Best photo editing apps for Mac 2023

Fotor on the Mac
(Image credit: iMore)

Of course you can edit your photos right on your iPhone, but you're limited by what you can do with your finger on the iPhone's smaller screen. Your Mac has a faster processor, more storage, and just overall more computing power, making ideal for serious photo editing.

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo on Mac showing off editing tools

(Image credit: 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, take a peek at Affinity Photo, which is hands down one of the best photo editing apps for Mac.

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

Play, manipulate, edit, and get 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.

Download here: Affinity (opens in new tab)

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo gives you complete creative control over all of your photos and much more.

Download here: Affinity (opens in new tab)

Fotor - Photo Editor, Designer

Fotor

(Image credit: iMore)

Are you searching for a super simple, straightforward photo editing app? 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 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.

Download here: Fotor (opens in new tab)

Fotor - Photo Editor, Designer

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

Download here: Fotor (opens in new tab)

Adobe Lightroom

Lightroom

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

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 to look crisp and clear, add details and tint colors to make a photo stand out, and so much more. While it is more complicated, people who use the program and know how to navigate it are hooked.

While you can download and use Lightroom for free, you need an Adobe Creative Cloud membership to access all the features. However, a single Creative Cloud membership gives you unlimited access to all other Adobe creative suite apps, such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Fresco, and more. Creative Cloud membership isn't cheap, but you get a lot of tools for your dollar.

Download here: Adobe (opens in new tab)

Adobe Lightroom

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

Download here: Adobe (opens in new tab)

Pixelmator Pro

Pixelmator Pro Screenshot

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Pixelmator Pro is a powerful version specifically geared for photo editing, not just a general graphic design app. With Pixelmator Pro, you're getting a ton of professional-grade, nondestructive editing tools. In addition, it's powered by machine learning, so you get the best results every time you use the program.

You can use Pixelmator Pro for basic photo editing features like resizing, cropping, adding filters, adjusting color settings, etc. But, thanks to machine learning, you can take things to new levels.

We think Pixelmator Pro is one of the best photo editing apps for the Mac that's reasonably priced with many excellent features. Don't miss our in-depth Pixelmator Pro review if you want to learn more about it.

Download here: Pixelmator (opens in new tab)

Pixelmator Pro

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

Download here: Pixelmator (opens in new tab)

GIMP

GIMP

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Love Photoshop (or the idea of Photoshop...) but don't want all the complicated components nor the price tag that comes with it? Then it might be worth it to take a peek at GIMP.

Like Photoshop, GIMP allows you complete control over editing your photos: 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, change saturation, etc. So, if you're someone who admires Photoshop but is terrified of the price or the learning curve, then GIMP might be the perfect pal for you.

Download here: GIMP (opens in new tab)

GIMP

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.

Download here: GIMP (opens in new tab)

Luminar Neo - Photo Editor

Luminar Neo

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Another fantastic option for Mac's best photo editing app is Luminar Neo. With Luminar Neo, the goal is to make photo editing as straightforward as possible while also being enjoyable. You can do all of the basics in Luminar, like cropping and resizing, color adjustments, applying 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 fantastic custom skies in the app that will breathe new life into any photo. In addition, 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 more.

Download here: Skylum (opens in new tab)

Luminar Neo - Photo Editor

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

Download here: Skylum (opens in new tab)

Canva: Design, Photo & Video

Canva: Design, Photo & Video

(Image credit: canva)

Canva is an iMore favorite, since it's free and allows you to do many "Photoshop-like" tasks quickly and easily. We often use it for removing and replacing photo backgrounds, but you can also adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, blur, and more. Apply filters and other effects, add text, and create templates that allow you to stay on-brand.

Download here: Canva (opens in new tab)

Canva: Design, Photo & Video

Canva's free version is a powerful photo editing tool.

Download here: Canva (opens in new tab)

The best photo editors for your Mac

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You're out there taking all those wonderful photos on your iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, other other great iPhone, but what about editing? When editing on your iPhone isn't enough, you'll want to edit photos on your Mac. While Apple's built-in Photos app certainly has some essential photo editing tools already integrated, sometimes you need more. Any of the apps listed will work beautifully on macOS Ventura and all of the best Macs. If you're looking to dive into paid apps, check out Affinity Photo. It's a Mac App of the Year winner, and it has an enormous suite of tools. 

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

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