Fast Picks for Lightroom Options

Should you simply need to minimize to the chase, listed below are some prime picks for Lightroom options which are value trying out. These aren’t essentially direct replacements feature-for-feature. Every has its personal strengths which will or is probably not match in your workflow, required options, and finances. You’ll find extra choices and rather more element beneath.

  • Skylum Luminar 4
  • ON1 Picture RAW
  • Seize One
  • Uncooked Therapee
  • Darktable

Why Lightroom Options?

Adobe Lightroom has change into the preferred picture administration app that integrates picture administration with picture processing. And it’s on the coronary heart of my very own picture processing workflow. However it’s not everybody’s cup of tea. Some discover it too costly. Others don’t like the concept of being on the hook for an ongoing subscription. Perhaps you’re after a particular function or compatibility that Lightroom doesn’t provide. Or maybe the Lightroom workflow simply doesn’t swimsuit the way in which you need to work otherwise you discover you’re not proud of the standard of the outcomes that come out of it.

Should you discover that Lightroom doesn’t be just right for you for no matter motive, listed below are some options to Lightroom which are value a glance. Whether or not you’re after for free Lightroom various, a full-powered suite that gives options Lightroom doesn’t have, or a extra restricted app to perform a specific a part of the digital images workflow, there’s probability that there’s one thing on the market that may match the invoice.

A few of these are free apps, and a few are paid. Some are direct Lightroom opponents that combine picture administration with picture processing, whereas some concentrate on a particular side of the workflow, akin to RAW processing. Every has its personal virtues, and there’s probability you’ll be capable of discover one that matches your wants and preferences.

Lightroom Options: Picture Administration + Processing Apps

Apple Aperture and Lightroom pioneered combining picture administration with picture processing. Earlier than that, there have been administration apps like iMatch or iView MediaPro and processing apps like Rawshooter and Bibble. So you’ll run them side-by-side, organizing in a single and processing within the different. Aperture and Lightroom introduced the 2 sides collectively and built-in them right into a single app and single workflow. Each Lightroom and Aperture have been designed to be archive and darkroom in a single. And doing that added greater than comfort and pace–it additionally opened up all types of latest workflow choices that weren’t simply potential earlier than.

The picture administration features utilized by most of those apps are sometimes based mostly on catalogs, which provides much more energy than easy file looking in folders. Issues like digital collections and dynamically up to date good collections additionally change into potential when you begin utilizing a catalog moderately than a easy file system. However there’s a draw back, and that’s that it provides one other step that may decelerate the preliminary components of the workflow (i.e., ingesting the pictures into the catalog and producing the thumbnails).

All of those apps mix each picture administration options in addition to RAW picture processing.

Skylum Luminar 4 has been growing shortly and strongly, beginning with RAW processing and a wide selection of filters and enhancing instruments and is appropriate with third-party presets. They now added a built-in picture administration library and a few spectacular picture enhancement instruments akin to their AI Sky Enhancer, AI Sky Alternative, and AI Construction instruments.

Luminar may act as a hub for different well-liked Skylum apps like Aurora HDR.

One good factor about Luminar is that you should utilize it both as a standalone app (which might be of extra curiosity to you for those who’re searching for an alternative choice to Lightroom) or as a plugin for Lightroom or Photoshop. There are variations for Mac and Home windows in addition to a free trial model. Should you resolve to purchase a license for Luminar, they’ve given me a code only for readers of this web site to get a fair higher deal: use the coupon code HAVECAMERA throughout checkout to get $10 off (it really works for brand new licenses in addition to upgrades from earlier variations).

ON1 Picture RAW. ON1 was initially finest recognized for his or her results plugins, however they’ve now bloomed into having their very own RAW processing software program that has added a hybrid strategy to picture administration that makes use of components of a browser and a catalog. They’ve additionally thrown in a bunch of their results built-in with the app. There are variations for Home windows and Mac, in addition to a free trial model. Should you resolve to purchase a license for ON1 Picture RAW 2020, they’ve given me a code for my readers to get 20% off–use the coupon code HAVECAMERA at checkout.

Seize One. Seize One has been evolving shortly and impressively. What began with a heavy emphasis on high-end medium-format cameras from PhaseOne has developed right into a full-featured and polished picture enhancing and organizing app. Should you’re used to the sorts of workflow and instruments provided by Lightroom and Aperture, Seize One would possibly properly be the closest various.

They put specific emphasis on high-end rendering high quality. The picture high quality of its processing engine is superb, and it now has asset administration options because of the incorporation of what was one of many authentic main asset administration instruments, iView MediaPro (which then turned then Microsoft Expression Media). Seize One was very costly, in step with its concentrate on medium-format cameras, however they’ve now introduced in down in line to the identical ballpark as Lightroom.

