Premiere Pro is the industry-leading video editing software for film, TV, and the web. Creative tools, integration with other apps and services, and the power of Adobe Sensei help you craft footage into polished films and videos. With Premiere Rush you can create and edit new projects from any device. Apple’s Photos app is included for free on all recently released Macs. It does a good job at organizing your photos, but its collection of photo enhancement tools leaves much to be desired. Hopefully, our selection of the best free programs for photo editing on Mac will help you choose the right app to suit all your creative needs.
There is a plenty of image editing apps for MacOS, but it`s really challenging to pick up truly the best photo editing app for Mac. In this article we selected 10 best photo editing apps, some of them are paid, some photo editing apps are free, but each and every one will let you edit. We tested a number of video editing software programs on Mac and Windows laptops. Here is the best video editing software for less than $100. Including best overall, best free app, best for.
- January 02, 2020
- 18 min to read
Most free photo editors available on the App Store are quite basic, offering just a limited number of filters and allowing you to easily and quickly liven up your photos before posting them on social media.
But if you’re an aspiring or professional photographer, you probably need a more powerful app with a broader set of tools to use your creativity to the fullest. Besides, you probably use your Mac for photo editing because working on a large screen makes it possible to adjust the slightest details.
1. Apple’s Photos (Built-in app)
Apple’s Photos app is included for free on all recently released Macs. It does a good job at organizing your photos, but its collection of photo enhancement tools leaves much to be desired. Hopefully, our selection of the best free programs for photo editing on Mac will help you choose the right app to suit all your creative needs.
2. Luminar (7 days trial)
Luminar is another full-featured photo editor that’s popular with both Mac and Windows users. It can work as a standalone app as well as a plugin for such popular programs as Apple Photos.
Luminar uses Artificial Intelligence to enable sophisticated yet quick photo enhancements. Among these AI features are Sky Enhancer, which adds more depth and detail to the sky in your photos while leaving other areas untouched; Accent AI, which analyzes a photo and automatically applies the best combination of different effects to enhance your image; and Sun Rays, which allows you to place an artificial sun and adjust the lighting to your liking or make the sun rays already in your photo look even more incredible.
Luminar has over 60 filters you can apply to your photos to enhance them in a moment. Luminar also provides a set of powerful tools for cropping, transforming, cloning, erasing, and stamping, along with layers, brushes, and many more incredible features. Luminar supports the Touch Bar on the latest MacBook Pro, making photo editing even more effortless and pleasing.
3. Photolemur 3 (Free Version with watermark)
Photolemur is a relative newcomer on the photo editing market but it has all the chances to win the favor of beginner photographers and hobbyists. Running on Artificial Intelligence, Photolemur is a completely automatic photo enhancer, meaning that it does all the editing for you in no time. It has the simplest interface, with only a few buttons and sliders to adjust the enhancement to your liking and view the before and after results.
All you need to do is choose a photo (or a few) that you want to improve, drag and drop or import them using the Import button, and let the program make enhancements. After it’s done, you can compare the edited version with the original image by using the before–after slider and, if you want, adjust the skin tone or even enlarge the eyes using additional sliders. Pretty easy, huh?
Photolemur also offers a number of impressive styles to touch up your photos and give them a sophisticated and professional look. With this app, you don’t need to stuff your head with photo editing nuances and terms. Just run Photolemur and watch the magic happen!
Best Video Editing Apps For Macbook
4. Aurora HDR (14 days trial)
As you probably can tell from the name, Aurora HDR is designed to help photographers enhance their HDR photos, making them even more detailed and beautiful. It’s an ideal tool for editing your photos, with an extensive collection of more than 20 tools including details, tone, mapping, color, glow, and vignette. Each tool has its unique selection of controls to adjust its effects.
Aurora HDR enables you to work with brushes, layers, and masks, and provides a number of automatic AI tools for recognizing and removing noise, enhancing colors, lighting, and details, improving clarity, and adding contrast to dull areas while leaving other areas untouched.
Aurora HDR does a great job dealing with difficult lighting situations and creating full-of-life images while being easy to use.
5. Pixelmator (Trial 30 Days)
Pixelmator is a photo enhancer beloved by many Mac users, as it offers a good combination of a modern and simple interface, the ability to work on multiple layers, and powerful features that take photo editing to a whole new level. With so many editing tools, brushes, and effects, you can enhance your photos to your liking. You can choose between two versions of Pixelmator – standard and pro – depending on your needs. The standard version is great for basic photo editing with its selection of essential tools and filters, while the pro version is packed with extra brushes, tools, and effects that let you push your creativity to new boundaries. You can decide which version is suitable for you according to what features you’re looking for in a photo editing app.
6. Adobe Photoshop Elements 2020 (Trial link)
Photoshop Elements isn’t as affordable as other photo enhancers for beginner photographers. But luckily there’s a trial version available, so you can check it out before deciding whether this app is worthy of your money. Photoshop Elements acquired many powerful features from Photoshop, only Elements is simplified for amateur photographers and enthusiasts. It includes a good number of effects and filters, plus automated editing options for improving lighting, color balance, and exposure, and even opening closed eyes and reducing the effects of camera shake.
