Similar to Lightroom photo editing software Archives

Similar to Lightroom photo editing software Archives

similar to Lightroom photo editing software Archives

similar to Lightroom photo editing software Archives

Is the New Luminar 3 for 2019 the Best Lightroom Alternative?

There’s a storm brewing on the horizon – a photo editing software battle or possibly an all-out war. Adobe’s recent announcement and Lightroom “upgrades” have a lot of people upset and looking for a Lightroom alternative.

The LR bandwagon is a busy place as many photographers are rapidly jumping off!

Many people are tired of the subscription model and paying monthly fees just to have their software of choice.

Others yet have resisted that route. But they will now be forced to make a decision as Lightroom 6 is the last version that will be available for outright purchase.

So, if you’re in that boat you will have two options to choose from:

One: You can either bite the bullet and sign up for Adobe’s photographer’s plan for $9.99 USD a month.

Two: You can stick with LR6 for infinity, but it won’t be updated or supported by Adobe moving forward.

So that new camera you buy next year – its raw files won’t be recognized by LR6.

Enter Luminar – the Lightroom Alternative

There are a LOT of players stepping up to the plate, looking to take a bigger piece of the photo editing software market from Adobe. Some companies we haven’t heard a peep from in years, and others brand new to the market are appearing with RAW processors.

See what Luminar has to offer as a Lightroom alternative.

A few Lightroom alternatives available include the following:

  • ACDsee Photo Editor 10 – $59.99 USD (Note: it is for Windows only) I’ll admit I don’t know much about this one, but there is a free trial if you want to test it out.
  • On1 Raw 2018 – $119-149 USD – now available for purchase.
  • Corel AfterShot Pro – $59 USD – They made Paint Shop Pro which I used pre-Photoshop way back in about 1993! They still make that and now have come out with a raw processor as well. A trial version is available.
  • DxO OpticsPro (note: now called DxO Photo Lab) – $129-199 USD – two versions available, as well as a trial option.
  • Affinity Photo – approx $54 USD – They do have a free trial available. Perhaps I’ll try it out and write about it soon as well.
  • Phase One Capture One Pro – $299 USD – this one is high-end aimed at professionals. If Lightroom is too complicated, this one will be way over your head.
  • Luminar 3 – $79 USD – See a comparison

I wanted to offer a special incentive to my readers who may be interested in getting Luminar. They were nice enough to provide a $10 off discount coupon.

Luminar 3 DISCOUNT CODE:Get a discount if you decide that Luminar is the best photo editing software for you. Use the code: DIGITALPHOTOMENTOR when you check out to save $10 US.

Lightroom vs Luminar Feature Comparison List

You can see a full list of features in a side-by-side comparison between Luminar and Lightroom here.

I think Macphun is getting ready to take on Adobe head-to-head by presenting an alternative to Lightroom.

Example Luminar workflow

Because Luminar has the ability to apply edits on a layer, you can group together the type of edits you’re applying. Meaning, if you want to punch up the sky as I did – make a “Sky” layer and apply all the filters that will do a nice job on the sky.

Then you can adjust each filter to your taste, then apply a layer mask, filter masks, or lower the layer opacity to control the overall look.

Then select your next area to work on, make a new adjustment layer and apply filters that are applicable there.

It’s super easy to paint in an effect on a small area, or multiple areas of the image – without affecting the entire photo.

Here is an example of one image, with each step in my workflow in Luminar outlined.

Is Luminar the best Lightroom alternative?

If you watched my review of Luminar back a few months, you’ll know that it impressed me.

I liked it a LOT more than I thought I was going to.

In fact, I like it so much I’ve recently been using it to “finish” my images after processing them in Lightroom.

But is it going to be a good alternative for Lightroom? That’s the question I’ve been asked multiple times.

I’ll list a few of the pros and cons of Luminar to help you decide. It does some things really well but still falls just slightly short in other areas, in my opinion.

Here’s a short video walk-through of Luminar 2018 (a previous version) to give you an idea how it works.

