The 7 best photo editing software programs in 2022

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The 7 best photo editing software programs in 2022 according to our colleagues at Imaging Resource are:

  1. Adobe Photoshop
  2. Lightroom
  3. ON1 Photo RAW
  4. Affinity Photo
  5. Skylum Luminar Neo
  6. Capture One
  7. Photolemur

Adobe Photoshop

the 7 best photo editing software programs in 2022

Since its beginning, Photoshop has been the most commonly used software for editing digital images. And for a good reason – it’s packed with features and functionality that far exceed any of its competitors. With each new iteration, Adobe adds even more groundbreaking features, like AI-powered tools that make editing more streamlined. For instance, you can now smooth over skin, remove artifacts, and even edit facial expressions with the touch of a button.

In our full Photoshop 2022 review, we were hugely impressed with the neural filters and how streamlined they are. We particularly appreciate the Skin Smoothing functionality for portrait shooters and Super Zoom, which lets you crop right into a specific part of an image and then resize the result with automatically filled-in detail.



In an exciting new development for the world of photography, Adobe has just released an update to its Lightroom software that includes some incredible new features! Lightroom is already a potent photo editing tool, and these new additions make it even more so. Among the many exciting features to be added is the inclusion of tools for masking.

Masking is a potent technique that lets you selectively alter portions of your image, and the latest tools in Lightroom allow you to make it simpler than ever to make masks and then use them to benefit yourself. Another fantastic new feature can be used to alter the color, exposure, and contrast with a few simple sliders.

This makes it easy to create the ideal look for your photos. Overall, Lightroom Classic is a great all-in-one photo editor with tons of features and an easy-to-use interface. However, it’s important to note that it’s subscription-only, so you’ll need to pay a monthly fee to keep using it.

ON1 Photo RAW

ON1 Photo RAW is packed with editing tools and offers a great selection of high-quality filter effects. Still, its interface can be confusing and short on organization and output options.

ON1 is renowned for its top-quality plug-ins designed for effects, noise reduction, and digital enlarging. The company also has a standalone photo editing application, ON1 Photo RAW, which combines some of the nondestructive workflow aspects of Adobe Lightroom with Photoshop’s layers, masking, and retouching capabilities. PhotoRAW has some admirable characteristics, though it’s not as slick and user-friendly as its more mature competition from Adobe and CyberLink.

The recent ON1 update for 2022.5 added the company’s well-regarded Resize AI tool, improved NoNoise AI, automatic lens correction, Sky Swap AI, and support for more cameras. It also moved the search to a dialog box and filtered the footer. New features from the 2022 version (which came out after my last review update) include nondestructive Liquify, metadata search, snapshots, smart albums based on searches, time-lapse video creation, support for Photoshop plugins, and trackpad gestures. The company worked on performance in both updates, as well.

Affinity Photo

the 7 best photo editing software programs in 2022

When it comes to the latest photo editing software is concerned, Affinity Photo is not slowing down. It is continually compared, for a good reason, to its opposite number, Photoshop. Even though Adobe’s Creative Cloud has lots to offer in terms of software, Affinity Photo is still slightly eclipsed by Adobe because of its longevity and familiarity. However, Serif’s Affinity ‘trinity’ of apps (Photo/Designer/Publisher) has grown strong in the shadow of what has understandably been the industry standard. Adobe’s Creative Cloud isn’t cheap or particularly favorable in terms of free trials (even days) or ease of use.

Adobe CC’s performance heavily depends on a relatively current OS and hardware; anything remotely ‘old’ will significantly hinder the experience. In comparison, the Affinity trinity is a lot more accessible. Affinity Photo, for example, is compatible with Windows 7, macOS 10.9, or later and requires a minimum of 2GB RAM. Photoshop, in comparison, requires Windows 10, macOS 10.15 or later, and at least 8GB RAM. That’s not including the vast price difference – Affinity apps require a one-off payment; Adobe – an expensive subscription.

Skylum Luminar Neo

the 7 best photo editing software programs in 2022

For anyone who edits photos for a living, either as a professional retoucher or as part of a broader design role, the question of the best photo editor is easy. It’s Photoshop, dummy. And no, Adobe hasn’t paid us to say that. It’s just a fact that Photoshop is the most feature-rich photo editing software out there and remains the industry standard.

Photoshop is expensive. However, there are a number of great alternatives for anyone who edits photos more occasionally than constantly in their work, or who just wants to edit photos for fun.

If you want a Photoshop-like experience, but don’t want to spend a lot of money, then we recommend Affinity Photo. However, for anyone inexperienced at photo editing, both of these tools have interfaces that look (and, to be honest, are) quite intimidating. Consequently, many mid-range tools aren’t just cheaper than Photoshop but easier to use too. And Luminar Neo fits right into this category. We tested it out to find out how useful it is in practice.

Capture One

the 7 best photo editing software programs in 2022

Professional photographers recommend Capture One’s RAW processing engine and color editing tools. Capture One works extremely hard to deliver fantastic RAW conversions for cameras from every major manufacturer, including the traditionally challenging files from Fujifilm’s X-Trans image sensors.

Capture One 22 offers best-in-class color editing and delivers excellent image quality. Robust camera and lens support, powerful editing tools, and an ever-improving set of features. However, Capture One 22 is quite expensive.


the 7 best photo editing software programs in 2022

If you’re not into messing around with your photos to get the best shot, then the aptly named Photolemur might be for you. It’s available for Mac and Windows. The program touts advanced artificial intelligence that automatically adjusts your photos to the best settings and creates professional shots from your amateur pursuits.

This program isn’t meant for professional photo editors or photographers—it’s quite limited in terms of user-generated image adjustments. But if you’re looking for quick and easy editing, especially for social media or to increase the quality of your images, it’s worth a try.

If you like any of these software or if you want to suggest any other software then please share your opinion in comment.

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