12 Best Adobe Lightroom Alternatives in 2022 [FREE & Paid]
Are you among the Lightroom users who are not satisfied with the limited Lightroom features? Do you want a free Lightroom alternative that you can start using today?
Read on as I guide you to pick the best choice among 12 paid and free Lightroom alternatives in 2022.
Skylum Luminar AI
On1 Photo RAW
Capture One Pro
Nowadays, photo editing is so common that almost everyone does or wants to do it.
And most people only think of Adobe Lightroom when it comes to choosing the right photo editing tool.
But the good news is that top professional photographers don't limit themselves to Lightroom.
And you don't have to, either.
Yes, there are Lightroom alternatives, and some are even better in terms of features, pricing, steep learning curve, and trial period.
Whether you are a professional photographer, want to edit your Instagram pictures, or get busy with your photos, here are 12 top Lightroom alternatives that you can pick from.
Why Look For an Alternative to Adobe Lightroom?
1. Limited Artificial Intelligence Capabilities
What's the most dominant word in the digital world today?
If you think artificial intelligence, you are correct.
The reason is that artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly popular day by day.
Many businesses are now making use of artificial intelligence tools.
Software manufacturers also deploy artificial intelligence in their features and tools, including photo editing software.
But if you are a Lightroom user, you might miss many artificial intelligence capabilities.
You can only enjoy artificial intelligence in photo storage functions and resolution.
So, how about choosing other Lightroom alternatives that let you dive into the world of artificial intelligence even while you process raw files and edit your photos?
2. Adobe Lightroom is expensive
Firstly, Lightroom is not free and does not come cheap.
You can only use Lightroom for free by downloading the Lightroom mobile.
Download the Lightroom mobile and only enjoy very limited features, which might not give you the fast and quality editing features you want.
Most Lightroom features like photo manipulation and focus stacking are behind the paywall.
You cannot also get permanent access to Lightroom.
This is very much unlike most Lightroom alternatives that are examined below.
Some are entirely free, and some offer cheaper subscriptions.
Best Lightroom Alternatives
Here are the top Lightroom alternatives available in 2022.
- Skylum Luminar 4
- Exposure X7
- On1 Photo RAW
- Capture One Pro
- DxO PhotoLab 4
- Corel AfterShot Pro
- Dark Table
- Chasys Draw IES
- Capture One Express
- Apple Photos
Overall Best Lightroom Alternative
Skylum Luminar AI leads as the best overall among other Lightroom alternatives. If you are a fan of the type of Sky that adores your photos, Skylum Luminar AI comes in handy. It is the perfect photo editing software for creating your desired sky. If you choose Skylum Luminar AI, you have chosen to have perfect landscape and portrait photos as you use the AI-powered portrait and landscape enhancers.Try Skylum Luminar AI
Skylum Luminar AI is an AI-powered image editing software that gives you access to over 20 unique photo effects and advanced features over other photo editing software.
Key Editing Tools
- The AI Sky Replacement Tool: If you love photo manipulation, then you would love this tool. It allows you to replace your sky and select the best mood that suits your photo most. Easily fine-tune contrast and foreground brightness, and enjoy natural lightning with any sky you choose for perfect blending.
- AI Skin Enhancer and Portrait Enhancer: With this feature, you can now get a perfect portrait photo at your fingertips. This is achieved with the AI Skin enhancer technology, which removes spots and blemishes without losing hair and texture, irrespective of skin type and age.
- Erase Tool and Landscape Enhancer Toolset: Easily remove unwanted objects from your entire image with the erase tool, restore color and depth by applying Dehaze, use Golden hour to add warm sunlight, and improve the colors of objects with Foliage Enhancer.
The first edition of Skylum Luminar AI costs $62, including a lifetime license and 24/7 technical support.
