Editor’s note: Some picks have merged with the latest AI technology. This guide has been updated to reflect the changes.
Photos are the best way to preserve memories, and unfortunately, your favorite pictures might get outdated with time. Considering the pictures taken from different sources, enhancing old or poorly clicked photos requires Photo enhancer software and tools to make them right.
Even though there are quick solutions such as filters and default editing tools to enhance the photos, they don’t produce results as promising as the Photo enhancer software and tools.
So here we are today to provide you with the ten best Photo enhancer software and tools that can cover all your photo-editing needs.
A quick look at built-in Photo apps: Windows & macOS
The built-in Photos apps on Windows and macOS offer photo editing capabilities, although they differ in terms of features and usability.
Windows Photos App: The Photos app on Windows provides basic editing tools for adjusting brightness, contrast, and applying filters. It also offers advanced features such as Red-eye removal and Spot fix. However, there are limited additional tools specifically designed for enhancing images. For more advanced editing options on Windows, consider using the built-in tool called Paint, which offers features like magic select, glare reduction, auto color, and contrast enhancements.
macOS Photos App: The Photos app on macOS offers a more comprehensive range of advanced editing tools. These tools provide greater control and flexibility for enhancing photos. However, mastering these tools may require some skill and experience. Alternatively, for users less familiar with manual editing, the macOS Photos app does offer automatic adjustments, although the results may not be as precise as manual edits performed by skilled users.
In summary, the Windows Photos app provides basic editing capabilities, with more advanced options available in the Paint tool. On the other hand, the macOS Photos app offers a wider range of advanced editing tools, suitable for users with more experience and expertise.
10 Best 3rd party photo enhancer tools
HitPaw Photo Enhancer is arguably the best photo enhancer tool for beginners, and the reason behind stating so is its ease of use.
To experience HitPaw Photo Enhancer, we installed it on our ASUS TUF F15 and noticed the interface is straightforward and navigating around is easy.
If you have any out-of-focus, faded, blurred, compressed, or low-quality photographs, upload them to the HitPaw Photo Enhancer, which automatically enhances through AI and its models.
Here are the AI models offered by HitPaw Photo Enhancer:
- General Model– Ideal for enhancing pictures of the real scene
- Denoise Model– Enhances high-ISO or low-light image
- Face Model– Makes portrait images or old photos less blurry
- Colorize Model– Turns Black & White pictures back to color
The worth mentioning capability of HitPaw Photo Enhancer is the ability to perform batch enhancements and multi-model processing. The software also provides the flexibility to handle width/height customizations and preferences.
In addition, HitPaw Photo Enhancer is compatible with multiple image formats (.png, .jpg, .jpeg, .WebP, .tif, .tga, .bmp, .jfif), and as a result, you need not worry about incompatibility issues.
Quick guide on using HitPaw Photo Enhancer
Unlike other photo enhancement software, you don’t have to worry about working with the tools. HitPaw Photo Enhancer has no tools, and the entire photo enhancement is automated through AI.
All you need to do through the entire enhancement process is drag and drop or choose the image. Once done, you’re left with choosing the AI model and the output format, and after providing everything, HitPaw Photo Enhancer does everything for you, and the enhanced image is ready to export.
From our testing, we have noticed HitPaw Photo Enhancer doing a fair job at enhancing the photos without losing image quality. However, the software sometimes fails to improve the photo, as the AI mode fails to analyze it right.
Regarding batch and multi-model processing, the processing time depends on your device’s hardware. For us, the processing took time when we performed the processing through an Integrated Intel GPU.
However, the processing time significantly improved when we enabled the Nvidia Graphics card.
- The entire process is automated through HitPaw’s AI and its four models.
- Capable of batch and multi-model processing.
- It supports width/height customizations and can manage preferences.
- Compatible with multiple image formats.
- Lacks manual tools.
- Doesn’t support simultaneous device connections.
