7 Top-Rated Affordable Photo Editing Software

By: Barkha Bali on December 21, 2023

While modern cameras offer impressive capabilities, even the most stunning photos need editing for a more polished look. Whether you’re a skilled photographer seeking precision in post-processing or a photography enthusiast looking to improve your shots, the right photo editing software can make all the difference. These software solutions let you create, edit, and publish photos that have a professional touch. 

However, purchasing editing software can be expensive, especially if you’re on a budget. To help you choose, this article highlights seven top-rated affordable photo editing software based on verified software reviews and pricing found on vendor websites. Per our research, we’ve considered products priced less than $26.51 per month as affordable software and arranged them in ascending order of their prices.

We’ve grouped these products into three categories: dedicated photo editing software, graphic design software with photo editing tools, and album design software with photo editing capabilities. Irrespective of the categorization, all tools offer the core features of photo editing software: image editing and content import/export.

1. Pixlr

Pixlr is a dedicated photo editing tool that includes predefined image effects, including artistic and vintage. It lets you add text; choose different fonts, sizes, and colors; and personalize your images with captions and quotes, among other elements. It also allows you to change the image resolution and increase or decrease the image size. You can specify the desired width and height in pixels or percentages. Additionally, you can use overlays to add textures, patterns, and other creative elements.

Product features of interest:*

  • AI image generator: Describe the image you want to create by including specific information about the subject, style, colors, and mood, and click the “Generate” button to get several AI-generated image variations. You can also upload reference images to guide the AI generator.

  • Auto-design grid maker: Upload photos and use the automated photo grid maker to generate layouts with various grid sizes, aspect ratios, and photo arrangements. You can use these layouts for social media posts, advertisements, printed materials, presentations, and personal projects.

  • Product shot creator: Choose from various predesigned product scenes or upload a background image to create a custom setting. The AI automatically positions and scales your product image within the scene.

Starting price: $0.99 per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Email, knowledge base, and video tutorials

Who should consider Pixlr?

Pixlr is worth considering for photographers or product designers looking to create high-quality product images without extensive photography resources. Its product shot creator leverages AI to generate a realistic scene for product images, complete with shadows, reflections, surrounding objects or props, and the lighting and environment. This capability solves the challenge of manually arranging product shots, especially for users who may not have the technical expertise or resources to set up elaborate product photoshoots.

**Analysis performed December 2023

Pixlr

Pixlr

4.48 out of 5 stars

111 reviews

2. Fotor

Another dedicated photo editing software, Fotor lets you edit, crop, and resize images and adjust their brightness, contrast, saturation, exposure, depth, color intensity, and light distribution. It has a collection of stock fonts, icons, graphics, and other design elements to add to your images. It allows you to upload up to 50 photos and use a batch editor to edit them simultaneously. Additionally, it has an AI-powered image creator, similar to Pixlr’s, that uses text-based prompts to generate multiple variations of the same image.

Product features of interest:*

  • AI background and object remover: Delete the entire background or specific unwanted objects from your image using AI-powered tools. This feature eliminates unwanted clutter from your pictures and isolates objects for further image editing.

  • Photo enhancer: Increase an image’s resolution and enhance its colors and lighting. This feature also analyzes the image to identify and remove blur caused by shaky cameras or improper focusing.

  • Photo to art: Use predesigned artistic filters, including cartoon, sketch, anime, watercolor, and oil painting, to transform your images into art. You can customize the filters by adjusting the color palettes, intensity, and brushstrokes.

Starting price: $3.33 per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Knowledge base, live chat, and request submissions

Who should consider Fotor?

Photographers or designers (product, graphic, web, etc.) who need to make uniform edits to a large number of photos can benefit from Fotor’s batch editing feature. It enables them to upload multiple images in batches and apply consistent effects or adjustments, such as cropping and resizing, across the batches. They can make a wide range of edits to their photos, including basic brightness, contrast, and saturation adjustments. They can also make more advanced edits, such as selective editing, noise reduction, and lens correction. Batch editing saves time and ensures consistent edits across photos.

**Analysis performed December 2023

Fotor

Fotor

4.58 out of 5 stars

431 reviews

Pro tip

Understand your proficiency in photo editing and identify your specific requirements. For instance, if you’re a beginner, you could benefit from user-friendly interfaces and simplified editing tools. On the other hand, if you’re a professional, you may require advanced features, such as color correction, grading, retouching, and healing tools, for intricate edits. Choose software that aligns with your skill level and meets the demands of your editing projects.