Order Skylum Luminar AI now and get your money back within 30 days if you don't like it.Try Skylum Luminar AI
2. Exposure X7
A Popular RAW Photo Editor for Workflow Management
Many perks made Exposure X7 popular among studio photographers and professional photographers. Is it about the advanced image processing techniques that it provides? Or is it about a huge library of more than 500 presets? Better still, how about the catalog-free design and unique masking tools? Exposure X7 is equipped with all these and many more, making it a top pick as a photo editing program. The best part is that you can use it as a standalone editor or a photoshop or Lightroom plug-in.Try Exposure X7
Create stunning images, manage your photo library easily, explore innovative selection tools, and make professional garden photo adjustments with Exposure X7.
Key Editing Tools
- Photo Editing: Crop and transform tools, defective pixel removal, automatic adjustments, core editing tools, white balance adjustment, color editing, black and white editing, sharpening, tone curve editing, and noise reduction.
- Creative Adjustments: Advanced color editor, linear and radial gradient tools, creative focus tools, spot heal tool, polygon selection tool, 3D color masking, non-destructive layers, overlays, infrared tools, grain tools, brush tool.
- Complete Photo Manager: User-supplied camera profiles, smart collection, organizing tools, Lightroom migration tool, keywords management tools, collections, complete lens correction solution, defringe tool, transform orientation, search and filter photos.
- Presets: Availability of over 500 presets, selective presets, and audition presets.
If you have been using a product from exposure before, you can pay a fee of $89 to get an upgrade to the exposure X7.
Note that Exposure X7 itself costs a one-time payment of $129.
Try out Exposure X7 freely for 30 days and see why it edges over other image editors.Try Exposure X7
Best Lightroom Alternative for Powerful RAW Processing
On1 Photo RAW shines at a distant third among top lightroom alternatives. One key feature I love about this amazing lightroom alternative is the deep raw technology coupled with the large color space engine. The extensive 800+ support it provides for over 800 cameras is also hard to beat. Add the rich pricing options to these offerings, and you see why On1 Photo RAW is a top choice among studio and professional photographers.Try On1 Photo RAW
On1 Photo RAW offers rich creative tools and fast, powerful RAW technology, which lets you carry out faster RAW image processing and creatively edit your picture while preserving the original image.
Key Editing Tools
- Advanced editing tools: You can easily blend many images, create fast composites, and add new skies and backgrounds. Use line mask to create mask shapes, paint on effects with a masking brush, remove halos and fringes along your masks' edges with a chisel tool, and create high-quality masks with AI quick mask.
- Portrait AI: The portrait AI in On1 Photo RAW analyzes the face in your photo using machine learning, and it adds the most suitable retouching to the necessary parts of the face. Explore retouching options like shine reduction, skin smoothing, and blemish removal.
- Sky Swap and Effects: With the sky swap AI, replacing a dull sky is easy and simple as you can choose from any available over 100 skies.
There are three ways you can use On1 Photo RAW.
They are upgrade-method, license-method, and subscription-method.
Try out any On1 Photo RAW product for 14 days, and take charge of your RAW photos.Try On1 Photo RAW
Simple Lightroom Alternative With Multi-Imaging Tools for Creative Freedom
If there is an award for the most simple-to-use Lightroom alternative among other Lightroom alternatives, Capture One Pro will win this award easily. It has a simple learning curve and provides 16 smarter layers and multi-aging tools, apart from powerful photo editing tools. If you have been looking for a photo editor to let you manage your projects and files, and workflows seamlessly on a single platform, then Capture One Pro is your best pick.Try Capture One Pro
Capture One Pro is a powerful image editing software that lets you shoot, collaborate and handle your workflow seamlessly while customizing your experience throughout the editing process.
- Basic Editing Tools: Advanced color editor, skin tone editing, styles and presets, dehaze, high dynamic range, curves and levels, black and white tool, before/after tool, style brushes.
- Layers and Masks: Availability of more than 16 layers, luminosity gradient, linear-gradient, feather mask and refine mask, heal and clone brushes, radial masks, greyscale mask, magic brush.