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Pros of Luminar 3

  • Handles raw files well.
  • Works as a plugin for Photoshop, Lightroom, Apple Photos OR as a stand-alone product.
  • Simple to use and a user-friendly interface.
  • NO monthly subscription needed. One purchase is good for licensing up to five of your devices – for $79
  • Works with layers so you can do non-destructive editing.
  • Works with Presets and Filters which make it easy to do one or two-click editing and call it a day.
  • It is flexible and adjustable with layer opacity, masks, and local adjustment tools that allow you to apply effects to your entire image, or just a portion of it.
  • You can save a native Luminar file that preserves your layers and history – so you can come back to editing any time, with all your options and edits available for adjustment.
  • Luminar comes with a lot of really great filters including the Accent AI Filter that is sometimes all you need. You can see my favorite filters shown below.
  • You can easily export and post your images to social media, email and other sites with an easy “Share to” system all set up for you!

Cons of Luminar

I mentioned there are a few things that Lightroom still does better than Luminar.

In all fairness, I think that in time they may just catch up, but for now, there are a couple little things you will miss in Luminar if you’re currently a Lightroom user.

  • The RAW processor (filter) isn’t a full-featured as Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) which operates inside both PS and LR. It’s missing targeted adjustment tools (so you can darken a certain tone by selecting it on the image), auto perspective correction, auto level, and crop, etc. Basically some of the automated handy stuff LR can do.
  • Currently, there isn’t a way to see all your images and sort, cull, and manage them. That is coming with their announced Digital Asset Management module being added in 2018. So, I’ll wait to reserve judgment on that until I’ve tried it out.
  • The Cloning and Healing tool is a bit clunky. But it’s a new feature, so I expect it to only get better. LR’s cloning tool was not great in its first iteration either.
  • It’s easy to go too far. I find the presets and sliders in Luminar will take your image over the top into “over-processed land” really fast if you aren’t careful. But use restraint and apply them subtly, lower the opacity of filters and layers, and you’ll be fine.

What’s new in Luminar 2018

Perhaps you already have Luminar and are wondering if it’s worth upgrading to Luminar 2018.

I say yes!

It’s incredibly affordable to do so and there’s already been a lot of new stuff added, and more coming.

Here are just some of the new features and filters. Many of the existing ones have been updated and improved as well.

  • Better filter masking
  • New user interface
  • Lens corrections (distortion and chromatic aberration control)
  • Transform tool for perspective control and corrections
  • New filters (Sun Rays, Brilliance/Warmth, Hue Shift, Dodge/Burn, Lookup tables)
  • Real-time denoise
  • Save filter masks as a preset
  • Supports other third-party Plugins for Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop

Updated Windows version

If you are using a Windows machine, there is now an almost equally functional Windows version. The beta version has had many upgrades and you can now purchase the full program for Windows. More features are being rolled out over the next few months.

What’s coming next?

A couple of interesting things are coming up for Luminar and Macphun.

Name change – introducing Skylum

First, Macphun made an announcement recently that they will be rebranding in 2018 and their name will change to Skylum. So that will give you an idea of how invested the company is in continuing development of PC software.

They’ve gone so far as to remove the “Mac” from their name. So they will no longer be just Mac software specialists – but photo editing software specialists across both platforms.

They are setting up to give Adobe a run for their money – especially in light of Adobe’s recent announcements and Lightroom updates. More on the below.

Digital Asset Management coming soon

The second exciting thing is that Macphun has also announced that they will be adding a Digital Asset Management element to Luminar in 2018. Here’s what it says on the Luminar 2018 FAQ page.

Here is a short preview from the Macphun YouTube channel.

Luminar photo editing software for portraits?

Why not. Let’s have a look.

The bottom line

I’m personally not going to be switching from Lightroom any time soon (I’ll be using the LR Classic version).

But I will continue to use Luminar in addition to Lightroom.

If you’re feeling like you’re going to stick with LR, I’m there with you. But I suggest give Luminar a try anyway.

You might be as surprised by it as I was, and add it to your toolbox.

Luminar might just be the answer for you – if you fit either of these categories

First, if you’re currently using LR6 and refuse to pay the monthly subscription fee.

Secondly, if you aren’t using any photo editing software yet and find it all a bit intimidating.

You’ll likely be pleasantly surprised at how easy Luminar is with its Quick and Easy workspace and use of Presets.

