Mac Photoshop Alternatives

For almost three decades Photoshop has been the king of image editing apps on the Mac. But it is clearly a professional tool, with a professional price and learning curve. The Photos app that comes with your Mac has a great set of image adjustment functions that meets the needs of most users. And Preview has some image editing tools too. But what if you need more? Here is a list of apps you can get directly from developers or the Mac App Store that won’t break the bank. These developers come out with new versions all the time, so be sure to check the sites for the latest prices, features and options.


Acorn 6, Flying Meat
https://flyingmeat.com/acorn/
Direct for $29.99, Free Trial, Mac App Store
From the Developer: Everyone needs to edit photos at some point, but not everyone has the time to learn complicated super pricey photo editing software. This is why we created Acorn. Add text and shapes to your digital pictures. Combine images together to create a photo collage. Work with layers to touch up your favorite photos or make something entirely new from scratch. Do all this and more with Acorn! One of a kind, no subscriptions, no hassle.


Affinity Designer, Serif
https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/designer/desktop/
Direct for $49.99, Free Trial, Mac App Store
From the Developer: Affinity Designer is the fastest, smoothest, most precise vector graphic design software available. Built from the ground up over a five-year period, every feature, tool, panel and function has been developed with the needs of creative professionals at its core. With continuous innovation and development, the result is a ground-breaking application that will revolutionize how you work.


Affinity Photo, Serif
https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/photo/desktop/
Direct for $49.99, Free Trial, Mac App Store
From the Developer: Faster, smoother and more powerful than ever, Affinity Photo continues to push the boundaries for professional photo editing software. With a huge toolset specifically engineered for creative and photography professionals, whether you are editing and retouching images, or creating full-blown multi-layered compositions, it has all the power and performance you will ever need.


Aurora HDR, Skylum
https://skylum.com/l/aurorahdr-from-ppc
Direct for $99, Free Trial, Mac App Store
From the Developer: As you’d expect from a professional photography software, Aurora HDR gives you tools & flexibility to do things you’ve always wanted. It’s the layers with custom blending modes, adjustable masking brush, intuitive transform tools, history panel and more that make Aurora HDR a choice of millions of professional photographers around the globe.


Capture One Pro, Phase One
https://www.phaseone.com/en/Capture-One
Direct for $299 or $180/year, Free Trial
From the Developer: Capture One is the complete image editing software solution. With powerful tools for organizing, color grading, layer editing, and much more, you have full control of both your images and your workflow.


Fotor, Everimaging
https://www.fotor.com/mac/
Mac App Store subscription for $19.99/year
From the Developer: Fotor is loaded with powerful, easy-to-use editing tools to help you make all your photos look amazing. Save yourself editing time with Batch Processing. Apply Scenes, Effects, Borders and more to a batch of photos with just one click. 20+ different collage layout options to get just the look you want. 13 different 1-Tap Enhance “Scenes” intelligently touch-up your photos depending on the conditions they were taken in. Unleash your creative inspiration using a mix of clear focus and selective blurring. Be a visual master by mixing up effects, borders and text in a style that’s all your own.


GIMP, The GIMP Team
https://www.gimp.org
Direct for Free
From the Developer: GIMP is a cross-platform image editor available for GNU/Linux, OS X, Windows and more operating systems. It is free software, you can change its source code and distribute your changes. Whether you are a graphic designer, photographer, illustrator, or scientist, GIMP provides you with sophisticated tools to get your job done. You can further enhance your productivity with GIMP thanks to many customization options and 3rd party plugins.


Luminar, Skylum
https://skylum.com/luminar
Direct for $59.99, Free Trial, Mac App Store
From the Developer: Meet Luminar, the next generation photo editor powered by Artificial Intelligence. With Luminar being ready for professional image editing doesn’t mean being complex & confusing. A beautiful & intuitive user interface allows you to make great images faster than with any other software. Only Luminar brings an array of smart filters & tools powered by Artificial Intelligence that help you make beautiful photos without extra hassle.


ON1 Photo, ON1
https://www.on1.com/products/
Direct for $99.99, Free Trial, Mac App Store for $79.99.
From the Developer: Browse and manage photos wherever you keep them; On your computer, an external drive or your cloud service. ON1 Photo 10 includes everything you need to manage and edit photos with non-destructive Smart Photo technology. Enhance color and detail, retouch portraits, add effects, share, and swap faces and backgrounds easily. Whether you want to organize your photos, create an HDR or B&W look or enlarge them for print, Photo 10 is all you need.


Photoshop Elements, Adobe
https://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop-elements.html
Direct for $99.99, Free Trial, Mac App Store
From the Developer: Adobe Photoshop Elements is photo editing software used by anyone who wants to edit and create with their photos. It offers easy ways to get started, effortless organization, step-by-step guidance for editing, and fun ways to make and share stunning photo creations. Plus, it’s fast and easy with photo and video automation powered by Adobe Sensei AI technology.


Pixelmator Pro, Pixelmator
https://www.pixelmator.com
Mac App Store for $39.99, Free Trial
From the Developer: Pixelmator Pro is an image editor designed to make the most powerful professional image editing tools accessible to everyone. And with an extensive collection of tools for editing and retouching photos, creating graphic designs, painting, drawing vector graphics, and adding stunning effects, it’s the only image editor you’ll need.

Comments: 9 Responses to “Mac Photoshop Alternatives”

    Dale Maddock
    12/6/18 @ 1:27 pm

    Do any of the above come with ‘Spot Color’ or Pantone PMS color capability, in addition to the use of RBG colors?

    12/6/18 @ 1:50 pm

    Dale: I’m not sure as that isn’t something I use. I’d look at the links for each one and see if it lists what you want as one of the features.

    John Flemming
    12/6/18 @ 4:10 pm

    My interest is in scanning and tracing simple graphic images and converting to a vector – postscript- .ai or .eps type file. Years ago I used Color It and Adobe Streamline. Worked really well.
    Now ??? Any help or advice?

    12/6/18 @ 4:37 pm

    John: Vector tools are a little different than photo editing tools, though I do include Affinity Designer above. Adobe Illustrator is the king there. I’m sure there are others. Have you searched the Mac App Store?

    John Flemming
    12/6/18 @ 9:04 pm

    Gary,
    Thanks for the reply. I haven’t found Adobe Illustrator that helpful in the tracing department. They say it works but I’ve had issues. I’ll check out Affinity Designer.

    Barbara
    12/9/18 @ 5:01 pm

    Apple already had the best around with Aperture… Why let it go?

    12/9/18 @ 5:06 pm

    Barbara: Aperture was primarily a photo library management tool. Subsequent versions of Photos have added a lot of Aperture’s features and more. The tools here are image editing tools which do a lot more than just manage your photo library, but with individual images (photos and graphics).

    Muffy Clark Gill
    12/10/18 @ 12:15 pm

    Which program would be best for batch processing as well as using the perspective cropping tool that is used in Photoshop? I am editing mostly travel photos and images of artwork.

    12/10/18 @ 12:19 pm

    Muffy: I’m not sure. Most, if not all, do batch processing. I haven’t tried using them for exactly what you are asking about. So I would just try some of the free trials and see.

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