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Two issues of their licensing value noting: there’s an possibility to purchase a one-off perpetual license (i.e., no recurring subscription), or you possibly can subscribe with a month-to-month price. Secondly, there are specialised variations for these utilizing Fujifilm, Sony, or Nikon cameras, and for those who’re solely utilizing these cameras, the pricing for these variations is considerably lowered. The principle “Pro” model helps all main digital camera manufacturers. There’s a 30-day free trial, and it really works on Mac and Home windows. You’ll find the assorted purchase/license choices right here.

ACDSee Picture Studio Final 2021 provides an all-in-one digital picture administration and picture processing. It’s Home windows solely (they’ve associated, very related app for Mac). The licensing is thru a conventional buy of a license, and there’s a free trial obtainable.

Zoner Picture Studio X has built-in picture catalog administration in addition to enhancing and processing instruments. It has a structure that may shortly acquainted for Lightroom customers. Licenses are bought with an annual subscription mannequin for $49/12 months for a single consumer. It’s Home windows-only, and there’s a free trial model.

Corel AfterShot Professional 3. Bibble was as soon as a wonderful various that provided various helpful options that the others didn’t. I used to adore it. It was lightning quick and provided some super-useful batch processing choices. However a drawn-out overhaul a number of years in the past to show it into an built-in administration and processing app proved disastrous and ultimately led to being purchased out by Corel and renamed Corel AfterShot Professional. A key function is that it retains Bibble’s emphasis on pace—they declare that it’s “up to 4x faster than Adobe Lightroom.” It’s obtainable for Home windows, Mac, and Linux.

Publicity X6 has each picture administration and picture processing built-in, though its picture administration system is a hybrid of a browser and catalog. Its general interface and workflow will probably be shortly acquainted to Lightroom customers. The emphasis is extra on the growing facet. It makes use of a catalog-free strategy, so it’s fast and simple however lacks a number of the advanced organizational management that comes with having a catalog. The developer, Publicity Software program, was often known as AlienSkin, they usually’ve been within the results and plugins space for a very long time. They carry that experience to their more moderen improvement of Publicity by together with an unusually intensive assortment of presets and movie emulations. The licensing is dealt with by a conventional buy worth, and there are variations for Home windows and Mac. There’s additionally a free trial model. You’ll find it right here.

No Longer Obtainable

Apple Aperture. A number of years in the past now, Aperture was the largest competitor to Lightroom, though it solely labored on Mac. However Apple determined to discontinue improvement and took the heart of Aperture and iPhoto to create a brand new app for managing pictures that’s merely referred to as Images. Aperture is now not obtainable, and the newer Images app isn’t actually match for a lot of photographers who required extra superior options and management. Should you’re nonetheless utilizing Aperture and trying to bounce ship from Aperture to Lightroom, Adobe has put out a migration software and John Beardsley has put collectively a wonderful how-to information.

RAW Processing Apps

These apps concentrate on processing RAW recordsdata, providing you with management over how the picture seems to be, however don’t embody the picture administration options of the apps above.

DxO PhotoLab 3 is now the flagship product from DxO, a staff that turned well-known for his or her wonderful instruments measuring and correcting optical shortcomings in lenses and cameras (see DxOMARK). Lately, they’ve gone huge in a much wider approach, by way of salvaging Nik Assortment apps that Google deserted some time again (a collection of instruments I’ve used since earlier than they have been Google’s and discover invaluable) and investing closely in in-house picture processing instruments. The mixture is a top-notch and highly effective RAW picture processing app. There’s a free 30-day full-featured trial model.

Uncooked Therapee is an open-source free Lightroom various, albeit one with a way more restricted function set. It really works on Home windows, Mac, and Linux. It’s a very good possibility for those who’re searching for one thing free and light-weight.

Darktable is free, open-source, and cross-platform, with variations for Linux, Mac, and Home windows. Its interface seems to be strikingly just like Lightroom Basic’s, so you must really feel fairly at residence for those who’re transferring throughout.

LightZone is free, open-source, and works on Home windows, Mac, and Linux. It’s a community-based undertaking, and assist is supplied by way of its neighborhood discussion board. Growth had lagged for a couple of years, however appears to have picked up once more as of mid-2020.

Affinity Picture. This relative newcomer has been making lots of waves in a brief time period and provides some energy workflow and enhancing instruments in a slick bundle. It was initially Mac solely, however they’ve now added a Home windows model.