Either way – you can’t go wrong taking Luminar for a spin.

At $79 the price point is certainly pocket-book friendly, and with a free trial available, what have you got to lose?

Is Luminar 3 the Lightroom alternative you think would work for you? Let me know in the comments.

UPDATE: I wanted to offer a special incentive to my readers who may be interested in getting Luminar. They were nice enough to provide a $10 off discount coupon.

Luminar 3 DISCOUNT CODE:Get a discount if you decide that Luminar is the best photo editing software for you. Use the code: DIGITALPHOTOMENTOR when you check out to save $10 US.


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, similar to Lightroom photo editing software Archives

The Top 5 Free Alternatives to Lightroom

by Alexandra Bateman on Aug 25, 2020

Adobe is one of the world’s best-known brands when it comes to photo editing. With industry standard photo editing software like Photoshop and Lightroom, there isn’t an effect you can’t achieve with Adobe. Given that Adobe is so powerful, you might be wondering if there are free alternatives to Lightroom and Photoshop.

While Photoshop may be the better-known tool, Adobe Lightroom is the solution that many professional photographers rely on to process RAW images and organize content via names, tags, and metadata. The question is, what if you don’t have the cash to pay for Adobe’s Creative Cloud Plan? Are there any free alternatives to Lightroom?

The short answer is yes! Digital photo editing programs have come a long way in recent years, and many reputable companies now make their own free photo editors. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the best Lightroom-style editors you can get for free, including:

  • RawTherapee
  • Irfanview
  • Lightzone
  • Chasys Draw IES
  • Google Photos

Free Alternatives to Lightroom

1. RawTherapee

RawTherapee is one of the best-known free alternatives to Lightroom on the market today. It’s respected for its lightning-fast performance, as well as it’s excellent batch processing and workflow support features. This advanced open-source alternative to Lightroom is great for dealing with raw files and compressed images.

Like Lightroom CC, it also supports non-destructive editing, which means that you can revert back to your original files whenever you need. The program’s advanced image-processing toolkit lets you adjust sharpness, colors, noise and more in minutes. If you’re a Lightroom user, you’ll also be happy to know that RawTherapee’s user interface mirrors that of Adobe’s leading photo editor, so you’ll be able to jump right into editing.

But, if you’re worried about support, RawTherapee does have its own extensive documentation. You can find all you need to learn the ins and outs of the program at RawPedia, an online encyclopedia of all things related to the software.


  • Non-destructive editing
  • Photo-editing programs
  • Batch processing
  • Excellent documentation


  • History resets as soon as you close the app
  • Not quite as feature-rich as Lightroom
  • Doesn’t do photo management

2. IrfanView

IrfanView is another great addition to this list of image editors. It combines an advanced image editing system with fantastic organization and photo management features. While this program isn’t the most advanced choice on the market, it’s packed full of great tools for professionals with a range of abilities. IrfanView is also one of the best options for cataloging your images and editing metadata.

Perhaps one of the biggest draws of this Lightroom alternative is its customization options. The software offers a variety of plugins to help expand its capabilities, including some that allow the program to read different file types. Other plugins allow you to paint with the software and even add additional features.

IrfanView also comes with regular updates and a lively community of forum users that are happy to offer assistance.


  • Great raw format support
  • Batch editing tools
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Very fast
  • Multi-language support


  • UI isn’t ideal
  • GIF viewing has bugs
  • Difficult to find preferences at first
  • Only available to PC users

3. LightZone

Another fantastic choice, LightZone is a non-destructive editing tool with excellent raw processing solutions. While you use to have to agree to sign up for an account before you could use this substitute for Lightroom, you can now download it without creating an account.

LightZone allows you to stack and organize filters according to your needs, as well as edit them using a variety of professional tools.


  • Vector-based selection tools
  • Non-destructive editing
  • Excellent support for RAW files


  • Difficult website
  • Basic asset management features

4. Chasys Draw IES

Chasys Draw is an excellent multi-functional photo editing tool and a good option for those in search of free alternatives to Lightroom. Alongside a selection of great image editing tools, Chasys Draw also comes with an image capture mode you can use to capture video or still photos from your desktop.