In addition to all of these awesome features, Photoshop also offers editing modes for beginners, intermediate users, and experts. Beginners will probably prefer Quick mode, as it focuses on essential tools to quickly enhance your photos by improving color, lighting, and other basic settings. Guided mode provides intermediate users with step-by-step guidance with more professional features like artistic effects, skin tone correction, and background replacement. Expert mode gives you full access to the app’s really powerful editing features and is ideal for creating stunning images.
7. Affinity Photo (Free Trial)
Affinity Photo’s interface may seem overwhelming at first, especially for novices, but when you come to grips with it you’ll find that the app is just what you’ve been looking for. Its numerous professional tools, effects, and filters encourage you to get creative with your photos. Among the coolest features Affinity Photo has to offer is a before and after view to compare the original photo with its edited version.
Affinity Photo works with 15 file types, including common ones like PDF, PSD, JPG, and GIF as well as some less popular ones. The app amazes with its abundance of basic and top-notch editing tools, allowing you to tweak your photos using all possible kinds of instruments. Affinity Photo allows you to edit HDR photos, apply artistic filters and effects, play with masks and layers, and create breathtaking compositions by combining several images in one. If you find its interface a bit much and are afraid of getting lost in all those advanced tools, you should probably look for something more suitable for your level. But Affinity Photo is worth mastering.
8. Google Photos
Google Photos is a popular cloud storage service for photos and videos. It can’t boast countless masterly tools like other photo enhancers that we review in this article, but it includes some fundamental features like filters, color adjustment sliders, and transformation tools.
Although Google Photos may not be that helpful when it comes to editing photos, it does a pretty good job at storing high-resolution images and videos with 15GB of free online storage, compared to iCloud’s mere 5GB (which you can upgrade to 50GB for a monthly fee). If you’re planning to go on a trip and take plenty of photos, then it might be smart to sign up for Google Photos to use that extra storage space when you come back.
9. PhotoScape X (Free)
A relatively new photo editing app, PhotoScape X has been gaining popularity with many Mac and PC users since its release in 2008. Its interface is simple but unconventional, with a number of tabs running along the top of the window. Each is responsible for a specific stage of editing. The Viewer tab allows you to browse and organize your photos. After you pick a photo, you can switch to the Editor tab, which includes a broad set of instruments, filters, and effects and a useful feature that enables you to compare the adjusted photo with the original.
The next tabs, including the Batch tab, mainly concentrate on editing and renaming multiple photos at once. The GIF tab allows you to easily create an animated GIF from a group of selected photos.
The downside of PhotoScape X is a lack of selection tools, so all changes are applied to the whole image rather than to a selected part.
10. Gimp (Free)
Gimp is a free open-source photo editing app that has been on the market for over 22 years and is available for Windows, Mac, and even Linux. Unlike many free apps, Gimp doesn’t have any ads or in-app purchases. Its grey interface might seem a little old-fashioned and it may be a bit sluggish when it comes to complex effects, though.
Gimp offers a vast collection of advanced tools that hardly any free photo editor can boast. It has numerous enhancement options such as clone and heal brushes, layers and channels, accurate selection tools, a number of transformation instruments, and, of course, color adjustment controls. Gimp is one of the most powerful tools for enhancing photos and is beloved by so many users for its price (free) and versatility. But if you can’t come to grips with Gimp’s interface, it may be worth paying some cash for a more user-friendly program.
The Mac is hugely popular among creative professionals, so it’s no great surprise that there are lots of video editing tools available for it. Whether you just want to add titles, transitions and a soundtrack, or you want to add Hollywood-style effects and access to professional color correction there’s a Mac application that will do the job.
The really great news is that many of these programs are free. You might expect that free video editing software would have fewer features or produce less professional results than expensive software, but many of the free tools featured here are more than good enough to produce professional-looking movies. The only downside is that they tend to have a steep learning curve and they don’t walk you through the process of editing. However, there are plenty of video on YouTube to help you get started. Here are the best free and paid-for video editing applications for the Mac.
Best free video editing software for Mac
Apple’s consumer focused video editing tool used to only be free if you bought a new Mac. But now everyone can download it free from the Mac App Store. It’s a brilliantly easy to use application. One of its best features are the movie trailer themes that allow you to create amazing cinema-style trailers in a few minutes.
If you want to create your own movies, there are tons of effects, transitions, sound effects and title styles to help you. And it’s easy to import your own audio tracks and photos and add them to your production. If you’re looking for a free video editor for Mac, iMovie could be the only tool you’ll ever need.
2. DaVinci Resolve
If iMovie isn’t for you, give DaVinci Resolve a try. It’s the free version of DaVinci Resolve Studio, but being free doesn’t mean there aren’t many features. It’s loaded with professional tools like some of the best color correction and image stabilization there is. In the free version, you can work at frame rates up to 60fps and export your movie in SD, HD and Ultra HD.
It has a full digital audio workstation for sound editing, meaning you won’t have to leave the app to get the audio just the way you want it. It’s available on the Mac App Store, but if you want the full features of the free version, download it from the Blackmagic website.
