5 editing tools that every photographer needs


Photography has turned out to be a huge obsession these days. It has come a long way from working with chemicals in dark rooms while developing films. However, with the dawn of the smartphones and other mobile devices, apart from the classy DSLR cameras, photography doesn’t merely stop at taking pictures but extends to what you do with it thereon: editing. From adding filters to your Instagram or Snapchat pictures to recreating photographs on Photoshop, editing pictures has grabbed the interest of people. Due to its importance, professional photographers even consider outsourcing editing pictures to third parties. Editing makes all the difference when it comes to making a photograph a product.

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Apart from Photoshop, here’s a list of five photo editing tools that most photographers, both amateur and professional photographers use or could use to create better pictures.


An on-the-go photo editing mobile application, Snapseed is a free app available on Android and iOS. It allows the user to create filters and make tonal changes to the picture with additional brush features to fix focusing and adjusting depth of field with swiping gestures. A very handy feature in this app is that it saves a user's editing history on a certain picture with the option of redirecting them to a particular editing action.

Snapseed was initially developed by Nik Software in 2011 on the iPad before it was acquired by Google and was made available on Windows and Android.


An extension of the Adobe family, Lightroom is another paid desktop editor that makes for a smoother editing experience. It is a photo enhancer and image processor best known for its photo organising and cataloguing features. It allows its user to apply a certain preset of functions to several photographs simultaneously. In addition to these, Lightroom is non-destructive, that is, the editing that is made won’t apply to the original file.

Lightroom is cheaper than Photoshop and is far more user-friendly, even though it does lack certain tools that Photoshop offers. Like most Adobe software, Lightroom is also available in the Android and iOS market with live editing.


An acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program, Gimp is a free graphics editor. It has most of the common editing features such as retouching, resizing and cropping, free-form drawing, etc. It comes with an additional feature to edit across multiple windows. It is a less complicated editor that allows a hassle-free user experience. Its foremost feature is its open source code, which makes room for collaborative efforts to improve the way GIMP functions and further distributing these improvements.

Affinity Photo

The so-called perfect iOS counterpart to Adobe’s Photoshop, Affinity Photo is a professional desktop editor. It has the common features of a good editing app like comprehensive editing of raw files, live working with panning and zooming at 60 fps and real time editing.

It was developed by British high-end desktop publishing company, Serif (Europe) Limited to provide an easier user experience as compared to the existing editing apps. Affinity Photo has an interface similar to that of Adobe Photoshop, thus repurposing the familiarity of the interface. Some features set it apart from Photoshop for smoother functioning though. For example, it allows users to retain picture quality while layering and rescaling the size of the image. It is a paid software, but it has been built from the ground up to support for the latest computing hardware. It won Apple’s Mac App of the Year award in 2015. Recently, it has been made available for Windows, before which it was available only to Apple’s Mac users.

HDR Darkroom 3

As the name suggests, the HDR (high dynamic range) photo editor is a quality tool among many that provides quick and quality results. Its features include a variety of 16 HDR filters and options to reduce blurs with its ‘ghost reduction’ option and its improved alignment algorithm, real time image processing and batch processing. These several features offer a variety of editing options in HDR which is quite vital for photographers. It was created by a renowned figure in the HDR digital imaging research, Everimaging.

Most of these editors have common ground when it comes to basic editing tools. They all provide enough room to learn, grow and be creative.