Adobe Lightroom Classic Review
Adobe Lightroom Classic is photo editing software that many professional photographers use to organize, edit, and save their photos. This tool helps photographers handle their photography workflow easily, from importing and exporting photos and other important things. Adobe Lightroom is a photo editing software and image management tool that every photographer should use to enhance their work. It’s very affordable, the price starting from 9.99 dollars monthly. Adobe Lightroom Classic is supported on macOS and Windows. Its users can use these powerful features to make work less stressful for them.
Ease of use
Value for Money
Starting from: $9.99/month
Pricing Model: Requires annual commitment
Yes, has free trial
Yes, has free version
- Many camera RAW formats supported
- Tool sliders for easy adjustments
- Advanced features for HRD & panoramic photographs
- Non-destructive photo editing has its limitations
- Cloud sync is not available
- The interface is outdated compared to Lightroom CC
- Small business
- Medium business
- Desktop - Mac
- Desktop - Windows
- Mobile - Android
- Mobile - iPhone
Adobe Lightroom Classic – Photography Software
The Adobe Lightroom Classic photo editing software is a powerful tool that enables photographers to easily import images, edit them, and export them too. It makes the process involved in editing photos seamless. Based on the Adobe Lightroom review we did, it helps photographers enhance the seeps of their workflow and helps them keep their images well organized. It’s an all-encompassing tool that every photographer should use. The Adobe Lightroom free trial lasts for thirty days. However, its premium plan is quite cheap; it costs 9.99 dollars monthly.
What is Adobe Lightroom?
The Adobe Lightroom photo editing software is a fantastic tool that helps to simplify the workflow of photographers. This photo editor tool helps its users to keep their images beautiful and organized. The Adobe Lightroom app has a lot of features that photographers use to create beautiful and professional photos.
How to use Adobe Lightroom Classic?
In the following, we will look at the Adobe Lightroom Classic interface and decipher how to use it.
Import a photo into Lightroom Classic
When you open Lightroom, you’ll notice a box at the bottom left that says “Import…”
Click it, and you’ll enter what is known as the Import Dialogue.
The Import Dialogue is where you choose which photos to add to your Lightroom catalog to organize and edit them. You’ll probably end up opening the Import Dialogue a lot — each time you’ve returned from a photo shoot, and you’re loading images onto your computer.
Within the Import Dialogue, there are plenty of options available. I’ll cover the most important below:
The Left-Hand Side
The easiest part of the Import Dialogue is the tab on the left-hand side. Here is where you choose which photos you want to open in Lightroom, simply by clicking on the folder (or memory card) where they currently reside.
There’s not too much to say here, except that you may notice something interesting. It’s not just your memory card that shows up here. If you want to import a photo into Lightroom that’s currently anywhere on your hard drive, you can do so without a problem.
The Top Options
The top of the Import Dialogue gives you a few more options. Specifically, there are four different ways to import your photos into Lightroom’s catalog: “Copy as DNG,” “Copy,” “Move,” and “Add.” Each one is there for a reason, depending upon what you want Lightroom to do with your photos.
Add is great if you don’t want to move the actual file on your computer to a new location; you simply want the photo to show up when you open Lightroom. It is ideal if you have a photo already in the right place on your computer’s hard drive.
Move is best if you’re trying to add one of your photos to your Lightroom catalog, but it’s not in the right place on your computer. So, if one of your photos is on your desktop, but you want it to appear under Photos > 2017 > April, you can move the photo to the proper location while simultaneously telling Lightroom to add it to your catalog.
Copy is best if the photo you want to add to your catalog isn’t in the right location yet, but you still don’t want to delete it from its current location yet; instead, you just want to duplicate it somewhere else. It might seem odd, but it’s actually quite useful. For example, when I’m loading photos from someone else’s flash drive, I don’t want to move the photos from their flash drive onto my computer (since that would effectively delete them from their original location). So instead, I simply want to duplicate the photos and put them in the right spot on my computer. Ultimately, the duplicated file is the one that Lightroom adds to your catalog.
Is “Copy as DNG” useful?
