lightroom alternatives

Best Lightroom Alternatives in 2019

Adobe Lightroom is an excellent photo editor, but it’s not the only one on the market. If for some reason you need to use a different photo editor, there are many Lightroom alternatives available to you: some free, some paid, but all with the quality your photos need. That’s why we selected the best ones in this article titled Adobe Lightroom Alternatives in 2019.

Lightroom alternatives: The candidates

Each of the programs listed here offers excellent quality, sure some will suit your needs:

Best Lightroom Alternative: Capture One Pro 12

Capture One 12 brings several interesting new features that allow you to work directly with the RAW file of any camera on the market, with a quality that won’t disappoint anyone. 

Capture One has always been highly regarded for its color management and overall image quality, regardless of the type of RAW file we are working with, very similar to Adobe Camera RAW or Lightroom’s Reveal module, making it an excellent Lightroom alternative.

One of the big differences between Capture One and Adobe products (both Photoshop and Lightroom Classic or Lightroom CC) is the acquisition of the product, since PhaseOne uses the classic model of permanent license purchase of the current version, being able to obtain updates of minor versions.

Among the tools/features to highlight we have:

  • Annotations: We can make handwritten annotations directly on the image, which will later be included in the PSD file exported as a separate layer.
  • Layer workflow: We have the Layer Tool as in Photoshop or similar.
  • Opacity control: we can control the impact of local settings by changing the opacity of each layer.
  • Feather Mask, Edge Enhancement: The refinement and smoothing of Edges allow us to create a more precise edge on the mask and create a clean, adjustable mask.
  • Duplicate checking: This feature ensures that we don’t import the same file twice into our catalog or session.
  • Color Improvements: Color Balance, Color Editor, White Balance, and other tools have been reprogrammed to show smoother transitions between each layer, assuring us fine control over the color of our work.

All-in-One Alternative to Lightroom: Skylum Luminar

With this program, you can get powerful photos in no time. With a total of 51 filters and Looks packages (formerly called presets), you can unleash your creativity. You’ll find filters such as smart tone filters, sunshine filters, matte look filters, and the classic Orton and Golden Hour filters.

luminar review interface

Those who don’t want to waste time in front of the computer will be able to edit photos with a few clicks with filters that make improvements through artificial intelligence, such as the Accent AI and the Sky Enhancer that allow you to make adjustments without having to make complex selections. They will be able to use the Instagram filter style application. 

On the other hand, those who want more advanced processing can use the masks, layers and so on to apply the filters to certain areas of the image and get a non-destructive development.

Luminar is compatible with most image formats on the market, including PDF, and you can work directly with RAW. The Luminar engine uses a 16-bit color space and works with the Melissa RGB color profile (the same as Lightroom), a larger space than Adobe RGB but less than ProPhoto RGB.

This lightroom alternative uses the one-time payment mode. You buy your license and it’s yours forever, you don’t have to pay for an Adobe-style monthly subscription. And with a single license, you can use it on up to 5 different computers.

Darktable

Free licensing tools are very useful, especially if you are starting up and don’t want to invest in advanced software, so the new version of Darktable is a great addition to your editing software.

lightroom alternatives

Darktable is one of the most complete free RAW developers on the market and a very good lightroom alternative. Within the new version, the most striking elements are the inclusion of an editing module in ‘film’ that allows controlling the elements of the tone of the image with a system of behavior similar to the analog film. The inclusion of drippers for sampling point selection also makes the workflow faster and easier.

The functioning of the retouching modules has also been improved. The algorithms used by the cloning and image restoration tools allow easier retouching. Darktable includes a module called ‘wavelet decompose’ that will allow us to do a retouching job by frequency separation, ideal for portrait work.

To download the software, just visit the website and download the version for the preferred operating system: Windows, MacOSX or different versions of Linux.

DxO PhotoLab

DxO PhotoLab has evolved from DxO Optics Pro, a tool designed specifically for high-quality RAW processing and lens corrections. This lightroom alternative can achieve the best possible image quality even with normal cameras, and its local adjustment tools make it an excellent stand-alone photo editor, not just a high-quality processing tool.

alternatives to lightroom

PhotoLab 2 goes one step further and adds a new photo library panel to manage and search your images. You can also apply manual settings, local editing settings, and default image effects, and PhotoLab supports ‘virtual copies’ so you can try many different settings on the same photo without having to create new files.

PhotoLab comes in two editions: Essential and Elite. You need the Elite edition to get DxO’s PRIME Denoise and ClearView contrast enhancements, along with the camera’s calibrated profiles, custom palettes, and a host of other more advanced features.

  • PhotoLab’s ClearView feature adds contrast and drama to flat scenes, but only comes with the Elite version.
  • DxO PRIME denoise is another feature that’s only available in the Elite edition, but it’s worth it. You can achieve extraordinary results with high ISO images because it offers excellent noise reduction without losing image quality in the process.

It’s easy to apply automatic corrections and preset looks in DxO PhotoLab, but manual adjustments are detailed and technical. It is far from beginner-oriented programs like Photoshop Elements or Skylum Luminar, for example, and is clearly designed for photographers who know what they want to do and how to do it.

Final words

Adobe Lightroom is one of the leading photo publishers in the market, but its competitors are growing every day, progressively getting closer to its side. Do not miss the opportunity to try some of these Lightroom alternatives, considering they were selected to meet the highest expectations of the market.