No alarms and no surprises, Lightroom is the most popular editing software

Best Photo Editing software: Young female photographer editing in her home office studio
(Image credit: Thana Prasongsin via Getty Images)

It’s no surprise that the most popular photo editing software among photographers is the one almost everyone has heard of – Adobe Lightroom. For most photographers, it offers all the editing features you could ever need, it’s easy to use and can be bought either on its own or part of a creative cloud package.

In a recent survey, Shotkit asked 657 photographers about their photo editing software. 37% of the photographers asked were professionals while 63% were amateurs but regardless, Adobe Lightroom was still the most popular software, with an enormous 58% of photographers using it. 

Although most people stick with Lightroom because of its easy-to-use advanced features which now include several AI-powered tools, people also love the fact you can quickly open images from Lightroom in Photoshop, users can save their own presets but also because change is scary! The downside to Lightroom is that it’s a subscription-only software, and even though prices start at less than $10/£10 a month, some people don’t want the commitment of paying monthly. 

shotkit photo editing survey

To view the full image head to the Shotkit website (Image credit: Shotkit)

For those photographers that don’t use Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop is the next best thing with 24% of the votes. Photoshop is a much more in-depth editing suite than Lightroom and offers almost all the same features and more. While Lightroom is more for processing and organizing images, Photoshop is perfect for really diving in with your creativity as you can manipulate, enhance and change images a lot more. It's also much easier to use if you want to recolor your background, create a fantastical storm in a teacup or a similarly out-of-this-world image or even just remove a background entirely.

Leading behind is Luminar with 17%, Phase One’s Capture One software is in fourth place with 12% while Adobe appears once at number five with 9.9% opting to use Adobe Camera Raw.

Niche editing software such as Snapseed, DxO PhotoLab, Google Photos and Exposure all appear on the list, but only 1-2% of photographers opt to use them. 

Interestingly, if Lightroom was no longer an option, rather than jumping ship to Photoshop, many photographers would opt for Capture One and we can only imagine it’s because of the similar layout and ability to edit batches of images in one go. 

Check out these 100 Photoshop editing tips or discover the best free Photoshop plugins that'll help streamline your process.

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.