FREE Photo Editors (RAW): Photoscape X & RawTherapee

Tony & Chelsea Northrup
21 Nov 201633:41

TLDRIn this informative video, Tony Northrup discusses two free photo editing software options, Photoscape X and RawTherapee, that meet his criteria for editing RAW and JPEG photos, browsing computer folders, and operating on both Windows and Mac systems. Photoscape X offers a user-friendly interface with a free unlimited trial version, allowing users to edit photos with a variety of tools without needing to purchase the Pro version. It also provides a masking tool for localized adjustments. On the other hand, RawTherapee is more suitable for users with a technical background who are comfortable with fine-tuning and tweaking their photos, offering a wide array of sliders and options for advanced editing. While Photoscape X does not save edits between sessions, RawTherapee does, making it a more powerful choice for those willing to navigate its complex interface. Northrup concludes by emphasizing the importance of understanding photography fundamentals such as lighting, mood, and composition, rather than relying solely on editing tools.


  • ๐ŸŒŸ Photoscape X and RawTherapee are two highly recommended free photo editors that meet specific requirements such as editing RAW and JPEG photos, browsing computer folders, and being compatible with both Windows and Mac.
  • ๐Ÿ’ป Photoscape X can be downloaded by visiting the URL SDPio/px, but be aware of the trick to get the free trial version, which doesn't expire, by clicking the 'free trial' button instead of the paid version.
  • ๐Ÿ“‚ The editor allows for easy browsing of drives and files, and you can add frequently accessed folders to the favorites for quick access.
  • ๐ŸŽจ Photoscape X offers a variety of tools in its Editor tab, including Auto levels, White Balance, and color adjustments, without needing the paid Pro version.
  • ๐Ÿ” The ability to use masks in Photoscape X enables targeted adjustments to specific parts of the photo, providing a more nuanced and detailed editing experience.
  • ๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ RawTherapee, while a bit more complex and better suited for those comfortable with advanced settings, is another powerful free option for photo editing.
  • ๐Ÿ”— To download RawTherapee, visit SDPio/roththerapy and choose the correct version based on your operating system and bit requirement.
  • ๐Ÿ› ๏ธ RawTherapee provides a multitude of sliders and options for fine-tuning every aspect of the image, including exposure, contrast, and noise reduction.
  • ๐Ÿ“Š The software features a histogram for color channel analysis and various tabs for organizing different editing functions, such as exposure, sharpening, and color adjustments.
  • โœ… Both editors offer the ability to save edited photos in JPEG format, ensuring compatibility for sharing and printing, but remember to save your work as the changes are not stored between sessions.
  • ๐Ÿ“š For further learning in photography and editing, consider exploring resources like Tony Northrup's book on stunning digital photography, which goes beyond tools and focuses on the art of capturing the perfect image.

Q & A

  • What are the two free photo editors discussed by Tony Northrup?

    -The two free photo editors discussed are Photoscape X and RawTherapee.

  • What are the requirements Tony had for the photo editors he was looking for?

    -Tony's requirements were that the editors should be able to edit both raw pictures and JPEG photos, allow browsing of computer folders, enable editing within a single app, and work on both Windows and Mac.

  • How can one download Photoscape X?

    -Photoscape X can be downloaded by visiting the URL provided by Tony, which is There is a trick to accessing the free version, which involves clicking on the 'free trial' link instead of the 'buy' option.

  • What is the difference between the free and paid version of Photoscape X?

    -The free version of Photoscape X offers unlimited trial capabilities, while the paid version provides additional tools marked with 'Pro' for more advanced photo editing.

  • How does Photoscape X handle RAW files?

    -Photoscape X processes RAW files quite well, even with high-resolution images. It does not allow overwriting of RAW photos but encourages saving edits to a new file.

  • What is the main advantage of using a mask in photo editing?

    -The main advantage of using a mask in photo editing is the ability to apply changes to specific parts of the picture without affecting the entire image, allowing for more precise and targeted adjustments.

  • What is the primary difference between Photoscape X and RawTherapee in terms of user interface?

    -Photoscape X has a more straightforward and less intimidating interface, making it suitable for most users. In contrast, RawTherapee offers a highly flexible interface with many sliders and options, which might be overwhelming for some but appealing to users who enjoy fine-tuning and tweaking.

