Which graphics program do you work with

Image editing programs for Windows and Mac

Digital image processing has created a new genre in photography. But which functions should a good image editing program have? How expensive are the market leaders? Here you get an overview of the best programs - also for smartphones!


What distinguishes a good image editing program?

Ideally, areas many functions as possible present in the same all-in-one software. “If you don't use any special functions, it makes work a lot easier because you don't have to switch between different products,” says photo expert Jan-Ole Schmidt. He advises you to be prepared for a certain induction phase in any case.

“In addition to ease of use, there is also an extensive range of Tutorials, forums and seminars important ", says Schmidt." Many questions and problems can be resolved quickly by a good community. "

Those who want to create larger composings can turn to market leaders such as Adobe Photoshop to grab. When it comes to editing, optimizing and developing photographs, the so-called RAW converter usually a good alternative. "Adobe is way ahead with Lightroom, but also Capture One of Phase One, Photolab of DxO or Photo studio of ACDSee are very high quality, ”says Schmidt.


What does image editing software cost?

There are different payment models for image editing programs. We have put together the best programs for you - free of charge, with a one-off purchase price or by subscription. With the ecxeption of Apple photos all programs for Windows and Mac are suitable.


Free programs

There are free programs that contain many of the functions of the paid software. This does not have to limit the quality of the image processing. These are our recommendations:


GIMP is a powerful image editing program that runs not only on Windows and Mac OS, but also on Linux, Sun and FreeBS. Similar to Photoshop can be used in GIMP work on different levels and use professional tools.

Download: GIMP

Contrast corrections, cropping and montages are no problem with the GIMP.


Paint.NET is a free program that enables work on different levels. As with the namesake Microsoft Paint the editor is clear and easy to understand, there are numerous tools and image effects. You can Paint.NET expand with plug-ins and even open PSD files. So far only for Windows.

Download: Paint.NET

Photoscape X

Beginners can use the image editing software Photoscape X playfully edit your photos: In addition to the classic tools, there is also Photoscape a full range of filters, including oil, watercolor or watercolors effects. Batch processing allows you to process a large number of images at the same time. The app is not very intuitive, but impresses with its numerous functions.

Download: Photoscape X


Darktable is a good alternative to Lightroom, because the software has a wide range of functions and is free of charge. If you want to edit your raw data, you can not only find all the basic tools in the editor, but also edit gradation curves or adjust color channels. Darktable is not only available for Windows and Mac, but also for many other operating systems.

Download: Darktable


The image editing program LightZone scores with manageable image processing and is also a good alternative to Adobe Lightroom. You can crop images, remove red eyes and use various controls to adjust the color tones. The tool ZoneMapperstands out in particular: This allows the combination of midtones and depths to be changed in selected areas. A short registration is necessary.

Download: LightZone


RawTherapee has a wide range of functions and is a good open source alternative to Lightroom. The software is constantly updated and further developed to enable a wide range of image processing. For example, you can use the image editing software to edit the contrast on every single level of detail.

Download: RAWTherapee

Apple photos

If you use a Mac, you can use the in-house program Apple photos work. The program enables synchronization via the cloud, so management on different end devices is possible.

Download: Apple Photos

With Apple Photos you can sort your photos, edit them with filters and change the color effects or the contrast.


Paid programs

If you choose paid software, you will usually be provided with security updates after purchase. In addition, the subsequent versions are cheaper to buy. Here are our recommendations:


Find a compelling alternative too Photoshop? The image editing program Photodirector is suitable for beginners and professionals. Thanks to the diverse, but easy-to-use range of tools, there are no limits to the imagination. There are also impressive functions for panoramic images, such as the Spherical panorama. Promotion price 69.99 euros (as of May 6, 2019), otherwise 99.99 euros.

Download: Photodirector


Luminar is suitable for the development of RAW files and is similar Adobe Lightroom, however, you can work on different levels here. The user interface is in German and can be flexibly adapted. With the before and after slider you can see the direct comparison. Promotion price: from 60 euros, otherwise 70 euros.

