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What are the Different Types of Picture Editing Software?

Picture editing software ranges from user-friendly apps like Adobe Photoshop Express to professional-grade tools such as Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Each offers unique features for cropping, retouching, and color correction, catering to different skill levels and creative needs. Wondering which one can transform your photos into masterpieces? Let's uncover the perfect tool for your artistic vision.
Patrick Roland
Patrick Roland

Picture editing software is any computer program that allows a user to change, edit, or enhance digital images. These programs come in two distinct types: professional photo editing and beginner photo editing. Professional photo editing software is most commonly used by photographers and graphic designers and allows them to crop, change lighting effects, airbrush mistakes, and more. The second type of software is more easily utilized by novices and performs fun jobs like distorting photos and adding frames. Most professional editing programs are more expensive than beginner programs, and free downloads for basic photo editing software are available on the Internet.

Professional Photo Editing Software

Professional photo editing software is used by professional photographers to crop, change lighting, and airbrush mistakes.
Professional photo editing software is used by professional photographers to crop, change lighting, and airbrush mistakes.

Professional picture editing software is not utilized by many home computer users because it is both expensive and difficult to master; the software itself can often cost three or four times as much as other programs. In addition, a professional program's myriad of options and tools often requires an in-depth knowledge about photo editing or else hours of study to acquire proficiency. Professional programs like Adobe® Photoshop® and Corel® PaintShop™ are frequently used by photographers, magazine and newspaper art directors, and graphic designers.

Photoshop can be used to manipulate images, such as changing or adding colors to a photo.
Photoshop can be used to manipulate images, such as changing or adding colors to a photo.

While they are sometimes time consuming to learn, professional picture editing programs provide a flexibility unavailable in novice tools and allow for extensive changes such as retouching photos by changing colors, erasing blemishes, and eliminating backgrounds. These programs also allow users to change the file type, the size of the photo, and apply watermarks. They are characterized by point-and-click tools surrounding the screen that can be applied quickly once the program is mastered.

Beginner Photo Editing Software

Novice picture editing software differs from professional in its cost and use; in general, programs like Corel's Ulead PhotoImpact X3 are less expensive and easier to use than most professional programs. It is possible to find free programs intended for fun, at-home use that require very little prior computer skills to successfully manage; some examples of free downloads include Photoscape and Google's Picasa&trade. Sometimes, a simple picture editing software program will be included with the purchase of a digital camera.

As opposed to professional tools, beginner programs usually perform only one or two specific tasks; applying frames and borders is a popular job performed by novice picture editing software. These simple software packages utilize digital photos and surround them with virtual picture frames, ranging from traditional wooden looks to cartoonist settings. Other novice photo software provides ways to distort pictures beyond reality; many professional image programs aim to make pictures look highly realistic, but novice ones have tools that balloon heads, stretch figures, and apply props, among other things. These editing programs are intended to create fun and funny pictures for personal use only.

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Discussion Comments


If you are interested in different types of picture editing software trying some user-supported freeware is a great way to go. I love using this kind of free software because not only does it save you money but also it is updated far more frequently than even the most expensive programs.

If you are into dabbling with software the freeware picture editing programs usually have open source code so you can see what has been done in the program and can change it to your liking. Having this kind of freedom is fantastic, as you generally can't do that with software put out by big companies.


Programs like Adobe Photoshop and Corel Draw are not just great for modifying images that already exist and doing little touch ups, but you can create beautiful works of art in the programs that are completely original. Some of the most popular art created on computers include comic book work and cartooning

Often a computer artist will work with a stylus and tablet so they can draw directly on screen. The artists use the huge number of brushes and capabilities of these programs to make really unique pieces.

I think if you are interest in picture editing software you should remember that it could usually be used to make other things too.


The picture editing software designed for professionals also contains filters that allow you to create extreme design effects. I work as a graphic designer, and I use these filters often to make interesting textures or backgrounds.

If you have a photo that needs to serve as a background for text, there are all kinds of tricks you can use to make it more of a graphic element than a true representation. Filters such as Twirl, Wind, Crystallize, and Note Paper allow you to manipulate the photo beyond recognition into a cool design element. The possibilities for creativity are endless.


I work with Photoshop a lot for picture editing at the newspaper where I work. Often, people will send us photos that will show up way too dark in print unless we alter them for use in ads. Photoshop lets me gently or dramatically alter the lighting as needed.

When we receive color photographs, we can convert them to black and white with Photoshop. This conversion usually brings with it a need for lighting alterations.

If the photo will run in a color ad, we can adjust individual color amounts using the Selective Color tool. We can also adjust the saturation if too much of one color is present.


@rebelgurl28 - Adobe Photoshop Elements is great. I am accustomed to using regular Adobe Photoshop at work, and Photoshop Elements greatly resembles the original.

I used Photoshop Elements to adjust the lighting and hues of my wedding photos that my uncle took for us. The lighting in the church was terrible, but I was able to make the photos look pretty decent with that program.

I also use Photoshop Elements for saving and resizing all of the photos I take with my digital camera. With that program, I can downsize them into jpegs to post them on Facebook and still save the original high resolution photos.


You can also find browser based digital picture editing software on the Internet that is free, too. These programs allow you to upload your photo and then manipulate it right in your browser.

Some of the photo sharing sites also have free browser-based photo editing software and some have programs you can download and use on your computer, Picasa is one.

While many of the programs do have fun features like adding frames and distortions, or conversation balloons, you will find they also have features for retouching and enhancing your photos.


I also know of two programs that are free picture editing software programs released under the GNU Public License.

You will find features in these that are very close to professional quality. One is called Gimp and the other is

Like the more expensive programs, though, there is a steep learning curve. Fortunately you can also find free tutorials online.


There are some novice programs that allow retouching photos. Adobe has a less expensive program for the home user called Adobe Photoshop Elements. Corel also has the image editing software, PaintShop Pro for the novice.

There are several others that give you the flexibility to enhance and retouch photos that are geared toward the home user. You can search on the Internet for photo editing software.

While they are not free, they are usually under 100 USD, some are far less.

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    • Professional photo editing software is used by professional photographers to crop, change lighting, and airbrush mistakes.
      By: Syda Productions
      Professional photo editing software is used by professional photographers to crop, change lighting, and airbrush mistakes.
    • Photoshop can be used to manipulate images, such as changing or adding colors to a photo.
      By: cristovao31
      Photoshop can be used to manipulate images, such as changing or adding colors to a photo.