3. Alboom Designbox

Alboom Designbox is an online photo album design and editing software solution. It lets you drag and drop photos onto an editing dashboard and choose a theme to start designing photo albums per project requirements. It includes basic-to-advanced editing options—from cropping, resizing, and color correction to red-eye removal and blending modes. You can edit specific parts of your photos using brushes and masks. You can also use the preview feature to see how the changes will affect the final result before applying them permanently.

Product features of interest:*

  • Augmented reality: Turn static images into interactive videos that look like they’re emerging from the surface of your photo album (similar to 3D visuals). This feature creates an immersive experience for viewers.

  • Autosave: Save projects automatically at regular intervals so you don’t lose any work due to an unexpected crash or power outage.

  • History panel: View and track the edits or changes made to an album over time. You can check the editing history, see each modification made, and selectively revert to a desired point in time.

Starting price: $7 per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Email, FAQs, help center, live chat, and tutorials

Who should consider Alboom Designbox?

Alboom Designbox could be a viable option for photographers or designers who have to keep switching between multiple design and editing tools to create professional-looking photo albums. The software provides a unified environment to design photo albums and complete editing tasks without switching between tools. The built-in editing capabilities enable users to refine and enhance photos directly within the album design workflow. These capabilities include color adjustments, image filters, retouching, and other enhancements that contribute to the overall visual appeal of photos.

**Analysis performed December 2023

Alboom Designbox

Alboom Designbox

4.65 out of 5 stars

136 reviews

4. PicMonkey

PicMonkey is a photo editing and designing tool. It lets you crop and resize your photos to specific dimensions or aspect ratios and enhance or blur details in your photos. You can remove blemishes, smoothen wrinkles, whiten teeth, and retouch photos with brush-based tools. Similar to other dedicated photo editing solutions, PicMonkey lets you remove unwanted objects or backgrounds from your photos. It also includes predesigned photo grids, filters, fonts, texts, and graphics that you can customize to suit your project requirements.

Product features of interest:*

  • Color changer effect: Modify the color of specific objects in your photos. For example, you can turn a red shirt blue or green walls orange. You can also adjust the overall color scheme of images by modifying the hue, saturation, and luminance.

  • Textures: Alter the visual appearance of an image by applying textures, such as beams of light, bubbles, or aging effects. The software has a library of textures to deliver more creative effects to your pictures.

  • Smart resize: Resize your photos to multiple dimensions simultaneously. Basic resizing tools simply scale the image up or down. However, smart resizing adjusts the layout and composition of your design to fit the new dimensions, ensuring your design remains balanced across different sizes.

Starting price: $7.99 per month

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Email, editing tips and tutorials, and how-to articles

Who should consider PicMonkey?

PicMonkey is worth considering for users, such as content creators or graphic designers, who need to create images in different sizes for various platforms. Resizing individual images for platforms such as Instagram and Facebook is time-consuming. PickMonkey’s smart resize functionality allows batch resizing for multiple dimensions. Instead of entering dimensions and making changes one by one, users can easily select multiple sizes in one go. Smart resize then generates all the variations simultaneously without hampering the photo quality, saving time and effort.

**Analysis performed December 2023

PicMonkey

PicMonkey

4.48 out of 5 stars

1128 reviews

Pro tip

Check the availability of stock content, such as pre-installed templates, graphics, fonts, and icons. These elements save time and effort in the photo editing process by allowing you to easily insert pre-made content into your projects rather than having to create everything from scratch.

5. Capture One

Capture One is a dedicated photo editor tool that helps transform images with specific color grading, exposure, and other effects. You can use the click-and-drag editor or slider to adjust the image hue, saturation, and lightness. The software automatically adjusts exposure and white balance across photos for a consistent look. Its AI masking functionality automatically identifies and isolates the subject, background, or specific areas in your photo for targeted editing. Capture One also allows you to recover details of an image lost due to over- or under-exposed shadows.

Product features of interest:*

  • Culling and selection: Assess a batch of photos and select the best one for further editing. This feature reviews thumbnails and discards blurry, out-of-focus, or poorly composed photos. You can also use ratings and color tags to mark favorites and categories.

