Published On: Tue, May 7th, 2019

AI In Photo Editing Software Proves That Adobe Is Not the One and the Only

Today Adobe is the world leader in the field of image and video processing software development. Nevertheless, the software, in particular, the Lightroom and Camera RAW, cannot totally satisfy the entire army of photographers. Among the reasons why novice photographers and professionals are looking for alternatives are costly subscription, low workflow, the lack of specific functions.

So, which alternatives to Lightroom can be found on the market today?

photo/ StockSnap via pixabay

Luminar 3

Although Adobe Lightroom is the undisputed leader in photo editing software, there are also worthy competitors who are constantly improving their products and implement innovative features. For example, Skylum’s Luminar 3, released for macOS and Windows. Being developed dynamically its latest 3rd version has received DAM support for more convenient workflow, not just photo editing.

According to the developers, Luminar 3 allows you, edit, store, categorize and combine pictures. In addition, “Libraries” make it easier to edit groups of photos: users can apply the settings directly to the mass of images, then adjust individual photos.

Luminar may not be as advanced as the latest RAW photo editors, but Skylum is constantly trying to automate photo editing process by adding a function based on machine learning: sky enhancer and Accent AI 2.0. In addition, five dozen of art filters and presets from professional photographers are available.

According to professional photographer Sean Archer, Luminar 3 is an ideal tool for those people looking for smart solutions on increasing productivity and getting rid of the dull manual processing.

The cost of Luminar is $70 but you can always come across a promotional discount offer (on the official website there is a trial version with a time limit of 30 days). The developers separately emphasize that we are talking about a one-time payment, after which you can enjoy all the benefits of the tool. Obviously, this is a big win since Adobe offers access to its photo editor only within fairly expensive subscriptions.

Darktable (Available for PC & Mac)

Similar to RawTherapee, Darktable is an open source image editing application that supports RAW image processing. This free program provides many of the same features as Lightroom, such as standard editing tools, RAW file support, color management, library sorting, and automated repetitive tasks. The interface of Darktable is has a similar layout to Lightroom. However, it does come with a learning curve. The program is jam-packed with a lot of tools, making the interface a bit cluttered and confusing, especially for a beginner or first-time user.


Feature rich, open source, non-destructive


Can be overwhelming, may lag when working on large files, especially RAW

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2019

Photo Studio Ultimate 2019 is a powerhouse of a program that actually offers a few more capabilities than Lightroom, such as the ability to directly edit source files (no more importing) and working in layers. It also comes with its own patented technology called Light EQ, which allows you to manually or automatically adjust the lighting in specific areas in images with affecting others. Basically, you can easily lighten areas that are too dark while darkening areas that are too bright. Photo Studio Ultimate 2019 comes with all the other standard features you’d find in Lightroom as well, making it an all-in-one program. However, it does come with a hefty price tag, of $150 (and an additional $69/year if you want the extras).


All-in-one program, customizable user interface, directly edit source files


Higher price tag, UI looks outdated, lacks HDR tools

DxO PhotoLab (Available for PC & Mac)

For photographers who frequently shoot in RAW, DxO PhotoLab is a RAW editing program that offers a user-friendly interface. Whereas most other programs offer hundreds of tools that allow you to edit your photos with precision, PhotoLab aims to streamline the editing process by providing you with a set of quick automatic adjustments, focusing on the edits that are most important.  It also offers many other features, such as noise reduction, support fo 400 cameras, U Point local adjustment technology, optical corrections, and color management. Where DxO PhotoLab falls short is that it doesn’t offer any library management capabilities. But if you’re looking for a quick and easy RAW processing program, PhotoLab is for you. It is available for a one-time cost of $129 and offers a 30-day trial as well.


Beautiful interface, high-quality noise reduction, powerful local adjustments


Few workflow tools, higher price tag

Corel Aftershot Pro

If you visit their website, Corel Aftershot Pro claims that it is up to 4x faster than Lightroom. Aftershot Pro offers a complete workflow process that is meant to satisfy the demands of professionals as well as beginners. The program comes with features such as watermarking, highlight recovery, blemish removal, presets, lens correction, and support for many RAW camera profiles. Whereas previous versions lacked photo management, the latest version of this program now offers a library system, although not as intuitive as Lightroom. This program is currently available for a one-time price of $79.99.


Fast importing, great noise reduction and exposure correction tools


Import procedure can be a pain, no PNG file format support, limited sharing features

Zoner Photo Studio X

Zoner Photo Studio X is a software that serves as a photo organizer as well as an editor. It boasts a mixture of basic and professional editing tools that allow you to customize your photos as much or as little as you desire. The wide selection of features, such as photo management, non-destructive edits, automatic edits, filters, layer and mask support, and RAW support make this program a great option for users of all skill levels, from novices to experts. Zoner Photo Studio X comes at a cost of either $49/year or $4.99/month, depending on which option you choose.


All-in-one program, speedy processing, easy-to-use interface


No user forum, switching between developer and editor modules is a task

Author: Andrei Pyshchai

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