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13 Best Free Lightroom Alternatives in 2022 [Windows & Mac]

Last Updated on Jul. 8, 2022 – by David Morgan
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If you’re a photographer, you’ve probably used Adobe Lightroom to manage and process your photo catalog. Lightroom is one of the most popular image processing programs on the market. Tens of thousands of photographers use it to manage their workflow, organize photos from a shoot, and make base-level corrections each day.

Even though Lightroom has risen to the top of the market for popularity, you may be surprised to learn that it isn’t necessarily the best option. Many users complain that Lightroom is too expensive for its capabilities, too complicated for beginners to learn, and too limited in its photo manipulation options.

Thankfully, dozens of excellent alternatives to Lightroom exist that provide similar features and expand upon Lightroom’s limitations - for a fraction of the cost.

With so many alternatives to Lightroom out there, you may have trouble determining which one is right for your needs. So we’ve reviewed the best free Lightroom alternatives on the market to help you make the most informed decision.


Top 3 Free Lightroom Alternatives Snapshot

PhotoDirector Logo

1. PhotoDirector Essential - Best Overall

PhotoDirector Essential has the powerful editing tools you find in Photoshop with the impressive organizational tools of Lightroom in one package. It is the best overall alternative to Lightroom because it is packed with advanced photo editing tools, yet it remains easy to use and learn. Detailed Review >

Pixlr Logo

2. Capture One - Best for Color Adjustments

Capture One is very similar to Lightroom in feature set and quality. But its color adjustment tools make it a viable free Lightroom alternative, especially for those who want more control over every color in an image. Detailed Review >

PicsArt Logo

3. Corel Aftershot Pro - Best for Speed

Corel Aftershot Pro is a user-friendly free Lightroom alternative with fast RAW photo processing speed and organizational tools similar to Lightroom. Detailed Review >

What is Lightroom?

Lightroom is a photo organization and photo editing software and is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud family. Unlike Adobe’s other photo editing software, Photoshop, Lightroom is non-destructive, meaning the edited image is saved as a separate file while the original image remains untouched. It is popular amongst professional photographers because you can easily import, organize, view, edit, and share a large number of images.

Why Replace Lightroom With Another Image Editing Software?

A few reasons you may look for an alternative to Lightroom are:

  • Price
  • Lightroom is expensive. Why pay top dollar when there are free Lightroom alternatives available?

  • Photo Editing Tools
  • Lightroom excels at photo management and organization but lacks advanced photo editing tools like layer editing. Find an alternative to Lightroom that has both the organization and editing tools you need in one package.

  • Ease of Use
  • Like all Adobe Products, Lightroom has a steep learning curve. With so many options, you can easily find the right alternative to Lightroom for your skill level.

13 Best Free Lightroom Alternatives in 2022 [Windows & Mac]

1. PhotoDirector Essential - Best Overall

PhotoDirector Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

TopTenReviews Rating: 5/5

Image Organization Tools: 5/5

Price: Free
*Premium subscription available for $3.42/month

Key Features:

  1. AI sky replacement
  2. Unique video-to-photo tools
  3. Auto-lens correction
  4. Photo animation

We recommend PhotoDirector Essential as the best overall free Lightroom alternative. While Lightroom takes many users weeks or months to master, PhotoDirector Essential uses simple, straightforward tools and sorting features that new users can learn in no time. And that’s not to say PhotoDirector is only for beginners. This free Lightroom alternative is packed with all of the editing tools, features, and presets you would ever need to produce professional, publication-ready photos.

PhotoDirector will keep your photos organized, assist your workflow, and provide a secure place to store your catalog. With this free Lightroom alternative, you can tag, rate, and add keywords to your entire photo dump in one simple step, allowing you to arrange an extensive catalog quickly. This program also utilizes automatic facial recognition to streamline the sorting process. PhotoDirector is a superb free Lightroom alternative because of its advanced features like AI-powered tools, object removal, pro-level color adjustment tools, and an extensive library of filters and effects. With PhotoDirector, you can split, combine, and color layers with glitch effects or use de-blur, de-haze, and de-fringe to sharpen images. There’s even a royalty-free stock library with over 4 million beautiful photos and graphics from Shutterstock and Getty Images.

