google photos Photo Editor

5 Advanced Photo Editor Tools All Mac Users Need

If you use most of your designing projects with Mac, you probably use Photoshop frequently, since it is already full of useful features (especially if you are truly skilled with it). However, Photoshop is not the only photo editor tool you can use for graphic design projects. Here are five advanced tools you can use for your next projects.


GIMP Photo Editor
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GIMP Photo Editor

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an editor tool that has similar features with Photoshop. The tool does not require a monthly subscription, so it is perfect for aspiring designers who start small. This tool is used by graphic designers, illustrators, and photographers, and a great alternative to Photoshop.

GIMP also has third-party plugin extensions to support more varied tasks. One of the most popular extensions is the version designed to use with Photoshop.  The features are quite diverse, and you can play with a lot of effects for your project designs. GIMP even has a feature to fix slightly-damaged images caused by lens distortion.

Despite the cheap cost, GIMP is quite an advanced tool. You will need some time to get the hang of the tool, and beginners must invest hours in learning to use it. However, once you get a grip on the features, GIMP will provide amazing options in designing projects.

macOS Preview and Photos App

If you use Mac, your laptop probably came with Preview and Photos already installed. Some people dismiss them, thinking that preinstalled apps do not give enough options for designing projects. However, Preview and Photos do decent jobs in editing photos, despite not being as sophisticated as Photoshop or GIMP.

Preview has several basic editing functions, such as size, brightness, and color adjustments. You can also edit and export multiple photos easily, perfect for a project that requires several images. Preview also supports various image file formats. Most of the photo editing tools are placed under Markup and Tool options.

Photos app has more sophisticated editing tools than Preview. You can do tasks such as removing minor blemishes, enhancing the image quality, cropping and rotating images, using special effects, creating contrasts, and experimenting with different color adjustment levels. You can experiment with these apps to adjust with more sophisticated tools.

Google Photos

google photos Photo Editor

google photos Photo Editor

Google Photos is a browser-based photo editor tool that offers similar features with Photos and Preview apps.  Just like the two apps, Google Photos offers options to adjust colors and brightness, crop and rotate images, and apply filters. If your photos have 16 megapixels resolution, you can get unlimited storage. However, any photos with higher resolutions can take up much space in Drive account.

Google Photos may not be the most practical tool due to its browser-based function. Mac users can download uploader app for their laptops, and you can use this app to find and store photos from the internet to Google Photos library. However, you can only perform the main tasks in the browser.

This photo editing tool is less sophisticated than Photos and Preview for macOS, since it does not have features to fix minor blemishes. However, Google Photos can be useful if you only need to do quick filtering, image adjustment, and color fix, without opening one of your more sophisticated tools.

Fotor Photo Editor

Fotor Photo Editor is a tool that offers browser and app versions, giving you more flexibility in editing your photos. The tool offers various features, such as color adjustment, blemish fixing, brightness and size adjustments, and vignettes. You can also create various focus effects to touch up any image files.

Fotor Photo Editor is free, but there are tools that you can only access by paying. If you need to do serious designing projects, you must invest to access Fotor Pro functions such as reshaping, blushing, and smoothing. Most of the tool’s special effects are also paid (you get watermarks in the free versions).

If you want to use Fotor in a browser, remember that this photo editing tool works best with Chrome. Firefox and Edge are also decent browsers to run this tool. Meanwhile, visiting with Safari will prompt potential issue warning, despite the tool having no problems whatsoever.

Pixlr Editor

Pixlr Editor Photo Editor

Pixlr Editor Photo Editor

Pixlr Editor is a free, browser-based photo editing tool with various advanced features. This tool offers features to tasks such as color and brightness adjustments, contrast regulation, drawing, filtering, and adding special effects. The photo editor also has Night Vision, Heat Map, and blur effects, among many.

Pixlr Editor allows you to compose photos and image files in layers before editing. This means that you can create multiple design layers, such as superimposing images with texts, patterns, and photos. Feel free to work on each image before layering them, and edit them again as one composition before saving the result.

This photo editing tool used to have the app version, but now, you can only work on a browser (preferably Chrome). For quick photo editing with various filters, you can download Pixlr-o-Matic. This mobile app version is not as sophisticated as Pixlr Editor, but it does great jobs in quick filtering tasks.


Photo editing tool is crucial in design works. Adobe Photoshop is currently a recognized program for designers to work with. While Photoshop offers numerous features and functions, it can be difficult to master and expensive. Also, for some designers, having industry-standard photo editing tool like Photoshop may be too much.

All these described tools are free or relatively cheap, and they are ideal for Mac users who want to use other alternatives besides Photoshop. Some of them have the pro versions or paid features, but they are not too extravagant in prices. These tools are recommended for beginner designers, or those who want to start a small business in a creative design field.

When you download one (or several) of these tools, make sure you get the hang of them first. Experiment with different photos and images, and create various effects and looks to “feel” the tools in your hands. Make sure you feel comfortable before using them for serious designing projects. These photo editor tools are currently the most-recommended ones for new and/or small designers.

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