How we test photo-editing software

Adjustment skintone Photoshop Elements

Adjusting skin tones on an old photo, with Adobe Photoshop Elements

In our photo-editing software test, we take a selection of imperfect photos. Each one suffers from a different condition, some more serious than others.

Two beginners and one advanced user from our lab attempt to perform 10 common editing procedures to these photos, assessing each program's tools for ease of use and versatility.

These procedures range from fixing red-eye to adding captions, adding special effects to removing a person - and lots in between.

We also look to see what extra features exist for the more advanced user.

Here is a small selection of our tests.


Using a photo taken in poor light, we try to adjust of contrast and brightness using each program’s tools to try and create an image that’s well contrasted and brings out all the features of the picture.

Removing an object

Sometimes a perfect photograph gets ruined by an unwanted person or object upsetting the balance. We try to remove an object from a photo using whatever tools are provided within each photo-editing program. Where available, we use the program’s clone tool to do this.

Good redeye Picasa

Fixing red-eye with Google Picasa


Red-eye is an all too familiar side-effect of flash photography. We use each program’s red-eye removal tool to try to rectify the problem.


Our total test score is made up of our scores for ease of use (75%), and versatility (25%).