Download: Luminar 2018

Affinity Photo

The photo editing software Affinity Photo For a long time it was only available for Mac users, but now Windows users can also use the program. Despite countless functions, the user interface remains tidy and clear, and there are functions such as 360 ° editing for you Tiny planet effect, Batch processing or compositions from several layers. Price: 54.99 euros. For iPad from 21.99 euros.

Download: Affinity Photo

Paintshop Pro

Paintshop Pro offers everything you need for editing digital images: The photo editing program is included Photoshop comparable and has a wide range of functions. There is also extensive assistance and tutorials for beginners. Paintshop Pro 2019 Ultimate is currently reduced in price from 89.99 euros to 69.99 euros. Paintshop Pro 2019 is available for 44.99 euros.

Download: Paintshop Pro

Photoshop Elements

Adobe Photoshop Elements is one of the entry-level programs for photographers, graphic artists and designers all over the world. The software combines the most important functions for image processing and is characterized by intuitive processing functions and modern features. Price: 98.77 euros.

Download: Photoshop Elements

Photoshop is one of the standard programs used by graphic designers, designers and artists.

Capture One

Capture One is one of the best RAW converters and includes countless functions for editing. The program offers file support for more than 400 cameras and fulfills every function that professional photographers could wish for, such as detailed color editing and sharpness correction. Capture One Pro 12 price: 349 euros, with a monthly subscription for 24 euros.

Download: Capture One

ACDSee Photo Studio

ACDSee Photo Studio has been one of the best image viewers on the market from the start and has now become an all-in-one software. You can add location data or keywords to your photos. Finding, moving and organizing images is also no problem. Use the built-in tools to correct exposure, color, and contrast.
There is a free demo version. The lifetime license currently costs (until May 8, 2019) 102.95 euros, thereafter 171.99 euros. But you can also opt for a monthly or annual subscription. You are then priced from 9.90 euros.

Download: ACDSee Photo Studio

DxO Photolab

In addition to the classic options, the pure photo editing program scores DxO Photolab through the so-called Smart lighting, an automatic exposure optimization. You can edit even the finest details and textures in your images in underexposed or overexposed areas. There is also the to optimize Punctual modewhich corresponds to the spot metering of a camera. Price: 129 euros.

Download: DxO Photolab


Program on subscription

If you opt for a subscription model, you can pay for your image editing program either on a monthly basis or as an annual subscription. In the area of ​​high-quality image processing programs, Adobe now only offers a subscription. Even with the smaller players on the market such as ACDSee or Capture One, there are now options for monthly or annual subscriptions in addition to the full versions for download.


Adobe Lightroom is my personal favorite, because it convinces with good image management and a large community, ”says Jan-Ole Schmidt. The Annual Lightroom CC subscription in the Creative Cloud includes 1 TB of cloud storage. Advantage: The Creative Cloud can be used on Mac, PC, smartphone and tablet (iOS and Android).

Link: Adobe Creative Cloud

Photoshop and more

Many photographers want to work with different levels and therefore rely on them Photoshop. At Adobe there are various combination options with various storage space variants from 11.89 euros - on a monthly basis or with an annual subscription. If you do not want to choose an Adobe program, you can also take out a full subscription.

Tip: If you are not satisfied with the software, you can cancel the order within the first 14 days. Current prices and all information about the individual subscriptions can be found on the Adobe website.


Image editing without installation: the best online versions

Alternatively, you can start the image processing directly in the web browser - no installation is necessary. However, there may be a delay in processing, and you are also dependent on your Internet connection.

Photoshop Express

The free program Photoshop Express is a leaner version of Photoshop and contains the most important tools for editing and optimizing. The photography can be done through the tab Decoratecan be provided with speech bubbles, frames and texts. Two small negative points: You cannot work on different levels in the web program and you need the free Flash Player to use it.