Whether you typically perform simple color corrections to your photos or prefer to zoom in and perfect every pixel, PhotoDirector has you covered. Think of PhotoDirector as the perfect blend of Lightroom and Photoshop without the clunky, hard-to-learn interfaces Adobe programs utilize, making it the perfect free Lightroom alternative. Download PhotoDirector Essential today to organize and edit your photo collection like a professional.

Pros
  • Easy-to-use
  • User-friendly, intuitive interface
  • Packed with pro-level features
Cons
  • Requires a lot of hard drive space

2. Capture One - Best for Color Adjustments

Capture One Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

G2 Rating: 4.6/5

Image Organization Tools: 5/5

Price: 30-day free trial, then $24/month

Key Features:

  1. Customizable interface
  2. RAW image converter
  3. Object removal
  4. Apply up to 16 layers

Capture One is the best alternative to Lightroom for color adjustments. Based on our review, Capture One has incredible color accuracy and image quality, with true-to-life color processing for over 500 camera profiles. Capture One’s advanced color editor is on par with Lightroom. It offers eight color ranges instead of the standard six and lets you isolate and edit specific colors in your photo. There’s also a Skin Tone Editor to accurately depict skin tone without complex retouching.

One of this free Lightroom alternative’s major perks is that you can easily import your photo catalog from Lightroom to Capture One if you currently use Lightroom. It also has organizational tools like keyword management and sorting by star rating or color tagging. In addition, you can sort your photos into Sessions folders for current jobs and Catalogs for older projects.

If you’re looking for a feature-to-feature alternative to Lightroom, Capture One is about as close as you can get. The two programs are very similar - so similar in fact that it might not be worth the change. If you’re looking for an alternative to Lightroom that expands on its features and has a lower price and learning curve, try PhotoDirector.

Pros
  • Fast import and rendering speed
  • High-quality output
Cons
  • Complex interface
  • Steep learning curve

3. Corel Aftershot Pro - Best for Speed

Corel Aftershot Pro

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

TopTenReviews Rating: 4/5

Image Organization Tools: 5/5

Price: 30-day free trial, then $79.99

Key Features:

  1. Comprehensive watermarking
  2. Highlight recovery
  3. Blemish remover tool
  4. Image preset library

Corel Aftershot Pro claims to be “the world’s fastest RAW photo-editing software.” While we aren’t sure that’s true, we do believe its other claim, that Aftershot is 4 times faster than Lightroom. This free Lightroom alternative has a fast workflow, allowing you to sort your photos, organize, edit, and view them in one program, with no importing required. You can also edit thousands of photos at once with ultra-powerful batch processing.

We found Aftershot’s organizational tools to be on par with Lightroom. This free Lightroom alternative automatically sorts images by name, date, and tags, or you can add in your own sorting criteria like ISO or shutter speed. Create groups or add color-coding, flags, and star ratings to identify your favorite photos. Aftershot also comes with some editing tools, like lens corrections, a cloning tool, and color adjustments.

Aftershot is best used for processing, sorting, tagging, and viewing photos and is not a stand-alone photo editor. If you want a free Lightroom alternative with photo organization and a full-bodied editor in one, try PhotoDirector Essential.

Pros
  • Excellent photo organization tools
  • Fast workflow
Cons
  • Lacks some photo editing tools
  • Slightly complicated UI

4. ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate - Best for Facial Recognition

Affinity Photo Interface

Compatibility: Windows

PCMag Rating: 3.5/5

Image Organization Tools: 5/5

Price: 30-day free trial, then $192.94

Key Features:

  1. Batch resize and rename
  2. Focus stacking
  3. Local noise reduction
  4. Custom LUT creation

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate is a free Lightroom alternative for digital asset management, RAW photo editing, and layered editing. It is an industry leader in face detection and recognition. We like the program’s new People Mode, which uses machine learning to organize by a specific client, friend, or family member and then allows you to merge, rename or delete faces. The AI assistant will even offer labeling suggestions and group similar faces that you have yet to name.

Other photo management tools include sorting by keywords, categories, and tags, and sorting, filtering, and grouping photos in any combinations. There’s also a duplicate photo finder. Besides photo organization, this free Lightroom alternative has layer editing with adjustment layers, masks, blend modes, layer effects, and adjustable opacity.

