Without a doubt Adobe Lightroom is one of the most popular photo management applications around. It ingrates image management (e.g. Digital Asset Management – DAM) in addition to image processing.

Whilst Lightroom is one of the most popular applications, many (myself included) are not really a fan of the pay-to-use subscription model. I would must rather buy a piece of software and choose how and when to upgrade rather than to be locked into a piece of software.


With that in mind, there are a range of free and paid Lightroom alternatives I have listed below;

  • Skylum Luminar 4 – This started off as just RAW Processing but has now included the option for DAM. It can be used with or without the DAM feature and has some fairly interesting enhancement tools (e.g. SKY Enhancer / Replacement)
  • Capture One 20 – Capture one is known as one of the best photo editing and DAM pieces of software. It should be noted that there are multiple versions of the software (e.g. Fuji) however, the Pro version supports most major camera brands. Furthermore, there are two licence types; Perpetual and Subscription. It is the Perpetual licence which does not require an ongoing subscription.
  • ON1 Photo Raw 2020 – Whilst ON1 has previously been known for image processing and effects plugins they have also included RAW processing software and DAM.
  • ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2020 – This is an all in one image processing and management software (note this is for Windows only)
  • Corel AfterShot Pro 3 – This is billed as being up to 4x faster than Lightroom, it includes a Simple photo management system, in addition to powerful batch processing and all of the usual things you would expect from a powerful photo editor.
  • AlienSkin Exposure – This software includes asset management in addition to powerful image editing capabilities for creative photographers who want to make artistic images.


Special Mentions;

  • darktable – An open source photography workflow application which is free, and works on Mac, Linux and Windows. It has a similar interface to Lightroom.
  • RawTherapee– A powerful cross platform raw photo editing software which is released free as GPLv3, it is slimmed down compared to Lightroom.


As you can see, there are plenty of options outside of Lightroom, most offering a free trial of the software. What is your favorite photo editing / DAM software?

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