Copy as DNG is one that you are less likely to use. This option appeared when the Lightroom developers realized that if you’re copying a photo from one location to another, the new duplicate can be a different file type than the original if there’s a benefit to doing so. So “Copy as DNG” does 100% the same as “Copy,” except that the new, duplicate photo in the proper location will be saved as a DNG file rather than a JPEG, TIFF, CRW, NEF, or whatever it was originally.
Personally, when I’m loading photos from a memory card onto my computer, I prefer to copy the photos rather than move them. That way, I maintain two versions of each photo: one on my memory card and one at the new spot on my computer. It is nice if my computer’s hard drive breaks before the new photos are backed up. (“Add” isn’t really a viable option here because, when I eventually remove the memory card from my computer, the photos wouldn’t appear in my catalog any longer!)
The Right-Hand Side
There are a lot of options along the right-hand side of the import dialogue. It can seem overwhelming if you’ve never used Lightroom before.
However, the main purpose of the right-hand bar is just to tell Lightroom where to put the photos that you’re moving, copying, or copying as DNGs. (It doesn’t appear if you’re adding photos since Lightroom assumes that they’re already in the right place.)
Beyond that, the rest of the options are up to you. For example, you can choose to rename the files you’re adding, which could be helpful for organization purposes. Furthermore, you can apply a set of “develop settings” to the photos you add — say, applying a pre-chosen amount of sharpening and noise reduction to each photo — or a “metadata” setting, such as filling in the copyright section of each photo you open. Finally, you can choose to create a second copy of every photo you import so that you have a backup (though this may be overkill if you already have a constant backup to an external hard drive or the cloud).
You’ll find yourself personalizing this section significantly over time.
For now, once you’ve chosen the right destination folder, you’re good. Every single one of these settings is reversible at any point in the future.
The Bar at the Bottom
The last bit of the import dialogue is the bar along the bottom. The main option here is the “Import Preset” section. It is what lets you save all the settings you just chose — the copy/move/add settings, the destination folder, the options on the right-hand sidebar — and use the exact same ones at some point in the future.
Aside from that, once you’ve selected all the photos you want to add to your catalog, you’re done! Click the “Import” button at the bottom-right of your screen, and you’re ready to organize and edit the photos you’ve just added.
After Import: How is Adobe Lightroom Classic arranged?
Lightroom Classic is divided into two main sections: the organization half and the post-processing half.
These two core features are separated from one another when you’re looking at a photo in Lightroom; you can’t see all the organizational features and all the editing features at the same time. To organize your photos, you need to enter the Library module. To post-process your photos, you need to enter the Develop module.
On top of the Library and Develop modules, Lightroom also has a Map, Book, Slideshow, Print, and Web module. Each one does, roughly, what it sounds like. So if you want to pinpoint the GPS coordinates of a photo you took, for example, you’d need to open the Map module. We have a full article dedicated to explaining Lightroom modules if you’re interested.
The most important modules in Lightroom, though, by far, are Library and Develop. Very few photographers will use the other modules just as frequently. So, how do the Library and Develop modules work? I’ll give an outline below.
The Library Module
You’ll notice upon entering the Library module that it looks something like this:
What do all the pop-out tabs do? I’ll cover each one below:
The Left-Hand Tab
Along the left-hand side is the actual file structure on your computer. (If you don’t see it, press the “tab” key on your keyboard, or click the inward-pointing arrow along the very far left.) In the example above, you can see that there are a bunch of empty folders – these are standard folders that you can customize as you please.
Near the middle of the screen, you can see a label called “Collections.” I’ll get to that in a bit, but here’s a spoiler alert: The “Collections” section of Lightroom is very important. For many photographers, it forms the backbone of their organizational structure.
The Top Options
At the top of the screen, below the Library/Develop/Map/etc. modules is a thin gray bar called “Library Filter.” Press the “\” key on your keyboard or go to View> Show Filter Bar if you don’t see it. Another spoiler alert: This unassuming tab is the main tool at your disposal if you ever lose a photo and are trying to find it again.
The Right-Hand Tab
On the right-hand side of your screen is another pop-out tab. This one has a few more options — Quick Develop, Keywording, etc. — and exists mainly to give you information about your photos. The most useful of these options is the “Metadata” section, which lets you look at the behind-the-scenes information about your photos. I use this whenever I’m trying to see when I captured a photo, or if I used exposure compensation, or if I used a particular camera/lens rather than another. At the top of the right-hand tab, you can see a summary of this information, as well as a histogram of the selected photo.