Link: Photoshop Online Editor

Pixlr Editor

Pixlr presents a web-based alternative to Photoshopthat has clear selection tools, filters and tools. The editor lags in comparison with Photoshop Express a little afterwards, but you can still work on different layers and export the image as JPG, PNG, PXD, BMP or TIFF.

Link: Pixlr Editor


Photo Editing Programs: The Best Apps for IOS and Android

Do you want to beautify your photo from your smartphone? There are now countless apps that enable good image editing. "I always advise you to download and try out as many apps as possible yourself," says Jan-Ole Schmidt. This gives you a feeling for the user guidance and the range of functions. Plus point: The familiarization time with the apps is significantly shorter than with desktop programs.

Lightroom Mobile

If you Lightroom on your laptop is Lightroom Mobile a useful addition, as it is possible to connect different end devices. You can edit photographs in RAW format on your smartphone and then use the Lightroom catalog call up with the PC. The app offers a wide range of image editing functions, including haze removal and partial toning. Price: free.

Download: Lightroom for Android
Download: Lightroom for iOS


With Snapseed you can edit your photos at the highest level. Adjusting properties such as brightness and contrast is very intuitive; even individual areas of the image can be brightened or sharpened. Another plus point: the app can process photos in RAW format. Price: free.

Download: Snapseed

Afterlight 2

The Afterlight 2 app includes all standard functions as well as text tools and symbols. The function is a special feature Selective HueThis allows colors that appear at certain points in the image to be colored effectively. In addition, the function Double exposure merge two photos together. The new version Afterlight 2 only runs on iOS, the previous version also on Android. Price: 3.49 euros.

Download: Afterlight 2

You can find more photo apps for smartphones here.


Which photo editing programs are suitable for beginners?

Regardless of the program, you should always have a longer training period plan to experiment with different functions. “Anyone who is just starting to get used to professional image processing can Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop Elements tend, because there are lots of tutorials and assistance there, ”advises Jan-Ole Schmidt. The Smartphone is also not bad for beginners, because mobile apps are usually characterized by ease of use.


The best video tutorials on YouTube

You can find detailed step-by-step instructions on the subject of "image editing" on YouTube. Here are the photography community's favorite channels - get inspired!

Photoshop tutorials

This channel shows you how to use the Photoshop CC other Photoshop CS6 Correct images, remove blemishes or add effective effects.

Link: Photoshop tutorials


1.4 million fans subscribe to this popular YouTube channel. It doesn't matter whether you want to cut out objects or make hair shine - here are countless tips for Photoshop and Lightroom.

Link: PhLearn

Jessica Kobeissi

More than 660,000 subscribers can't be wrong: The photographer Jessica Kobeissi focuses on fashion and beauty shoots and shares her experiences in inspiring tutorials for Photoshop.

Link: Jessica Kobeissi

Arunz Creation

If you are more creative with Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom or illustrator. want to work then check out the channel Arunz Creation at. Whether rain effects, splashes of paint or completely new environments, it's all about photo manipulation, conceptual art and fantasy.

Link: Arunz Creation

Terry White

The American photographer Terry White shows the technical intricacies of Photoshop, Lightroom and InDesign on. Discover in-depth tutorials on a wide variety of topics.

Link: Terry White


The step after the image processing: Present your works of art

A picture edited by Robert Jahns. WhiteWall photo behind acrylic glass

Have you tried the tools and edited your images with software? Transfer your picture to the real world and present it to a high-quality mural. Our customer Robert Jahns has been named “World's leading modern digital artist” and is one of the world's leading photo artists in the field of image processing.“Post-processing is very important to me. It is the most important and most intensive part of my work - otherwise my works of art would not even exist. When editing, the magic that surrounds my pictures is created. " He swears by WhiteWall for the presentation of his works: "I am enthusiastic about the quality [...]. The pictures are very impressive due to the particularly brilliant colors. The acrylic glass offers protection and, above all, looks very noble, my pictures can be presented in as high a quality as they are." to earn."

Photo behind acrylic glass