Free Lightroom Alternatives

Top 21 Best Free Lightroom Alternatives

Are there a free Lightroom alternative that can completely replace Lightroom in terms of photo color correction, batch processing, photo management and RAW photo editing?

Undoubtedly, Adobe Lightroom is the best photo editing software for professional photographers, who need to edit RAW files and for beginning shooters who need fast photo editing with Lightroom presets.

But what if I told you about the following 21 FREE Lightroom alternatives that offer practically the same functions?

1. RawTherapee

 
Free Forever
  • Fast catalog management
  • Suitable for professional color correction
  • Open source
  • Batch image processing
  • It isn’t convenient to work with masks and layers
  • Doesn’t support the latest cameras

Verdict: RawTherapee is one of the best Lightroom alternatives that has similar functions and features. But it is an open source photo editor, which makes it absolutely free for Windows and MacOS users.

An interesting peculiarity of this program is that RawTherapee uses non-destructive picture editing, so you can return to the source file any time you wish. As well as in Lightroom, you can use ready-made presets, or create your own, expanding the library.

The photo editor has a wide range of tools for color correction, noise reduction, rotation, exposure control, shadows and light regulating, tone settings, vignetting and much more. However, this photo editor has poorly developed tools for working with masks and layers (the working process is simply very inconvenient)

Complete RawTherapee Review

1/4
  • rawtherapee interface
  • rawtherapee interface
  • rawtherapee interface rawtherapee interface

    2. Darktable

     
    For beginners
    • Well-developed cataloger
    • Powerful RAW converter
    • Open source
    • Isn’t for professional color correction

    Verdict: If you knew about RawTherapee, the free Lightroom alternative, you have probably heard of Darktable. It's also a free, open source software that combines many tools for image editing, convenient cataloging and RAW file processing. The photo editor has a simple and quite pleasant user interface with convenient controls.

    I can’t help but mention that Darkrable is also available for the Linux platform, and if you have this OS, this is the best free Lightroom alternative for you. As for shortcomings, I will note that Darktable Lightroom equivalent is not suitable for professional picture editing and some tools require improvement.

    Complete Darktable Review

    1/4
    • darktable interface
    • darktable interface
    • darktable interface darktable interface

      3. Picktorial

       
      Fast batch edit
      • Professional instruments
      • Supports batch editing
      • User-friendly interface
      • No layers
      • Only for Mac OS

      Verdict: Picktorial is a non-destructive RAW photo editor that makes it easy to organize and enhance your photos. This Lightroom alternative is designed exclusively for Mac OS and is seen as a replacement for Apple's photo editors. It includes all the basic settings and tools that you expect: from adjusting tones, colors, white balance, clarity, curves and saturation.

      You can adjust tones, remove stains or dust, smooth skin, remove noise or add blur using the “Defocus” tool. Unfortunately, Picktorial does not offer layers editing, each photo editing tool can have several editing points that have their own settings.

      Complete Picktorial Review

      1/4
      • pictorial interface
      • pictorial interface
      • pictorial interface pictorial interface

        4. Skylum Luminar

         
        Easy editing with filters
        • RAW files support
        • Convenient image control system
        • Suitable for professional photo correction
        • Weakly developed batch image editing

        Verdict: The latest version of Skylum Luminar has an integrated image control library. There are versions for Mac and Windows and also a free trial version. A simple and intuitive interface includes tools similar to those in Lightroom, a customizable workspace and a powerful RAW converter.

        In addition, Luminar boasts built-in layers and the ability to perform masking for accurate color correction. Luminar supports all currently existing RAW formats. This is why many professionals believe that Luminar is a combination of these two Adobe programs.

        As for the drawbacks, I should mention that the photo editor processes several pictures rather slowly. Perhaps, it will be improved in the future because this function is comparatively new.

        Complete Skylum Luminar Review

        1/4
        • skylum luminar interface
        • skylum luminar interface
        • skylum luminar interface skylum luminar interface

          5. Digikam

           
          Simple interface
          • Powerful photo manager and organizer
          • Compatible with all operating systems
          • Open source
          • You can’t use it for professional color correction

          Verdict: DigiKam is a powerful photo manager, organizer and image editor created for Linux, but also available for Windows and Mac. Actually, this is a whole package. You can import images in various ways, organize them into albums, view and search in your collection by location, time, tags and people.

          Though this Lightroom alternative free is mainly designed to manage your pictures rather than to edit them, in some cases, it has more useful functions than specialized programs. Though this Lightroom alternative free is mainly designed to manage your pictures rather than to edit them, in some cases, it has more useful functions than specialized programs.

