Top 7 Photo Retouching Software in 2021

What is the best photo retouching software for photographers & retouchers?

Undoubtedly, Adobe Photoshop is the top pick on the list for its unforgiving editing performance. It includes advanced retouching tools to bring out the inner beauty of your portrait. 

But many of us don’t have the budget or dislike subscription-based software. Besides, its interface is a bit intimidating for newbies. 

However, Photoshop isn’t only an option. There are also a lot of retouching tools on the web. 

The best part is- most of them are not subscription-based. Even some of the apps are free but offer the same retouching features as Photoshop.

So, you can use them to give an enticing look to your portrait. 

Now, let’s see what photo retouching tools I included on the list. 

Here we go.

Best Photo Retouching Software in 2020

Here is the list of top 7 photo editing software in 2020.

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Affinity Photo
  • Luminar 4
  • Gimp
  • Adobe Lightroom
  • PaintShop Pro
  • Portrait Pro

01. Adobe Photoshop: Best Photo Editing Software

Key Features 

  • Upgraded object selection tool
  • Advanced masking tool
  • Retouching tools & features
  • Image compositing elements
  • Advanced layering system
  • Loaded with a lot of basic adjustment tools

Adobe Photoshop is the industry leader in the graphic design field. With it, you can do everything from editing to creative design with ease and full of creativity. 

Now, unleash your creative zeal into craft with Photoshop by making- banners, posters, and package design. You can combine photos, texts, graphics, and other elements on multiple layers to create enticing composite images.

The object selection tools let you create precise selections by drawing a rectangle around an object. Then its advanced AI (Adobe Sensei) does the rest for you. 

For portrait photographers, Photoshop is full of blessings to bring their photos to the next level. The advanced retouching tools like spot healing and clone stamp allow you to make your portrait alluring.

Using those tools, you can easily remove skin defects like acne, blemishes, and others precisely. Besides, you can make the skin soft and smooth. 

The sweet part of Photoshop is its layering system. It offers non-destructive editing workflows. 

Apart from these, Photoshop has a ton of brushes, effects & filters, actions, and adjustment tools to make editing fun. 


  • Offer advanced retouching tools to make your portrait eye-catching
  • Composite elements to create outstanding artwork
  • Layer system offers non-destructive editing workflows
  • A lot of effects, filters, and brushes available for creating aesthetic pictures
  • Advanced pen tool to precise selection
  • Million of tutorials available to learn it


  • A bit intimidating for newbies 
  • Steep learning curve 
  • Not affordable 

Pricing Details

Photoshop costs you $9.99 per month if you choose the photography plan. On the other hand, it takes $20.99 if you pick the standalone app plan. 

To learn more about Photoshop pricing, check out this article

02. Affinity Photo: Best Photoshop Alternative

Affinity Photo- Best Photoshop Alternative

Key Features

  • Includes advanced raw development tools
  • Upgraded retouching tools 
  • Non-destructive filters & effects
  • Photo compositions feature
  • Batch processing
  • Panorama stitching 
  • HDR editing 
  • 360-degree photo editing
  • Painting tools & features

Affinity Photo is the best Photoshop alternative app for photographers. It includes every editing feature from basic to advanced like Ps to attain the best retouching output. 

The best feature of Affinity Photo is- its advanced Raw development option, which is a must needed feature for photographers. 

It includes a lot of presets like Basic, Lens Correction, Details, Tones, and Overlays. 

From the Basic section, you can correct saturation, exposure, white balance, and others of your raw file. And the Lens Correction lets you fix chromatic aberration, lens vignette, distortions, and defringe. 

You can also improve the details, eliminate noise reduction, and other imperfections of your raw file from the Details module. 

Apart from these Raw developing features, Affinity Photo also includes advanced photo retouching tools. You can remove skin defects like blemishes, acne, pimples, and others using the blemish removal tools. Plus, it lets you make the portrait skin smooth & retouch with the frequency separation. 

Therefore, Affinity Photo includes unlimited layers, blend modes, effects, and overlays to create breathtaking photo composition. 

Unlike Photoshop, Serif Affinity Photo comes with a user-friendly interface that makes editing easy. 