The Toolbar at the Bottom
Another important option is at the bottom of your screen. Adobe Lightroom Classic calls this your Toolbar. (If it doesn’t appear, press “T,” or go View > Show Toolbar.)
The Toolbar lets you choose how your photos look within the Library module. They could be a set of thumbnails, a single image that fills most of the screen, or a comparison of multiple photos that fill part of the screen. Those options can be seen in the screenshot below:
The thumbnail view — the icon on the far left — is also known as the Grid View. This one is useful if you’re trying to scroll through several photos at once.
The Loupe View is next. It partially fills the screen with your photo, keeping the sidebars open in the meantime. It’s nice if you want to look at each photo in more detail, though I tend to prefer the full-screen View that you get by pressing the “F” key. (In older Lightroom versions, press the “L” key instead, or just go to the top menu: Window > Screen Mode > Full-Screen Preview.)
There are also Compare and Survey views if you want to compare multiple photos against one another simultaneously. And, if you take many photos of people, you might find the People view — where Lightroom tries to find people’s faces and group them together — to help for certain shoots. I don’t tend to use these views, but you might find them useful depending upon your work. Feel free to experiment.
Also, for what it’s worth, the tools you’ll have at your disposal in the Toolbar will change depending upon which of these options you click. If you enter “Loupe View,” for example, you’ll be able to give your photos a star rating, which isn’t in the Toolbar in the other views (though you can do this at any time just by pressing a number, 1-5, on your keyboard).
The Filmstrip Pop-Out at the Very Bottom
Finally, there’s one more pop-out tab that we haven’t examined yet: the “Filmstrip” at the very, very bottom of the screen. If it doesn’t appear yet, you’ll need to click the upward-pointing arrow at the bottommost point of Lightroom:
It lets you look at a miniature version of each photo along the bottom of your screen. It can be useful on certain occasions — say, you’re in the Loupe View (again, looking at a single photo at a time), and you want to go quickly to a photo that is much later within the same folder. I don’t use the filmstrip much, but it may be useful for your work.
The Library module does more than just let you view your photos, though — it also lets you organize them. I’ll cover that in a moment, but I’ll give a quick overview of the Develop module first.
The Develop Module
Editing your photos is one of the crucial steps of photography. It is particularly relevant if you shoot with your camera’s RAW mode, in which case you’re likely to end up with low-contrast photos and low-saturation immediately out of the camera. That’s where the Develop module in Adobe Lightroom Classic can help.
Lightroom’s Develop module looks like this:
Once again, I’ll cover what each of these pop-out tabs does below:
The Right-Hand Post-Processing Options
As you can see, there are plenty of post-processing options on the right-hand side of the screen. Most of those are considered global adjustments — in other words, they affect the entire photograph at once.
The other category of adjustment is called a local edit; it only affects part of your photo. The options at the top of this sidebar are the local edit options.
You’ll end up using this right-hand sidebar far more often than any of the other options when you’re post-processing photos in Lightroom. This is because it’s the home base. So almost any time you want to make an edit, this is where you’ll go.
The Left-Hand Tab
The other crucial tab in Lightroom’s Develop module is the left-hand tab. This section has a few separate options that are each equally useful.
First is the “Presets” section. It lets you apply a set of pre-fixed edits to your photos. Since every photo is different, why would you want to do this? Personally, I have a sharpening preset that I apply to most of my photos. Since most of my photos are taken at similar ISO and aperture values, I tend to use the same sharpening settings frequently, which quickens the process. Read more here: How to Create a Lightroom Develop Preset.
Next is the “Snapshots” section. We have a useful video tutorial about Lightroom snapshots that you may want to check out. Still, the main point is this: a snapshot is a way to remember the exact post-processing settings you used at a particular point in time. If you like the look of an edit that you made, and you want to return to those settings easily (i.e., without undoing all of them manually), you can take a snapshot and return to it at any time.
