Like all other creative endeavors, the advent of PCs well and truly revolutionized the process of photo editing. It did not take long for Photoshop to become king of the hill, through programs like GIMP and Paint.NET have also been a fan favorite over the decades.
The arrival of Windows 8, and then Windows 10, paved the way for the next breed of such software.
And although other mobile platforms are seeing more action when it comes to photo enhancers these days, many such apps are also available for Windows 10.
These, combined with the regular photo editors that desktop users have had access to for years now, make the latest version of the OS the best bet for photo editing.
That said, image editing is only a fun and rewarding experience if you have the right tools. Here are 10 of the best photo editors for Windows 10 that are perfect for the job.
Professional graphic designers
Expert feature set, unmated tools, regular updates
Expensive for casual use, monthly subscription required
PaintShop Pro X9
Amateur photographers, web designers
Professional package, with features suited both for print and web
Requires a purchase, paid templates
Everyday use, creating social images
Overwhelming variety of predesigned art, vibrant community
Limited toolset for manual image editing
Photos Pos Pro
General use, students, web designers
A wealth of features and options, short learning curve
Limited resolution in the free version, performance could be better
Everyday use, automatic image enhancements
Solid all-round photo editing, sleek user interface, excellent filters
Not as good when it comes to manual editing
When you need to quickly edit photos from your camera
Snappy performance, plenty of tools, social integration
Lacks creative image enhancement options
Almost perfect for home and general use
Overwhelming number of features, solid toolset
User interface all over the place
Easy and automatic photo touchups
Lightweight, straightforward UI
Could do with more tools, very limited text input
The Nik Collection
Photographers, photo editors
Powerful suite of plugins, free, easy to pick up
Requires a host application, clunky UI, no update
Quick image enhancements
All basic filters and effects are included
Very limited options, UI could use some polish
Much has been said about this flagship Adobe product, and much will be. But Photoshop CC remains an industry leader for a reason — multiple reasons, actually.
This beast of a photo editing program is loaded with an advanced feature that no other software comes close to matching. Advanced features that are refreshed and reimagined every year.
There are things you can do in Photoshop that simply can’t be done in other photo editors.
And that’s what sets it apart.
This de facto industry standard in raster graphics editing saw daylight in 1998, and each successive version has picked up a new set of tools and features.
From the spot, healing brushes to handle common photographic problems to the use of smart objects, 3D rendering, and advanced compositing to content aware tools, you get the best of the best for whatever photo editing or image creation task you need.
All this, of course, comes at a cost. The price is almost as high as its learning curve, which means that Photoshop CC is best suited for professionals and experienced designers.
Or those that are willing to put in the time and commitment to learn its various intricacies.
Before the next generation of photo editors took charge, PaintShop held firm as the alternative to Photoshop.
It really is one of the better and more polished programs that you can get your hands on these days, for a fraction of the cost of Photoshop, and without the hassle of a subscription.
Originally published by Jasc Software, Corel acquired the program when it purchased the company in 2004. Since then, this powerful little piece of software has been snowballing into strength.
The program has a similar look and feels to other photo editors on the market — which is to say a polished and professional user interface that both novices and experienced image editors will feel right at home with.
And the best thing is even though PaintShop Pro offers a lot of advanced tools, it also balances things out with several quick and easy fixes that beginners are sure to appreciate.
You get one-click adjustments along with precise selections and layer capabilities, an array of pens and brushes to go with content aware editing tools.
X9, the latest version, packs in the comprehensive photo and image editing abilities with a selection of features that help with the creative graphic design.
Plenty of templates and text presets round up the versatility of this very capable program that offers a bit of everything for web, print and photo projects.
Add in plugins support, and you are playing with power. Excellent choice.
PicsArt is another one of those solutions that started life as a mobile app, but over the years has become an established platform and creative community.
One of the most popular image editing applications that the Windows Store houses, PicsArt brings along an eclectic array of tools and effects with it.
The developers boast of more than a 1,000 editing features, and every one of them is fun, engaging and easy to use. In need of photo effects? A collage maker? Drawing and painting tools? Filters? Clipart? Frames? Backgrounds? Even stickers? PicsArt has got you covered.
An impressive amount of customizability is also on offer, and this extends to both the drawing and painting feature sets.
Speaking of the latter, the photo editor in this freemium app packs in all manner of enhancements like support for layers, brush filters, masks, shapes, and whatnot.
PicsArt is a software that excels at what it aims to deliver, and that is easy and creative editing capabilities in an increasingly social world.
Photos Pos Pro may not be as widely known as Photoshop, Paint.NET, and GIMP, but when it comes to software that packs in advanced imaging tools, this program is one of the first names on the list.
Its user interface is more refined and accessible than the latter two choices listed above, and its feature set rivals Photoshop in some aspects.
Photos Pos Pro offers two user interfaces — a regular one with all the options stacked, and one for beginners with a filter based approach.
The expert layout, as you may expect, is where all the action happens. You get sophisticated tools for photo editing, ranging from layers and masks to curves and levels adjustments.
A clone brush is also available for those detailed touch-ups, as is support for scripts and batch editing.
If there is a drawback in the free version of Photos Pos Pro, it’s that images can only be saved at a maximum resolution of 1024 x 2014, which means you probably will find the final output too small if you plan on printing it out.
