Are you a professional photographer and looking for some best Lightroom alternatives? Do you use Lightroom but cannot afford its price tag? Below you will find some best Lightroom alternatives that you must try.
Lightroom is one of the best and most popular photo editing tools used by most professional photographers. You can edit, import, and organize all of your images using this single program without any hassle.
Yes, you can use Photoshop, which is an excellent option for incredibly detailed image manipulation. Still, Lightroom is also one of the best tools covering all the basics for image manipulation and is a go-to choice for professional photographers.
You can use Lightroom for not only image manipulation, but also rating, organizing, importing, and sorting a large number of images at once. If you are searching for an all-in-one tool for image manipulation and management, Lightroom might be the best solution that you can have.
So, if Lightroom is one of the best basic image manipulation and management tools, then why should you look for its alternatives? Well, the reason is its steep price tag. Either you use Lightroom or Photoshop, you will have to pay $9.99/month.
So, for newbies or professional photographers on a budget, the Lightroom price tag is something that they cannot justify. But worry no more, there are various of Lightroom alternatives that you can use. Below, I’ve bucketed a list of best Lightroom alternatives that you should try. The majority of these Lightroom alternatives are free, so let’s check them out!
10 Best Lightroom Alternatives
1- Apple Photos – Best Lightroom Alternatives
If you are an Apple user and have a Mac device, you might know that Apple Photos is an in-built program. You can set it up to sync it with your other Apple devices through iCloud.
It is one of the best free Lightroom alternatives that you have on your Mac. It offers a straightforward way to edit or organize all of your image files right from your Mac. You can manipulate RAW files as well. It provides almost all the basic image manipulation tools, such as selective color, curves, levels, etc.
Moreover, you can also use Apple Photos to create greeting cards, photo books, calendars, and much more. However, it is not as good as Lightroom since it doesn’t have the ability to edit certain parts of an image file.
For instance, if you are manipulating an image and want to make the sky darker, you will have to make the entire image darker to do that. So, Apple Photos is an excellent tool for people who don’t want advanced image editing tools.
2- RAW Therapee – Best Lightroom Alternatives
Another incredible alternative to Lightroom is RAW Therapee. It is an open-source program for RAW image processing. Once you are done processing all of your RAW images, you will be able to migrate those images to any image manipulation tool that is convenient for you. The very best aspect of TAW Therapee is its non-destructing image editing ability, which means you will get the original image file anytime you want.
This image processing program is packed with a lot of advanced features that you can utilize to adjust sharpness, noise, exposure, colors, etc. Moreover, it boasts a multicore support system, which enables it to access all the hardware.
Furthermore, you can also reduce the artifacts of your converted RAW files using its de-mosaicing algorithms. Once you save your image processing tasks, they will also be saved so that you can access them in the future. Making things easier faster for you; it also enables you to batch process images to get done the editing tasks.
3- Luminar – Best Lightroom Alternatives
Another one of the trendy and perfect Lightroom alternatives is Luminar. It makes the photo manipulation process easier than ever before. Luminar is a feature-rich program and offers Artificial Intelligence-powered filters that enable you to manipulate your image files in just a few seconds.
For instance, it boasts the Accent AI that analyzes your image files and figures out the best possible edits overall. It means your standard looking photos will be transformed into a masterpiece of art in no time. It offers you both automatic edits and controls.
Using Luminar, you will adjust your image files exposure, contrast, color, clarity, temperature, etc. You will also have access to its numerous presets and image editing tools. All of these features mean it is one of the great Lightroom alternatives that you cannot afford to skip.
4- LightZone – Best Lightroom Alternatives
LightZone is yet another Lightroom alternative that you can use to manipulate image files. However, if you want to download and install it on your device, you will have to sign in first. Once you are logged in to LightZone, you can start processing your image files. I’ve included LightZone here because it supports RAW, JPG, and TIFF file processing.
LightZone, similar to RAW Therapee, is an open-source and non-destructive program. You can use a series of filters to get the desired result of images. Moreover, it also allows you to rearrange multiple effects to create customize effects on your image files.
It also features a vector selection tool that is specially created to select particular parts of an image so that you can work on it without manipulating the entire picture. You just need to create a free account that will only take a few minutes.
5- GIMP – Best Lightroom Alternatives
Another open-source and a popular Lightroom alternative is GIMP. Initially, the program was exclusively created as a photo editor for those using Linux operating system. However, today, it can be installed on Mac, Linux, and Windows operating systems as well.