The “History” option is next, and it’s a very useful one. Here, Adobe Lightroom Classic essentially takes a snapshot every time you make an edit. So, you can go back, chronologically, to see how the photo looked at any point in its history. I use this all the time to compare my recent edits to an earlier version of the photo. However, if you’ve made a lot of edits to a particular image, this section can get crowded and difficult to navigate exactly where you want.
Finally, the “Collections” option is last. As I mentioned earlier, this section also appears in the normal Library module, and I’m not sure it’s totally necessary here. But, if you have the filmstrip pop-out enabled, you can drag any photo you want into any Collection you want, even within the Develop module. Some photographers may find that useful.
The Develop Toolbar at the Bottom
The last part of the Develop module’s layout is the Toolbar at the bottom. There are only a few options, and you won’t end up using them very frequently.
The first option is the view mode of the Develop module. You can view your images with a single photo taking up the screen — which is the most typical way to use the Develop module — or with two photos taking up the screen (Compare). In this case, the second photo is the original appearance of the photo out-of-camera.
It can be useful if you’re trying to see how drastic your edits were, but it’s not something that most people use very often. However, you can do something similar without showing both photos at once by pressing the “\” key on your keyboard.
The other option in the Toolbar is called “Soft Proofing”, and this is a relatively advanced topic. If you’re trying to print a photo, it can be difficult (i.e., really difficult and expensive) to get your image’s colors/contrast/brightness to look exactly the same between your screen and your print. The Soft Proofing option lets you load profiles from your printer and see, roughly, how the photo will look when printed.
Personally, even though I really enjoy printing my photos, I rarely use this option. However, depending upon how closely you care about one-to-one accuracy between your print and your screen, you should already know whether it will be useful for you.
And now that you know the layout of Lightroom, it’s time to dive into the first main function of the software: sorting and organizing your pictures.
Adobe Lightroom Features
Let’s dive into some of the key features of Adobe Lightroom Classic.
Batch process images using the Quick Develop panel
Using the Quick Develop panel, you can batch process and apply presets to multiple images at once. For example, have a group of images that are all overexposed? Select them all and correct them simultaneously. Also, by roughly batch processing your images using the Quick Develop panel, you can save time later when you’re fine-tuning them in the Develop module. Who doesn’t like saving time?
Intuitive User Interface
It’s super easy to move from photo to photo in the Develop module and view contact sheets in the Library grid view.
Easily transfer adjustment settings from one image to another
If you’ve spent some time adjusting one image and the next image is similar, you can transfer the settings from the original image with a single click! Just click the “Previous” button in the Develop module, and it’s done. This one feature alone allows you to cruise through groups of images effortlessly. You can also copy settings to multiple images at once for extra power.
Create Presets To Save Time And Develop Style
Presets allow you to easily save configurations of the adjustment sliders in the Develop module. You can then apply the effect to other photos with just one click! The presets can save you mega time with your processing. Did you spend a lot of time perfecting a black & white? Save it as a preset to be used on another image! You can create a wide variety of presets to save time and quickly experiment with different looks.
Presets can also help you develop a style. By using the presets, you create your images will have a more consistent look. That’s a hugely important part of creating a recognizable editing style.
Powerful RAW file editor
Lightroom is a fantastic RAW file editor. The RAW format is the highest quality setting on most DSLR cameras (and here’s why you should shoot in RAW), and with Lightroom, you can really take advantage of that.
When shooting in the RAW format, it’s easy to correct exposure and white balance in Lightroom.
Easy to crop images
With Lightroom’s Crop tool, it’s super easy to crop photos to any aspect ratio creatively. Straightening your photos is also a snap with the straighten tool. You can click and drag along any vertical or horizontal line, and your image will automatically be rotated and cropped.
It seems like such a simple thing, but you’ll find that you use the straighten tool a LOT.
The free Lightroom presets save you a lot of time when you are editing images. Here are some of the free Lightroom presets:
Lightroom presets for wedding photography
This Adobe Lightroom Classic presets for wedding photography helps photographers to edit wedding photos easily.
It is a free Lightroom preset that gives your images a nice film look. It works very well for photography like weddings, cityscapes, social media, landscape, travel, and portraits.
This package contains thirty amazing Lightroom presets that are great for any wedding event. These presets work perfectly desktop and mobile, and they improve your wedding images by giving them a distinctly artistic feel and look.