This alternative to Lightroom offers RAW photo processing, photo management, and layered photo editing all in one place. However, ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate falls slightly short of other software in every category. For instance, it doesn’t match DxO PhotoLab or RAW Therapee in RAW image quality, lacks some helpful photo-management tools found in Capture One and PhotoDirector, and the quality of its photo editing tools falls short of PhotoDirector and Luminar AI.

Pros
  • Fast workflow
  • AI tools for sorting images
Cons
  • Uses a lot of hard drive space
  • Busy interface

5. ON1 Photo RAW - Best for Presets & Filters

ON1 Photo RAW Interface

Image from Digital Camera World.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

PCMag Rating: 3.5/5

Image Organization Tools: 5/5

Price: 14-day free trial, then $99.99 for a full license

Key Features:

  1. AI noise reduction
  2. Sky replacement
  3. Liquify tool
  4. Time-lapse creator

ON1 Photo RAW is our choice as the best alternative to Lightroom for presets and filters. The program comes with hundreds of popular one-click presets, filters, LUTs, textures, and borders that can be combined, blended, and customized. Presets and filters are easy to find and apply using responsive sliders. You can also selectively apply your effects to a specific area of your image, then brush in or out to your liking.

This free Lightroom alternative is also a powerful export and image converter with great organizational tools. Search by star ratings, likes, color labels, keywords, or metadata. Choose to see your images as either photos, folders, or thumbnails. Then skim through them with multiple options - Grid View, Detail View, Filmstrip View, or Compare View.

ON1 Photo RAW offers many professional tools, but the learning curve is steep and the interface is confusing. The company doesn’t offer any tutorials, and you have to pay for teachable videos. Although they have the same overall rating, we felt ACDSee was a better all-around alternative to Lightroom, so we placed it higher on our list.

Pros
  • Compatible with Photoshop plug-ins
  • Great level of control
Cons
  • Runs slow
  • Steep learning curve

6. Darktable - Best Open-Source Alternative to Lightroom

Darktable Interface

Image from Darktable.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

Shotkit Rating: 4.2/5

Image Organization Tools: 4/5

Price: Free

Key Features:

  1. Retouching
  2. Geotagging support
  3. Haze removal
  4. Non-destructive editing

Based on our testing, Darktable is the best open-source free Lightroom alternative. Like other open-source editors, Darktable is constantly updated by users and professionals, and bugs are located and fixed in record time. The program supports 21 languages and offers many learning tools like user forums, video tutorials, and instructional posts. Darktable is one of the only open-source photography editors to offer tethered shooting support and RAW processing for over 400 cameras. And while a lot of open-source software have a chaotic UI, Darktable’s interface is almost identical to Lightroom. Best of all, it is 100% free for life.

Darktable has some photo management tools so you can organize, sort, and tag your images. Add metadata and search content by tags, star rating, color labels, etc. Other features include professional color tools, hot pixel fixes, denoise, masking, and blending. Some of these features offer finer control than their Lightroom counterparts, making Darktable a viable alternative to Lightroom.

If you are a professional photographer who regularly deals with thousands of images, Darktable will not work for you as a free Lightroom alternative. You can’t create image collections, and the software doesn’t support anything over 10,000 photos. For large image collections, try ON1 Photo RAW or Capture One.

Pros
  • Updated regularly
  • Good quality RAW processing
Cons
  • Needs better organizational tools
  • Lacking many advanced features

7. Apple Photos - Best for Mac & iPhone Users

Darktable Interface

Image from Apple.

Compatibility: Mac

PCMag Rating: 4/5

Image Organization Tools: 4/5

Price: Free

Key Features:

  1. Plug-in support
  2. Intuitive search function
  3. Noise reduction
  4. Red-eye remover

Apple Photos is a free Lightroom alternative found built-in all Mac computers. If you have thousands of photos on your iPhone just waiting to be organized, then Apple Photos is for you. Photos taken on an iPhone will automatically transfer to your iPad or Mac, without any importing, and edited photos will transfer back to your iPhone without any exporting. The app also supports the ProRAW format used by iPhone 12 Pro and offers tools specifically for iPhone photos like Live and Portrait mode.