At first glance, it will feel like Photoshop featuring various same tools that you can have in Photoshop. If you are done paying for Adobe Photoshop and don’t use it anymore but have PSD files that you want to open and work on, GIMP is a great tool for you. It allows you to open yours.PSD files and work on them.
However, the area where GIMP fells short is it doesn’t have any photo organizing tool. If you still want to use it as a Lightroom alternative, you will have to organize your image files using any other program. Besides that, you will find almost all the tools and features that you can have in Photoshop or Lightroom to manipulate your image files.
If you are hunting a high-end image manipulation tool, GIMP should be your first-pick.
6- IrfanView – Best Lightroom Alternatives
Unlike GIMP, IrfanView offers both image editing tools and image organization tools. This tool can be used for both compressed and RAW image files. However, if you switch to it from Lightroom or Photoshop, you might find its interface complicated, but it is still popular among professionals who use it for their routine projects.
The tool has been around for quite some time, and developers are constantly working on it to add new features. You will find numerous image manipulations features that will make your work a lot easier. You can use its several free tools to batch rename files, add tags, and edit metadata.
One of its best eye-catching tools is RAW image processing that is pretty amazing. You can use it to adjust photo tones. Once you are done editing your image files, you will have the option to move them to any other image manipulation program that is convenient for you.
Paint.NET is yet another simple and easy to use Lightroom alternative that you can consider. It is a free and open-source image manipulation tool specifically aimed for Windows users. One of Paint.NET’s main drawbacks is you cannot have it if you are using Linux or Mac.
Another thing that makes it less popular is its old-fashioned user-interface. The software itself doesn’t offer many tools for photo organization. However, if you are a new photographer or just looking for a simple and straightforward Lightroom alternative with basic image editing tools, you may consider having Paint.NET.
Moreover, it doesn’t support batch image file editing, and you can only fine-tune a single image at a time. This can be a good option for newbies, as well as for those looking for software with basic image editing options.
8- Capture One Pro – Best Lightroom Alternatives
If you don’t want to use Lightroom for any reason, the coolest Lightroom alternative that you can have is Capture One Pro. But if you are following a budget, it is not for you to have a steep price tag, and you have to pay a handsome price to own it.
However, if budget is not an issue, Capture One Pro can be the best Lightroom alternative that you must check out. It offers features and has advanced abilities that will be worth your hard-earned money. You can process RAW image files as it supports nearly 500 cameras. You will also find a wide variety of professional functions that will help you to enhance the processing results of your RAW image files.
Moreover, this software also supports live view and tethered shooting. The software is exclusively developed for Windows and Mac operating systems. You can test its free trial version before investing in it.
9- Darktable – Best Lightroom Alternatives
Regardless of whether you are a Linux, Mac, or Windows user, Darktable is yet another image manipulation software that you can have. It is free and lets you edit and organize your image files with ease. Using Darktable, you will be able to rate images, add tags, mark them by color, and organize them in folders.
It is also a great option for Lightroom users who are looking for Lightroom alternatives because of its interface, which is somehow similar to it. You will be able to switch between editing tools and photo library. Furthermore, it also offers non-destructive results so that you can get the original image file.
You will find various tools similar to what Lightroom offers. However, the only drawback it has is its inability to handle professional color adjustments. You should not except advanced tools like Photoshop, but it works fine as a free Lightroom alternative.
10- ON 1 Photo RAW – Best Lightroom Alternatives
ON 1 Photo RAW is significantly a new image manipulation software on the market, but it inserted itself as a good option to have. It has various Lightroom features and offers impressive RAW support and photo organization.
In addition to combining Lightroom features, it also offers some Photoshop features, such as layers, which enable you to multiple composite images at once. It is intuitive and fast and has the ability to handle the adjustments of your image files.
You can also use filters and effects in it. However, the only drawback of ON 1 Photo RAW that I have found is its cluttered interface. You can test its free trial before investing in it.
There you go – 10 best Lightroom alternatives. Lightroom is a great image manipulation and photo organizing software, but it has a handsome price tag that many of us cannot afford or cannot justify. So, it would be great to know some Lightroom alternatives that offer almost similar features and that you can use for free. Above, I’ve listed some Lightroom alternatives that you should try. It includes both free and paid alternatives. You can pick one of them to know whether it suits your specific needs or not.
Q: What is the best free Lightroom alternative?
Ans: If you are looking for a free Lightroom alternative, I would recommend considering Apple Photos or Paint.NET.