Adobe Lightroom alternative?


I’ve recently switched from Adobe Photoshop to Affinity Photo for photo editing, but haven’t yet found a suitable alternative to Adobe Lightroom for photo organization, keyword tagging, and such. I’d like to avoid Adobe’s subscription model if possible. Do you have any recommendations for macOS and iOS that might help?



Sadly, I have yet to find anything close enough. I love being able to organize, flag, rate, tag, edit, color-code, etc…all in one program. I refuse to go the subscription model and am using Lightroom 6 stand-alone still.

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Can’t vouch for iOS, but for Windows, Mac, and Linux, I’ve been testing RawTherapee. I have no experience with Lightroom personally, so I can’t attest to how it compares. However, once you learn how to use it, I’ve found it a very powerful program for managing RAW files.

Another I’ve heard of but haven’t tested myself yet is DarkTable. Going to be trying that one next. I’m with you, I refuse to get into the subscription model for a hobby.

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I like Skylum Luminar []. It has an easy to use interface and some pretty powerful edits can be done easily. It’s not iOS, but it does have Windows and macOS (I use the Windows version). Trey Ratcliff has some posts about it on his Stuck in Customs site []


But it STILL doesn’t have the DAM to manage organization like Lightroom, though they have promised as much for a few years now. I like Luminar, and use it, but not for DAM.

Try darktable, its an open source light room like program and they say it works on mac os, Ive used it on linux and seems pretty good. I have used light room but not enough to figure it all out but dark table looked almost like it.
Maybe @ant_pruitt can take a look at it and give a nice review of it. and did I say it is FREE and open source :slight_smile:


My Lightroom was old and didn’t play well with Windows 10. Then I got a new camera and it came with Capture One. I’m very happy with it.


I suggest Raw Therapee, but haven’t played with it. I don’t think there’s a DAM, but I can’t remember.

I have Lightroom, but I’ll be honest with you…I have a NAS with about a decade worth of images (probably about 50 GB) and it’s so massive I don’t really have any way of getting on top of it quickly. The funny thing is that what I want doesn’t exist (except on IOS and Android) and that’s Slidebox. Basically I like Lightroom for editing photos taken with my DSLR, but organizing my large collection isn’t something I’ve found easy to do in Lightroom. In Slidebox it’s super easy to group, tag, and delete photos on my device. I just wish there were something like it for my NAS.

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Yeah I’m not sure about an alternative for organizing. I create catalogs each month. Backup the catalogs and move to nas at the end of month. LR doesn’t have to do any indexing or anything on nas for me. Just local. Your mileage may vary

Here’s a review of Luminar 4.1 by Scott Bourne. Scott is the photographer I look up to when it comes to bird photography. He’s is probably the reason I switched to Olympus. I highly recommend subscribing to his blog and following him on social media.

A few comments about his review:
His method of using Luminar to catalogue and organize photos instead of Lightroom doesn’t work for me. I’ve spent the last few months really learning how to organize my photos in Lightroom and I’m very happy with the results. I’ve got my workflow down, finally, after many years of stumbling around. Adobe’s subscription model doesn’t tick me off that much. That being said, others looking to replace Lightroom may want to give Scott’s method a try.

I find it curious that a professional photographer who spends a pile of money on equipment, including his “work truck,” would get upset about a $120/year price increase.

His comments about Luminar not working as well on a PC compared to the Mac makes me regret (a little) my decision to recently purchase a Dell instead of the new MacBook Pro. I’m happy with the way Luminar performs on the Dell.

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Can you search all the catalogues at one time that you have moved to the NAS?


I’ve not tried that. When I need to find something, I try to think back to a general time of year. Open one catalog at a time and search keywords. Example: I took a night shot of downtown Charlotte, but it was really hot out that night. So I’d search my June, July, August catalogs for what I’m looking for based on “night”, “Charlotte”, “city”, “building”, etc. This is a the flow that seems to work for my brain. I forget a lot of things such as what I had for dinner yesterday, but I tend to have odd memories about looking through the lens. If I can remember an approximate year and time of year, I usually find what I’m looking for based on keywords.

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I can relate to that.

My photo library is only about 18K photos so keeping them all in one catalogue is working so far. I can imagine your library is a LOT bigger.

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I’ve been using CaptureOne and I really like it


OK I’m on the verge of upgrading my Capture One. Are the presets worth it?

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I’m not a preset kind of guy, but some people like them. Good for a starting point on an image, I guess. Capture One has a price increase, I believe. But I think it still comes out cheaper than Adobe.

I upgraded last year and got a bunch of filters and effects bundled in. My daughter then got married in the summer and we had disposable cameras on the table. Although low resolution and grainy, the B&W filters made some lovely effects, I could apply the filter and get a 90% result, with just a little tweaking thereafter.

Just saw this mentioned today. Early stages, but an option.