          Complete Digikam Review

          1/4
          • digikam interface
          • digikam interface
          • digikam interface digikam interface

            6. Lightzone

             
            Free color correction
            • Open source Suitable for professional image editing
            • Powerful RAW converter
            • Has basic tools for color correction
            • Lacks functions for professional color correction
            • Difficult for inexperienced users

            Verdict: If you are looking for a free Lightroom alternative that is an excellent RAW converter, LightZone can be a great choice for you. The photo editor has a large collection of tools for RAW image processing.

            Using LightZone Lightroom replacement, you can easily enhance photos, eliminate defects, perform basic color correction, adjust white balance, blur certain areas, increase sharpness, remove traces of dust on the lens and reduce the noise that often appears when shooting with high ISO. This program is not suitable for professional color correction, as many tools are poorly developed.

            1/4
            • lightzone interface
            • lightzone interface
            • lightzone interface lightzone interface

              7. Polarr

               
              Fast image enhancement
              • Suitable for professional color correction
              • Intuitive interface
              • A lot of tools for digital drawing and design
              • Excellent brushes
              • Expensive compared to alternatives
              • Doesn’t support RAW files

              Verdict: It's nice that this free photo editing software has a fairly simple interface and tools that do not require many hours of training. The tools are mainly aimed at color correction: exposure, shadows, curves, brushes, masks, layers, work with light, details, presets, etc.

              In addition, the photo editor offers a separate tab for drawing, creating logos and banners. This Lightroom free alternative supports GIF files. As for the minuses, I would like to point out that it does not support RAW files. Therefore, it is not suitable for professional photographers.

              Complete Polarr Review

              1/4
              • polarr logo
              • polarr logo
              • polarr logo polarr logo

                8. PhotoScape

                 
                For basic color correction
                • Wide range of options
                • Professional tools
                • Supports RAW format
                • Low system requirements
                • A lot of functions are limited in free access

                Verdict: One of the main advantages of PhotoScape is that it has several separate services for photo editing, image management, GIF and video processing, RAW file conversion and many others. Each tab offers relatively powerful tools and a simple interface that is understandable for a beginner.

                This free alternative to Lightroom performs professional photo editing, creates design projects, logos, banners, etc. It should be mentioned that it is suitable not only for Windows and Mac OS platforms but also for Linux. Unfortunately, some functions are limited in the free version.

                Complete PhotoScape Review

                1/4
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                • photoscape interface
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                  9. Paint Net

                   
                  Supports Lr plugins
                  • Easy to use Suitable for basic image edit and color correction
                  • Great number of drawing tools
                  • Doesn’t support Linux or Mac OS platforms

                  Verdict: On the whole, PaintNet is a free Lightroom alternative for beginners who are not interested in software stuffed with lots of functions. The program has a simple interface and useful tools. The pleasant feature is that it does not require a powerful PC configuration.

                  Speaking about drawbacks, I should point out that this application is only Windows-compatible. Moreover, the interface is a little old-fashioned and does not fully correspond to modern standards.

                  Complete Paint Net Review

                  1/4
                  • paint net interface
                  • paint net interface
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                    10. Inkscape

                     
                    For editing graphics
                    • Advanced tools for work with vector images
                    • Supported by all platform types
                    • Optimized for weak PCs
                    • Not suitable for professional image editing
                    • Weakly-developed tools for work with layers and masks

                    Verdict: Inkscape is a free Lightroom alternative suitable for creating artistic and technical images. Inkscape is used primarily for basic photo post processing, designing logos and banners and to cope with any task related to vector images. You may zoom or visualize them with different resolutions without quality loss.

                    Inkscape supports the Scalable Vector Graphics standard and the full kit of tools for conversion, complex tasks and rendering with high resolution. An obvious drawback is a small number of tools for image editing and color correction.

                    Complete Inkscape Review

                    1/4
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                      11. IrfanView

                       
                      For photo management
                      • Excellent RAW format support
                      • Batch photo editing tools
                      • Quite an outdated graphic interface

                      Verdict: IrfanView is a powerful image editor and organizer with excellent support for RAW and compressed file formats. This free alternative to Lightroom has a rather outdated graphical interface, but it still remains intuitive.

                      The biggest advantages of IrfanView are convenient batch image editing, so you can process several hundred photos within an hour, and one of the best tools for image cataloging. The photo editor gives you absolute control over your photos – you can edit metadata, rename files in batches and add tags.

                      If you choose this free alternative to Adobe Lightroom, you get a lot of tools for color correction and basic picture editing – shadow adjustment, balancing tones, curves, elimination of small defects with the help of brushes and other useful features.

                      IrfanView is suitable for both beginners and professional photographers. The most noticeable shortcoming is that some tools have a slow response time and have to be improved.

