Photo Editing Software Definition & Meaning

Photo editing software is used to manipulate or enhance digital images. This category of software ranges from basic apps, which are able to apply simple effects, to industry-standard programs used by professional photographers for more advanced needs. Many functionalities of these programs mimic the manual photo editing techniques used in a dark room.

Typically, a photo editing software uses photos that have been taken with a digital camera that are then uploaded or imported to the software program. As touchscreen technology and wireless file sharing become more robust, many photographers are opting to use tablets or even smartphones instead of traditional desktops or laptops to use their photo editing software programs.

Using photo editing software

Many qualities of a photo can be manipulated using photo editing software, often on the pixel level. Most basic photo editing software programs can accomplish a number of these techniques, including:

  • Color balance, which adjusts the levels of intensity across the color spectrum.
  • Exposure, which adjusts how much brightness or light is applied to the photo.
  • Noise/grain, which indicates the level of detail or distortion between pixels.
  • Saturation, which indicates the dramatic appearance of all colors.
  • Cropping, which adjusts the dimensions of the image.
  • Burning/dodging, which adjusts the contrast between lightness and darkness.

More advanced programs enable users to also perform operations such as background removal, healing, cloning, selective adjustments, and layering. These advanced programs often feature additional artistic functionalities like brush and pencil strokes, textures, and 3D design.

Examples of photo editing software

Basic photo editing software is frequently available for free across most mobile and desktop operating systems. Some are available as Internet programs, others can be downloaded as applications, and many are native programs that come preloaded on a device. More advanced photo editing software generally comes with a regular subscription fee or flat licensing cost.

Some prominent software editing software vendors include:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Lightroom
  • Google Snapseed
  • Skylum Luminar
  • Capture One
  • GIMP
  • ON1 Photo RAW

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

Top Articles

The Complete List of 1500+ Common Text Abbreviations & Acronyms

Text Abbreviations reviewed by Web Webster   From A3 to ZZZ we list 1,559 SMS, online chat, and text abbreviations to help you translate and understand...

How to Create a Website Shortcut on Your Desktop

Website Shortcut on Your Desktop reviewed by Web Webster   This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a website shortcut on your desktop using...

Windows Operating System History & Versions

The Windows operating system (Windows OS) refers to a family of operating systems developed by Microsoft Corporation. We look at the history of Windows...

First to Fifth Generations of Computers

Reviewed by Web Webster   Learn about each of the 5 generations of computers and major technology developments that have led to the computing devices that...

What is a Passphrase?

What is a passphrase? A passphrase is a string of words used to help...

What is UID?

A unique identifier (UID) is a character string, either numeric or alphanumeric, that...

How to Use Google...

Updated by Jenna Phipps   Google Hangouts is a cloud-based messaging and video chat application...