The Elegant wedding preset was created to improve, brighten and minimize the temperature of your images for the best wedding day shot. It ends up giving your images a professional look that is best for blog posts and social media.
Wedding day is another free Lightroom preset that is developed for adjusting wedding images. It helps fine-tune the saturation and vibrance of your wedding images to bring excellent results that look enthusiastic and brilliant. This preset is best for wedding photographers.
The bouquet preset is created to enhance your images by including clarity along with subtle and sharpening split toning.
Fashion Vintage is a group of ten Lightroom presets that is best for wedding or portrait photographers. Each one is made to give a unique retro look to your images.
PH The Weddings
It is a set of eight wedding Lightroom presets that help your wedding images to pop out. In addition, these presets aid wedding photographers in retouching the photos in a single click.
“Weddings Look” is a set of two Lightroom wedding presets that increase exposure/brightness and add warmth, contrast, vibrance, slight vignetting, and portrait sharpening. These presets are especially useful when applied to underexposed photos that need some brightening.
Photography Concentrate includes ten presets, groups in two pairs of 5 each, and designed to showcase the creative possibilities available with Lightroom. Use Photography Concentrate to create infinite custom color tones ranging from subtle warming and cooling to more intense color effects.
The Quantum Collection
The Quantum Collection is a set of 16 free Lightroom presets that will blow you away. They allow you to create high-quality conversions without leaving Lightroom. This package contains over a hundred effects refined and organized into the ultimate standard and dynamic toolkit.
Lightroom Presets For Baby and Family Photography
To enhance your baby and family photos so that they look clean, light, and soft, check out these free Lightroom presets for infant photography and family photos:
Color Print Film Emulation
Color Print Film Emulation is a set of 18 presets in two volumes of 9 each. It converts photos into different color print film emulations that look stunning.
New Life is a free Lightroom preset that captures newborn infants’ and children’s warmth and delicate beauty. It gives photos a light, airy softness that complements skin tones and adds to the overall charm.
MCP Mini Enlighten
MCP Mini Enlighten has 15 photographer-recommended Lightroom presets and custom presets for a wide variety of shooting situations. These presets can be used separately or stacked together for an amazing variety of looks.
Analog Look brings dramatic creative effects to your photos. It is a Lightroom preset that adds the touch of hours of professional editing of portraits in seconds.
Matt Kloskowski’s Spotlight
Matt Kloskowski’s Spotlight is a preset pack that takes advantage of the Radial Filter effect in Lightroom. You should use it to spotlight a particular area in your photographs. With this preset pack, you can draw attention to what’s really important!
Newborn Baby is a free Lightroom preset that will not only increase the dynamic range of your photos but will still leave you with a soft, subtle, natural look.
Sun Flare is an amazing free Lightroom preset that warms your photo dramatically. This preset adds a sunlight effect to your photos so that they really stand out.
Lightroom Presets For Headshots
Maybe you’d like to change out the background of your headshots. In that case, check out our tutorial on how to change a background in Photoshop.
But, for a quick effect that will make your headshots look stunning, you should edit them in Lightroom and use one of these amazing free presets for headshots:
Legacy Pro 1600
Legacy Pro 1600 simulates the look of a discontinued black and white slide film. It produces a beautiful texture and medium contrast. In addition, this free Lightroom preset has a distinct look thanks to the creative rendering of gray tones.
Magic Moments has muted colors that help make your subjects pop. In addition, this free preset produces attractive and vivid tones that bring out the detail of your picture, especially in facial expressions. This is a great preset if you take a lot of family portraits.
CatchingSand Black and White Pack 1
CatchingSand Black and White Pack 1 comes with three amazing color shades. Consider using this pack of 3 Lightroom presets to change your photos into a great black and white texture. Though it would normally take hours of fiddling with Lightroom to achieve, the magnificent professional black and whites this preset give are super fast.
Movie Star adds a soft retro warmth and a cinematic atmosphere to your photos. In addition, it applies dramatic tones that are ideal for all types of portraits.
Portra 160 is a great free Lightroom preset that gives your photos the unmistakable and timeless look of the classic Kodak Portra 160. It is one of our favorites presets because of its soft cool hues and tempered intensity. This is the one to use if you want subtler tones and matte textures on your pictures.
