About Photo Editing Software

What is photo editing software used for?

Photo editing software is used to edit, enhance or retouch photographs, and also create artwork, designs and images for web sites and social media, or for use in desktop publishing software and printing. This type of software is widely used by designers and photographers.

Photo editing software is used to edit pixel-based images (rather than vector images), some typical photo file types includes TIFF, JPG, and PSD. Photo files from a digital camera or files from a scanner are examples of pixel-based images.

Some typical uses for photo editing software

  • Image enhancement
  • Cropping and resizing images
  • Photo editing and retouching
  • Photo design
  • Creating images and designs for web sites and social media
  • Creating images and designs for print and desktop publishing
Colour Tree manipulated image - created with photo editing software
Blue Circle Tree Photo Art – Photoshop edited photo

What is the best photo editing software?

The best software for photo editing really depends on your photo editing requirements. There are quite a few photo editing applications available. They offer varying functionality: some offering a very comprehensive set of features while others are more limited in their features.

Adobe Photoshop is the most popular image editing software, and it is the software which most professional designers and photographers choose to use.
Photoshop offers a very comprehensive set of tools and features for photo editing and design. Photoshop supports CMYK images (CMYK is needed for work which will be professionally printed).

Can I get Photoshop for free?

Unfortunately it is not possible to get Adobe Photoshop for free, however there is a trial version available if you want to try it out.
Photoshop CC is available as as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription from Adobe.

Cheap photo editing software

If you don’t need the advanced features of Photoshop, there is some cheaper photo editing software available.

If your photo editing needs are quite basic then Photoshop Elements may do what you need. It can do basic photo editing and can save images for web sites. One thing Photoshop Elements cannot do is make CMYK images for professional printing. It also has limited layer and mask support.

Other Photo editing software to consider includes Paint Shop Pro, Corel PhotoPaint, Affinity Photo.

Is there any free photo editing software available?

The cost of Adobe Photoshop may put it out of reach of many casual users. However there is some cheaper image editing software, and even some free photo editing software available. They do have more limited functionality, but for some basic editing, cropping and resizing these may do the job.

If you use Windows PC you could try the free Paint.net.

Gimp is free and available on multiple platforms.

Learning to use photo editing software

With intensive training it is possible to learn basic Photoshop and image editing techniques in a day or two.

However you learn, it will take some time to learn to use photo editing software well, and you will need lots of practice with the software to become expert at using photo editing software.

We have some photo editing tutorials and related information in our Design Reference section.

Comparison of different learning types

(1) Quickest
It may be just 2 days for an intensive beginners and intermediate course, but this option would also be the highest cost.
(6) Slowest
It may take many months of learning with books and other materials, but this would be the lowest cost.

  1. One to one training – onsite training – intensive training
  2. Small group – onsite training – intensive training
  3. Group course at a training centre
  4. College course
  5. Self Learning with books, tutorials and other resources

The quickest way to learn to use the software is to have some training. This is the most expensive option in terms of money, but it is also the quickest way to learn essential photo editing skills and the quickest way for you to start being productive.

College course
This is a cost-effective option if you have the time. Course quality can be very variable, but some are good.

If you want to teach yourself, there are lots of books, magazines and YouTube videos out there, and you could always try the help file for the software (although some are more useful than others). These are obviously much cheaper than attending a training course. However, you will need to commit a lot of your time to finding resources and teaching yourself.
Many of these resources can be great, but if you are a complete beginner you may find that there is just so much to learn and so many possible places to look, that it can be overwhelming.

For photo editing and design tutorials have a look at our Design Reference section.

We offer intensive photo editing training, and can show you how to correctly use Adobe Photoshop to create your own images and designs.

Photo editing training with Adobe Photoshop

We offer photo editing courses with Adobe Photoshop in Birmingham, Oxford, Yorkshire, Manchester and around the UK.

Learn to edit and enhance your images, retouch photographs and create designs with Adobe Photoshop.

We can arrange photo editing training for Paint Shop Pro and Corel PhotoPaint in some locations – please contact us for more details.

  • Short intensive courses for Photoshop
  • Onsite photo editing software training
  • One to one or small groups
  • Flexible custom courses

Adobe Photoshop Courses are available in Birmingham, Solihull, Worcester, Coventry, Northampton, Leicester, Oxford, Reading, Manchester, Leeds, Harrogate, Sheffield, Yorkshire, Bristol, Gloucester and around the UK.