This free Lightroom alternative can handle RAW files from popular digital cameras as well, even brand-new models. Organize photos with keyword tagging, geo-tagging, and facial recognition. Click on the info box to see the camera model, exposure settings, tags, and a map of where the photo was taken. The app will also automatically create albums of photos by type, such as Screenshots, Selfies, Panoramas, Live Photos, and more.

Apple Photos’ editing tools are better than you’d expect from software that comes with your device. In fact, its auto-correct tool is better than many paid software. It’s a great free Lightroom alternative for beginners to practice some rudimentary photo editing and for iPhone users to organize their photos into albums. Intermediate to professional photographers and editors will need to look elsewhere. Apple Photos lacks features such as layer editing, lens profile corrections, content-aware edits, and chromatic aberration, to name a few. If you want the user-friendliness of Apple Photos with more advanced photo editing tools, try PhotoDirector.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • RAW file support for most digital camera models
Cons
  • Lacks advanced photo editing tools
  • Only works on Apple devices

8. Skylum Luminar AI - Best for AI Tools

Skylum Luminar AI Interface

Image from PhotoLemur.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

TechRadar Rating: 4/5

Image Organization Tools: 3.7/5

Price: 7-day free trial, then $47

Key Features:

  1. Tons of presets and filters
  2. Can be used as a plug-in
  3. Iris, Skin, and Body AI fixes
  4. Layer editing

Skylum Luminar AI is an alternative to Lightroom which is fully powered by AI. It offers more than 20 unique AI photo effects and tools such as sky/weather replacement, facial retouching, super contrast, portrait bokeh, and more. AI-powered tools mean easy, one-click solutions with professional-looking results.

There are some digital asset management tools, making this a worthy alternative to Lightroom. It has four workspaces: Catalog, Templates, Edit, and Export. Catalog has folders containing All Photos, Single Image Edits, Recently Added, Recently Edited, and Trash, as well as any manually added folders and albums. You can also use batch editing to recreate complex-looking edits in a large group of photos at once.

Sylum Luminar AI is very easy to use, and its powerful AI tools produce extraordinary results in one click. However, we found it lacked keyword tagging and facial recognition. If you are in the market for a free Lightroom alternative and rely on tagging to organize your images, try Capture One, PhotoDirector, or Apple Photos.

Pros
  • No learning curve
  • Unique AI tools for fixing and adjusting photos
Cons
  • No Keyword tagging or facial recognition
  • Limited export, printing, and metadata options

9. Exposure X7 - Best for Special Effects

Exposure X7 Interface

Image from DPReview.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

PCMag Rating: 3.5/5

Image Organization Tools: 4/5

Price: 30-day free trial, then $129

Key Features:

  1. Polygonal masking tool
  2. Portrait retouch
  3. Nondestructive layers
  4. Over 500 customizable presets

We found Exposure X7 to be the best free Lightroom alternative for special effects because many Lightroom and Photoshop users use the software as a special effects plug-in. Exposure X7 has effects like film grain, bokeh, light effects, overlays, vignettes, and more. Flexible masking and layering help you blend effects in every way possible. You can also selectively apply effects using radial, planar, or half-planar gradients and adjust the opacity.

With this free Lightroom alternative, there’s no need to import photos; find them on your desktop and edit where they are. Instead, create smart collections from a file list and populate them by specific criteria. The program also has tons of printing options, such as printing multiple images per page, output sharpening for specific paper types, presets for print settings, etc.

Exposure X7 works better as a plug-in for Lightroom than a complete alternative to Lightroom. It has features and effects that Lightroom lacks, but many of its features are patchy. This includes features that any photo editor would deem necessary, like lens correction, noise reduction, and mask selection tools.

Pros
  • User-friendly interface
  • Lots of printing options
Cons
  • Takes a long time to start
  • Quality of some features is not up to par with Lightroom

10. DxO PhotoLab - Best Photo Processor for Professionals

DxO PhotoLab

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

PCMag Rating: 4/5

Image Organization Tools: 3.5/5

Price: 30-day free trial, then $219

Key Features:

  1. Automatic lens correction
  2. Spot removal tools
  3. Smart lighting adjustment options
  4. Dehaze tool

We found DxO PhotoLab to be another solid alternative to Lightroom because of its superb RAW photo processing features. PhotoLab uses DxO DeepPRIME - a deep learning AI technology - to demosaic and denoise images for top-notch quality. Experts can shoot at a higher sensitivity level, while amateurs can make up for the lack of professional camera equipment. It can even be used to fix old photos that until now were unusable.