You can use the HitPaw Photo Enhancer free version but the biggest downside with the free version is the inability to export images. To access the “Export” button, you must purchase HitPaw Photo Enhancer.
Currently, HitPaw Photo Enhancer offers monthly ($17.99), yearly ($79.99), and lifetime ($99.99) plans. There is no difference between the plans except for the validity; hence purchase the plan that matches your requirement and price.
#2 Luminar NEO: Best for advanced users
Unlike HitPaw Photo Enhancer, Luminar NEO is a Photo editing software, and the AI photo enhancement tool is one of many available tools. We have tried the Windows version of Luminar NEO on our MacBook, and the interface was modern and intuitive.
Even with many tools, navigating around was never difficult. The first few times might be confusing, and you must explore the software to get used to it. For this purpose, Luminar NEO has provided tutorials for each tool to enhance usability.
With many advanced tools for image editing, you can manually enhance the picture if you have enough skills. However, you can rely on Luminar’s AI-powered tools if you’re unaware of the advanced tools.
Features such as Enhance AI, Golden Hour, Color Harmony, and Supercontrast are some of Luminar’s AI-powered tools that help with enhancing the photo. In addition, Luminar NEO supports batch processing; this feature allows you to enhance multiple photos simultaneously.
Here is the list of Luminar Neo’s capabilities;
- AI enhancement tools
- Raw editing with layers support
- Non-destructive editing
- Clone and color enhancement tools
- Lens correction
- Crop and Resize tool
- Batch Processing
Quick guide on using Luminar NEO
Once Luminar NEO is loaded on your laptop or PC, you can start with the editing process to enhance the image. You can manually enhance the image right away through Luminar NEO’s advanced tools after choosing the image.
We have tried editing the photo manually, but we had a hard time achieving the desired enhancements, as we lack skills. However, we enhanced the images with Luminar NEO’s AI enhancement tool within a few steps.
The above picture was enhanced using AI, and we had to choose the image and select the AI tool, and the enhancement was done instantly.
We suggest you experiment with Relight AI, Mask AI, Portrait Bokeh AI, and Sky enhancer AI as they generate better results when used right. To achieve excellent results with AI tools, you have to select the right AI tool and wait for automation to finish.
In short, we are happy with the Luminar NEO for the ease of use of the AI tools. However, we have noticed a few undesirable enhancements now and then. This issue is common with AI tools; if you’re incapable of manual editing, you can depend on Luminar NEO’s AI enhancement tools.
- Outstanding AI tools with manual customization support.
- Intuitive and Modern interface.
- Multiple advanced tools for manual editing.
- Supports multiple file types and Batch Processing.
- Comes with a wide range of presets, filters, and plugins.
- The lifetime version doesn’t include extension packs.
- Cannot compete with Pro-photo editing tools.
- No GPU acceleration
Currently, Luminar NEO offers Explore, Pro, and Lifetime plans featuring monthly and yearly subscriptions. The Explore plan ($9.95/mo or $99/yr) provides all essential tools, whereas the Pro plan ($14.95/mo or $119/yr) provides all extensions.
You can get the product forever by purchasing the affordable Lifetime plan ($149), but it doesn’t include extensions. To get the extensions, you need to add an extensions pack ($299) which costs additional bucks.
Compared to HitPaw Photo Enhancer and Luminar NEO, Adobe Photoshop 2023 is many times more advanced. One must learn Photoshop to use it to its full potential, which isn’t easy.
To test the 2023 version of Adobe Photoshop and its photo enhancement tools, we installed it on our MacBook, and the interface felt very simple. Even though the interface of Adobe Photoshop 2023 isn’t exciting, it is well structured, and navigating around is easy.
You can generate outstanding enhanced photos through manual editing if you know Photoshop. Usually, we suggest checking out AI-based photo enhancement tools, but with Adobe Photoshop 2023, it isn’t the case, as one could do wonders with Adobe’s advanced editing tools.