If you’re familiar with Photoshop, you’ll love that Chasys Draw IES is also a layer-based editor, which makes creating local adjustments (like local hue adjustments) easy. And, like Photoshop, Chasys Draw IES also even allows you to create animations!

While the raw processing of Chasys isn’t as intuitive as some other options out there, you do get a lot of control over your image editing options.

Chasys also supports raw files from many of the world’s largest camera manufacturers.


  • Flexible and powerful program
  • Clean coding
  • Fast and efficient


  • Complex user interface
  • Steep learning curve

5. Google Photos

Google Photos isn’t the most in-depth alternative to Lightroom, but it is a great place to manage, store, and sort your images. It is available both online and as an app, with an optional desktop tool you can use to upload extra images.

Google’s photo program is also very convenient for editing and managing photos on Android phones. You can use the online interface to convert and process your raw images as well.

Sadly, there’s nothing close to the processing power of Lightroom included with Photos. However, it’s still worth thinking about if you’re looking for free alternatives, especially if you need a cloud based service.

Because Google stores all of your images in a digital cloud, you can access them from any device at any time. That makes this Lightroom alternative perfect for on-the-go photo editors.


  • Simple and intuitive interface
  • Free online storage
  • Selection of filters to choose from
  • Mobile application


  • Limited processing power
  • Not as many features as Lightroom


There’s no doubt about it, Lightroom and Lightroom Mobile are powerful photo editors. It’s hard to compete with their range of features including custom presets, batch processing, non-destructive RAW editing capabilities, and more. But finding a free Lightroom alternative is possible!

Try the photo editors on this list for yourself to see how they compare to Adobe’s Lightroom. If you’re looking for even more Lightroom alternative software, check out Capture One Pro, Corel PaintShop Pro, Affinity Photo, or any of the others on this list.

You might also be interested in these related articles:

Those are our top five free alternatives to Lightroom on the market today. What are your favorite tools to use instead of Lightroom? Let us know in the comments, and remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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similar to Lightroom photo editing software Archives

The best Adobe Lightroom alternatives for 2020

Adobe’s Lightroom software is undoubtedly the best known way to organize and edit large photo libraries, but it’s not the only option in town. Adobe’s shift to monthly subscriptions rather than an upfront payment has left many users out in the cold, and thankfully a number of Lightroom alternatives are available, and they range from free apps to comparatively expensive (and powerful) programs.

There are several other software choices that photographers can use to edit their images, all with their own unique strengths. Take a look at our list of Lightroom alternatives for a cost-efficient and user-friendly tool that you can use today.

At a glance:

Best Lightroom Alternative: Skylum Luminar


  • Photoshop-like layers
  • Unique A.I.-based tools
  • $69 perpetual license


  • More organizing tools, including keywords
  • Better auto masking tools
  • $10 a month, including Photoshop

While Skylum Luminar has long been a popular RAW photo editor, the program didn’t really become a Lightroom alternative until it added digital asset management in 2018. Now, the program includes both tools for organizing images and editing them, leaving the original RAW files untouched. And thanks to a focus on artificial intelligence, it even has some options that Lightroom doesn’t.

Luminar is quick to import images and organize them and includes culling tools like flags, stars, and color labels. The organization tool that’s missing most is the option to add keywords, which makes photos easier to search for later if you take the time to tag them initially.

While Luminar has many of the same editing tools as Lightroom, the program starts off with a bigger focus on presets and one-click edits, which can help newbies get acquainted with the software. Despite the push for presets, the advanced editing tools remain intact if you prefer a hands-on approach.

In some ways, Luminar has more tools than Lightroom. When we last took Luminar for a test drive — which was before the cataloging feature was added — one of our favorite tools was an option to add sun rays, and when done right, the effect was realistic. Luminar also has an artificially intelligent digital polarizing filter, sky enhancer, and details enhancer. The latest version uses A.I. to automatically swap out the sky and turns the usually complex task of editing portraits into a set of sliders.