As far as image management goes, this free Lightroom alternative offers metadata and keyword management in the photo library and an Advanced History feature that keeps track of each edit made to your images. However, it is missing geotracking and facial recognition tools. DxO PhotoLab includes a limited selection of additional editing features, including 40 presets and base-level adjustment tools.

While its demosaicing tools and photo processing quality are similar to Raw Therapee, DxO PhotoLab offers better photo management options, giving it a higher spot on our list. However, in our product test, we found it to be less user-friendly because it organizes images into a linear list, making it challenging to find a specific photo at a glance or compare images across a photoshoot. If you desire high-quality photo processing but need an entirely free Lightroom alternative with no learning curve, we suggest RAW Therapee.

Pros
  • Excellent auto-correction
  • Fast image processing
Cons
  • Not user-friendly
  • Lacking a variety of features

11. Photoscape X - Best for Batch Editing

DxO PhotoLab

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

TechRadar Rating: 4.5/5

Image Organization Tools: 2.5/5

Price: Free
*Pro version available for $39.99

Key Features:

  1. Remove background
  2. Light leaks
  3. Print tool
  4. Focus stacking

Photoscape X is a RAW image editor, image viewer, and batch processor. We think it’s one of the best free Lightroom alternatives, especially for photographers who need to rename, resize, and change the format of multiple images at once.

There’s also a photo and metadata viewer in Loupe View and full screen. You can flag and add star ratings to easily search favorite images. We found that where Photoscape X really excels, however, is in its editing tools. Merge, crop, and combine photos into stunning panoramas. Use the various brushes and tools found in this free Lightroom alternative to draw, paint, scatter, fix red-eye, clone, and spot heal. There are also advanced color tools akin to what you might find in Lightroom or Photoshop.

Photoscape X lacks many of the image management tools that Lightroom users would expect. If you are looking for an alternative to Lightroom primarily for image organization, try Capture One.

Pros
  • Batch editing
  • Beginner-friendly
Cons
  • Freezes if handling multiple RAW files
  • Quality decreases when saving files

12. RAW Therapee - Best Photo Processor for Beginners

DxO PhotoLab

Image from RAW Therapee.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

G2 Rating: 4.2/5

Image Organization Tools: 2/5

Price: Free

Key Features:

  1. Automatic ghost masking
  2. Non-Destructive editing
  3. Dark frame subtraction
  4. Works with multiple-frame RAW files

RAW Therapee is another open-source, entirely free Lightroom alternative. It has a 32-bit floating-point processing engine and superb demosaicing tools so you get the highest quality from your images. In fact, RAW Therapee uses 2 demosaicing algorithms on each image and employs flat field correction and hot/dead pixel correction for flawless photos.

Another reason we like RAW Therapee as an alternative to Lightroom is that its user interface is very similar. Users familiar with both Lightroom and Photoshop will find it easy to crossover, and beginners will find it much more user-friendly than the Adobe products. It also has all the advanced color-correcting tools you’d look for in a free Lightroom alternative.

The reason we voted Darktable and not RAW Therapee as the best open-source free Lightroom alternative is that it mirrors Lightroom more closely overall, especially when it comes to photo management tools, an area where RAW Therapee is severely lacking.

Pros
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Exceptional RAW image quality
Cons
  • Limited photo editing tools
  • No organizational features

13. Affinity Photo - Best for Layer Editing

Affinity Photo Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

PCMag Rating: 3/5

Image Organization Tools: 2/5

Price: 90-day free trial, then $54.99

Key Features:

  1. Noise reduction
  2. RAW editing
  3. 360-degree image editing
  4. Panorama stitching

Affinity Photo has unlimited layers, so your creativity knows no bounds. This is the best alternative to Lightroom for layer effects and layer editing with mask and clipping layers and live blend modes. Affinity Photo has non-destructive live filters that can be applied to a single layer or the whole stack. Erase away, mask, or reorder filters after they are applied.

We found this alternative to Lightroom had excellent digital painting options - choose from the large library of brushes or create your own. You can also use the magic wand, marquee, or lasso tools to make ultra-precise selections down to a single strand of hair. Other features in this free Lightroom alternative include skin retouch, blemish removal, and ultra-smooth pan/zoom functions.

