Skip to main content

The best AI photo editing software in 2021

Ai Photo editing software
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There's a good reason for seeking out the best AI photo editing software. Artificial intelligence has the power to transform digital content creation with the press of a button. With more software companies adding or switching to machine learning, users can be focused on the creative output rather than needing to spend hours on the tedious manual tasks commonplace in editing apps.

Here, we take a look at the top AI-powered photo editing software, all of which should be perfect for designers, photographers, photo editors and digital artists. These programs can perform previously laborious functions with just a tap of a button, such as removing backgrounds, changing emotions in portraits or altering the weather.

There are currently many different styles of AI image editing software available. Some try to do it all, while others remain niche, so check out which one is right for you with our selection of the best AI photo editing software.

If you want something more traditional, see our comprehensive guides to best standard photo editing software. Making a film? Try our pick of the best video editing software.

AI photo editing software: Luminarcb badge

(Image credit: Skylum)

01. Luminar AI

A capable all-round AI photo editing software to suit a range of subjects

Specifications
Best for: All-round image editing
Platform: Windows and macOS
Key features: Templates with AI assistance, portrait retouching, weather enhancement, augmented sky
Free trial: None
Reasons to buy
+Extensive tools +One-time purchase 
Reasons to avoid
-No layer support -Export options limited

First on our list of AI photo editing software is Luminar AI – the world's first photo editing software entirely powered by artificial intelligence. It's ideal for photographers, image editors, or designers who want to make stand-out images in a flash. Luminar's AI powers all styles of photography with specific tools for portraiture, landscapes, fashion, architecture, nature, and black and white photographs. It also gives users the option of using templates that analyse images and apply genre-specific edits in a preset-like fashion. 

The AI tools give options to change the shape of a body in any position, enhance skin texture and remove blemishes in portraits. With a powerful Iris feature, the eyes can also be enhanced or replaced automatically in a matter of seconds. The introduction of atmosphere tools and sky augmentation also enhances outdoor shots with the ability to add light rays and replace skies. See our guide on how to edit photos with Luminar AI for more.

AI photo editing software: Photoshopcb badge

(Image credit: Adobe)

02. Photoshop CC

An industry standard photo editor boosted by new AI filters

Specifications
Best for: B&W colourisation, portrait emotion manipulation, style transfer
Platform: Windows and macOS
Key features: Skin smoothing, style transfers, B&W colourisation, upscaling
Free Trial: Yes, 7 days
Reasons to buy
+Good skin smoothing +Strong beta filters 
Reasons to avoid
-Small selection of AI filters -Monthly subscription

Adobe has boosted Photoshop CC's performance with the use of AI tools called 'Neural Filters' to retouch and stylise photos. At the moment the fully finished filters are limited to skin smoothing, artifacts removal and style transfers which are useful for portrait retouchers and designers. But a host of beta filters also allow users to edit expressions in portraits, add makeup, and remove JPEG artefacts from images. The 'Colorize' filter also rather impressively automatically colourises black and white photos with precision. More filters are destined to be released for Photoshop CC in the near future, which would be a welcome addition to the handful already on offer and would open interest up to all users.

AI photo editing software: Paintshop Procb badge

(Image credit: Corel)

03. Corel Paintshop Pro

A good universal AI image editing software for Windows-based editors

Specifications
Best for: Applying art styles to photos, increasing detail in low res files, cleaning up noisy photos
Key features: AI Denoise, high res upsampling, photo stylisation
Free Trial: Yes, 30 days
Reasons to buy
+Fast AI processing +Excellent Denoise
Reasons to avoid
-Windows only -Limited range of tools

Corel's Paintshop Pro features a range of excellent image editing tools thanks to the new addition of AI and machine learning. Upsample low resolution files (or smaller crops within photos) to high resolution photos whilst maintaining good depth, clarity and sharpness in images. The AI Denoise tool works to remove extreme noise in photos with integrated sliders for improved customisation over its intensity. Paintshop Pro can also use AI to stylise photos into works of art instantly with the new unique preset styles that come with the software. It's a good all-round software for photographers, designers and artists alike who want to take their photos to the next level.

AI photo editing software: Aurora HDR

(Image credit: Skylum)

04. Aurora HDR

AI-powered high dynamic range image processing with fast results

Specifications
Best for: HDR image creation, tone mapping, restoring detail in photos
Platform: Windows and macOS
Key features: Bracketed HDR processing, single image HDR, raw file support, Quantum HDR Engine
Free Trial : Yes, no time restriction
Reasons to buy
+Fast HDR processing +Create HDRs from single images 
Reasons to avoid
-One-trick pony -Expensive for single feature

Coming to you from Skylum, which also makes Luminar AI, Aurora HDR is powered by its Quantum HDR Engine and aims to create the best high dynamic range images based on image analysis and detail extrapolation. It functions by intelligently mapping together multiple bracketed images to recover tonal detail in highlights, midtones and shadows. Aurora HDR also works to reveal hidden sections of photos through the use of RAW file-altering technology built-in to the software. It's best suited to outdoor photographers or those who wish to give extra punch to their shots.