  • Tethered capture: Connect your camera directly to your computer using a tethering tool, and see photos on the computer screen as you take them. This feature helps check exposure, focus, and composition issues in real time so you can adjust your settings and retake the shots.

  • Auto dust removal: Analyze images and identify areas likely to be dust spots. These spots are removed with minimal impact on the surrounding image data. This feature also helps restore your photos to their original quality.

Starting price: $14.92 per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: FAQs, user guides, and video tutorials

Who should consider Capture One?

Professional photographers looking to improve their image review process can consider Capture One. Its culling and selection functionality helps compare multiple images, choose the best ones, and discard unwanted photos. Capture One also uses AI to automatically identify and recommend the best photos based on technical quality, composition, and subject matter. Moreover, its tethering capture feature lets photographers view photos instantly on a larger computer screen, enabling them to identify and address issues immediately and reduce reshoots.

**Analysis performed December 2023

Capture One

Capture One

4.69 out of 5 stars

61 reviews

6. Canva

Canva is an online graphic design tool with photo editing capabilities. It lets you crop, resize, and adjust brightness, contrast, and saturation to fine-tune images’ overall tone and color. It offers a wide range of pre-made filters and effects. You can add text and elements such as emojis and animated icons to your photos and designs. You can choose various fonts, colors, and styles to customize your projects. You can also use Canva’s AI background remover tool to automatically remove any photo’s background.

Product features of interest:*

  • Magic edit and eraser: Add, remove, or modify objects in your photos using simple text prompts (e.g., add oranges to the fruit basket). You can use the magic eraser to remove people and objects from images by brushing over them.

  • Animations: Add subtle motions, such as panning, zooming, and rotating, to your photos. These animations help create smooth transitions between different images in your design.

  • Collaboration tools: Invite teammates to collaborate on photo editing projects. This feature lets your collaborators leave comments or suggestions, make changes, and add elements to the project.

Starting price: $14.99 per user, per month

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Help center and FAQs

Who should consider Canva?

Canva is worth considering for graphic designers seeking a design suite that also enables professional photo editing. Besides its customizable media library, Canva offers multiple AI tools—Magic Design, Magic Edit, and Magic Eraser—to simplify photo editing. Magic Design and Magic Edit let users visualize image design ideas and add or replace elements from an image. Magic Eraser helps remove unwanted elements or backgrounds from photos, enhancing the overall polish of visual content.

**Analysis performed December 2023

Canva

Canva

4.72 out of 5 stars

11726 reviews

7. Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a dedicated photo editing tool that offers a centralized platform to edit photos, control their brightness and color contrast, and remove unwanted objects and graininess. Its face-aware liquify filter lets you adjust facial features, such as eyes, nose, and mouth, while maintaining a natural look. You can select a single or multiple facial features and enlarge or space them apart. You can also leverage the super resolution feature, which uses AI and machine learning algorithms to enhance image resolution without damaging image quality. Additionally, the software offers AI-driven smart sharpening, pattern generation, and facial recognition to enhance creativity when editing photos.

Product features of interest:*

  • Layering: Apply multiple elements to a single image. This feature lets you overlay images, adjust transparency, and apply various effects to specific layers.

  • Generative fill: Remove unwanted objects or areas from an image. The feature analyzes the surrounding pixels and fills the removed area with contextually relevant content for natural edits.

  • Generative expand: Use prompts or a manual drag-and-drop option to expand an image in any direction and to a desired size. The expanded canvas automatically fills with content that blends with the existing image. 

Starting price: $22.99 per month

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Call, chat, email, knowledge base, and video tutorials

Who should consider Adobe Photoshop?

Creative designers or photographers who already use the Adobe Creative Cloud ecosystem might find Photoshop an effective option for advanced photo editing. Integration with Adobe apps such as Animate, Illustrator, Firefly, and Lightroom simplifies the editing workflow, wherein edited photos seamlessly flow into design projects or raw images move into Photoshop for advanced retouching. Additionally, projects automatically sync across the cloud, making fonts, brushes, and color palettes readily available across Adobe Creative Cloud apps. Moreover, familiarity with other Adobe tools reduces the learning curve for Photoshop.

**Analysis performed December 2023

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop

4.79 out of 5 stars

2109 reviews

Pro tip

Evaluate the different pricing plans offered by photo editing software providers and check the features included in each plan to determine which one best aligns with your objectives. Some photo editing software vendors also charge additional fees for technical support or software updates, and these costs can add up over time.