  • Why would someone choose RawTherapee over Photoscape X?

    -A user might choose RawTherapee over Photoscape X if they are comfortable with a more complex interface and require more advanced control over their photo editing, including the ability to save and recall edits between sessions.

  • How does Tony Northrup suggest saving edited photos in Photoscape X?

    -Tony suggests always saving edited photos as a new file, preferably in JPEG format, to avoid overwriting the original image.

  • What is the benefit of using the 'Auto' features in photo editing software?

    -The 'Auto' features, such as Auto Levels and Auto Contrast, can quickly improve a photo by making basic adjustments to its exposure and contrast, providing a good starting point for further manual adjustments.

  • What advice does Tony give for those who want to learn the art of photography?

    -Tony advises that the art of photography is not just about technical aspects like sliders and buttons but also about lighting, mood, expression, timing, subject matter, and composition. He recommends his book 'Stunning Digital Photography' for further learning.



๐Ÿ“ท Introduction to Free Photo Editors

Tony Northrup introduces two free photo editing applications that meet specific requirements: editing raw and JPEG photos, browsing and editing within a single app, and compatibility with both Windows and Mac. The first app discussed is PhotoScape X, which can be downloaded from a specific URL. Tony shares a trick about downloading the free version instead of the paid one and demonstrates the app's capabilities, including browsing drives and files, organizing favorite folders, and using various tools within the editor.


๐ŸŽจ Editing Photos in PhotoScape X

The video script details the process of editing a photo in PhotoScape X. It covers the use of Auto levels and Auto contrast to improve the photo, addressing color issues with the white balance tool, and brightening the image. The editor's interface is explored, including sliders for brightness, contrast, clarity, vibrance, and the use of light and shadows and dark and highlights tools. The importance of saving edits in a new file rather than overwriting the original is emphasized, and the power of the masking tool for localized adjustments is showcased.


๐ŸŒ„ Editing a Challenging Landscape Photo

The paragraph discusses the process of editing a challenging landscape photo taken at a high ISO during a moonrise. The steps include cropping the image, using Auto contrast, adjusting color and dehaze, and managing highlights. The paragraph also addresses noise reduction, using both global and localized noise reduction techniques with a mask to protect details in the sky. The importance of saving the edited image to avoid losing changes is highlighted.


๐Ÿ“ˆ Adjusting Exposure and Color in Photo Editing

The focus is on adjusting exposure, color, and other settings in photo editing software. The process includes using Auto levels and contrast, deepening the image, and managing highlights. The paragraph also discusses the use of clarity adjustments, exposure, and color temperature to achieve a more natural look. Noise reduction techniques are explored, emphasizing the trade-offs between sharpness and noise elimination, and the use of a mask tool for localized noise reduction.


๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ Creative Tools in PhotoScape X

The video script describes additional creative tools available in PhotoScape X, such as the vignette tool for a vintage look, the film tool for quick application of various edits and filters, light leaks for creative overlays, duotone for dramatic filters, frames for adding picture frames, and the insert tool for adding text. The paragraph also mentions the batch processing, collage creation, GIF creation, and printing functionalities of PhotoScape X.


๐Ÿ’ป Downloading and Using RawTherapy

The paragraph explains the process of downloading and installing RawTherapy, a more technical photo editing tool for those comfortable with IT. The process includes selecting the correct version for one's system, dealing with zip files, and navigating the installation. Once installed, RawTherapy offers powerful editing options, including a histogram, exposure adjustments, and sharpening features. The interface is more complex, with many sliders and options that can be overwhelming but are powerful for those who are not intimidated by them.


๐Ÿ” Advanced Editing with Raw Therapy

The video script discusses advanced editing techniques using Raw Therapy, including adjusting exposure, black levels, highlight compression, and saturation. It also covers the use of shadow compression, local contrast, and sharpening tools. The paragraph highlights the ability of Raw Therapy to remember edits between sessions, which is useful for making adjustments without starting from scratch. The script concludes with a recommendation for PhotoScape X for most users and Raw Therapy for those who prefer more control and advanced options.



๐Ÿ’กPhoto editors

Photo editors are software applications designed for editing and enhancing digital images. In the context of the video, the focus is on free photo editors that can handle raw and JPEG files, such as Photoscape X and RawTherapee, which are introduced as cost-effective alternatives to professional editing tools.