                      1/4
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                      • irfanview interface
                      • irfanview interface irfanview interface

                        12. Chasys Draw IES

                         
                        Photoshop CS2 copy
                        • Excellent RAW format support
                        • Suitable for professional color correction
                        • Convenient catalog
                        • Outdated interface

                        Verdict: Chasys Draw IES is more than just an alternative to Lightroom. This is a complete package for image editing, designed for professional use. In addition to basic photo editing functions, you can also use it to capture still images or video from your desktop, create icons and cursors, make time-lapse animation, convert images in a batch mode and design your own illustrations from scratch.

                        You can adjust red, blue and green curves, as well as adjust white balance, sharpness, contrast, etc. Chasys Draw IES supports unprocessed files from all popular camera manufacturers.

                        Chasys Draw IES Lightroom equivalent has only one disadvantage – a trivial outdated interface, which has not been redesigned for a long time. But you will be focused on image editing, not viewing its design.

                        1/4
                        • chasys draw ies interface
                        • chasys draw ies interface
                        • chasys draw ies interface chasys draw ies interface


                          13. Capture One Pro

                           
                          Professional software
                          • Many functions and tools
                          • Fully customizable interface
                          • Quick import and export
                          • Well-developed layer and masks
                          • Requires good PC configuration
                          • Rather complicated for amateurs

                          Verdict: If you are a Lightroom and Photoshop lover, Capture One Pro combines all strong points of these two image editing applications. It is powerful among alternatives to Lightroom in that it allows for professional image editing and deep color correction, for example, working with layers and masks, brushes and more.

                          Likewise, it should be mentioned that it is integrated into Phase ONE cameras, and if you are a lucky owner of such a device, you may use it completely free of charge.

                          As for the drawbacks, this photo editing application requires many resources and a good PC configuration. Capture One Pro has an interface that is rather complex for beginners, but it is fully customizable.

                          Complete Capture One Pro Review

                          1/4
                          • capture one pro interface
                          • capture one pro interface
                          • capture one pro interface capture one pro interface

                            14. Affinity Photo

                             
                            For color grading
                            • Many tools for image editing
                            • Simple interface
                            • Advanced brushes
                            • Expensive in comparison with competitors
                            • Some tools should be improved
                            • No image organizer

                            Verdict: It may be a handy alternative to Lightroom offering really useful functions. The image editor has a lot of options for color correction and image editing. Furthermore, it features a real-time display function that allows for previewing the results before the tool is applied.

                            Apart from a number of image editing modules, you may use Affinity Photo as a drawing tool. The editor offers a lot of advanced brushes that may be modified. The only thing that this software is missing is an image organizer.

                            Complete Affinity Photo Review

                            1/4
                            • affinity photo interface
                            • affinity photo interface
                            • affinity photo interface affinity photo interface

                              15. AlienSkin Exposure

                               
                              Many Lightroom features
                              • Handy cataloger
                              • Supports various presets
                              • Suitable for professional color correction and photo editing
                              • Slow import speed compared to Lightroom

                              Verdict: AlienSkin Exposure has integrated image control functions as well as photo enhancing ones, though its control system is a hybrid of a browser and a catalog. Its interface and working process are common for Lightroom users.

                              On the one hand, this Lightroom equivalent does not use the catalog approach, so it is quick and simple. But on the other hand, it lacks complex organization control provided by a catalog.

                              The AlienSkin team has been working on effects and plug-ins for quite a while. Today, they introduced Exposure X3, along with an extensive collection of presets and film emulations as a result of their work. Finally, you should know that work with RAW files is limited by the rather slow import of such files.

                              1/4
                              • alienskin exposure interface
                              • alienskin exposure interface
                              • alienskin exposure interface alienskin exposure interface


                                16. DxO PhotoLab

                                 
                                Cheap alternative
                                • Suitable for professional color correction
                                • Simple interface
                                • RAW files support
                                • Weakly-developed brushes

                                Verdict: In case you are looking for a worthy alternative to Lightroom offering analogous tools, DxO OpticsPro is a good option. It has a range of functions, also similar to Capture One, and provides considerable support for quick settings. The photo editor has a simple customizable interface. Tools are similar to Lightroom and focused primarily on color correction: shadows, exposure, layer masks, brushes, various presets, effects and filters.

                                Due to its control simplicity, it is suitable both for professionals and enthusiasts. As for its drawbacks, it should be mentioned that OpticsPro has a weakly-developed catalog system and brushes don’t offer much customization.