- Workflow and Performance: Customizable workspace, wireless tethering, copy adjustments, annotations, speed edit, tethered capture, keyboard shortcuts, capture one live, PSD round-trip support.
- Image Organizer: Sorting and culling tools, filters and smart albums, keywords and keyword lists, catalogs and sessions, enhanced importer, tokens, and export recipes.
- Details: Moiré, clarity and structure, sharpening, noise reduction, simulated film grain, output proofing.
- Transform: Keystone, lens corrections, auto-rotate.
Make a one-time payment of $299, $24 per month or $179 per year to access the Capture One Pro feature and tools.
Try Capture One Pro free for 30 days and take advantage of the powerful editing tools.Try Capture One Pro
Ideal Image Editor for Image and Metadata Management
If you have ever used DxO PhotoLab 4, you might wonder what greater features could come with an upgraded version. Well, it's a matter of a stronger comeback. For example, you have greater control over control points, access to metadata management, and faster and more optimized processing times. You can now enjoy the DxO technology if you are a Fujifilm X-Trans camera user. DxO PhotoLab 5 is a great lightroom alternative with many presets, faster RAW processing, and better lens corrections.Try DxO PhotoLab 5
DxO PhotoLab 5 gives you access to AI-powered demosaicing and denoising technologies and exclusive local adjustment and optimization tools so you can achieve high-end quality image editing.
- DxO SmartLighting: The DxO Smart lighting intelligent technology allows you to balance the range between bright highlights and deep shadows.
- Automatic Repair Tool: Get real control over your image editing by using the automatic repair tool to reposition and overlap your changes.
- DxO ClearView Plus: Maintain absolute control over fog, mist, and haze with this amazing technology, apply your edits, and optimize your photos' intensity and style automatically.
- Digital Asset Management and ColorWheel: DxO PhotoLab comes close as a Lightroom alternative for quality digital asset management, just like Acdsee Photo Studio Ultimate. For example, you can use the tree view to manage your images' keywords and the photo lab database, locate your photos quickly with the dynamic search suggestions, and access files directly.
If you are an existing DxO PhotoLab customer, you can upgrade to DxO PhotoLab 5.
And if you are not, you would have to pay $219 to buy DxO PhotoLab 5.
Try out the full and unlimited version of DxO PhotoLab 5 freely for 30 days.Try DxO PhotoLab 5
Affordable Photo Editor for Faster RAW Photo Editing
Choose Corel AfterShot Pro if you want comprehensive watermarking, image library (preset), enhanced highlight recovery, and blemish removal tools in a single product.
Key Editing Tools
- Comprehensive Watermarking and Highlight Recovery: Apart from adding logos or contact information to your photos, you can adjust position, rotation, and size. Easily apply watermarks to batches or individual photos and protect your work with the watermarking features. If you want a top-notch image quality, you can use the enhanced highlight recovery feature, powered by a new algorithm, to access more of the data in your RAW files.
- Non-destructive Image Editing: Corel AfterShot Pro provides various adjustment tools such as noise removal, highlights, highlight recovery, color, and crop, which let you alter your photos easily. Bring out the dimension and tension in your photos with the local contrast. Use unique layers and regions capabilities to apply adjustments at your preferred spots.
- Workflow Personalization: Apart from using Corel AfterShot Pro as raw photo editor, you can also export your processed RAW files in TIF to an external editor like Photoshop or PaintShop Pro. Adjustment tools like color balance, saturation, and mixer allow you to fine-tune the color in your photos and adjust the entire color intensity.
Corel AfterShot Pro is not a free Lightroom alternative, but it is cheaper when compared to other image editing software.
It charges $63.99 if you want to buy it in full.
For an upgrade, you need to pay $47.99.
A 30-day money-back guarantee is also available.