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ACDSee Picture Studio Skilled 2020 focuses on picture processing and doesn’t embody the picture administration choices of ACDSee Picture Studio Final 2020 (see above). Home windows just for this model, however there’s a separate possibility for Mac customers that’s referred to as ACDSee Picture Studio for Mac 6.

Iridient Developer takes a extra nuts-and-bolts strategy and doesn’t have the assets behind it of lots of its opponents. However it’s another choice that’s on the market. They’ve a variety of instruments damaged out by the kind of RAW recordsdata you’re working with.

Nikon CaptureNX2. Should you’re utilizing a Nikon, you will get wonderful high quality outcomes out of Nikon CaptureNX2, however its workflow and batch processing has all the time been a bit extra of a wrestle than its opponents. A spotlight is its proprietary masking controls often known as U Level. Home windows and Mac.

Picture Ninja is created by the oldsters behind Noise Ninja, lengthy the most effective choices for decreasing picture noise however the significance of which has been vastly lowered by the much-improved sensors in more moderen cameras. The RAW processing engine options various good workflow choices. Noise Ninja is built-in into it, and when you’ve got a Noise Ninja license, you possibly can improve it to Picture Ninja. Home windows and Mac, with a two-week trial license obtainable.

Adobe Digital camera RAW. Should you’re already utilizing Photoshop, the Adobe Digital camera RAW plugin provides RAW processing capabilities. It’s basically the identical engine utilized in Lightroom’s RAW processing–so it could produce wonderful high quality–however it’s designed for use with Photoshop, not as a standalone product. Home windows and Mac.

SilkyPix Developer Studio. Put out by a Japanese firm, its focus is on RAW conversion or “RAW development.” There’s a Skilled and Commonplace model, and, counterintuitively, a JPEG-only model. There are variations for Home windows and Mac, they usually have a 30-day trial model.

RAW Picture Workflow Instruments

These aren’t Lightroom options, however for the sake of completeness, listed below are another instruments for working with RAW picture recordsdata.

Adobe DNG Converter. It’s all within the title–it’s a utility for changing different RAW file codecs to Adobe’s DNG format. This may be helpful for creating archival variations for long run storage or as a workaround for compatibility points. It’s free, with variations for Home windows and Mac. And it’s a standalone app, so that you don’t have to have Lightroom, Photoshop, or Artistic Cloud.

RawDigger. It is a very technical app for many who need to actually drill down into the uncooked information captured by the digital camera’s sensor. It supplies an unlimited quantity of information that normally isn’t accessible, however it’s finest suited to technically-minded shooters aiming to extract every little thing potential from the info. There are variations for Home windows and Mac, and there are numerous editions with growing ranges of information at growing worth factors (beginning at $19.99, with a 30-day free trial).

ExifTool is a free utility developed by Phil Harvey that works with file metadata, together with that encoded with RAW picture recordsdata. It’s the gold commonplace by way of the picture metadata it could entry, however by itself, it’s not essentially the most user-friendly software, so many customers would possibly favor one of many variations that provides a extra user-friendly interface on prime, akin to pyExifToolGUI (Home windows, Mac, Linux) or ExifToolGUI (Home windows). It’s free and platform-independent, and yow will discover pre-compiled distributions for Home windows, Mac, and Unix.

FastRawViewer. This RAW picture viewer from the oldsters at LibRaw is designed for very quick culling of RAW picture recordsdata into keepers and rejects and different sorting at an early stage of the workflow. A key distinction with PhotoMechanic, which is one other app famed for its pace, is that PhotoMechanic attracts on the embedded JPG previews, whereas FastRawViewer shortly renders the RAW information. It has some primary correction instruments, however it’s not supposed as a full-blown RAW picture processor. There are variations for Home windows and Mac; a license is $19.99.

Picture Administration Apps

These are normally classed as Digital Asset Administration (or DAM) apps. A lot of them will deal with different file codecs in addition to pictures. Their emphasis is on organizing and discovering recordsdata and usually have very light-weight processing capabilities (if they’ve them in any respect).


The DAM Guide: Digital Asset Administration for Photographers

  • Used Guide in Good Situation
  • Krogh, Peter (Writer)

iMatch by Photools. Again after I was utilizing Home windows (some time in the past now), iMatch was one in every of my all-time favourite apps. It provides some very highly effective and really versatile choices for organizing and discovering your pictures and performs properly with uncooked processing apps. It doesn’t have as giant a improvement staff behind it as a number of the different apps right here, however its developer is super-dedicated, and there’s a robust consumer neighborhood. It could actually additionally work very properly alongside Lightroom to make obtainable picture administration instruments and workflows that aren’t obtainable in Lightroom itself (yow will discover extra information on that right here). It’s Home windows solely. There’s a free trial model. And for those who’re migrating from Lightroom, they’ve put collectively a useful information right here.

