And the Win­ner Is…

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It’s tricky to pick a win­ner when the an­swer to the ques­tion “what do you need an app to do?” can dif­fer so wildly. Pho­to­shop CC ($20 a month) is a sledge­ham­mer, es­pe­cially when bun­dled with Light­room, that guar­an­tees the ab­so­lute best in terms of tools and im­age qual­ity, and can crush any job you throw at it. The sub­scrip­tion model has caused divi­sion among users, how­ever, although the tor­rent of up­dates and new ver­sions that sub­scribers re­ceive has soothed this some­what. El­e­ments ($80) comes with its own or­ga­niz­ing pro­gram—the Or­ga­nizer—that repli­cates some Light­room func­tions, but falls down on raw im­age pro­cess­ing and more ex­otic pro tools. It’s a great choice for the en­thu­si­as­tic am­a­teur, how­ever. Affin­ity Photo ($50) doesn’t try to or­ga­nize your im­age files, con­cen­trat­ing in­stead on pure edit­ing, and strik­ing out from the crowd with its sys­tem of Per­sonas that re­con­fig­ure the app for spe­cific tasks. We like Affin­ity, and Pho­to­shop CC is the choice of the pro­fes­sional, but for every­day im­age ma­nip­u­la­tion tasks, El­e­ments takes the prize here.

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