Affinity Photo focuses on quality over quantity of tools, so while its tools perform better than Lightroom, it offers fewer of them. It also focuses more on photo editing than management, so you may be disappointed if you’re looking for a free Lightroom alternative that excels in organizational tools. Try one of the top 3 choices on our list if you are looking for top-notch image management.

Pros
  • Low learning curve
  • Unlimited layers
Cons
  • Lacking photo organization
  • No design templates included

Best Free Lightroom Alternatives Comparison Chart

Software OS Beginner-Friendly Photo Management Facial Retouching Tools Tethered Shooting Free Download
PhotoDirector Essential Windows, Mac Yes Catalogs; facial recognition, rate, and add keywords and tags in batches, GPS photo logs, My Favorites tabs Blemish removal, skin smoothener, face shaper, body shaper, skin color correction, teeth whitener, eye-bag removal Yes
Free Download
Secure Download
Capture One Windows, Mac No Sort by star rating, keyword, or color tagging; Create Sessions or Catalogs Skin-tone editor Yes Download
Corel Aftershot Pro Windows, Mac, Linux Yes Auto or manual sort by criteria, color, flags, and star ratings, powerful search tools Blemish Remover No Download
ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate Windows Yes Facial recognition, keywords, categories, and tags, duplicate photo finder, quick search Skin Tune feature No Download
ON1 Photo RAW Windows, Mac No Lots of viewing options, search by keyword, star rating, likes, color or metadata AI automatic retouching and manual retouch for each face, whiten teeth, red-eye removal, face shaper No Download
Darktable Windows, Mac, Linux Yes Organize and tag based on given criteria; geotagging Basic correction tools Yes Download
Apple Photos Mac Yes Keyword tagging, geo-tagging, and facial recognition. camera model, exposure settings, tags, location stored on each photo Red-eye remover No Already installed on Mac
Skylum Luminar AI Windows, Mac Yes Catalog workspace with Single Image Edits, Recently Added and Recently Deleted folders, manually added albums Body, Iris, Face, and Skin AI tools No Download
Exposure X7 Windows, Mac Yes No catalogs, but smart collections populated by given criteria Remove red-eye, whiten teeth, soften skin, enhance iris, spot heal tool No Download
DxO PhotoLab Windows, Mac No Metadata and keyword management Auto Repair No Download
Photoscape X Windows, Mac Yes Photo viewer, add flags and star ratings Spot healing brush, red-eye remover No Download
RAW Therapee Windows, Mac, Linux Yes Minimal None No Download
Affinity Photo Windows, Mac Yes Minimal Skin retouch/smoothener and blemish removal No Download

PhotoDirector Essential vs

OS

Windows, Mac

-

Beginner-Friendly

Yes

-

Photo Management

Catalogs; facial recognition, rate, and add keywords and tags in batches, GPS photo logs, My Favorites tabs

-

Facial Retouching Tools

Blemish removal, skin smoothener, face shaper, body shaper, skin color correction, teeth whitener, eye-bag removal

-

Tethered Shooting

Yes

-

How to Edit and Organize Photos With PhotoDirector

Here is a step-by-step guide for using PhotoDirector, the #1 free Lightroom alternative, to crop, rotate, add filters, and adjust the colors of an image.

Download below and follow these simple steps:

How to Crop a Photo

  1. Open PhotoDirector and click the + next to Project.
  2. Click Import Photos.
  3. Click the photo you want to crop and choose Open.
  4. Click Adjustment from the menu along the top.
  5. Choose Crop and Straighten, the first icon under Regional Adjustment Tools.
  6. PhotoDirector - Adjustments
  7. Crop the image using one of two ways:
    • Choose a predefined ratio from the Aspect Ratio drop-down. For example, if you plan to post to Instagram, there is 1:1 for the feed and 9:16 for Stories.
    • Use the crop box in the preview window to adjust the size of your crop. If you want to unlock the aspect ratio to freeform crop, just deselect the Lock Icon.
    PhotoDirector - Crop
  8. Once you have your crop just right, click Done.