Urban Cool perfectly intensifies cool temperatures in your photos. To achieve this effect, Urban Cool adds greens, blues, and violet tones in shadows. To make your photo appear calm and cool, it increases saturation in warm tones.
Summer Love adds bright warm summer effects to your photos. If your picture is captured in sunlight, this preset is perfect for you.
Lightroom Presets For Landscape
To make your landscapes look grand and breathtaking, check out these free Lightroom presets for landscape photography:
Trey Ratcliff is a set of Lightroom presets that includes some of the best presets for travel photography. These presets are great for portraits and landscape photos.
Cinematic HDR is a free Lightroom preset that makes your photos look like an awesome cinema-inspired HDR effect. It works well with landscapes as well as other types of photos.
Black and White HDR
Black & White HDR is a free Lightroom preset that will make your color photos awesome with this black & white HDR conversion. It opens up the dynamic range while still keeping deep, beautiful blacks.
Winter Wonderland is a preset pack that includes some of the newest and best winter-time presets for Lightroom. From black & white, desaturated, and dehire presets, all the way to sky enhancers, vintage retro, and other various looks to help you achieve the perfect winter look for your photos.
Indoor Bright is a free Lightroom preset ideal for indoor photography, especially if you are shooting products or interiors. The preset neutralize harsh light in any photo, so you won’t get those stark yellow or blues that often pop from artificial light.
Adobe Lightroom Classic Pricing
Photography plan (20GB)
Photoshop & Lightroom
- Lightroom Classic
- Photoshop on desktop
- Photoshop on iPad
- Lightroom Mobile
- Adobe Portfolio
- Build your website
- Cloud photo storage - 20GB: Approx. 4,000 JPEGs
Photography plan (1TB)
Photoshop & Lightroom
- Lightroom Classic
- Photoshop on desktop
- Photoshop on iPad
- Lightroom Mobile
- Adobe Portfolio
- Build your website
- Cloud photo storage - 1TB: Approx. 20,000 raw DSLR images or 200,000 JPEGs
Lightroom plan (1TB)
Photo editing, anywhere you are
- Lightroom Mobile
- Adobe Portfolio
- Cloud photo storage - 1TB: Approx. 20,000 raw DSLR images or 200,000 JPEGs
See all Features
What are the buying options for Lightroom?
There are two buying options for Lightroom. First, you can get Lightroom on its own. Second, you can opt for the Creative Cloud Photography plan. Both plans start at the cost of $9.99/month. However, Adobe Lightroom Classic is available only with the Photography plan.
Can you buy Lightroom without a subscription?
No, you can’t buy Lightroom Classic without a subscription. Moreover, you can’t get Lightroom Classic without Lightroom CC. Whether you choose the Photography plan or Lightroom plan, you will get both versions of the software.
Is Lightroom available without a membership?
No, Lightroom and the latest versions of Creative Cloud apps are available only with a membership plan.
Are all Lightroom updates included in the membership?
When installing Creative Cloud, you get access to all the releases and latest updates as soon as they are available. We know there are a lot of voices in the photographers’ community that don’t love the subscription pricing model. However, it has its upsides, as Creative Cloud speeds up the frequency with which the software gets updated.
What’s the difference between the annual and month-to-month plans?
To get the best value for money, you will need to get an annual plan. Even though it comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee, it still is a one-year commitment. Moreover, if you cancel after the 14 days window, there will be a 50% fee for the remaining months. In conclusion, if you prefer to have flexibility, we suggest choosing the month-to-month plan. That way, you will have the flexibility to stop or restart your membership without a cancellation fee.
Membership and cancellation terms
The membership begins as soon as your payment is processed. You’ll be charged the rate stated at the time of purchase, plus applicable taxes. Your contract will renew automatically on your monthly or annual renewal date until you cancel. Also, there might be changes to the renewal rates, but Adobe will always notify you beforehand.
Can You Get Adobe Lightroom for Free?
The only way to use Adobe Lightroom for free is during its 30-day free trial. However, after the trial expires, you will need to get a subscription or stop using it.