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Media Professional by Section One is a standalone picture group app however doesn’t embody the picture processing options of Seize One (see above). Home windows and Mac. UPDATE: Media Professional is now not provided as a standalone app since its capabilities have been included into Seize One (see above).

ACDSee Picture Studio Residence 2021 focuses on picture administration and doesn’t embody the processing options of ACDSee Picture Studio Final (see above). Home windows.

Daminion does have particular person, standalone licenses, however that’s not likely the place their focus is. They’re aiming primarily at small groups, the place collaborative instruments are notably necessary. Home windows solely.

Picture Browsers

Should you discover that catalog-based picture administration is simply too heavy in your wants, there are additionally lighter-weight picture browsers obtainable that use file-based group moderately than catalog-based group. A few of them provide primary RAW processing capabilities.

Picture Mechanic is a really highly effective and really quick picture media browser that features some primary processing instruments and lots of workflow instruments like superior metadata administration. It’s a favourite of press and sports activities photographers who want one thing lightning-fast and rock strong. And did I point out it’s quick? I exploit this for preliminary ingesting, culling, and metadata enhancing after which transfer the outcomes into Lightroom. It has primary enhancing obtainable, however its instruments are largely geared towards sharing issues shortly moderately than intensive picture processing. It’s obtainable for Home windows and Mac, with a free 30-day trial.

BreezeBrowser Professional covers a number of the identical floor and is aiming on the identical sorts of shooters as Picture Mechanic however is significantly inexpensive whereas missing a number of the polish and energy. Home windows solely, with a 15-day free trial.

Adobe Bridge is a part of Adobe’s Artistic Cloud and is designed for use with Photoshop however can be utilized by itself. It’s fast and highly effective.

Lyn is a light-weight picture browser for Mac. It has a free 15-day trial, and a license prices $20.

IrfanView is a long-time favourite and is surprisingly highly effective, though accessing that energy isn’t all the time as user-friendly because it could possibly be. Home windows.

XNView MP is one other long-time free favourite that could be very highly effective. There’s now a cross-platform model that works on Home windows, Mac, and Linux. A associated software they put out is XNConvert for changing picture recordsdata.

Fileloupe is a quick, light-weight picture and video browser. I discover it notably helpful for GoPro video footage (which I’ve written about right here), however it works very properly for pictures as properly. Mac. There’s a 14-day free trial obtainable immediately from the developer’s web site; licenses are bought by way of the Mac App Retailer.

Batch Processing

These are helpful for those who’re trying to batch course of a number of pictures directly by doing issues like resizing, changing the format, including watermarks, or making use of filters. There are a lot of apps that may do some of these issues–listed below are some that I’ve discovered notably helpful.

XnConvert is a companion to the favored XnViewMP. It’s free and cross-platform, with variations for Home windows, Mac, and Linux. It has seemingly countless choices and is appropriate with over 500 picture file codecs. Cross-platform / Free.

IrfanView. In addition to being a top-notch picture viewer–and free as properly–Irfanview consists of highly effective batch processing capabilities, though its workflow isn’t as polished or self-evident as another choices. Home windows solely / Free.

BatchPhoto can work with RAW recordsdata in addition to a bunch of others. It’s a primary three-step course of: select pictures, select no matter edits to use to them, after which output them. It’s a paid app for Mac and Home windows with a free trial model.

PhotoMill doesn’t assist as many file codecs as another choices, however it helps all the primary ones and features a slick, if busy, interface. It additionally has good search performance, GPS geotagging assist, and the power to assign ICC shade profiles. Mac solely / paid.

PhotoBulk has the least options and actions of the apps on this batch processing part, however that simplicity additionally makes it very fast and simple to make use of and due to this fact one thing I usually discover myself reaching for if I simply have to in a short time convert pictures from PNG to JPG or resize them. It’s principally a drop panel with sections for watermarking, resizing, optimizing, and renaming. Mac solely / Paid. I’ve a assessment of PhotoBulk posted individually.

Digital Asset Administration for Groups

A lot of the choices on this web page are designed for particular person customers. However there’s additionally one other class of digital asset administration choices designed for staff entry and collaboration.

Most of those are enterprise-level apps and include enterprise-level costs, in order that they aren’t properly suited to particular person photographers. However these working in a studio surroundings will doubtless admire the added options.

A few of the most important choices are:

  • PhotoShelter Libris
  • Cumulus
  • Extensis Portfolio
  • Open Asset
  • Widen
  • ResourceSpace

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