Try out Corel AfterShot Pro freely for 30 days.Try Corel AfterShot Pro
Free Adobe Lightroom Alternative for Improving Your Digital Photography Processing Workflow
Develop and enhance raw files, easily manage your digital negatives in a database, and carry out batch editing with darktable, an open-source photography workflow application, and raw developer.
- Color Image Operations: Channel mixer, color look-up table, vibrance, input/output/display color profile management, monochrome, color contrast, color zones, color balance, color correction.
- Basic Images Operations: White balance, invert, base curve, highlight reconstruction, crop and rotate, shadows and highlights, exposure controls.
- Correction Modules: Profiled denoise, raw denoise, denoise, chromatic aberrations, defringe, hot pixels, dithering, equalizer, perspective correction, sharpen, spot removal, haze removal.
- Tone Images: Availability of two different tone mapping modules, zone system, local contrast, fill light, and tone curve.
- Color Management: Availability of support for automatic display profile detection and built-in ICC profile support for linear RGB color spaces and Adobe RGB.
- Image Processing: With the OpenCL support, run fast image operations and ensure GPU accelerated image processing.
- Image Formats: Availability of support for import in raw and high dynamic range image formats like RAF, JPEG, PFM, and HDR.
- Automation: Support for scripting of darktable aspects in Lua.
- Multilingual Support: Availability of multilingual support for more than 20 popular languages, including Spanish, French, German, Russian, and Portuguese.
- Cross-Platform: Run darktable on Windows, Linus, BSD, and other systems.
You don't have to pay anything to use DarkTable as it is a free and open-source Lightroom alternative.
You can check out the user manual available on the website to know your way around the software.
Free videos on using the software and editing RAW images are also available.
Start using darktable today free of charge.Try darktable
Best Free Lightroom Alternative With a Powerful RAW Photo Processing System
RawTherapee is a simple-to-use free alternative to Lightroom that gives you access to a non-destructive, 32-bit processing engine.
More advanced tools like modern demosaicing algorithms and advanced editing tools for high-quality raw images are also available.
RawTherapee is a leader among other best free Lightroom alternatives.
- Raw Support and Basic RAW Processing: RawTherapee provides outstanding Raw support and high-quality demosaicing. For example, you can use two demosaicing algorithms on a single image, work with multiple-frame raw files, and composite pixel-shift raw files with automatic ghost making. You can also carry out batch editing without any stress.
- Color Tab: Film simulation, white balance, HSV equalizer, color management, color management supplement, RGB curves, soft light, channel mixer, vibrance, color toning, black-and-white, black-and-white addon, film negative.
- Exposure Tab: Tone mapping, graduated filter, vignetting filter, dynamic range compression, shadows/highlights, exposure.
- Detail Tab: Noise reduction, defringe, haze removal, spot removal, local contrast, sharpening, edges and micro-contrast, contrast by detail levels, impulse noise reduction.
- Raw Tab: Raw white Points, capture sharpening, flat-field, dark-frame, demosaicing, preprocessing white balance, preprocessing, a sensor with a bayer/X-trans matrix.
- Transform Tab: Crop, resize, lens/geometry.
- Metadata Tab: Exit tab, metadata copy mode, IPTC tab.
- Local Tab: Local adjustments.
- Available Support: Support for DCP and ICC color profiles, support for various raw formats, support for film negatives and monochrome cameras, and multilingual support for over 15 languages.
Get started with RawTherapee by downloading the source code from the official RawTherapee website.
Note that it is open-source software and does not charge a dime.
You can even modify the source code and enhance it using any platform you want, like Microsoft Windows or Linux.
Download and get started with RawTherapee now.Try RawTherapee
Your best choice if you need a free Lightroom alternative for graphic viewing
IrfanView is a free and simple-to-use graphic viewer with multipage TIF support.
It's the first graphic viewer worldwide with Multiple ICO support and likewise the first windows graphic viewer worldwide with Multiple (animated) GIF support.