Read Also: Affinity Photo Review: The Complete Guide


  • Affordable price
  • Well-organized and intuitive interface
  • Offer upgraded retouching features to bring your photo to the next level
  • It’s quicker compared to Ps to load file
  • Real time preview of effects
  • Super simple to resize images
  • Intuitive and flexible gradient tools


  • Support no plugin
  • Dodge & burn on layer mask doesn’t work precisely the way Photoshop does
  • Less tutorials on the web compared to Adobe Photoshop

Pricing Details

Compared to Photoshop, the price of Affinity Photo is affordable. It costs you only $49.99 for a lifetime using. And its iPad version takes only $19.99 to get it forever.  

03. Luminar 4: Best AI Photo Editing Software

Luminar 4 Best AI Photo Editing Software

Key Features

  • AI photo enhancement tools
  • Dodge & Burn tool
  • Lens correction tools
  • Non-destructive editing features
  • Pro portrait retouching tools
  • Layers
  • Raw editing features
  • Batch processing

Luminar 4 is the best AI photo retouching software on this list. The cutting-edge technology and smart AI tools open the door for creative photo editing. 

Skylum Luminar includes all the AI and exclusive retouching tools to create standout visual content in every photography genre. 

The best feature of this software is the AI Sky Replacement tools. Now, you can dramatically change the mode of your photo within a second. It doesn’t only change the sky of your image but also relights the entire picture. As a result, the color and lighting of your original photo matches the color of the sky. 

For portrait photographers, Luminar 4 brings a magic tool name Portrait Enhancer. Now, you can bring out the inner beauty of your portrait. 

The human-aware technology of the AI Skin Enhancer lets you improve & smooth portrait skin by removing blemishes. Besides, you can enlighten eyes, saturate lips, and eliminate dark spots effortlessly with Luminar 4. 

Therefore, you can adjust contrast, remove noise-reduction, improve details of your photo in a second. 


  • AI enhancement tools reduce the time to retouch a photo
  • Improve the look of your photo in a second changing the sky
  • Support plugins for Adobe & Apple products
  • Slider-based editing tools make retouching a breeze
  • Load Raw photo quickly 
  • Affordable price


  • Slow in Pc

Pricing Details

The price of Luminar 4 is $67, and it’s a one-time payment. It means you get Luminar forever once you purchase it with spending that amount of bucks. 

04. GIMP- Best Free Photoshop Alternative

GIMP- Best Free Photoshop Alternative

Key Features

  • Customizable interface
  • Photo enhancement tools
  • Digital retouching tools
  • Support multiple file formats
  • Painting features

GIMP is an open-source image editing software that you can use instead of Photoshop. It mimics the interface and every editing tool of Ps. Indeed, you find no difference between GIMP and Photoshop. So, the performance of GIMP will be the same as Ps’s offer. 

Like Adobe Photoshop, this free photo editor includes advanced retouching & enhancement tools. To get rid of unwanted details, it has an upgraded clone tool. 

At the same time, the healing tool allows you to retouch tiny details from the portrait skin. Besides, you can also fix perspective distortion using the correct mode in the transform tools. 

Therefore, the channel mixer allows you to make your black & white photography stand out the way you want. 

Apart from these, GIMP also enables you to create breathtaking graphic elements & paintings. Multiple file format compatibility is another great feature of GIMP. 

Indeed, from retouching to create unique composite photos to restoring, GIMP gives you the power & tools you need. 


  • Completely free
  • Offer pro-level retouching tools
  • Free plug-ins and scripts


  • Steep learning curve
  • Not your go-to app for creating vector art

Pricing Details

Being an open-source image editing software, GIMP doesn’t cost you a single penny for using it. Indeed, it is 100% free. 

05. Lightroom- Best Photo Editing & Organizing Software

Lightroom- Best Photo Editing & Organizing Software

Key Features

  • Slider-based photo editing tools
  • Photo Organizing feature
  • Advanced color correction tools
  • Compatibility
  • In-app tutorials

Lightroom is the best photo editing & organizing software for photographers. Indeed, photographers will eat the fruits of it most. 

From one single app, you can capture, retouch, and share them with the world. On top of that, you can organize millions of photos in one place using name, location, or tags. 

Adobe Lightroom allows you to develop your raw files by adjusting white balance, saturation, contrast, and tweak others. And you can do these things just by moving the sliders from right to left or left to right. Therefore, you can find a lot of built-in presets to tweak the photos in a second. 

