Operating Systems, Applications & Web

Lightroom Alternatives: Top 8 in 2022

If you are looking for a photo editor, you better brace yourself. The options are so great in number, that choosing one becomes an ordeal. To spare you the challenge, we took a deep dive into the matter and have compiled a list of 8 interesting options.

But here we will cover mostly less known products. Why? Adobe Lightroom and its peers are deservedly well-known to people interested in casual photo editing, and we have nothing to add to the pool of knowledge about them. Instead, we’ll familiarize you with less famous but still effective tools, some are good for all-purpose editing, others are designed for more specific tasks.

PhotoWorks

Let’s open our list of Adobe Lightroom alternatives with PhotoWorks. It is filled to the brim with instruments for quick and easy photo enhancement. On top of that, it offers advanced features, such as AI-powered retouching tools, curve controls, LUT, and more. This program is very lenient towards user skills and gear, thanks to a very clean interface, fairly low system requirements, and included step-by-step tutorials.

However, despite having quite an extensive toolkit, this program supports no layering features and works with the base image only. But this is a non-destructive editor, hence you will run no risk of losing the original picture. All of the above makes PhotoWorks an easy-to-use workspace for quick and effective editing.

Pros:

  • Offers a vast library of filters and stock graphics
  • Supports a great number of RAW file formats
  • Very comprehensive and user-friendly
  • Includes AI-powered editing tools
  • Process batches of images

Cons:

  • No Mac version yet
  • No layer editing

Darktable

Darktable is a free Lightroom alternative. It effectively enhances images and quickly exports them directly to various social media. If you require a streamlined editor to work with a big number of pictures, then Darktable’s library management feature will be useful.

This is a free program with lots of available tutorials translated into 21 languages, which makes it great for beginners. However, the interface of Darktable is unrefined and can be confusing at first. It is less powerful than Lightroom in terms of processing dark and black tones, but this is a problem mostly for professionals.

Pros:

  • Convenient direct export to various platforms
  • Functionality on par with paid programs
  • Open-source and completely free

Cons:

  • Has minor issues with RAW processing
  • The interface can be confusing

PhotoScape

PhotoScape offers neat batch editing, cataloging, and collage-making functions as its selling features. But it also includes everything you need for processing and restoring your photographs. And you can make GIFs with it.

The greatest downside of PhotoScape is that it tends to somewhat reduce the quality of rendered images. But it has enough to offer to compensate for that and provide a rightful place among alternatives to Adobe Lightroom.

Pros:

  • Photo correlation and restoration tools
  • Lots of templates for collages
  • Convenient cataloging tool
  • GIF-making feature

Cons:

  • Limited language support
  • Confusing layout
  • Looks outdated

Exposure X7

Exposure X7 is among the best Lightroom alternatives in terms of RAW image processing. It is quite user-friendly and can be picked up by total beginners, thanks to a huge library of tutorials and an intuitive interface. For editing, it offers a rather extensive toolkit – exposure, control, color correction, creative effects, and many more.

On the downside, you may run into a problem of inaccurate local adjustments, which can make spot editing a little annoying. And it also lacks some other useful features, such as merging pictures into one to create an HDR image.

Pros:

  • A vast collection of filters and effects
  • Sleek and comprehensive interface
  • Operating as an Adobe plug-in
  • Layer editing support

Cons:

  • Local adjustment can be inaccurate
  • No HDR image merging

Topaz Labs

Topaz Labs makes a great alternative to Lightroom in terms of AI-powered features. This is less of a straightforward photo editor and more of a creative suite. Each major tool – DeNoise AI, Gigapixel AI, Sharpen AI, and others – is basically a program of its own, but they all share a clear interface and ease of use.

The greatest downside comes from the Topaz distribution model. Purchasing and installing parts of the suite one by one can get pricey and cumbersome. But all of them over top-tier quality and accessibility.

Pros:

  • Outstanding AI-powered processing
  • Sharpening with no artifacts
  • Lots of stylish preset

Cons:

  • Distribution model – you have to buy all modules separately

PhotoGlory

If you are looking for a photo editor like Lightroom, but for the specific goal of processing old photographs, then you should check out PhotoGlory. It includes everything a photo editor should have – color and tone correction tools, a stylish effect library, defect removal, basic editing, and enhancement features. But its main ability is the restoration and colorization of old images in one click.

However, PhotoGlory can not offer as much in terms of all-around editing. But within its niche, it stands toe to toe with any competition.

Pros:

  • One-click colorization and restoration
  • Basic and advanced manual tools
  • Lots of stylish filters and effects
  • Batch image processing

Cons:

  • No macOS Version as of writing

Inpaint

If you need a Lightroom replacement to remove something from your picture, Inpaint is the way to go. It has all the tools necessary to clean your photographs of unwanted objects. Inpain is laser-focused on its core feature and is practically unmatched in terms of object erasure.

On the downside, Inpaint is quite limited in any other regard, since it sacrifices versatility for effectiveness. It is a specific tool for a specific task and really shines when treated as such.

Pros:

  • Outstanding quality of object removal
  • Can fill in the blanks in panoramas
  • Quite fast processing

Cons:

  • Has issues with big objects and complex backdrops
  • Limited functionality

PhotoDiva

PhotoDiva is yet another photo editing software like Lightroom but designed specifically for editing portraits. It allows you to fix skin defects, red eyes, and dark circles. You can also apply digital makeup and shape the body line. Standard tools for enhancement and correction are also part of the package.

PhotoDiva is a perfect tool for casual portrait editing. Pros will find it pleasantly feature-packed, and amateurs – easy and intuitive. Its greatest problem is a lack of versions other than for Windows.

Pros:

  • Fixing blemishes and applying makeup
  • Enhancing and retouching tools
  • Easy background changing
  • Lots of automatic presets
  • Sculpting face and body

Cons:

  • no macOS version as of writing

And that’s it! Depending on what exactly you want to do, you can use a perfect alternative to Lightroom. There are programs with narrow specializations, like Inpaint or PhotoGlory. And there are all-round editors like PhotoWorks and Darktable. Some are free and simple, and others are paid and powerful. Just consider your skills and budget, and the answer to “which one is better?” will become clear.

Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

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If you are looking for a photo editor, you better brace yourself. The options are so great in number, that choosing one becomes an ordeal. To spare you the challenge, we took a deep dive into the matter and have compiled a list of 8 interesting Lightroom alternatives that we find interesting. But why only … (Weiterlesen...)

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