If you are looking for free or more user-friendly Lightroom alternatives, my review of 15 best programs you can use both on your PC and smartphone will be very useful. You may forget about $9.99 per month and choose any photography software you need. All these programs show almost the same photo color correction, basic photo editing, and image management features. Just pick the software you like!
Adobe Lightroom is one of the best softwares for photo management and color correction designed by Adobe Co. This photo editor offer converting and RAW files support, deep color correction tools, a huge number of Lightroom presets and brushes, the possibility to create and enlarge your photo library manually. Lightroom is a professional image editing environment that implements the whole cycle of photo editing procedures:
There isn’t the one program is a full Lightroom alternative that has all its functions. You can just download several programs to replace Lightroom.
If you need Lightroom alternatives that are good in photo color correction, basic photo editing, image management, batch photo editing or raw photo editing, these 15 photo editing softwares and apps will be the best variants.
Website: Capture One ProDeveloper: Phase One
Capture One Pro is a professional and indispensable tool for photographers, the best alternative to Lightroom and Photoshop that allows you to perform professional color correction, photo library management or deep picture retouching.
Capture One Pro offers an intuitive interface and an organizer for photos. Capture One is ideal for photos downloading, organizing, image editing, designing photo souvenirs, and images sharing. Capture One is built in and has tight integration with many famous camera brands such as Nikon, Canon, Phase ONE, and many others. It works on the principle: you shoot and get the photo immediately in the photo editor. In addition, the program has automatic settings, for example, right after the shot has been taken, the software can automatically add the filter or the effect. Everything is simple and fast with Capture One Lightroom alternative. The program features useful tools for image editing and catalogs management. Some users may be confused with the price. Remember, that you have to pay a one-time fee, after which you get a permanent subscription, technical support, and regular updates.
Website: AlienSkin Exposure X4Developer: AlenSkin Software
AlienSkin Exposure X4 is a software designed exclusively for professional photographers who want to do volume color correction. It also has a large number of tools for basic image retouching and convenient library organization.
AlienSkin Exposure is Lightroom alternative with built-in image management and image editing functions. Although its image management system is a hybrid of a browser and a catalog, the program is understandable even for beginners. The interface and workflow will be familiar to Lightroom users. It uses the no-catalog approach, so unlike Lightroom AlienSkin Exposure X4 is fast and simple, but lacks the complex organizational control associated with a catalog-system.
Website: Affinity Photo
Alternatives: Capture One Pro, Lightroom CC
Affinity Photo is a raster editor with all the tools for convenient cataloging and fast photo color correction. Affinity Photo is the software with a large number of tools designed for photographers. Edit and organize your photos using a convenient and intuitive interface. Affinity Photo Lightroom replacement is suitable for any photographer’s workflow ranging from basic image retouching, to enhancing the entire album with the help of convenient and well-developed tools. Affinity Photo is an excellent example of how a combination of fairly powerful functions should not affect the speed of work.
Developer: The GIMP Development Team
Alternatives: Lightroom CC, Photoshop
Platforms: GNU/Linux, OS X, Windows
We can compare GIMP vs Lightroom if we talk about basic photo editing. GIMP is a free alternative to Lightroom and open source. It means anyone can use it and all of its features without spending a dollar. This makes it an excellent software for beginning photographers or designers who may not have the budget to spend over 700 USD on Adobe Photoshop subscription. Moreover, GIMP is also available for free on Windows, Mac OS and Linux.
Website: ON1 Photo RAW
Alternatives: Lightroom CC, Raw Therapee
Price: $49.99 or $99
ON1 Photo RAW is a software for work with photos, famous for its useful plug-ins, effects, convenient approach to cataloging and the best RAW files support. ON1 Photo RAW allows photographers to look through and catalog their photos. This is one of the fastest ways to manage photos. Unlike Lightroom, you do not need to upload a photo, just open your USB flash drive and view/edit the photo directly from it. Also, you should remember that Lightroom introduces more and more features and functions every year, thereby reducing the speed of work. In the case with ON1 Photo Raw, there are no problems.
The application works on the principle of overall photo color correction. It concerns basic functions such as exposure, contrast, color, shadows, highlights, lens correction, and conversion tools. Photographers can use masking brushes, gradient masks, and local settings to fully control the application of effects. Each effect is also fully customizable, and you can save any photo editing setting as a custom preset.
Website: Raw Therapee
Raw Therapee is one of Lightroom main competitors, combining a user-friendly interface, a large number of tools for image color correction and management. Besides, Raw Therapee is a free Lightroom alternative that is open source. Users can manually fix bugs, errors and minor flaws, instead of waiting for the next full-fledged update. Raw Therapee Adobe Lightroom alternative allows you to conveniently manage libraries, organize photos, edit and remove minor defects. Besides, it is one of the few image editors that is compatible not only with Windows and Mac, but also with Linux. Compared to Lightroom, Raw Therapee has a cluttered interface, which in turn makes simple photo editing a rather difficult task.
Website: Adobe Camera RAWDeveloper: Adobe Co
Adobe Camera Raw is a plugin for Adobe Photoshop that allows you to perform comprehensive work with RAW format files.
Camera RAW is a multifunctional photo editing software from Adobe. It is mainly used in combination with Photoshop. The main function of this Lightroom alternative is to decode RAW files into * .DNG format, which is the universal format from Adobe that allows you to edit any RAW file like Nikon * .NEF, or Canon * .CR2. Camera RAW has a large number of tools that allow you to make color correction.
