Photography is a growing career path for many artistic individuals. Not only do you get to use your creative mind every single day, but you get to choose what type of industry you want to work in, what type of environment, and what type of clients to take on.

While those in the TV and film industry tend to make the most money, there are plenty of other career paths for photographers. However, before you can get too far down any single path, you need to know not only how to take good photos, but how to edit them.

All professional photographers have an editing software of choice. Which one is best for you? Keep reading below to find out what most pros choose for their daily editing needs. 

Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom has blown up in popularity in recent years thanks to social media. With the rise in platforms like Instagram, billions of people are taking photos and sharing them online daily.

In order for their photos to stand out, they need to edit them. Adobe Lightroom for mobile devices is free and allows relatively simple editing of photos with advanced settings. It’s for people who want to go beyond basic Instagram filters and take their editing to the next level, without having to pay for a software download.

Lightroom Mobile is a good place to start when photos are just a hobby. But when you’re looking to make money with your photography, it’s time to consider a more robust editing platform such as Lightroom Desktop.

Desktop only costs around $10 per month, so it’s super affordable. But it provides you with a full suite of professional editing tools and the options to create and use presets to save time in your workflow.

This is where many professional photographers get started. And it’s what many client-focused photographers, such as family photographers, use for their entire careers. When you just need to make family portraits look warm and inviting, you don’t need any tools more advanced than this one. 

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a very different tool compared to Adobe Lightroom. They are both photo editing software created by the same company, but they serve two very different functions.

While Lightroom is for processing and touching up images, the final product will still remain true to the original photos that were taken. In other words, Lightroom doesn’t let you change the image to your heart’s content.

That’s what Photoshop does. Photoshop is all about image manipulation. It’s changing the image until it’s perfect. And you can change nearly anything.

Photoshop gives photographers the option to create pixel-perfect images. For those working in commercial fields, such as advertising, film, magazine, or beauty, Photoshop is a must to create the perfect images required for the big screen. 

As a photographer, if you plan to take a job with a larger company in nearly any industry, you’ll likely need to be familiar with Photoshop. But if you’re a freelance client photographer taking portraits and doing weddings, you might be able to stay with the simpler, cheaper Lightroom. 


Rounding out our editing software comparison is Luminar. Unlike Adobe products, Luminar requires a one-time purchase rather than a monthly or annual subscription. So if you know you love this software, you only have to pay once, saving money in the long run.

The biggest benefit for photographers who use this software is the faster workflow. They have created a streamlined editing process that saves time by using AI to speed things up for you. 

What type of AI can you expect? How about when you need to replace the sky in an image? With Lightroom, that isn’t an option. With Luminar, you can do it in one click. And it looks really clean in the final image.

It also boasts of an easier-to-learn interface, whereas Adobe tools have quite the learning curve.

If you’re still in the early days of your editing career, it’s worth it to try Luminar before following the pack down the Adobe road. Many advanced users are making the switch, though Adobe, of course, still has quite a loyal following. 

Learn a Program Through and Through

There are countless other editing software options to choose from. Many free apps are available on your smartphone. But these will lack vital features and are only intended for hobbyists.

Stick with one of the reputable, paid software options if you really want to advance in your photography profession. Learn the ins and outs and become an expert. Then your work will really stand out from the crowds.

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