Luckily, Photos Pos Pro Premium is available at a reasonable price of $39.90, for those that are ready to upgrade to the full functionality of this capable and very efficient image editor.
Fotor landed on the Windows Store fairly early in the life of Microsoft’s modern platform. And though it is now also available as a standalone desktop program, it remains one of the best photo editing apps for Windows 10, giving you nearly everything you need to make your images look their best.
An all-in-one solution tailored towards image editing, Fotor comes with all the basic editing tools and visual effects that you expect from a professionally designed app like this.
A large selection of frames is also included, created with input from experienced designers and photographers, and the collage maker comes with a large variety of layout options to create the look you want.
Fotor also packs one brilliant trick up its proverbial sleeves — a batch processing tool. This is something that many image editing programs lack, and the inclusion of this feature allows you to add a bunch of photos at once and have Fotor do its magic on all of them at once.
An intuitive program that is very easy to use, with a UI that is right up there with the best, Fotor incorporates several tops of the line features that make photo editing a rewarding experience. Well worth a day.
Another popular Windows Store Entry, another creative name. Fhotoroom is billed as one of the most advanced non-destructive image editors around, with obligatory social features bundled in for modern Windows users.
Things start with some highly capable photo editing capabilities, including full support for things like GPS Metadata, EXIF, and all the popular formats. Tools range from resizing and rotation, color, exposure, and lens correction, and filter options include denoise, grain, and HDR.
In short, all bases covered.
Notable mention for the included presets and frames, as well as a sharing community and the ability to upload photos to social networking websites.
Fhotoroom is very easy to use, with a neatly designed interface that only adds to the allure of the popular and highly usable application. Recommended.
The only thing that drags PhotoScape Editor down is its rather unusual interface. Look beyond it, and you will find an image editing suite that is rich in features, and puts an impressive array of tools at your disposal, including, surprisingly, file management functionalities, as well.
Unlike some other programs in this list, PhotoScape is a photo editor through and through.
That’s its primary function.
But remarkably, this program offers a lot more than basic retouching.
It also serves as an image viewer, a batch editor, a screen capture tool, and a solution with a cornucopia of filters and effects that you can use to quickly liven up an image.
And that’s not all — you can stitch together multiple images into panoramas, create animated GIFs, deal with RAW files, create slideshows, and even print photos.
A peculiar looking circular menu greets you when you first up the program, and it provides access to all these various tools. The rest of the interface is as cluttered, to be brutally honest.
Ultimately, even if you don’t use this free program for all these additional functionalities, its prowess when it comes to photo editing is right up there at the top.
PhotoScape Editor is an accomplished image editor that has the potential to become truly next level with a UI uplift.
Worth a mention that the company also sells PhotoScape X Pro on the Windows Store, a somewhat expensive app at $29.99 that has a few tricks of its own. You might want to download a trial version and see whether it is for you.
With a vanilla name like this, this photo editing program by Aviary shares a lot with Photoshop Express. In that, it is a powerful editor that lets you touch up your photos without any confusion. The UI shares similarities, as do the included filters and effects.
Which is certainly not a bad deal, considering the fact that this free app packages all the right tools you need to edit your photos straight from the camera.
Inside you’ll find all the basic photo editing tools like filters and effects, brightness and contrast options, along with support for several of the most popular file formats, including PNG.
Its text input is not as streamlined as other applications, which perhaps comes as no surprise for an app that deals with sliders and buttons to do the editing. A fully featured graphic design software, this is not.
It’s a good app — just don’t expect it to compete with some of the other big wigs out there.
Google acquired the developers of the Nik Collection in 2012, in what many felt was a rather surprising move. Since then, the search engine giant lowered its price before ultimately making this powerful suite of applications absolutely free for users to download and use.
Which was an enormous move, in of itself?
That’s because the Nik Collection brings along several advanced capabilities into the mix, from effects that simulate the feel of classic film cameras to HDR photography.
The included sharpening tool works well to bring out details in photos, while the selective color module does a great job adjusting the tone of your images.
All these features are flanked by a comprehensive set of filters that help with color correction, photo retouching, and creative effects.
Although Google has stopped updating this very powerful image editing suite going forward, it still works nicely with the latest versions of Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture — its designated selection of host applications — and remains one of the most capable photo editing solutions for remarkable the price of free.
When a company like Adobe is behind something, you automatically have a certain level of expectation.
The world’s leading developer of design software may have the market cornered with Photoshop CC, but it also offers Photoshop Express, a sleek and streamlined version for Windows 10 devices.
Good thing, then, that Photoshop Express delivers.
The quick and easy way to apply filters and effects that Photoshop Express brings to the table makes it an easy recommendation if your sole purpose is to beautify your photos and make them remarkable.
The various filters and effects included in this program are easy to get started with and deliver excellent results overall.
It does miss out on a lot of manual editing tools and fine capabilities that other apps on this list offer. But that does not matter because, at the end of the day, Photoshop Express is best suited to transform everyday photos and your captured moments stand out — it’s the only way it rolls.
Shawn is a WindowsChimp Staff writer, who is a fan of making lists and does the same on this site. He has a Contemporary Writing degree and been in technology niche since last 3 years.