wide range of tools and features for both beginners and advanced users. It allows users to edit, retouch, and enhance photos with ease, offering a comprehensive set of tools for image manipulation, graphic design, and digital painting.
    • Release Date: August 1990
    • Supported Platforms: Windows
    • Latest Version: 2023
    • Price: Paid, with a free trial available
    • File Format Support: JPEG, PNG, TIFF, RAW, PSD, AI, PDF, and more
    PaintShop Pro in other rankings
  5. 5
    Affinity Photo is a newer photo editing software that has gained popularity in recent years. It offers many advanced features and is often compared to Photoshop in terms of its capabilities.
    Affinity Photo is a widely recognized photo-editing software known for its powerful and professional features. It offers a wide range of editing tools and options, making it a great choice for photographers, designers, and artists. With an intuitive user interface and excellent performance, it has gained popularity among both beginners and professionals.
    • Platform: Available for Windows, macOS, and iOS
    • RAW Editing: Advanced RAW editing with support for various camera formats
    • Layer Editing: Non-destructive editing with layers and adjustment layers
    • Selection Tools: Precise selection tools like lasso, quick mask, and color range
    • Retouching Tools: Powerful retouching tools for removing imperfections and enhancing images
    Affinity Photo in other rankings
  6. 6

    Capture One

    Phase One
    Capture One is a professional photo editing software that is popular among photographers. It offers advanced tools for color grading and tethered shooting.
    Capture One is a professional-grade photo-editing software developed by Phase One. It offers powerful editing tools and advanced features, designed specifically for photographers and image editors. With a user-friendly interface and exceptional image processing capabilities, Capture One is widely recognized as one of the top choices for editing and managing digital photographs.
    • RAW Editing: Offers high-quality RAW image editing capabilities
    • Tethered Shooting: Allows for direct camera connectivity and instant image importing
    • Cataloging: Efficient organization and management of image files
    • Layer Support: Enables non-destructive editing with layer adjustments
    • Color Grading: Advanced color grading tools for precise control over color and tone
    Capture One in other rankings
  7. 7
    DxO PhotoLab
    Michael Kramer · CC BY-SA 3.0

    DxO PhotoLab

    DxO Labs
    DxO PhotoLab is a photo editing software that is known for its advanced noise reduction capabilities. It is popular among users who shoot in low-light conditions.
    DxO PhotoLab is a comprehensive and popular photo-editing software that offers advanced editing tools and functionalities. It is designed to enhance and optimize the quality of digital images. Whether you are a professional photographer or an enthusiast, DxO PhotoLab provides a wide range of features to help you edit, retouch, and enhance your photos with remarkable precision and speed.
    • RAW Processing: Optimized RAW processing engine for handling RAW files
    • Noise Reduction: Advanced noise reduction algorithms for reducing digital noise
    • Optical Corrections: Automatic correction of lens distortions, vignetting, and chromatic aberrations
    • Selective Tone Adjustments: Fine-tune brightness, contrast, and details for different areas of the image
    • U Point Technology: Smart and precise local adjustments using control points
    DxO PhotoLab in other rankings
  8. 8

    ON1 Photo RAW

    ON1, Inc.
    ON1 Photo RAW is a photo editing software that offers many advanced features, such as support for HDR and panorama stitching. It is popular among users who want a more affordable alternative to Photoshop.
    ON1 Photo RAW is a powerful photo-editing software designed to meet the needs of professional photographers and avid enthusiasts. It offers a comprehensive set of tools and features for editing and enhancing images, as well as organizing and managing photo collections.
    • Platform: Windows, macOS
    • Supported file formats: RAW, JPEG, TIFF, PSD
    • Non-destructive editing: Yes
    • Layer-based editing: Yes
    • Advanced masking tools: Yes
    ON1 Photo RAW in other rankings
  9. 9
    Luminar is a photo editing software that offers many advanced features, such as AI-based tools for editing. It is popular among users who want a more user-friendly and streamlined editing experience.
    Luminar is a popular photo-editing software known for its powerful and intuitive features. It offers a wide range of tools and effects to enhance and transform digital photographs.
    • Layer Support: Allows for non-destructive editing with layers.
    • AI Sky Enhancer: Automatically enhances the sky in photos.
    • AI Accent: Intelligently analyzes and improves images.
    • Batch Processing: Efficiently processes multiple images simultaneously.
    • Advanced Filters: Offers a variety of creative and professional filters.
  10. 10
    Paint.NET is a free image editing software that offers many of the same features as Photoshop. It is popular among users who do not want to pay for expensive software.
    Paint.NET is a popular image and photo editing software that offers advanced features and a user-friendly interface. It is primarily designed for Windows operating system. Originally created as a replacement for Microsoft Paint, it has evolved into a professional-grade editing tool.
    • Operating System: Windows
    • Supported Image Formats: BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, TGA
    • Layers and Blending: Supports multiple layers with various blending modes
    • Selection Tools: Offers a range of selection tools like lasso, magic wand, and rectangle
    • Filters and Effects: Includes various filters and effects, such as blur, sharpen, distort, and noise reduction

Missing your favorite photo-editing software?


Ranking factors for popular photo-editing software

  1. User Interface and Ease of Use
    The software's interface should be intuitive and user-friendly, making it easy for both beginners and professionals to navigate and efficiently use the editing tools.
  2. Features and Functionality
    The software should offer a comprehensive set of editing tools and features, including basic adjustments (e.g., cropping, resizing, exposure), advanced adjustments (e.g., layers, masks, selective editing), and creative tools (e.g., filters, overlays, text).
  3. Compatibility
    The software should be compatible with various operating systems (Windows, macOS, Linux) and support a wide range of file formats (e.g., JPEG, PNG, TIFF, RAW).
  4. Performance and Speed
    The software should have a smooth performance and fast processing speed, enabling users to edit their photos without delays or crashes.
  5. Customer Support and Tutorials
    The software company should provide adequate customer support and resources (e.g., tutorials, FAQs, community forums) to help users troubleshoot issues and learn how to use the software effectively.
  6. Price
    The cost of the software should provide good value for money, offering a balance between the features and tools provided and the affordability for users.
  7. Reviews and Recommendations
    The software should have positive reviews and recommendations from professional photographers, tech experts, and everyday users, indicating the software's reliability and effectiveness.
  8. Regular Updates
    The software should have regular updates that improve its features, functions, and compatibility, ensuring it stays up-to-date with the changing needs of the photography industry.
  9. Integration with other software and platforms
    The software should easily integrate with other popular software tools (e.g., Adobe Creative Suite) and platforms (e.g., social media, cloud storage), allowing users to streamline their workflows.
  10. Customization Options
    The software should allow users to customize their workspace and editing tools to fit their specific needs and preferences.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular photo-editing software. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or program is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 173 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each program once every 24 hours. The rank of each program is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular photo-editing software

When it comes to photo-editing software, there are countless options available to consumers. From the industry-standard Adobe Photoshop to free options like GIMP and Paint.NET, each software offers its own unique features and benefits. However, with so many choices, it can be difficult to determine which software is the most popular among users. At StrawPoll, we've analyzed thousands of polls and rankings to determine the answer to this question. Read on to discover the most popular photo-editing software and why it's a favorite among users.

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