FREE Photo Editors (RAW): Photoscape X & RawTherapee

Tony & Chelsea Northrup
21 Nov 201633:41

TLDRIn this video, Tony Northrup reviews two free photo editing applications, Photoscape X and RawTherapee, which he selected based on their ability to edit both RAW and JPEG images, browse computer folders, and work seamlessly on both Windows and Mac systems. Photoscape X offers an unlimited trial version with basic editing tools, while RawTherapee provides a more advanced and customizable editing experience, suitable for users comfortable with fine-tuning their images. Both applications are praised for their free availability and versatility in photo editing.


  • πŸ“· **Photoscape X and RawTherapee** are two free photo editing software that can edit both RAW and JPEG photos.
  • πŸ’» These applications are compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems.
  • 🌐 To download Photoscape X, visit the provided URL and select the free trial option, which doesn't expire.
  • πŸ“‚ Photoscape X allows users to browse folders and edit pictures within a single application.
  • πŸ”„ The editor in Photoscape X has six different tabs, including a non-destructive editing feature that doesn't overwrite the original photo.
  • βš™οΈ RawTherapee offers a more complex and powerful set of tools, with many sliders for fine-tuning adjustments, which might be overwhelming for some users.
  • 🎨 Both editors provide tools for color correction, exposure adjustment, and other enhancements, with RawTherapee providing more in-depth options.
  • πŸ” Photoscape X includes a masking tool for localized adjustments, which is useful for targeting specific areas of the photo.
  • πŸ“š RawTherapee saves edits between sessions, allowing for incremental adjustments without starting over.
  • πŸ–Ό Both programs offer additional creative tools like filters, vignettes, and frames to enhance the photos.
  • πŸ“š The presenter also recommends a book for learning the art of photography, emphasizing that it's about more than just software tools.

Q & A

  • What are the two free photo editors discussed in the transcript?

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

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

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

  • How can you download Photoscape X?

    -You can download Photoscape X by visiting the URL provided ( There might be a little trick to get the free version, which involves clicking on a 'free trial' link, even though the trial doesn't expire.

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

    -The free version of Photoscape X offers unlimited trial capabilities, while the paid version provides additional tools and features marked with 'Pro'.

  • How does Photoscape X handle RAW files?

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

  • What is the role of the 'masking' tool in Photoscape X?

    -The masking tool in Photoscape X allows users to apply changes to specific parts of a picture. It's useful for enhancing details in certain areas without affecting the entire image.

  • What is the main advantage of RawTherapee over Photoscape X?

    -RawTherapee saves edits between sessions, allowing users to return to their work and make further adjustments without starting from scratch.

  • Why might some users find RawTherapee overwhelming?

    -RawTherapee offers a highly flexible interface with an extensive array of sliders and options, which can be intimidating and overwhelming for users not accustomed to such a level of detail in photo editing.

  • How does Tony Northrup suggest using the film tool presets in Photoscape X?

    -Tony suggests using the film tool presets as creative inspiration. Users can hover over each preset to get a preview and choose the one that matches the style of their photo, even if they don't use it exactly as is.

  • What is the recommended approach when editing a photo that has a lot of noise?

    -First, apply a small amount of noise reduction to the entire image, then use the mask tool to apply additional noise reduction selectively, especially to areas without significant detail, like the sky.

  • What is the importance of saving your work in Photoscape X?

    -It is crucial to save your work in Photoscape X because the application does not store changes and remember them between sessions. If you don't save, you will lose all your edits.



πŸ“· Introduction to Free Photo Editors

Tony Northrup introduces two free photo editing apps that meet his criteria: editing raw and JPEG photos, browsing and editing within a single app, and compatibility with Windows and Mac. He emphasizes that while there are paid versions, the free versions offer unlimited trial capabilities without expiration. Photoscape X is highlighted first, with a brief mention of downloading it from a specific URL.


πŸ–ΌοΈ Photo Editing with Photoscape X

The video demonstrates using Photoscape X, starting with downloading and installing the app. It covers basic navigation, browsing folders, and using the viewer to sort and view images. The editor tab is explored with a focus on free tools available, including auto levels, white balance, brightness, and clarity adjustments. The power of the app's sliders for adjusting exposure and color temperature is shown, along with the use of a mask to apply changes to specific parts of a photo.


πŸŒ„ Editing a Challenging Landscape Photo

The script moves on to editing a landscape photo with high ISO noise and a bright moon. It discusses cropping for composition, using auto contrast, and adjusting sliders like deepen, dehaze, and highlight reduction. The importance of saving edits in JPEG format and the option to work with RAW files are mentioned. The paragraph concludes with a demonstration of the noise reduction feature and the use of a mask for targeted adjustments.


πŸ“ˆ Advanced Adjustments and Saving Work

The paragraph discusses further adjustments to a photo, such as clarity and exposure, and the use of the compare feature to assess changes. It emphasizes the need to save work to avoid losing edits. The video also touches on the challenges of editing a high-ISO image with noise and how to use noise reduction effectively. The use of a mask for localized noise reduction is demonstrated, and the importance of saving the edited image is reiterated.