The free software is presently available in two versions: the 32 and 64-bit versions.
- Effects: Available effect options are filter factory, filter unlimited, Blur, Adobe 8BF, and sharpen.
- Watermark: You can easily add overlay text or image as a watermark
- Batch Conversion: All files easily carry out batch conversion and advanced image batch processing with IrfanView.
- Slideshow: Save the slideshow as EXE/SCR or burn it to CD, show EXIF/IPTC/Comment text in Slideshow/Fullscreen, and extract icons from EXE/DLL/ICLs.
- Available Support: Unicode support, support for Adobe Photoshop filters, support for embedded color profiles in JPG/TIF files, scan (batch scan) support, and multilingual support.
- Registry Changes and EXE-File: Registry changes are not affected unless there is user action/permission, and easily access a single EXE-File.
- Supported File Formats: Availability of over 70 supported file formats for graphic formats such as animated cursor, canon RAW file formats, enhanced metafile format, and direct draw surface format. Supported formats for video/audio are also available.
- More Advanced Tools: Multiple hotkeys, IPTC editing, multiple command-line options, screen capturing, cut/crop, multiple plug-ins, file search, email option, multimedia player, print option, multiple undo steps, fast directory view, toolbar skin options, paint option, thumbnail/preview option.
IrfanView is a free Lightroom alternative assuming you want to use it for private, non-commercial, or educational purposes.
You would have to register and purchase for business or commercial purposes.
Note that one single license charges an affordable fee of $12.
Download IrfanView 32-bit or IrfanView 64-bit and start enjoying it now.Try IrfanView
10. Chasys Draw IES
Best Lightroom Alternative With Adjustment Layers and Rich Scaling Methods
Chasys Draw IES, a top choice among free Lightroom alternatives, provides a suite of tools that includes Chasys Draw IES Viewer and Chasys Draw IES Converter.
With Chasys Draw IES, you can carry out multimedia editing faster and more efficiently.
- Available Tools: Color picker, snip, crop, razor, move, mark-up, animate, hand, resize, pencil, pattern brush, effects brush, healing brush, cloning brush, smoother, sharpen, smudge, roughen and display, eraser, content-aware erase, edge treatment.
- Sharpness and Noise: Un-sharp mask, smart sharpen, luma sharpen, high-pass sharpen, normal sharpen, add noise, linear noise, median noise, wavelet noise.
- Color and Blur: Duotone, channel manipulation, limit colors, negative, gradient, bilevelize, posterize, replace color, low-pass blur, zoom blur, chroma blur, surface blur, spin blur, gaussian blur, motion blur.
- Correct and Distort: Color fringing, chromatic aberration, red-eye, JPEG artifact, color misalignment, swirl, pinch, liquify (image warping).
- Image: Local contrast enhancement, post-edit anti-aliasing, dodge and burn, dynamic contrast, make tile, synthetic enhance.
- Adjustments: Selective decolor, brightness and contrast, attach/edit adjustment layer, curves/transfer function, auto-level, levels and gamma, greyscale with tint, hue, saturation, and value.
- Transforms: Stretch, rotate, flip, smart resize, heuristic scaling, tile, kaleidoscope, perspective, skew.
- Advanced tools: Video cropping, optimization and rate conversion, color filter matrices, focus stacking, animated cursor creation, screen capture with mouse pointer capture option, project templates, 15+ scaling methods.
Chasys Draw IES is free for both personal and professional usage.
Download from the website and start using it as you want.
Note that a new version of Chasys Draw IES comes out every 2 to 4 months.Try Chasys Draw IES
Free Lightroom Alternative for Editing Sony or Fujifilm Images
Boost and enhance your Fujifilm or Sony images effortlessly with Capture One Express, a free image editor with an easy user interface.
- Styles and Editing: Access lots of editing tools and styles that you would like to create better and quality images.