While DaVinci Resolve gives away lots of its high end features in the free version, the same can’t be said of Lightworks. There’s still plenty here though, including: effects, multicam editing, titling, and a timeline with multiple layers.
There’s also access to royalty-free video and audio content for you to include in your projects. However, output in the free version is restricted to 1080p on Vimeo and 720p on YouTube. And there are no detailed export options for H.264 or MP4. Also, if you want to use the free version for more than seven days, you’ll have to register.
OpenShot is an open source video editor with a user interface that’s much simpler than most. That doesn’t mean it’s short of features, though. It has templates for creating titles, effects, the ability to remove the background from your video, and slow motion and time effects. You can also create 3D animated titles and effects, there’s support for unlimited tracks, and for more than 70 languages. The interface isn’t the slickest you’ll ever use, and there have been question marks over its reliability in the past, but it’s definitely worth trying if you want a free video editor for the Mac.
5. Video Editor MovieMator
Video Editor MovieMator allows you to trim, split, move, and merge clips from a variety of different sources. It handles every consumer file format you’re likely to need and can import directly from your iPhone or GoPro. There are lots of built-in effects and transitions, and, of course, you can add titles too.
The interface is simple enough for most people to get to grips with quickly and the real-time preview makes it easy to see exactly how your video is coming along. There is a significant limitation on the free version of the app — exports are listed to videos that are up to five minutes long. Also, there is only one transition and a handful of effects in the free version.
Best paid-for video editors for Mac
1. Final Cut Pro X
Final Cut Pro has come a long way since it was overhauled a few years ago and lost several features that caused lots of criticism to be directed at Apple. The fact that it’s designed by Apple means that it takes full advantage of hardware on the Mac, particularly the Mac Pro and iMac Pro. It pushes their multi-core CPU and GPUs to the maximum.
Features like the Magnetic Timeline 2 and Enhanced Timeline Index may be beyond the needs of most of us, but if you edit videos for a living, you’ll appreciate them. Support for up to 64 camera angles with automatic audio syncing is another feature that makes video professionals lives much easier. And of course, it supports the formats you would expect of a serious video editor including ProRes, RED, and XAVC, as well as H.264 from digital SLR cameras. When it comes to Mac video editing, Final Cut Pro X has all the bases covered.
2. Adobe Premiere Pro CC
Like all of Adobe’s professional products, Premiere Pro is only available as a subscription package and subscribing for a year will cost you almost as much as buying Final Cut Pro X outright. However, if you prefer your video organisation tools and especially the timeline to look and work like a traditional non-linear video editor, you may prefer Premiere Pro over Final Cut’s Magnetic Timeline.
In other respects, Premiere Pro is very similar to its Apple rival, offering a full range of audio editing and color correction tools, as well as effects, support for multiple formats (including Apple’s ProRes) and all the output options you’re likely to need.
One area where Mac users will notice a difference is in rendering performance, particularly on a high-end Mac like a Mac Pro or iMac Pro. Adobe’s application is designed for Mac and PC and so optimized or for the Mac’s multi-core CPU and GPU the way that Final Cut Pro is.
3. Adobe Premiere Elements 2018
The simplest way to describe Premiere Elements is that it is to Premiere Pro what iMovie is to Final Cut Pro. But Elements and iMovie are two very different apps. For a start, while iMovie is free, Elements costs $100. The other main difference is that Elements is set up to automate much of the process of creating your movie masterpieces. So, for example, Quick mode takes the clips and other media you’ve imported and throws them together on the timeline, you can then re-order them, trim them and add transitions and other effects. Even here, however, the emphasis is on letting Elements do the hard work for you. So, press the Fix button and it will apply image stabilization and other ‘fixes.’ If you want to be more involved, a guided mode prompts you with onscreen tips. Of course, if you’d rather work completely manually, you can. Elements doesn’t make it as easy to import media as iMovie does, and you’ll have to download much of its additional content, like music scores, individually.
FIlmora allows you to import clips from your Mac’s hard drive, a camera, and even from social media accounts. It has a somewhat quirky interface, that may take some getting used to if you’ve used other video editors. But it has plenty to commend it including lots of effects, titling options, and audio controls. It’s neatest feature could be the lighting preset options that allows you to emulate the look of Game of Thrones, Star Wars, or House of Cards at the click of a button.
How to make space for video on your Mac
Working with video editing software means you need lots of free space on your Mac’s main drive — video clips use several gigabytes of space for every hour of content, and that’s before you export the final version. You should also make sure your Mac is running at its optimal speed, you’ll need every ounce of power to render video.
One quick and easy way to both improve your Mac’s performance and clear space on its hard drive is to use CleanMyMac X. CleanMyMac identifies “junk” files that sit on your Mac’s drive, taking up space and slowing it down. It makes removing the files very easy and could claw back tens of gigabytes of space. You can download it free here.
The best video editing software for Mac is, ultimately, the one that does what you need to do in a way that you enjoy working. There’s lots of Mac video editing software, and much of it is free. Take time, try out as many applications as you can and choose the best one for you.