While Luminar has a handful of unique tools — particularly ones developed with A.I. — there are a few things that Lightroom still does better. Lightroom’s range masks make local edits simpler and the healing brush tool also seemed to perform faster. Still, with the mix of the digital asset management and A.I.-based tools that you can’t really find anywhere else, Luminar is an excellent Lightroom alternative. The program costs about seven months’ worth of a Lightroom/Photoshop subscription, but it’s a one time purchase. Luminar can also be used in conjunction with Lightroom, thanks to the new Flex plug-in.

Best free Lightroom Alternative: RAWTherapee


  • Mac, Windows, and Linux
  • Free
  • No imports necessary


  • More organizational tools
  • More local adjustment tools
  • $10 a month, bundled with Photoshop
  • Free accompanying mobile app

RawTherapee is to Lightroom what GIMP is to Photoshop. The program is an open-source (read: free) RAW photo editor with a number of features that are similar to Lightroom’s. Like other RAW processors, RawTherapee is non-destructive, always keeping your original RAW files intact.

While RawTherapee will allow you to browse through folders of RAW images, it doesn’t offer the same level of organization that Lightroom does. Opening a folder in RAWTherapee automatically adds the images to the program. That means there’s no import process, but it also means there are no collections to organize photos. RawTherapee users instead use a folder structure to organize files, while Lightroom users can use both a folder structure or catalogs that don’t change the location of the original file. (Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic differ in how they manage original files, with Lightroom CC keeping everything in a single location; the albums and folders you create within the app do not correspond to actual folders in your computer’s file system.)

While organizing files is vastly different, the open-source program has many of the same editing tools as Lightroom. Basic options like adjusting exposure and sharpening are included, as well as more advanced tools like curves and color correction. Many of Lightroom’s local adjustment tools, such as the healing brush tool, are missing, however.

RawTherapee is organized in workspaces based on tabs — while Lightroom Classic also uses tabs, most photographers stay in just the Library and Develop modules, while Lightroom CC does away with modules altogether in favor of tool panels. With RawTherapee, color adjustments are in one tab, sharpening is in another. And as with most less popular Lightroom alternatives, RAWTherapee doesn’t have as many tutorials to help learn the program’s different features.

Best all-in-one Lightroom alternative: On1 Photo RAW

ON1 Photo RAW

  • Photoshop-like layer editing
  • Focus stacking
  • Facial-recognition tools for retouching
  • Perpetual license


  • Can be faster
  • Cloud editing
  • More powerful catalogs

Created by a small Oregon-based company, ON1 Photo RAW mixes a Lightroom-like digital asset management system with Photoshop-like single-image editing tools. The program contains many — though not all — of the same tools as Lightroom, but also includes several features that Adobe users typically turn to Photoshop for, like layers.

On1 Photo RAW also doesn’t require importing images — the program automatically recognizes images stored on your hard drive. While that takes away the import step, it also takes away some flexibility, since Lightroom catalogs are easier to back up thanks to Adobe’s cloud storage. (And how much time this really saves is debatable; you still need to copy images off the card onto your computer, after all, whereas importing straight into a program removes that extra step.)

Editing tools between the two programs are similar. Unlike Capture One Pro (below), On1 RAW still includes HDR and panorama tools. It even offers focus stacking, something for which Lightroom users would need Photoshop. And while is included in the Creative Cloud Photography Plan, sending a photo to it from Lightroom will result in a redundant copy being made; the original RAW is still there, but you can’t redo any of your RAW adjustments on the version that was edited in . On1 Photo RAW also has a portrait editing tab that automatically recognizes the different elements of a face to simplify portrait retouching.

On1 Photo RAW won’t replace all of Photoshop’s features entirely — Photoshop can also be used for graphic design, for starters — but encompasses some of the most popular tools that photographers use without using two separate programs. Many say that Lightroom is the faster of the two programs. But, On1 Photo RAW 2020 focused on speed enhancements, as well as options for batch editing photos.

On1 Photo RAW also allows photographers to ditch the subscription, costing about $100 for a perpetual license, with discounts on future software updates. If you happen to like the subscription, the company also offers a $130-per-year subscription that includes the software as well as learning materials.