Now, we know there are many of you trying to get a cracked version of Adobe software for free. However, we strongly advise against it. First, downloading a pirated version of Lightroom might bring you legal troubles. Second, the websites offering illegal copies of any software product come with malware and viruses. In conclusion, it is better to be safe and pay some bucks to use the software rather than cleaning out your hard drive and losing your files.
Adobe Lightroom Alternatives
Skylum Luminar has been popular as a RAW photo editor for years, but in 2018, it added digital asset management capabilities. Since then, other image enhancement filters powered by artificial intelligence (AI) have been added, which have taken the app to a whole new level. For example, Accent AI will analyze a photo to calculate the best edits to make automatically.
These sorts of tools are great for newcomers to image editing programs. There is also quite a large focus on presets and one-click edits, which will help you become familiar with the software. However, those with more experience aren’t left out, as advanced editing tools are available for those who like finer-grained control.
The pricing for Skylum Luminar is modest, and you only pay for a one-time license. However, there’s no free trial, but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Skylum Luminar is available as both a standalone app and a plugin for other apps like Lightroom, Photoshop, and Photos for macOS.
RawTherapee is a free, open-source RAW image-processing app available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. In terms of interface and toolset, it’s something of a hybrid between Photoshop and Lightroom, though it doesn’t have the same level of image management and organization capabilities of either. But because it’s more of a lightweight version of the other apps, it doesn’t have the same steep learning curve.
RawTherapee shares with Lightroom, though, that it is non-destructive when working with RAW files and will always keep them intact. It also has many of the editing tools that you’ll find in Lightroom, like adjusting exposure, sharpening and curves, and color correction.
On1 Photo RAW
People who like to use both Lightroom and Photoshop to manage and edit their photos should consider On1 Photo RAW, which has many of the digital asset management features of Lightroom and the image-editing capabilities of Photoshop.
ON1 originally started out developing image-editing plugins, many of which are now integrated with Photo RAW. It also features layers and focuses on stacking, like Photoshop.
There’s no need to import images when using Photo RAW, as the program will automatically recognize images on your computer’s hard drive.
ON1 Photo RAW has a decent one-time cost and also comes with a 30-day free trial and a 90-day money-back guarantee.
Capture One Pro is a photo editing program aimed at professional and studio photographers, offering a range of advanced tools.
The photo editing software is similar to Lightroom in its feature set but includes some of the functionality found in Photoshop, like using layers. When organizing images, users can group them by sessions, not just catalogs, and you can even add annotations directly onto photos.
Because Phase One’s history has been with high-end cameras, the software has benefitted from having a similar emphasis on high-end rendering quality. The platform used to be quite expensive because of that focus, but the price has come down to be similar to that of Lightroom.
You can either pay for a subscription or purchase the software outright. Subscribers get free updates, and outright purchasers can get updates at special prices. You can also get licenses that support just one brand of camera—Sony, Fujifilm, or Nikon—for a reduced fee.
DxO PhotoLab is from DxO, a French company that produces photo-editing software and runs a benchmark service to assess lenses and mobile and digital cameras.
The software available for Mac and PC will convert RAW images and automatically correct optical flaws, extend dynamic range, and remove digital noise. These features are in the Nik Collection suite of tools, which used to be a Google product.
PhotoLab has always had image-editing capabilities, but it also recently had photo libraries added for managing images, which aligns with what Lightroom offers. Like other apps, DxO PhotoLab will organize images found on your hard drive rather than requiring you to import them into the program. The software can be purchased for a one-time fee, and there is a 30-day free trial.
Adobe Lightroom Review Conclusions
Adobe Lightroom Classic (officially Adobe Photoshop Lightroom) is a creative image organization and image manipulation software developed by Adobe Inc. as part of the Creative Cloud subscription family. It is supported on Windows and iOS. Its primary uses include importing, saving, viewing, organizing, tagging, editing, and sharing large numbers of digital images. Lightroom’s editing functions include white balance, presence, tone, tone curve, HSL, color grading, detail, lens corrections, and calibration manipulation, as well as transformation, spot removal, red-eye correction, graduated filters, radial filters, and adjustment brushing. The name of the software is based on darkrooms used for processing light-sensitive photographic materials.