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With programs like Affinity and Pixelmator Pro, gone is the exclusive solo leadership of Photoshop. We will look at the Best Professional Photo Editors for Mac of 2022.
Few people will doubt, at this point, the benefits of Photoshop as a primary tool for editing photographs, as well as the usefulness of additional programs such as Lightroom and Camera RAW, despite its high subscription price.
This has meant that, in recent years, serious alternatives appear in the photo editing section with which you can achieve similar results with a swift learning curve and incredible ease of use.
Below, we look at some suitors to the crown and the benefit of value for money you can get. Most feature one-time purchase prices rather than monthly subscription fees.
Adobe is the leader in the best professional photo editors since you can get only Photoshop and Lightroom for around € 120 per year or through a monthly subscription that will come out per month for € 12.99. If you opt for all CC applications, the price is € 60.49.
Generally speaking, there are two categories of applications: we look at real image editors and image processors. The latter category includes apps designed to take images directly from a camera and enhance them.
Some may include essential image editing tools, but it’s not about rampant creativity like real editing apps, which usually offer very image-oriented toolbars.
Many image processing applications focus on enhancing RAW files, which are data taken directly from the camera’s image sensor before processing inside the phone or camera.
This offers the most significant possibility of improvement since the format collects as much image data as possible to be manipulated.
For this group test, we have focused on professional photo editing software aimed at the editor who needs power and flexibility.
Best Professional Photo Editors for Mac of 2022
Affinity Photo – Best Value for Money
|Supports CMYK color space||Learning curve for use|
|Advanced RAW Editor|
Affinity Photo is a program that, due to its enormous potential, has been able to gain a large number of users in the last era. It is primarily associated with the generation of touch screens.
Its creators are eager to emphasize a set of downright professional features that many others emulate. For example, you get CMYK and Lab color space support, which is paramount when working in the print design industry.
It’s also a RAW photo editor for Mac, and the app claims the best support for Photoshop’s ubiquitous .psd file format that you’ll also be able to handle. In short, Affinity Photo is a powerful tool with subtle adjustments.
Its usual price is € 54.99 per license, but currently, you will find on the web only € 27.99 with a discount of 5 0%. In addition, you should know that the iPad version is only € 10.99, and its potential we are sure will surprise you.
Pixelmator – Most Adopted by Users of Apple Products
|Free video tutorials||Potential of advanced tools|
|Easy graphic handling|
Pixelmator is one of Mac’s most popular photo editing apps, as it combines powerful editing tools, an attractive and easy-to-use interface, and a very competitive price.
There are two versions of the software available at the moment. On the one hand, the original standard version of Pixelmator at € 32.99 with a somewhat more basic approach, and then the new Pixelmator Pro, which costs € 43.99 in the Mac application store.
The standard version will serve most day-to-day editing tasks, with the latest update compatible with macOS Catalina and Apple Pencil support. The Pro version works with Mac technologies such as Apple’s Metal graphics and the Touch Bar.
It also includes editing tools, brushes, and additional effects so you can create even more eye-catching images. Fortunately, there are 30-day trial versions available on Pixelmator so that you can put them to the test.
Pixelmator’s website also has a downright good online manual and dozens of video tutorials that can help you get started with the most basic photo editing to get the most out of photo editing.
DxO OpticsPro for Photos – Best for those Looking for Quick Adjustments
|Clean operating interface||Small limitations|
|RAW format support||No advanced control in fine detail|
There are many things we like about DxO Optics Pro. To cite an example, our complaints are minor and revolve around the time needed to process the image by dragging it while zooming.
Usually, this lasted only a couple of seconds, and on slower computers, it could be somewhat longer. Also, there doesn’t seem to be a zoom tool for zooming in and out quickly, with the maximum zoom level limited to 200%.
In addition to Photoshop, DxO Optics Pro’s closest competition is Capture One Pro. Still, DxO Optics Pro is much cheaper and easier to use, as it relies primarily on one or two sliders within each tool to simplify.
Admittedly, you don’t get the excellent control over fine detail that you do with Capture One Pro, but have you ever wondered if you need it? DxO Optics Pro is a winner if you want to manipulate your RAW images to get the best out of them in moments.
CyberLink PhotoDirector 11 – A Complete Photo Editor Package
|User Guides||Supercharged Tool Kit|
|Lifetime license option|
|Effects and templates included|
PhotoDirector 11 is a dark horse among Mac photo editors because you initially might only notice its organization and sharing features.
However, when you dig a little deeper, you’ll see that it features powerful tools for editing images, even though the app avoids a toolbar-style approach and mainly avoids using Photoshop-style pen/brush tools.
Firmly positioned in the semi-professional area, PhotoDirector 10 takes a new approach which means it’s packed with features, but it works differently than the other photo editing apps we’ve seen.
Instead of taking a tool-based approach, the app prefers to guide you through tweaks and edits. You can almost certainly achieve the same things you would with Photoshop, and maybe more, like the ability to adjust 360-degree photos.
It offers a lifetime license that will cost you € 99.99 or a subscription option that currently has a discount of 30%, so it will cost you € 37.99 annually, which is not bad.
Acorn 7 Image Editor – Much Cheaper Photoshop Copy
|Photoshop-like interface||Lacks advanced options|
|A multitude of tools and filters|
In many ways, Acorn feels and looks like a Photoshop snapshot from a decade or two ago, with a selection of more modern and valuable Photoshop tools that you’ll find perfectly matched.
You get all the tools that made Photoshop so great, like levels and curves for adjusting the brightness/contrast of an image and masking, layers, and filters of all kinds.
However, some of the valuable innovations that have emerged lately are also lost, such as healing and patching tools or advanced selection tools that allow you to select by color range, among other things.
If you prefer more straightforward, more traditional software, Acorn is for you. The price of the latest version available, Acorn 7, is also quite competitive against other options seen here, with the possibility of trying the tool for free for 14 days.
GIMP 2.8 – Best If You Want A Free App
|Free||Not so intuitive|
|Cross-platform||Slow in advanced processes|
Gimp is a popular open-source photo editor that has been available for many years and is compatible with Mac, Windows, and even Linux (its full name is Linux’s GNU Image Manipulation Program).
Although it is free to download (compared to the paid ones discussed here), its powerful editing tools are light years beyond the simple filters and effects for selfies found in most free applications.
The downside of Gimp on Linux is that its interface will be a bit impactful for most Mac or Windows users. Instead of colorful icons and valuable tools, Gimp fills the main editing screen with opaque gray icons and long menus.
The app can also feel slightly sluggish when you apply some more complex effects, suggesting that it hasn’t been optimized to take advantage of macOS-specific technologies, such as Apple’s Metal graphics system.
But if you’re determined to avoid spending money, you’ll find that Gimp offers a range of advanced tools rarely found in a free app. There are dozens of filters and effects, with a handy split-screen view.