How much does photo editing software cost?

Photo editing tools can cost as low as $0.99 per month or go all the way up to $199+ per month, depending on various factors—features, number of users, infrastructure requirements, business size/type, training availability, deployment options, integrations, and storage. Most photo editing apps typically include the following pricing plans:

  • Free trials: Range from seven to 30 days and give users access to either all or limited features of the software. These no-cost trial plans are ideal for businesses that wish to try out a tool before purchasing it.

  • Free versions: Offer limited access to basic software features. These free plans are ideal for small-business owners or individuals on a budget.

  • Entry-level plans: Start at $0.99 per month and offer access to limited features. These are ideal for small businesses or teams with basic photo editing needs, such as basic filters and cropping tools.

  • Mid-tier plans: Range from $3.99 to $49 per month and offer advanced features such as advanced retouching tools and batch processing. These are suitable for businesses that have outgrown basic editing solutions but don’t require the full range of functionality offered by enterprise-level tools.

  • High-end plans: May cost more than $199 per month and offer a range of advanced capabilities, including unlimited features from entry-level and mid-tier plans, unlimited templates, unlimited filters, and advanced customization options. These plans are ideal for large enterprises with professional or complex photo editing requirements.

Hidden costs associated with photo editing software

Besides the software license, additional costs for photo editing software can include:

  • Implementation and training: These include data migration, customization, and employee training. These expenses can be substantial, especially for complex systems or large organizations.

  • Hidden fees: Beware of per-user fees, transaction charges, and other seemingly minor costs that can add up quickly, particularly for larger workforces.

  • Software upgrades: Additional costs may be incurred for software upgrades to access the latest features and security patches, ensuring the software remains up to date and functional.

Frequently asked questions when selecting photo editing software 

Here are some questions to ask photo editor software providers before making a final purchase:

  • Are there any specific system requirements? 

Ensure you check the specific operating system requirements for your shortlisted photo editing tool. Different editing tools have different system compatibility preferences, such as being optimized for Windows, macOS, or both. Verify the supported versions of the operating system to avoid compatibility issues later. Knowing these requirements beforehand will help you make an informed decision and ensure the software runs smoothly on your systems.

  • Does the software have batch processing functionality? 

Batch processing multiple images simultaneously contributes to a more automated and streamlined editing process, improving your team’s productivity. Therefore, assess whether the photo editing software enables applying changes or edits to multiple images, including the batch size, type of adjustments, and processing time. 

  • How well does the software integrate with other tools?

Inquire about compatibility with your existing design or editing tools, such as graphic design or illustration software. A well-integrated tool can simplify the creative process by allowing you to transfer files and collaborate with other professionals. To gauge versatility, ask for specific examples of software systems with which the photo editing tool can successfully integrate.


Methodology

To be considered for this list, products had to:

  • Have at least 20 unique product reviews published on Software Advice within the past two years, with an average rating of 3.0 or higher (as of Dec. 12, 2023). 

  • Include the core features of photo editing software: image editing and content import/export.

  • Meet our market definition for photo editing software: “Photo editing software allows users from a variety of industries to enhance, manipulate, and format digital images. This category of software ranges from basic applications for simple editing, to industry-standard platforms for advanced needs.”

  • For products that met the first three criteria, we assessed the monthly subscription price and found the average price to be $26.51—we considered only products with publicly available pricing information. Based on our assessment, we then shortlisted products with a monthly subscription price lower than $26.51 for this article.

*Our research team identified these features from vendor websites (as of Dec. 12, 2023) based on their analysis of what users find valuable in or expect from photo editing software. This list is not exhaustive. For additional features, refer to the vendor’s website.

**To present the most up-to-date information, the product cards show the latest real-time ratings, which may differ from the ratings values at the time this report's analysis was conducted, since new reviews may have been left in the meantime.

Editorial independence: We select and rank products based on an objective methodology developed by our research team. While some vendors may pay us when they receive web traffic or leads, this has no influence on our methodology.

Note: Products evaluated for the pricing calculation were taken from Software Advice’s photo editing software directory. The pricing ranges exclude freemium versions of the products. The features highlighted were identified based on their relevance and the percentage of products in the Software Advice directory that offer them.