- Automatic Adjustments: Instead of automatically adjusting important elements like shadows, colors, and brightness, Capture One Express automatically adjusts them for you.
- Tutorials: Capture One Express gives you free tutorials on street editing, wildlife editing, and landscape editing, making editing photos a lot easier.
- Other Editing Tools: Duplicate checker, smart albums, tailor-made profiles, integrated movie import, importer, color balance tool, direct color editor, composition tools.
Capture One Express is free.
This is a far cry from Capture One Pro, a paid version from the same manufacturer as Capture One Express.
The drawback is that some advanced tools like capture pilot, import viewer, live view, and camera control are absent in Capture One Express but present in Capture One Pro.
Get started with Capture One Express for your Fujifilm or Sony Images now.Try Capture One Express
12. Apple Photos
Free Photo Editor With Advanced Machine Learning Capabilities
Apple Photos is a smarter and more personal alternative to Lightroom, which you can use to find, relive, edit, and share your perfect moments.
Only Apple Device owners can use Apple Photos, unlike other free Lightroom alternatives.
- Editing Tools: Use various tools and effects for photos, such as Auto Enhance, Crop, and Rotate.
- RAW images: Import and edit RAW files from standalone cameras, effortlessly edit Apple ProRAW images taken on iPhone or iPad models with an A9 chip or later.
- For You Tab: Do you want to relish great moments from your library and get automatic suggestions to share photos with the people in the images? If yes, you would enjoy the For You tab of Apple Photos.
- Image Library Tab: Discover and relive your favorite photos and videos by day, month, and year. You can also view your photos and videos in an intuitive and interactive grid. The library tab uses on-device machine learning to hide similar photos via the removal of screenshots and receipts.
- Intelligent Face Recognition and Location Identification: Easily locate the photos you want according to the people in the photos and the locations where the pictures were taken. For example, search for specific people, events, and places.
- Intelligent Search Suggestions: The intelligent search suggestions provide photos of important places, people, events, and dates before searching. You can easily discover photos of important activities you have done before or places you have been to in the past.
Apple Photos is free once you have an apple device such as an iPhone or iPad.
A possible downside, however, is the storage space.
Initially, 5GB of free iCloud storage is available on every Apple device.
More storage capacity requires additional payments.
For example, 50GB costs $0.99 per month, 200GB costs 2.99 per month, while 2TB costs 9.99 per month.
Head over to Photos on your Apple device and start enjoying the powerful features of Apple Photos.Try Apple Photos
Yes, there is. There are even many cheaper Lightroom alternatives and free Lightroom alternatives.
Some Lightroom alternatives, such as Skylum Luminar AI and Exposure X7, allow you to pay once to get a free license to use the software.
Lightroom, on the other hand, is a subscription-only payment.
Others like darktable, RawTherapee, and IrfanView are the best free Lightroom alternatives.
Best Lightroom alternatives like Skylum Luminar AI, Capture One Pro, and DxO PhotoLab 5 boast more features than Lightroom.
Even Corel AfterShot Pro, which is a lot cheaper than Lightroom, gives you access to many photo editing features that you can equally find in Lightroom.
Free Lightroom alternatives give you access to as many editing features as you would see in Lightroom.
Which Lightroom Alternative Should I Pick For Photo Editing?
Pick the Lightroom alternative that provides all the editing tools that you want, and at the price, you can afford.
For example, a few Lightroom alternatives that offer multiple creative tools and subscription payment might be the popular option among some advanced users.
Yet, it might not be the favorite choice among other users.
Consider going for a paid Lightroom alternative to access powerful and advanced tools if you manage a photography business.
On the other hand, you can also try out the best free Lightroom alternatives and find out the available features in both free Lightroom alternatives.
Here are the use cases of the five best Lightroom alternatives in 2022.
Skylum Luminar AI
On1 Photo RAW
Capture One Pro
DxO PhotoLab 5
Feel free to choose any lightroom alternative you want and get creative with your photos right away.