AI photo editing software: Remove

(Image credit: Kaleido AI GmbH)

05. Remove.bg

Remove backgrounds fast with incredible accuracy

Specifications
Best for: Background removal, blurring backgrounds, subject isolation
Platform: Browser-based
Key features: Remove backgrounds, background blur, replace backdrops
Free Trial: N/A Free
Reasons to buy
+Accurate cut-outs +Variety of background styles 
Reasons to avoid
-Limited editing tools -Only one function

Remove.bg does exactly what it says in its name: it removes backgrounds. In a matter of seconds, users can upload their photo and have the background removed with fantastic accuracy, even better than expensive competitors in this list, and provide a clean photo to download in high resolution. There's a basic editing function to restore or erase parts of the mask, and the site even offers a variety of free backdrops on which to set your newly masked subject against. 

Users that need backgrounds removed quickly and without fuss should seriously consider Remove.bg, even if they already own or subscribe to professional image editing software.

AI photo editing software: Photolemur

(Image credit: Photolemur)

06. Photolemur 3

A powerful AI image editor with simple GUI

Specifications
Best for: One-click image editing
Platform: Windows, macOS
Key features: Portrait retouching, sky enhancement, raw processing, exposure compensation
Trial: Limited free version
Reasons to buy
+Inexpensive +Multiple file formats 
Reasons to avoid
-Limited control -Styles can be heavy-handed

Photolemur 3 is an AI image editor specifically designed to take out the grunt work that comes with image editing. A simple user interface, the software gives only limited control over the enhancements and styles that it applies. While some power users may be disappointed by this, many others will see the benefit of a simple control system that more closely emulates filters on smart devices such as phones and tablets. Available for both Windows and Mac operating systems Photolemur 3 can also run as an extension or plug-in from within your favourite image editing software such as Apple Photos or Adobe Lightroom.

AI photo editing software: Topaz Studio

(Image credit: Topaz Labs)

07. Topaz Labs

Multiple standalone softwares to cover a range of image editing tasks

Specifications
Best for: Sharpening portraits, removing noise, converting JPEG files to RAW and masking subjects
Platform: Windows and macOS
Key features: Sharpen AI, Denoise AI, JPEG to RAW, Mask AI
Trial: Yes, 30 days
Reasons to buy
+Extensive powerful features +Useful for range of applications 
Reasons to avoid
-Multiple purchases can get expensive

Topaz Labs offers a full suite of AI-powered image editing software that covers a range of image corrections including image masking, sharpening, removing noise, and image enlargement for increased editing control over details. It even features a unique application to convert JPEG to RAW files to extend the capability of the editing software and remove issues such as banding, compression artefacts and can increase dynamic range. The software is powerful and useful for all photographers, with Topaz Lab's Video Enhance AI software also helpful for filmmakers that wish to upscale their video content up to 600 per cent while maintaining or enhancing the quality.

AI photo editing software: Lensa

(Image credit: Prisma Labs)

08. Lensa

Smartphone-based AI image editor for improved portraits and selfies

Specifications
Best for: Portrait retouching, selfies, smartphone editing
Platform: iOS and Android
Key features: Autonomous portrait correction, natural skin filter, background blur, face retouch tools
Free Trial: Yes, 7 days
Reasons to buy
+Simple interface +Quick to use  
Reasons to avoid
-Background replacement sometimes inaccurate -Subscription-based

If you need an image editing app for your smartphone that uses AI to polish your portraits and selfies, look no further than Lensa. The one-touch editing function, named Magic Correction, analyses photos and then applies automatic adjustments based on the photo. For example, in a portrait Magic Correction may blur the background, retouch the face and change hair colour. All the options that this auto function applies can also be manually controlled using sliders throughout the app. Alternatively, you can simply use the advanced editing tools to make adjustments to images to refine shots exactly how you want them.

AI photo editing software: Deepart

(Image credit: Deepart)

09. Deepart.io

Machine learning software that converts photos to artwork

Specifications
Best for: Transferring styles, recreating photos as artwork, generating unique AI-led imagery
Platform: Browser-based
Key features: Photo to art conversion, multiple styles, upload custom styles
Free Trial: N/A Free
Reasons to buy
+Free +Unique artistic results 
Reasons to avoid
-Website based -Must wait for picture email

Deepart.io plays homage to the painters with its AI-powered algorithms that convert photos into artwork. Under the bonnet, the technology is inspired by the human brain and aims to provide a novel artistic painting tool that works with any photo in just a few clicks. Once images are uploaded to the site and a style is chosen (or users upload their own image style) the photos are then rendered through Deepart.io servers before a painting is sent via email. At the time of writing, this process is absolutely free. It's an AI-powered image editing platform for art lovers and technophiles alike.

Read more:

Jason Parnell-Brookes is an Internationally award-winning photographer, educator and writer. He won Gold in the Nikon Photo Contest 2018/19 and was named Digital Photographer of the Year in 2014. Jason is a qualified teacher, Masters graduate and the former technique editor for N-Photo magazine.