🎨 Creative Tools and Final Touches

Additional tools in Photoscape X are explored, including the vignette tool for a vintage look, the film tool for quick edits and inspiration, and other creative overlays like light leaks and duotone filters. The frames tool for adding borders and the insert tool for adding text to photos are also mentioned. The paragraph concludes with a summary of Photoscape X's capabilities and a recommendation for those who prefer more advanced controls to try RawTherapy.


πŸ’» Downloading and Using RawTherapy

The process of downloading and installing RawTherapy is detailed, noting the need to select the correct version for one's system. The interface of RawTherapy is described as similar to Photoscape X but with more advanced options. The video covers adjusting exposure, black levels, and highlight compression. It also mentions the use of a histogram for color channels and the ability to save edits between sessions, which is a significant advantage over Photoscape X.


πŸ” Final Thoughts on Photo Editing Software

The video concludes with a comparison of Photoscape X and RawTherapy, noting that while Photoscape X is user-friendly, RawTherapy offers more advanced options and saves edits between sessions. It encourages viewers to subscribe for more content and to purchase a book on photography for a deeper understanding of the art beyond the technical aspects. The importance of lighting, mood, expression, timing, subject matter, and composition in photography is highlighted.



πŸ’‘Photoscape X

Photoscape X is a free photo editing software that offers a wide range of tools for enhancing and manipulating images. It is highlighted in the video for its ability to edit both RAW and JPEG photos, browse folders, and perform edits all within a single application. It is particularly noted for its free, unlimited trial version which includes many useful tools for photo enhancement without requiring a paid upgrade.


RawTherapee is another free photo editor mentioned in the video, which is more suitable for users with a technical background or those who are comfortable with fine-tuning and tweaking their images. It is described as a powerful tool with a complex interface that provides a multitude of options and sliders for in-depth photo editing.


RAW is a type of image file format that contains unprocessed data from a digital camera's image sensor. It is often preferred by photographers for its high quality and flexibility in post-production. In the video, the ability to edit RAW files is a key requirement and is demonstrated as a feature in both Photoscape X and RawTherapee.


JPEG is a commonly used image file format that is compressed to reduce file size, making it ideal for sharing and web use. The video emphasizes the importance of saving edits in a new JPEG file to preserve the original image data, and it is one of the formats that both photo editors in the video can handle.

πŸ’‘Auto Levels

Auto Levels is a feature in photo editing software that automatically adjusts the contrast and tonal range of an image to achieve a balanced look. It is used in the video to quickly improve the appearance of a photo with just a single click.

πŸ’‘White Balance

White balance is a setting in photo editing that adjusts the colors in an image to match the light source so that what appears white to the human eye is rendered white in the photo. The video demonstrates using a dropper tool in both editors to correct the white balance by selecting a neutral area in the image.

πŸ’‘Masking Tool

A masking tool in photo editing allows users to apply changes to specific parts of an image while protecting the rest. In the video, the masking tool is used to selectively adjust the shadows in a portrait to bring out more detail in the hair without affecting the entire image.

πŸ’‘Noise Reduction

Noise reduction is a feature used to minimize the appearance of grain or random speckles in an image, often introduced by high ISO settings in camera shooting. The video shows how to use noise reduction tools in both Photoscape X and RawTherapee to clean up images taken in low light conditions.

πŸ’‘Crop Tool

The crop tool is a fundamental feature in photo editing software that allows users to remove unwanted areas from an image and to adjust the composition. In the video, the crop tool is used to tighten the composition of landscape photos and to frame a wildlife photo more effectively.


A vignette is a gradual transition from the image content to the edge, often darker, which can draw attention to the center of the photo and add an artistic or nostalgic feel. The video demonstrates adding a vignette effect to a photo for creative purposes using Photoscape X.

πŸ’‘Batch Processing

Batch processing is the ability to apply the same set of edits to multiple images at once, which is a time-saving feature for editing a large number of photos. Photoscape X has a batch tab that allows users to process multiple pictures simultaneously with the same settings.


Tony Northrup covers two free photo editors, Photoscape X and RawTherapee, suitable for both Windows and Mac.

Photoscape X offers a free unlimited trial version with no expiration date.

The free version of Photoscape X includes basic editing tools without requiring a paid upgrade.

Photoscape X allows users to browse drives and files, and edit pictures within a single app.

The Auto levels and Auto contrast features in Photoscape X can significantly improve most pictures with a single click.

Photoscape X provides a white balance tool to correct color issues in photos.

The editor in Photoscape X supports RAW file editing without overwriting the original file.

RawTherapee is a powerful, free tool with a more complex interface that may appeal to users comfortable with advanced tweaking.

RawTherapee saves edits between sessions, allowing for more flexibility when making adjustments.

Both editors support a variety of file formats, including RAW and JPEG, and offer tools for browsing, editing, and enhancing photos.

Photoscape X includes a batch processing feature for simultaneous editing of multiple images.

RawTherapee provides advanced controls for exposure, sharpening, and noise reduction.

The masking tool in Photoscape X allows for localized adjustments to specific areas of a photo.

Photoscape X offers creative tools like vignetting, film filters, and light leaks for unique stylistic effects.

RawTherapee's interface includes a histogram for precise color channel adjustments.

Both tools are recommended for users looking for free, powerful photo editing solutions.

Tony Northrup emphasizes the importance of understanding lighting, mood, expression, timing, subject matter, and composition in photography.