Finding the best photo editing software for photographers can be tricky, so I am going to compare two very popular programs. Let’s see how they stack up against each other.
The two programs I am going to look at are Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 and Corel PaintShop Pro X8. Both get top ratings, so which is really the best professional photo editing software for you?
Editors Note: this comparison was originally looked at in 2016.
If you are a Mac user it’s game over for Paintshop, since it operates only on Windows. Mac users might want to consider Apple Aperture as an alternative, but for the rest of us let’s look more deeply into which is the best editing software for photographers.
I want to mention that Lightroom lacks many of the features for editing non-photographic images that the full Photoshop program has. But that doesn’t stop it being in the running for the best photo editing software.
When it comes to file handling, both systems will work with your JPEGs and RAW files, but if you do design work too, Paintshop will handle Bitmap, Vector and HDR files as well. This may be useful flexibility to have available in your DSLR photo editing software.
Software Learning Curve
Working with any software has a learning curve, but ease of use is important to get up to speed quickly. Here Paintshop has a more intuitive interface than Photoshop Lightroom, while sharing all the basic editing tools.
Lightroom has some extra editing features, like shadow and selection editing, plus sharpening, and these are tools you may want to have access to. However Paintshop offers the speed of auto correction, which is certainly a big plus.
When handling some of the more complex corrections, Paintshop could be a bit slow compared with Lightroom, but overall, on the variety of tools and features, it seems that Paintshop comes out ahead.
Good photography software should also help with organizing your growing collection of pictures. As well as simplifying importing and exporting files and sharing them around.
Both Photoshop Lightroom and Corel Paintshop offer face tagging – keep track of every picture of Grams – as well as storage by GPS location. This is great if you travel a lot.
Help and Support
It’s also nice to have access to help and support, for when you get into a tight spot. Both programs have tutorials and online resources you can draw upon, as well as forums.
Only PaintShop has live chat and can be contacted by phone, so that has got to be a plus for most users.
Price is always going to be an important consideration for anyone and there are differences here. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom will set you back around $150 U.S, while Corel Paintshop is cheaper, at $30 to $50.
This price difference may be a concern you if you only do limited editing. But if you consider it superior, the higher price for Lightroom is not really a deal-breaker. Alternatively Lightroom is available by subscription for $10 a month.
Best Photo Editing Software
Overall, it seems that Paintshop offers more, and I would say is the best photo editing software. Especially if you are not already familiar with working in Photoshop.
Therefore I’m picking Paintshop between these two highly competitive pieces of photography software.