Regarding AI-based photo editing tools on Adobe Photoshop, you are provided with many tools, and the best part about them is the support for manual editing.
Here are some of the best AI tools offered by Adobe Photoshop 2023;
- Neural Filters– Ideal for enhancing facial expressions, age or de-age subjects, removing noise, etc.
- Sky replacement– Helps with detecting and replacing the sky in an image.
- Super resolution– Enhances the resolution and detail of an image.
- Content-Aware Fill– Fills in selected areas of an image based on the surrounding content.
- Smart Filters and Smart Objects– Applies non-destructive, editable image filters and effects.
Quick guide on using Adobe Photoshop 2023
Getting started with the Adobe Photoshop 2023 depends on the user type and preference. For instance, if you prefer, manual editing start with opening the file and adjusting the basic settings.
Once you take care of all basic adjustments, such as exposure, contrast, saturation, and levels, proceed with retouching and removing perfections. At this stage, the majority of the enhancement is done.
However, you can bring the best by enhancing the details and sharpness and then applying filters and effects to generate the final image.
On the other hand, the photo enhancement tools featuring AI don’t include multiple steps, and most of the process is done automatically.
We have tried both approaches and had a hard time with the manual approach considering we’re beginners at Adobe Photoshop 2023. However, we could easily generate our desired result with AI-based photo enhancement tools.
- A vast collection of advanced photo editing and AI tools
- Slick interface with guidance support
- Supports both mobile and web platform
- Features Synced Libraries and Cloud Documents support
- Supports collaborations and has a huge collection of plugins
- The plans don’t feature one-year subscriptions
- It requires a learning curve, and it is difficult to master
- It Consumes a lot of memory, as it runs many processes in the background
Adobe provides users with a seven-day free trial applicable for all plans. Starting with Photoshop plan (US$20.99/mo) comes with 100GB of cloud storage, desktop and iPad support, Adobe Express, and Fresco support.
On the other hand, the Photography Plan (US$19.99/mo) is preferred by many as it comes with 1TB of cloud storage and Lightroom and Lightroom Classic.
The downside of the Photography Plan is it lacks Adobe Express and Fresco support. However, if you’re a pro user who makes all Adobe services, then the All Apps Plan (US$54.99/mo) is for you.
#4 LetsEnhance.io: Best for online enhancement
LetsEnhance.io. is an impressive online photo enhancement tool developed to make photo enhancements easier for all users. Whether you’re working with out-of-focus, faded, blurred, compressed, or low-quality photographs, its cutting-edge algorithms and sophisticated AI image processing technology bring them back to life.
With an intuitive interface and extreme usability, LetsEnhance.io. is arguably one the best in its segment. Features like noise reduction, upscaling, and color correction, are some of the amazing tools on offer, and we suggest experimenting with them to generate the best possible enhanced image.
Topaz Photo AI is known for its extraordinary capability to enhance images with AI, and the outcomes are always promising.
For beginners, Topaz Photo AI works by analyzing the photos using its advanced AI algorithms, which deal with automation and focuses on improving the details, colors, and sharpness while lowering the noise of the photos.
With Topaz Photo AI, you can easily edit your photos, and thanks to AI automation, you can avoid going through the hard manual edits. This software is ideal for all users, and we recommend it for those who want to enhance their photographs.
#6 Canva: Best for creative users
Canva is yet another software ideal for beginners, as most of the tools focus on automation through AI. If you use Canva for a while, you will realize it is packed with editing tools, and a few can enhance photographs.
The best part of Canva is it offers a user-friendly interface. All AI tools of Canva are so efficient that you can easily enhance and eliminate undesired parts from your photos.
Additionally, you can use Canvas’s vast library of themes, illustrations, and overlays to enhance your photos further. We suggest using the new features, Magic Edit and Design, as they enhanced our photos greatly.
