Adobe Elements is dedicated to helping customers make professional quality photo edits, no matter your skill level. The program’s content awareness is particularly impressive. Here are some of its capabilities:
- Remove objects without disturbing the background of an image
- Use Smart Looks to analyze a photo and automatically apply an effect to improve it
- Pick from four different Crop options based on photo content
Similar to Instagram, Quick Mode offers a few different filter effects for images. The Expert mode has tools similar to Photoshop, giving you much more control. There are histograms, layers, filters, backgrounds, frames, paint and text options, guided edits and more to choose from. The Adjust Facial Features tool offers feature-specific editing options. Adjust a smile in the Lips menu or iris color in Eyes. The separate organizing application recognizes the faces of your friends and family after you put them in a database. You can also organize and search photos by location and event.
For a more details read our Elements review.
Corel PaintShop Pro
Corel has a cleaner, less cluttered interface than Photoshop, making it more user-friendly. They’ve updated their Crop tool, adding functionality to it. The discarded part of the image is now darkened so it’s easier to see what the end result will be. Overlays like “rule of thirds,” “golden ratio,” and “golden spiral” act as composition guides. If you need to see what an image looks like rotated, the crop tool stays in place while the image moves, making it easier to see different angles.
Other features include:
- An Adjust menu that features auto-correction and a histogram for lighting and color adjustments
- A one-step Photo Fix autocorrect feature
- Smart Photo Fix gives the user more control, and shows you a before and after preview of an image with and without edits
- Instant Effects tools offer filters similar to Instagram, with filters inspired by decades from 1839-1960
Some advanced editing options include a Curves tool with up to 16 control points. The Retro Lab allows users to control elements like blur, glow, diffuse, color, and more. Smart and Auto Selection work like Photoshop’s Magic Wand. They allow you to move objects from one picture into another one. Content Awareness, a newer feature to Paintshop, lets you delete an object without disrupting your background. In 2017 the program added 30 new palettes and 30 new brushes. Other capabilities include Depth-Aware Photo Support and new text editing options.
Read the full review here.
Cyberlink PhotoDirector has all the basic photo editing software features you need – white balance, red-eye adjustment, blemish removers, sharpness and contrast adjustment, and more. Like Adobe software, the cropping tool shows you a final result rather than just an outline of your edit. Other features include:
- Geometry adjustment tools that fix barrel and pincushion distortion from wide or telephoto lenses
- Multiple Exposure Effect lets you take up to 10 action shots with a still camera and create multiple exposure without layers
- Face tools include a shaper, eye bag and shine remover, wrinkle remover, a tooth bush tool, and a tool that brightens the whites of the eyes
- Video-to-Photo lets you create a group photo from a video and edit expressions, make a panorama, or a multiple exposure image
To learn more, read the full review.
Zoner Photo Studio
Zoner Photo Studio keeps it simple with only three main sections on the interface; most have five. There’s an option to favorite your most used features, and the program has added a predictive word search and more in the Manage section.
Moving to the Develop section there are white balance, exposure and color adjusting options. Sharpening, noise reduction, and a histogram to adjust exposure are just some of the basic photo editing options. One of the most unique features in Zoner is a non-destructive editing. Within this system, edits can be seen on a photo but aren’t actually saved to it. This system is used in place of layers. More advanced features can be found in the final section, called Editor. Zoner has more limitations than our other choices, but third party extensions are supported. Despite the limitations, we think this is good photo editing software for beginners.
For more details, read the full review.
The Develop section is where you’ll find all basic adjustments like color, exposure tweaking via a histogram, an HDR effect, a soft focus slider, and balance control. There is an Effects section that allows you to mimic Instagram filters, a Split Tone section, and Vignette and Output Color Space sections. In each one, you can enable or disable effects to see the photo with different combinations. Other features include:
- Lens-based corrections
- A noise-reducer that includes a slider to preserve details
- Layer, text and geometry alterations
There is a magic wand, gradient, fill and drawing tools, though they are a bit more limited than pricier competitors. Its a good simple tool, that should suite most basic needs.
To learn more, click here.
Consider your comfortability level when making this choice. If you are a beginner, simple photo editing software like Zoner Photo Studio may be the way to go. Experts who can’t afford Photoshop may like Elements. No matter your experience level, read full photo editing software reviews before making a decision.