In the photography realm, Adobe tends to take the cake as the software provider of choice for essentially every step of the image editing process. For image management and processing in particular, Adobe Lightroom (both CC and Classic) is the most popular app available in the market today. It boasts a user-friendly interface and is available on most platforms and devices. However, it may not be the best app choice for everyone. Some people don’t agree with paying a monthly subscription for the service. Others think it is much too expensive overall, or may not like the features that Lightroom has to offer. Luckily, there are other options available for you to choose from. If Lightroom isn’t your cup of tea, here are the top ten Adobe Lightroom alternative available today.
1. Luminar 3 (Available on PC and Mac)
One of the newest and most impressive photo enhancers on the market is Luminar 3, an all-in-one image editor and management software developed by Skylum (formerly Macphun). Although one of the newer options in the imaging world, it has quickly earned a reputation as heavy competition for Lightroom. Luminar 3 provides a user-friendly interface that amateurs and professionals can both appreciate. The software offers Lightroom-like features such as a Library (which allows you to manage and edit multiple photos), filters, downloadable presets, RAW support, and all the fine tuning controls you’d hope for. However, it also offers powerful editing capabilities such as working in layers, removing unwanted objects from photos, and selective adjustments. Luminar 3 can also act as the main hub for the other photo editing software created by Skylum, such as Aurora and Photolemur. Luminar 3 is available for a one-time price of $69.
Intuitive & user-friendly interface, all-in-one toolset, AI-powered, fast editing, affordable, no subscription
May experience longer processing times for extremely large RAW files
2. Serif Affinity Photo (Available for PC and Mac)
Affinity Photo is an almost-full-feature photo editing program created by the Europe-based company Serif. This program is fairly new as well but is already widely known as a rival to Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop. It comes with the standard issue of tools, such as filters, presets, and fine-tuning controls. However, it also offers powerful options such as red-eye removal, cropping and selection, painting, and a cloning stamp. While Serif claims that Affinito Photo is great for working with large RAW files, it has still been found to have some slight performance issues. However, the program makes up for this by being extremely affordable at a one-time price of $49.99. For this price, you get the essentials of both Lightroom and Photoshop.
Customizable presets, affordable, wide range of tools
Lacks prestigious photo organization tools, not beginner-friendly
3. ON1 Photo RAW 2019 (Available for PC & Mac)
While ON1 was originally known for their effects plugins, they have now emerged onto the market with their own RAW processing program. Photo RAW 2019 is a multipurpose software that serves as image management as well as a photo enhancer. It is an intuitive program that was designed to be user-friendly across the board, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an expert. While providing a similar experience and set of tools to other photo editing programs, ON1 Photo RAW 2019 is a powerhouse for large RAW files. ON1 can process RAW photos quickly, regardless of the photo size. For photographers with cameras that produce enormous file sizes, this program will allow you to edit your photos with ease.
Lens profile adjustment, easy-to-use interface, high-quality filters, strong RAW processing performance
No geo-tagging, basic operations can sometimes be slow
4. Capture One Pro (Available for PC & Mac)
While other image processing programs offer a mixture of Lightroom and Photoshop-like functionality, Capture One Pro focuses on providing mostly Lightroom-like features. In fact, many users claim it is better than Lightroom in terms of performance and capabilities. The program offers photo import tools, raw file conversion, image adjustment, layer editing, organizational features, support for more than 400 camera profiles, and comes with professional-level tools that help the user to achieve the desired result. However, this all comes at a hefty price of $299, make it a top choice for professionals. If you’re at the beginner or even intermediate level, you might want to take advantage of Capture One Pro’s 30-day free trial before deciding to purchase.
Beautiful interface, fast import, great photo-adjustment tools, full set of powerful features
No online-sharing features, no support for panorama or HDR merging, high price tag
5. RawTherapee (Available for PC & Mac)
awTherapee is a widely popular open source editing tool that is built with a similar interface and workflow to Lightroom. It provides a great set of capabilities, such as batch processing, advanced color handling, tone and Lab curves, support for almost all DSLR cameras, and RAW file processing. Unfortunately, this program does not sort your images into folders. If you decide to use RawTherapee, you will need to do it manually. However, this program comes free of charge, so that might not be too high of a price to pay.
Open source, easy to use, supports many input formats
Lacks library system, interface can seem overcrowded with too many buttons