Advanced color correction is another excellent feature of Lightroom. Now, it lets you entice your photo improving its color by adjusting highlights, shadows, and midtones. Besides, the upgraded Color Grading Tools make it a breeze to make your photos colorful and alluring. 

The best part is- Adobe Lightroom offers a lot of in-app tutorials to be a master in it to create amazing visuals. 


  • Easy to use and edit
  • Intuitive interface
  • Allows you to organize your photos
  • A lot of tutorials available on the web


  • Subscription-based

Pricing Details

Lightroom is a subscription-based software. You need to pay Adobe $9.99 per month for use. However, students & teachers get 60% off. To know more about Lightroom pricing, you can read this article. 

06. PaintShop Pro- Photo Editing Software by Corel

PaintShop Pro- Photo Editing Software by Corel

Key Features

  • Pro photo editing features
  • Advanced graphic design tools
  • Layer & Masks
  • Non-destructive filters & effects
  • Text tools
  • Drawing & Painting tools
  • Templates to create creative visual contents

PaintShop Pro is another best picture editing software on this list. It is ideal for photographers, retouchers, graphic designers, and painters. 

For flawless retouching, it comes with a wide array of editing tools. Therefore, PaintShop Pro includes a lot of adjustment tools, including, white balance, brightness & contrast, noise removal, and others. 

You can also fix chromatic aberrations, distortions, and vignetting with the help of Lens Correction tools. Indeed, to make the photo errorless and enhance its look, PaintShop Pro features every tool you need.

Like other retouching apps, this editing software also offers layers & masks. Now, you can create stunning composite photos combined with multiple images with the help of layer & mask features. 

The built-in brush lets you create an enticing design. Turns out, you can also import Photoshop brushes to give life to your digital design & paintings. 

Therefore, you can easily bring your design to the next level using the color palettes, gradient tools, and illustration tools. 

Creating photo collages, brochures, social media images, and greeting cards are now simpler than ever. PaintShop Pro has a lot of templates to do these within a second. 

Indeed, it is a complete photo editing suite for photographers, editors, and designers. 


  • Effects and retouching tools to entice your photos
  • Ps alike features & interface
  • Comparatively cheap than Photoshop
  • Built-in templates make it easy for creating photo collages, social media posts, and other visuals


  • Sluggish performance

Pricing Details

Paintshop Pro costs you $79.99 to get it for a lifetime using.

07. PortraitPro 21- Best Portrait Retouching Software

PortraitPro 21- Best Portrait Retouching Software

Key Features

  • AI Face Detection
  • Advanced portrait retouching tools
  • Skin smoothing tool
  • Image Relighting features
  • Eye Enhancement tools
  • Smart Filter
  • Raw processing
  • Automatic Batch Processing

PortraitPro 21 is the best portrait photo retouching software on this list for its wide array of retouching tools. 

As the name suggests, it includes advanced retouching tools like skin smoothing, 3D relighting, expression tools, eye-enhancement tools, and much more. 

ClearSkin™ of PortraitPro is specially designed to make your portrait skin smooth naturally. This tool helps to remove blemishes and shadows, maintaining the skin texture. In return, your portrait gets glowing and natural soft skin. 

With this best portrait editing tool, you can relight the portrait photos using lighting effects. The upgraded fix light tool allows you to make the skin bright, soft, and healthy. On the other hand, the modeling light tool helps to relight the bone structure for a dramatic look. 

To bring back life to your model photo, it comes with eye enhancer tools. With them, you can remove red-eye, sharpen & whiten eyes, and modify pupils to give an appealing look to the photo. 

Apart from these, PortraitPro 21 offers raw processing and batch processing features to make the retouching workflow a breeze for photographers.

To sum up, it’s a complete portrait enhancer suite for photographers and retouchers. 


  • Includes every tool you need to make your portrait photo enticing
  • Non-destructive editing effects
  • Raw-processing to make the photo faultless
  • AI tools to quicken editing workflow


  • Some adjustments take time to load

Pricing Details

The price of Portrait Pro 21 is comparatively affordable than Ps. It costs you only $54.95 to get it for the rest of your life.


Retouching a photo is crucial to bring out the best look of a portrait. 

To retouch an image precisely, we listed the best photo retouching software used around the world. 

Still, we recommend you to use Photoshop to get the best retouching output. But if you are on a budget, then try out other apps on this list. 

So, which software are you going to use as your next retouching tool?

Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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