An Introduction to Various Photo Editing Programs

There are loads of photo editing programs available, but sometimes you’re in wonderment as to which one you should get your hands on. If you’re trying to figure this out or if you’re looking to explore new programs, you should check this essential list out after the jump.

Mass Editing

Aperture– Aperture allows you to import many photos at once and make lots of minor edits to them such as color balance, saturation, etc. The latest version is apparently being loved by many photographers right now and many are calling it a, “Lightroom killer.” The interface of this program is very simple and extremely straight forward.

Lightroom- My personal program of choice for shooting tethered with my Canon 5D Mk II connected to my Macbook. Lightroom allows you to do everything that Aperture does but it offers more support and in a much more timely fashion from Adobe (take a look at Aperture’s supported cameras here for proof). When I’m finished cataloging and organizing my images I can take them through the development window in Lightroom and just being the editing process. This is great for when I just need to make little touch ups.

Capture One– I used to use this program quite a bit. Capture One is the preferred choice for users of Phase One Digital cameras. It’s like Lightroom but the interface is different and lots more information can be displayed on the screen in one area than with Lightroom. For those of you that want to more advanced approach, I highly recommend Capture One.

Single Editing

GIMP– GIMP is essentially Photoshop but with different names for nearly every function. It also allows for editing of RAW photos through a plug-in which is nice for enthusiasts. I don’t use it simply because I personally hated the learning curve. I know lots of people that love it though.

Photoshop- Hands down the most used professional photo editing tool ever. It’s for good reason too. Photoshop allows for loads of editing abilities and the program has a very short learning curve as well. Nothing can really compete with it.

Photoshop Elements– Elements is my program of choice for a large number of reasons. As a photojournalist, events photographer, and concert photographer I don’t often need to make major manipulations to my photos. When I do, Photoshop Elements provides all the power I need and also does it without taking up the resources on my computer that Photoshop would. That’s a great change of heart.

Paint.Net- This program is like GIMP but doesn’t offer RAW support. Of all the programs here, it also has the cleanest and simplest interface.


Picasa– Picasa is from Google. It’s a photo editing and organizing software. It’s very powerful, simple and versatile. I don’t use it because I don’t like their Terms of Use. This website allows you to upload, edit and share your photos. It’s nice because it’s an even simpler version of Photoshop Elements. Anyone can pick this one up and it has the cleanest interface of the three web editing tools.

Picnik– Picnik works with Flickr. Targeted towards total beginners, you can do most of these things using something like Windows Photo Viewer.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.