How to Rotate a Photo

  1. Follow the steps above to import a photo into the PhotoDirector Library.
  2. Click on the Rotate icon under the Photo Preview box.
  3. PhotoDirector - Photo Preview
  4. Keep clicking Rotate until you are happy with your image.
  5. PhotoDirector - Rotate

How to Add Filters to a Photo

  1. Import the photo you would like to edit and hit the Adjustment tab.
  2. Click Presets.
  3. Click Default Presets and choose a category to see the filter options.
  4. PhotoDirector - Presets
  5. Once you’ve settled on a filter, you can adjust the strength of the filter with the Slider Bar below the thumbnail of the image.
  6. PhotoDirector - Filter

How to Adjust Colors in a Photo

  1. Import your photo into PhotoDirector, then click Adjustments.
  2. Click Manual.
  3. Under Global Adjustment Tools you will find tons of color tools.
  4. PhotoDirector - Adjust Filter
  5. Experiment with the different color tools. When you are happy with your image, hit Create at the bottom of the screen to save your color changes as a preset to use in the future.
  6. PhotoDirector - Create

For a detailed look at using the best free Lightroom alternative to edit your photos, go to 7 Best Free Image Croppers to Crop an Image in 2022, and Transforming the Colors of Your Image.

How to Organize Photos

  1. After choosing the individual photos or folders you want to import into PhotoDirector, you can add tags by clicking Photo Import, Advanced, then Apply During Import.
  2. PhotoDirector - Apply Tags During Import
  3. Go to Tags and type in keywords.
  4. PhotoDirector - Tags

    Separate any keywords or numbers with a semi-colon, and use " > " between them to create hierarchical tags.

  5. Click Import.
  6. To sort photos by people, select the photos and click the Facial Recognition icon. Choose Auto Detect Face in Selected Photos.
  7. PhotoDirector - Facial Recognition
  8. Assign a name to each folder, then click Done.
  9. To organize by flags, go to the Thumbnail View, select the photo you wish to flag, and click the Flag icon.
  10. PhotoDirector - Flag
  11. To reject a photo, click the photo and select the Reject icon.
  12. PhotoDirector - Reject
  13. When you are done sorting your photos, click the Double Flag icon to view only the flagged photos or only the rejected photos.

For more info on how to import and organize your photos with the best free Lightroom alternative, click here.

Download the Best Alternative to Lightroom for Free

Lightroom is no longer the only high-quality management program for photographers. Dozens of excellent alternatives to Lightroom exist on the web, and finding the right one for you ultimately comes down to personal preference. Our favorite free Lightroom alternative is PhotoDirector Essential for its innovation, ease of use, range of features, and intuitive processing tools.

Many Lightroom customers like the program’s organizational features, but they’d rather not have to switch to Photoshop to make more advanced photo manipulations and enhancements. PhotoDirector is a free Lightroom alternative that excels in photo editing features and intuitive organization options, giving photographers the best of both worlds and eliminating the necessity of a second editing program.

PhotoDirector Essential’s editing tools don’t require any previous experience to master thanks to its guided editing options. Guided editing allows you to make complicated photo edits, like face beautification and content removal, with the touch of a button. This alternative to Lightroom uses artificial intelligence to make these changes automatically, saving you time and hassle. However, if you are someone who enjoys spending hours editing each photo, you’ll appreciate PhotoDirector’s Photoshop-style layer-editing options. Adding clipping masks, layer filters, frames, and clip art is a breeze with this program’s intuitive layering tools.

Download the best free Lightroom alternative today and use beginner-friendly tools to make professional-quality images.

Free Lightroom Alternatives FAQ

1. What are the Best Free Lightroom Alternatives for Mobile?

  1. PhotoDirector App
  2. Pixlr
  3. PicsArt
  4. Snapseed
  5. Adobe Photoshop Camera

For a more in-depth look at free Lightroom alternatives for mobile, check out Best Free Photo Editing Apps for iPhone & Android.

2. What Features Should I Look For in a Free Lightroom Alternative?

The top ten features you should look for are

  1. Photo management tools
  2. Pro color adjustment tools
  3. Denoise tool
  4. Portrait retouch
  5. Masking tools
  6. Presets & filters
  7. RAW image processing
  8. Layer editing
  9. Sky replacement
  10. Beginner-friendly

If you’re looking for a free Lightroom alternative that checks all of these boxes, we recommend d PhotoDirector Essential.

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