Fotor on the Mac

While you could edit your photos on your iPhone, it's still better on your Mac. That's because most of our photo libraries, like iCloud Photo Library, are on our Macs, and it's easier to edit thanks to faster processors, larger storage, and just overall more computing power. For serious photographers, editing on the Mac is still the best way to go about it. While Apple gives you the built-in Photos app, which does have some basic photo editing tools already integrated, sometimes you need a little more oomph. Here are the best photo editing apps for Mac.

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo on Mac showing off editing tools sepia llamaSource: iMore

If you're looking for a photo editing app that goes above and beyond its price tag while still allowing you complete creative control over your images, then it might be worth it to take a peek at Affinity Photo, which is hands down one of the best photo editing apps for Mac.

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Affinity Photo supports unlimited layers, groups, layer adjustments, filters, masking, and more: you also have access to tools like dodge, red-eye fix, burn, blemish, clone, and patch (so pretty much Photoshop without all the convoluted bells and whistles). Nondestructive auto-saving makes undoing everything you've done easy, so if you need to start from the beginning, the option is there.

Play, manipulate, edit, and get hella creative with Affinity Photo whether you're a serious graphic designer or someone who's just looking to do some basic editing. Your photography will seriously thank you.

Affinity Photo App Icon

Affinity Photo for Mac

Affinity Photo gives you complete creative control over all of your photos, and then some.

Fotor Photo Editor

FotorSource: iMore

Searching for a super simple, straight-forward photo editing app that's there to help you edit and not confuse you to the point of ripping out your hair? Then check out Fotor Photo Editor!

With this photo editor, you can easily adjust the contrast and color of more washed-out photos, add borders, tilt and shift your images, add different text, slap on a few filters, and so much more, all from the easy-to-find toolbox on the right side of the app. You can even create collages of your photography masterpieces!

The BBC once called Fotor Photo Editor 'light Photoshop', and they're kind of right! You can go above and beyond editing your images with Fotor Photo Editor without getting bogged down by more complicated editing buttons and tools.

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Fotor Photo Editor

Fotor Photo Editor is a simple and effective solution for photo editing, and you can download it for free.


LightroomSource: iMore

When you look into photo editing software, one of the first things that'll pop up is Adobe's Lightroom, and for good reason! It's essentially a staple in the photo editing community.

Lightroom is great for photographers who need to manage a large image library and who are prepared to commit to (and pay for) Adobe's cloud storage space. But it is purely a photography tool that's a little outside the regular Adobe design ecosystem. (Creative Bloq)

Pretty much anything you want to do with your photo, you can accomplish with Lightroom. You can blend and merge shadows and highlights, sharpen dull, blurry images, so they look crisp and clear, add details and tint colors to make a photo stand out, and so, so much more. While it is a bit more on the complicated side, people who use the program and know how to navigate it are hooked.

Please note that while you can download and use Lightroom for free, you need an Adobe Creative Cloud membership to access all of the features for Lightroom. However, a single Creative Cloud membership gets you unlimited access to all of the other Adobe creative suite apps as well, such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Fresco, and more. Creative Cloud membership is $9.99 monthly or $118.99 annually.

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Lightroom for Mac

Lightroom is one of the best photo editing apps around, especially if you are already invested in the Adobe creative suite.

Pixelmator Pro

Pixelmator Pro ScreenshotSource: iMore

Pixelmator Pro is a powerful version of Pixelmator that is specifically geared for photo editing and not just a general graphic design app. With Pixelmator Pro, you're getting a ton of professional-grade, nondestructive editing tools, and Pixelmator Pro is powered by Machine Learning, so you get the best results each and every time you use the program.

You can use Pixelmator Pro for basic photo editing features like resizing, cropping, adding filters and adjusting color settings, and more. But with Machine Learning, you can do things like remove objects, recreate image areas with the Repair tool, automatically adjust a photo to perfection with an algorithm that is trained from millions of pro photos, copy the look of one photo to another, and so much more.

We think Pixelmator Pro is one of the best photo editing apps for the Mac that is reasonably priced with a ton of amazing features. If you want to learn more about Pixelmator Pro, don't miss our full in-depth review.

Pixelmator Pro Review: An image-first experience for photo editing on Mac

Pixelmator Pro Icon

Pixelmator Pro

Pixelmator Pro is a powerful photo editing app that allows you to perfect your photos with a ton of features.


GIMPSource: iMore

Love Photoshop (or the idea of Photoshop...) but don't want all the complicated components and nonsense that comes along with it? Then it might be worth it to take a peek at GIMP.

Like Photoshop, GIMP allows you full control over editing your photos: it's an advanced image manipulation program with detailed customization for color reproduction.

You can add layers to your photos, edit and tweak colors, adjust contrast, crop, adjust saturation, and so much more. If you're someone who admires Photoshop but is terrified of the price (or just thinks it's not worth it), then GIMP might be the perfect pal for you.

Gimp Icon

GIMP GNU Image Manipulation Program

GIMP is a completely free photo editing app. It may not have all of the powerful features of other apps, but it is simple and can get the basics done.

Luminar 4

Luminar 4 ScreenshotSource: Skylum

Another fantastic option for best photo editing app for Mac is Luminar 4. With Luminar 4, the goal is to make photo editing as simple as possible while also being enjoyable. You can do all of the basics in Luminar, like cropping and resizing, color adjustments, and apply filters, and whatnot, but there is more to the app than that.

With Luminar, you can do some magical things like replacing dull skies with just one click — there is a collection of amazing custom skies in the app that will breathe new life into any photo. The Portrait Enhancer tool lets you light up faces and even slim them down if necessary, and it removes dark circles, defines brows, enhances lip color, and more. There's even AI to help reduce shine on oily skin. Other cool features include adding sun rays, instant looks, textures, and so much more.

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Luminar 4 for Mac

Luminar 4 makes photo editing simple and easy. You can try it out for free to see if it's a good fit for your needs.


PreviewSource: iMore

Yeah, I know what you're thinking — "Preview, really?" Yes! Believe it or not, I use Preview every day to do simple things, like image resizing and cropping, adjust contrast, add filters, and fix saturation. You can actually plenty of basic image adjustments with Preview, like add shapes, rotate, add signatures, export it as a different file format, and so much more. It's not perfect, but it can get the job done for pretty simple things.

Plus, it's already built-in to your Mac, so make the most of it!

How do you edit your photography?

These are just a few of our favorites for the best photo editing apps for Mac. What is your favorite photo editing app for the Mac? Why does it work best for you? Let us know what your top picks are in the comments down below!

Updated December 2020: Removed Snapheal and added Luminar 4 to the list. Updated Pixelmator to Pixelmator Pro.

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