                                1/4
                                • dxo photolab interface
                                • dxo photolab interface
                                • dxo photolab interface dxo photolab interface

                                  17. ON1 Photo RAW

                                   
                                  Lightroom copy for beginners
                                  • Low price, one-time payment
                                  • Monthly free trial version without long log-ins and subscriptions
                                  • Combines the Lightroom simplicity and Capture One diversity
                                  • Absolutely new approach to previewing photos on PC
                                  • Export in background mode is too slow
                                  • Small number of original presets
                                  • Can’t compete with Photoshop

                                  Verdict: ON1 Photo RAW is the best software for image editing that combines Lightroom simplicity and Capture One PRO tools. This alternative to Lightroom features relatively powerful tools that allow for correcting image defects, performing color editing and photo retouching. The interface seems to be rather complicated but it is really simple and clear, even for beginners since it offers a smart support system.

                                  Like all Lightroom alternatives presented here, ON1 Photo RAW has some disadvantages. Unfortunately, the photo preview and export in background mode are not very fast.

                                  Complete ON1 Photo RAW Review

                                  1/4
                                  • on1 photo raw interface
                                  • on1 photo raw interface
                                  • on1 photo raw interface on1 photo raw interface

                                    18. ACDSee Photo Studio Professional

                                     
                                    Perfect for amateurs
                                    • Professional tools
                                    • Great number of functions
                                    • User-friendly interface
                                    • Rather expensive compared to competitors

                                    Verdict: ACDSee is a good Lightroom equivalent for basic picture editing developed by ACD Systems. It is targeted at displaying and controlling big image collections. ACDSee Photo Studio is positioned as a semi-professional application for image preview, picture editing and publication of digital pictures.

                                    Moreover, this application offers direct access to files and folders with an option to update content in real-time mode. The biggest drawback is the price. Despite the number of functions and tools for image editing, the cost puts a lot of users off.

                                    1/4
                                    • acdsee photo studio professional interface
                                    • acdsee photo studio professional interface
                                    • acdsee photo studio professional interface acdsee photo studio professional interface


                                      19. Pixlr

                                       
                                      Lightroom in your smartphone
                                      • You can save your work and continue later
                                      • Many useful tools for effective photo editing
                                      • Convenient work with brushes
                                      • Masks and layers
                                      • 40% of functions are not available for free
                                      • The interface may seem confusing

                                      Verdict: If your computer or laptop has a weak configuration and you need a powerful graphics editor comparable to Adobe Lightroom, the Pixlr app will be an excellent alternative for you. Upload your photos, and you will get access to the interface, that slightly resembles Photoshop: masks and layers, clone stamps, brushes, text editing, photo defect removal, filters, effects and many others.

                                      Besides, this Lightroom free alternative supports the RAW file format. However, you must remember that if the file size is more than 20 MB, the image editor can work with some delays. Unfortunately, the Pixlr Mac photo editor does not support batch image processing.

                                      Complete Pixlr Review

                                      1/4
                                      • pixlr interface
                                      • pixlr interface
                                      • pixlr interface pixlr interface

                                        20. Ribbet

                                         
                                        Simple interface
                                        • Modern, user-friendly interface
                                        • Well-designed and conveniently located tools
                                        • Possibility to organize, create, and share libraries with other users
                                        • Suitable for basic color correction
                                        • Doesn’t support RAW files

                                        Verdict: Ribbet is an online Lightroom alternative with a fairly simple graphic interface and powerful tools. You can use this program for both basic image editing and color correction. This is one of the best online Lightroom alternatives that allows you to fix minor flaws, work with text, brushes, curves, masks and layers.

                                        In addition, Ribbet has a fairly powerful function for organizing and managing libraries and files. Despite its strong points, you may be disappointed as it doesn’t support RAW files and many tools are limited in the free version.

                                        Complete Ribbet Review

                                        1/4
                                        • ribbet interface
                                        • ribbet interface
                                        • ribbet interface ribbet interface

                                          21. PicMonkey

                                           
                                          User-friendly alternative
                                          • Many tools for picture editing, creating banners and logos
                                          • Perfect tool to edit text
                                          • HUB Cloud Storage
                                          • Suitable for basic color correction
                                          • Well-developed masks and layers
                                          • No RAW files support

                                          Verdict: PicMonkey is one of the best online photo editors that can be used as an alternative to Canva or Lightroom. The photo editor has all necessary functions for work with photos: photo editing, storage, organization of files in the repository, the design of various projects, banners and logos.

                                          I really like the integration of the HUB tab, which includes Cloud storage and a convenient catalog. You can’t perform professional color correction using this free Lightroom alternative, but its functionality and capabilities are quite enough for the basic tasks: exposure, shadows, brushes, masks and layers, curves, color balance and much more. But PicMonkey also has several minuses. This program does not support RAW files, and many tools are limited in free access.

                                          Complete PicMonkey Review

                                          1/4
                                          • picmonkey interface
                                          • picmonkey interface
                                          • picmonkey interface picmonkey interface

                                            Ann Young

                                            Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a professional blogger, read more

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