Website: Skylum luminar
Developer: Skylum Software
Alternatives: ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate, Lightroom CC
Price: FREE or $69
Skylum Luminar is the software with professional tools, which are aimed at easy photo management. Luminar 2019 offers new filters, increased performance speed, a specialized RAW image processing module and a platform to manage digital content. Users will also like a new intelligent sunlight filter, LUT support, and real-time noise removal. This Lightroom alternative supports automatic correction of lens distortion and an improved mechanism for converting RAW images, multi-level editing, and many presets, which can be applied in one click. It can be used as a full-fledged picture editor or a plugin for Lightroom or Photoshop. Unlike Lightroom, Luminar comes in two versions, namely: portable and install. The advantage of the portable version is that the photo editor does not require installations. Just open the folder and start the program. So, you won’t “clutter” your computer, starting Luminar from USB flash drive.
Website: ACDSee Photo Studio UltimateDeveloper: ACD Systems
ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate offers overall digital image management and basic photo post processing for Windows users. It completely eliminates the need to use several photo editors to achieve professional results. This Lightroom equivalent provides quick batch photo post processing of a large number of files with an effective visual method of assigning meta-tags to images. In addition, ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate allows you to adjust color channels, correct photo defects, add watermarks, work with IPTC-metadata, archive graphic collections in ZIP files and much more.
Website: Zoner Photo Studio XDeveloper: Zoner Software
ZPS X is a photo editor and image organizer for your photos with a very nice and intuitive interface. It allows you to view, edit, organize, publish, and archive photo catalogs. This app uses powerful systematization tools such as customizable folders and categories, quick basic photo editing functions, visual marking, and color management support for ICC and ICM profiles. It also supports RAW files editing. If you are looking for alternatives to Lightroom that will greatly simplify digital photos editing, you’ll surely find ZPS X very effective.
Website: PolarrAlternatives: Lightroom Mobile, Photoshop Express
Polarr is a mobile application with a user-friendly interface that allows you to perform basic photo editing, color correction, create and edit libraries. Polarr is one of the best mobile Adobe Lightroom CC alternatives. It is equipped with quite powerful tools for color correction too. In addition, the application allows you to create an unlimited number of libraries, work, and organize them.
Ribbet is a free application with an intuitive interface that allows you to perform basic photo editing in a few clicks. Also, Ribbet has a well-developed function to organize and manage libraries and photos.
Website: PhotolemurDeveloper: Skylum LLC
Photolemur is an application designed exclusively for convenient cataloging, libraries work, and basic color correction. Photoemur is a Lightroom free alternative, best-of-its-kind mobile application to organize a large number of photos on your smartphone. The photo editor offers a very intuitive interface, even for a beginner, and well-developed tools that allow you to perform basic color correction, crop photos, and add watermarks.
Presco is one of the simplest Lightroom CC mobile alternatives. The application has a simple and intuitive interface even for a beginner, and the logically grouped tools. It is the first and only mobile photo editing application that allows users to apply Lightroom presets created by professional photographers to their own photos as easy as applying an Instagram filter.
Website: Photoshop ExpressDeveloper: Adobe Systems
Photoshop Express is another free mobile app from Adobe Co. The application has well-developed and quite powerful photo editing tools that allow you to make basic picture color correction, improve minor defects, etc.
RawTherapee is an open source, high-quality basic photo editing software that may become a Lightroom replacement. It has a similar workflow, for example, allows you to send edited images to other programs for further photo retouching. Similar to Lightroom, it enables you to edit RAW files. Raw Therapee allows you to see your images immediately, and not after viewing each one separately. However, this program won’t sort the photos in folders. You need to do it manually or find another way to manage them. The Raw Therapee interface resembles Lightroom, but is quite simple to understand. The biggest advantage is a free access. Besides, the program is compatible with Windows, OSX, and Linux.
Raw Therapee is a free alternative to Lightroom but it does not have a library in which you can store your images for further effective editing.
If we wanted to find a single program as a direct Lightroom alternative, it would be Capture One – a professional photo editing software developed by Phase One. It is not cheap, but in comparison with Lightroom, you need to pay only once. Capture One is an impressive PC app that offers a huge range of photo editing functions from album cataloging to professional photo retouching and color correction. One of the most important advantages is the possibility to import Lightroom catalogs. At first sight, Capture One has a cluttered interface, but it offers lots of powerful tools that will help you achieve desired results in a matter of seconds. Inexperienced users may find all the variety of Capture One’s functions and tools useless, but, in fact, this is one of the best Adobe Lightroom alternatives for those, who want to get professionally edited photos for a cheaper price.
Frankly speaking, I had some problems with navigation as I’m used to Adobe programs. But actually, I faced similar difficulties when I opened Lightroom for the first time.
Darktable is almost the exact opposite to Capture One. This is a free open source alternative to Lightroom, which is similar in functionality and interface. Like Capture One, it supports RAW files and more than 400 different cameras. This is again a non-destructive process that allows you to save the source file and return to it when necessary. Export options resemble Lightroom. In Darktable, you can export images directly to Facebook and Flickr or send them by email.
Darktable offers something that is available in Photoshop, but not in Lightroom (except for copying/pasting settings). This is the automatization of repetitive photo retouching tasks. This can greatly speed up the process. Darktable makes it easy to export files directly to websites, but it does not save as many details as Lightroom.
Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.