Best professional Lightroom alternative: Capture One Pro

Capture One Pro

  • Enhanced studio-focused features, such as tethering
  • Layer-based editing
  • More customization options


  • Can be easier to learn
  • HDR and panorama merging
  • Cheaper

Capture One Pro is photo editing software designed by the medium format camera company Phase One — and as you’d expect from such a camera company, this RAW editing program brings a number of high-end tools. Many Capture One Pro users say that the software has more tools for studio photographers — tethering works better, images can be organized into sessions and not just catalogs, and annotations allow photographers to sketch notes right on the photo.

Feature-wise, Capture One Pro is very similar to Lightroom — but may even have more tools than Adobe’s industry standard. One key difference is that Capture One Pro uses layers, which brings some Photoshop-like functionality to it. Other differences are more subtle — both use color tools, but Capture One Pro uses a color wheel that tends to be more flexible than Lightroom’s sliders. Many advanced users find Capture One’s RAW processing to be slightly better than Adobe’s, at least for the initial starting point. The feature list isn’t entirely skewed in favor of the Capture One software, since it’s missing Lightroom’s HDR and panorama tools.

Interface-wise, Capture One Pro is easy to customize, though the extra controls and studio-focus may make the software a bit trickier for beginners than something like Lightroom CC. Lightroom Classic has a few more organization options, however, while Capture One Pro is also missing the history option that allows you to undo more than one edit at a time.

While most Lightroom alternatives try to reach new users with a lower price, that’s not the case with Capture One Pro. The subscription costs twice as much — though not quite that high when paid annually — or can be bought outright for $300. The versions designed just for Fujifilm or Sony cameras are cheaper, however, at $219 for a perpetual license (free Express versions are also available, which include a streamlined feature set). Perpetual licenses don’t include updates like a subscription does, but updates are discounted for users with a previous version.

Best Lightroom alternative for local edits: DxO PhotoLab

DxO PhotoLab

  • More local adjustment tools
  • Auto adjustments for faster start
  • Nik Collection tools
  • Powerful RAW processor


  • More robust organization
  • HDR and panorama merging
  • Creative Cloud and mobile app
  • Includes Photoshop

Thanks to the relatively new addition of Photo Libraries, DxO PhotoLab can now be considered a full Lightroom alternative, rather than an add-on tool. Like many competitors, images aren’t imported into a catalog, but DxO PhotoLab offers organization tools for the files found on your hard drive, as well as tools for searching and culling photos.

Where DxO PhotoLab stands out is the RAW processing. DxO specializes in image processing, and recently acquired the Nik collection to take that even further. DxO PhotoLab automatically reads the data in the image and applies adjustments on import, including corrections based on the lens and camera used, what the company calls Smart Lighting, and de-noise algorithms. That offers a faster start for working with RAW files.

Photographers that use DxO PhotoLab tend to praise the program’s sharpness and denoise algorithms. Another highlight of the program is local adjustments, using the Nik Collection U-Point technology that in some cases can replace complex masking, though there’s still a brush tool for masking as well.

DxO PhotoLab isn’t as organized as Adobe Lightroom, however, and misses out on some tools like HDR mergers and panoramas. Lightroom is also coupled with Photoshop, a mobile app, and cloud storage. DxO PhotoLab doesn’t require a subscription, however, and lists for $129 to $199.

Best Lightroom and Photoshop alternative: Corel AfterShot Pro

AfterShot Pro

  • Easy to use
  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight
  • Fast imports


  • More organizational tools
  • More editing tools
  • Modern interface

AfterShot Pro can handle many of the same edits as Lightroom, including color adjustments, cropping, and blemish retouching, as well as batch edits. The program even includes some local adjustment tools that use layers, which Lightroom doesn’t use. Lightroom has a few more tools and tends to handle edits like lens corrections and perspective distortion a bit better.

Although it can’t compete with Lightroom’s convenient geotagging feature, AfterShot still does a decent job at organizing your photos, so finding the right shot shouldn’t be too tricky. However, Lightroom still feels a little more sophisticated with its modern, user-friendly interface, and its organizational tools. 

While AfterShot Pro is missing some features, it’s an inexpensive, easy-to-learn program that also pairs well with PaintShop Pro, for users looking for alternatives to both Lightroom and Photoshop while keeping the programs separate. The most recent version of AfterShot Pro costs around $80, although that number may fluctuate as new updates are released.

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