With a user-friendly interface and extensive toolkit, Movavi Photo Editor is arguably one of the best photo enhancement tools. With Movavi Photo Editor, you can effortlessly improve colors, eliminate imperfections, and add details to your photos.
With multiple tools, Movavi Photo Editor can be used for all photo editing requirements. After thorough testing, we realized the software is ideal for all users, as it perfectly balances basic and advanced tools.
All tools offered in Movavi Photo Editor can enhance photos quickly and effectively through UI and batch processing features, making this software more reliable.
#8 Darkroom: Best for Apple users
Darkroom is a high-end photo editing app with an intuitive user interface designed specifically for the Apple ecosystem. The tools available in software can perfectly enhance the photos, but only those with awareness can make good use of them.
The best part of the Darkroom is its ability to work with RAW files while being non-destructive, and edits can be made on exposure, colors, and tones.
Additionally, advanced tools like selective editing, gradient tweaks, and curves provide full control over your photographs, and you easily customize any aspect.
#9 DxO PhotoLab: Best for advanced features
DxO PhotoLab is professional-grade editing software and is not for beginners. It is well known among photographers for its outstanding image quality generation and enhancement tools.
For beginners, DxO PhotoLab analyzes the photo and enhances the details by reducing noise and optimizing colors through its advanced algorithms and correction tools.
We suggest checking out Prime Denoise and Smart Lighting, as they can enhance photos that struggle with poor lighting. In addition, the customized presets, and batch-processing features make the software more reliable.
#10 GIMP: Best free option
GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Programme) is free and open-source software famous for its large selection of tools and features. Like many professional photo editing tools, it isn’t for beginners and pro users can use it best.
With unique and advanced tools, GIMP lets you edit your photographs, and edits such as managing colors, adding filters and effects, erasing imperfections, and enhancing details can be done through it.
The interface of GIMP is outdated, but the support for different plugins makes it extremely reliable. With most photo editing software requiring subscriptions to use, GIMP turns out to be a reliable and affordable way to enhance photos.
How does a photo enhancer work?
A photo enhancer can be software or an online tool that uses various advanced algorithms and techniques to enhance a photo’s quality, appearance, and aesthetics.
Before the rise of photo enhancer software/tools, people had to learn to use photo editing tools and manage all the edits manually to enhance the image. However, with time photo enhancer software/tools have started including AI models to automate the photo enhancement process, and it turned out to be easy for all users.
Here are some techniques used by photo enhancers to enhance photos;
- AI-based Automatic Enhancements
- Color Correction
- Sharpening and Detail Enhancement
- Noise Reduction
- Exposure and Tone Adjustment
- Image Upscaling
Use cases for image enhancement tools
Image Enhancement tools feature multiple use cases and aren’t limited to personal use. Many industries and domains consistently rely on image enhancement tools for better aesthetics, accuracy, and impact.
With the help of AI and improvement in technology, image enhancement tools have become easier to use, and the accuracy has been significantly improved.
Here are a few use cases for Image Enhancement tools;
- Advertising and Marketing
- Real Estate
- Fashion and Beauty
- Historical Preservation
- Security and Surveillance
- Medical Diagnosis and Research
- Satellite and Remote Sensing
- Personal Photography
The use cases of Image Enhancement tools are never-ending, and there is always demand for visual quality and optimization of images. To conclude, Image Enhancement tools are part of our life, and advancements in such tools leads to a better future.
Photo enhancement tools provide the best way to enhance photos, and even an individual with no skills can use them. In this article, we have provided you with a compilation of the ten best photo enhancement software/tools.
All the software listed in this compilation are tested, and to bring balance, we have included software for all types of users. Hence, check out each and select one that matches your requirement before finalizing and purchasing a subscription.
If you ask us to suggest a few, we recommend HitPaw Photo Enhancer, Luminar NEO, and Letsenhance.io. However, if you’re looking for a free software and you believe in your editing skills, GIMP would be the best for you.