What Is The Best Alternative To Lightroom?

What Is The Best Alternative To Lightroom?

Adobe’s Lightroom app is without a doubt the most well-known method for organising and editing vast picture collections, but it is not the only game in town. Adobe’s transition to monthly payments rather than a one-time fee has left many consumers in the cold, but luckily, there are a variety of Lightroom options accessible, ranging from free software to comparatively costly (and powerful) programmes.
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There are also other programme options for photographers to use to edit their pictures, each with its own set of strengths. Check out our collection of Lightroom alternatives for a low-cost and user-friendly platform that you can use right away.


Though Skylum Luminar has long been a successful RAW photo editor, it wasn’t until it introduced digital asset management in 2018 that it really became a Lightroom replacement. The software now provides resources for both organising and manipulating videos, while keeping the initial RAW files intact. And, because of its focus on artificial intelligence, it also has certain possibilities that Lightroom lacks.

What Is The Best Alternative To Lightroom
What Is The Best Alternative To Lightroom

Luminar imports and organises photographs quickly and provides culling resources such as flags, stars, and colour marks. The most important organising feature is the ability to apply keywords, which allows images easy to find later if you take the time to name them initially.

Although Luminar contains many of the same editing methods as Lightroom, the programme begins with a greater emphasis on templates and one-click changes, which will assist novice users in getting acquainted with the platform. Despite the drive toward presets, sophisticated editing techniques are still available if you want a more hands-on method.

Luminar provides more options than Lightroom in several respects. When we last took Luminar for a spin — before the cataloguing function was introduced — one of our favourite techniques was the ability to add sun rays, which, when performed correctly, had a practical result. Luminar also has a digital polarising filter with artificial intelligence, a sky enhancer, and an information enhancer. The most recent edition employs artificial intelligence to dynamically switch out the sky and reduces the normally difficult process of editing portraits to a series of sliders.

While Luminar has a few specific tools, especially those built with A.I., Lightroom still outperforms it in a few areas. Range masks in Lightroom render local edits easier, and the soothing brush feature seems to be smoother. Even, with a unique combination of digital asset management and A.I.-based software, Luminar is an outstanding Lightroom option. The software costs about seven months with a Lightroom/Photoshop fee, although it is a one-time payment. Because of the recent Flex plug-in, Luminar can now be used in combination with Lightroom.


GIMP is to Lightroom what RawTherapee is to Photoshop. The software is an open-source (read: free) RAW photo editor with several features close to those found in Lightroom. RawTherapee, like all RAW processors, is non-destructive, which means it still keeps the initial RAW data safe.

Although RawTherapee allows you to search through RAW image files, it does not have the same degree of structure as Lightroom. When you open a folder in RAWTherapee, the photographs are immediately added to the programme. This implies there is no import method, but there are also no collections to sort photos. RawTherapee users arrange files using a folder structure, while Lightroom users may use both a folder structure and catalogues that do not alter the position of the initial file. (Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic handle initial data differently, with Lightroom CC storing everything in a single location; the albums and directories you make inside the programme do not correlate to individual folders in your computer’s file system.)

Although the open-source software does not organise data in the exact way as Lightroom does, it does have much of the similar editing methods. Basic tools such as exposure and sharpening are used, as are more sophisticated tools such as curves and colour correction. However, many of Lightroom’s local adjustment equipment, such as the soothing brush, are absent.

RawTherapee is structured into workspaces focused on tabs; although Lightroom Classic still uses tabs, most photographers stick to the Library and Develop modules, while Lightroom CC eliminates modules entirely in favour of tool panels. Colour variations are in one tab and sharpening is in another in RawTherapee. RAWTherapee, like other less common Lightroom alternatives, lacks instructions to help users learn the program’s various functions.

ON1 Photo RAW

ON1 Photo RAW, developed by a tiny Oregon-based group, combines a Lightroom-like digital asset management scheme with Photoshop-like single-image editing software. The software uses several of the same resources as Lightroom, but it also includes many functions that Adobe users usually prefer Photoshop for, such as layers.

On1 Photo RAW often does not involve file importation; the software recognises photographs on your hard drive. Although this eliminates the import phase, it also reduces versatility since Lightroom catalogues are simpler to back up due to Adobe’s cloud storage. (How much time this actually saves is debatable; after all, you do need to transfer photos off the card into your screen, while copying directly into a software eliminates the extra step.)

The editing software of both applications are identical. On1 RAW,  also contains HDR and panorama equipment. It also includes concentrate stacking, which Lightroom users will require Photoshop for. Although Photoshop is included in the Creative Cloud Photography Plan, submitting a picture to it from Lightroom results in a duplicate copy; the original RAW remains, so you can’t redo any RAW corrections on the version that was modified in Photoshop. On1 Photo RAW often has a portrait editing tab that instantly identifies the various elements of a face to make portrait retouching easier.

On1 Picture RAW does not completely substitute Photoshop’s capabilities — Photoshop can still be used for graphic design, for example — but it does have some of the most common software that photographers use without requiring two different applications. Many people believe that Lightroom is the faster of the two systems. On1 Picture RAW 2020, on the other hand, concentrated on pace improvements as well as batch editing possibilities.