RAW is an image file format that contains unprocessed or minimally processed data from digital cameras. It allows for extensive editing without significant loss of quality, as opposed to JPEGs which are compressed and may lose quality upon editing. The video emphasizes the importance of photo editors that support RAW files for professional-level photo manipulation.

๐Ÿ’กPhotoscape X

Photoscape X is a free photo editing software that offers a wide range of tools for image manipulation, including browsing folders, editing pictures, and applying various effects and adjustments. It is highlighted in the video as a user-friendly option that provides a free, unlimited trial version with ample features for basic photo editing needs.


RawTherapee is another free photo editing software that is mentioned in the video as a suitable alternative for those who are comfortable with more complex interfaces and require more advanced editing options. It is noted for its powerful tools and flexibility, although it may have a steeper learning curve compared to Photoscape X.


JPEG, short for Joint Photographic Experts Group, is a commonly used format for digital images that employs lossy compression to reduce file size. While JPEGs are widely supported and easy to share, editing them can lead to a degradation in image quality due to their compressed nature. The video discusses the importance of saving edited images as new JPEG files to preserve quality.

๐Ÿ’กAuto levels

Auto levels is a feature in photo editing software that automatically adjusts the tonal range of an image to improve its overall appearance. It works by analyzing the dark and light areas of the photo and adjusting the levels to achieve a more balanced and visually pleasing result. In the video, this tool is presented as a quick and easy way to enhance images with minimal effort.

๐Ÿ’กWhite balance

White balance is a crucial aspect of photo editing that involves adjusting the color temperature of an image to achieve a natural and accurate representation of colors. It corrects the discoloration caused by different light sources and ensures that whites appear white, regardless of the lighting conditions when the photo was taken. The video shows how to use the white balance tool in photo editors to fix color problems in images.


Masking in photo editing is a technique that allows the user to apply effects or adjustments to specific areas of an image while protecting other areas from changes. It involves selecting or 'masking out' parts of the image to target edits, such as increasing local contrast or adjusting brightness, without affecting the entire photo. The video showcases the power of masking in bringing out details in specific parts of an image, like the texture in hair.

๐Ÿ’กNoise reduction

Noise reduction is a photo editing process that aims to minimize or eliminate visual noise, which appears as random speckles or graininess in an image, often caused by high ISO settings in low light conditions. By reducing noise, the image is made to look cleaner and more professional. The video discusses the use of noise reduction tools in photo editors to improve the quality of high ISO photos with excessive noise.


A vignette is a photo editing technique that involves darkening the corners or edges of an image to draw attention to the central subject. It creates a nostalgic or vintage look by mimicking the imperfections of old cameras and lenses. The video mentions the use of a vignette tool in Photoscape X as a creative way to enhance the visual appeal of a photo by focusing the viewer's attention on the main subject.


Photoscape X and RawTherapee are two free photo editors that can edit both RAW and JPEG photos.

Both editors allow browsing and editing photos within a single app and are compatible with Windows and Mac.

Photoscape X offers a free unlimited trial version with paid Pro features.

The Auto levels and Auto contrast tools in Photoscape X can quickly improve most pictures.

Photoscape X provides a masking tool for applying changes to specific parts of a photo.

RawTherapee is a powerful tool with a more complex interface, ideal for users comfortable with tweaking settings.

RawTherapee saves edits between sessions, allowing for more flexibility and less rework.

Photoscape X includes a variety of creative tools such as film filters, light leaks, and frames.

The vignette tool in Photoscape X can add a vintage feel and focus viewer attention on the center of the image.

RawTherapee offers a comprehensive set of sliders for fine-tuning various aspects of a photo.

Both editors support batch processing, collage creation, and other advanced features.

Photoscape X is recommended for most users due to its user-friendly interface, despite not saving edits between sessions.

RawTherapee is better suited for advanced users who are not overwhelmed by its extensive feature set.

The presenter recommends saving edited photos as new files to avoid overwriting originals.

Noise reduction is an important feature in both editors, especially for high ISO photos.

Photoscape X and RawTherapee are both powerful and free alternatives to paid photo editing software.

The presenter suggests getting his book 'Stunning Digital Photography' for further learning.

Professional editing tools like Lightroom and Photoshop are recommended for users looking to step up their editing game.