Adobe Lightroom is the industry standard to convert your raw file and organizing them smartly. As a bonus, you can edit raw files to make your photo stand out with easy-to-use tools. But what about your budget if you don’t have enough bucks to pay Adobe every month?
Is there any alternative to Lightroom apps that let you edit raw files as well as organize them? Fortunately, Yes. In this guide, I am going to introduce you to those apps that have better editing and photo-organizing capabilities.
And of course, all of them are free to use.
So, let’s dive into this guide.
Lightroom is the best photography app for photographers for its advanced raw converting system. With it, you can see your raw files from your camera and let you organize them. The best benefit of Lightroom is you can preview your raw files which is almost impossible on your desktop.
Not only it lets you organize and convert raw files but also helps you to edit and develop raw photos. Adobe Lightroom has packed with a lot of adjustment tools like exposure, highlight, and contrast. Using those tools, you can easily make your photos pop up.
If you prefer curves to those tools, then Lightroom has also packed with curves. Something I love most about Lightroom is it has slider-based tools. That means you can easily use LR and change the image just by moving the slider from right to left.
Preset is another useful feature I love. With presets, you can easily change the look of a photo with a single click. It saves a lot of time and quickens your image editing workflows. HDR photo editing, Panorama, Lens distortion, and a lot of things you can do with Lightroom.
The only downside of Lightroom is it’s a subscription-based photo editing software for pc and Mac. Besides that, Lightroom is an excellent photo editing software for photographers.
9 Best Free Photo Editing Software like Lightroom in 2021
- Raw Therapee
- Chasys Draw IES
- Apple Photos
- Microsoft Windows 10 Photos
- PhotoScape X
- Pixlr X
01. Darktable Vs. Lightroom
Darktable is an open-source image editing software that can be used as a Lightroom alternative. If you use Lightroom ever, then you can’t find any difference between its interface with Darktable. The interface of Darktable divides into three main modules. They are:
LightTable has packed with primary editing tools and lets you organize photos. From this module, you can open a photo in Lightroom. Besides, you can preview your raw files here in this module. Therefore, you can sort and organize photos like Lightroom using geotags, stars, folders, dates, and so on.
On the other hand, the Darkroom module lets you develop raw files. In this module, you can find all the raw file-developing tools like curves, exposure, and much more. Like Lightroom, the tools of Darktable are also slider-based. It means you can adjust your photos by just moving the slider.
On top of that, Darktable offers non-destructive editing workflows. As a result, you can keep your original file intact. Nonetheless, Darktable is a free photo editing software. If you want to try this software as your next Lightroom, then download it from here.
02. Raw Therapee Vs. Lightroom
Raw Therapee is another open-source photo editing software on this list. This free image editing software is solely designed to develop and process raw files. Like Lightroom, it is also a non-destructive photo editor that allows you to keep the original image untouched.
The only lack of Raw Therapee compared to Lightroom is you can’t organize your photos by folders. All you need to do is- organize the photos manually which is a time-taking process. However, Raw Therapee is an excellent software for developing raw files.
For enhancing the raw files, it has packed with advanced editing and color details tools. Though the interface of Raw Therapee is similar to Lightroom, it has a steep learning curve. Once you learn it, you can get benefit from this software.
The downside of Raw Therapee is it doesn’t have any sorting and organizing system. It means you can’t organize photos using Raw Therapee for efficient editing.
LightZone is also a cross-photo editing software that is compatible with Linux, Windows, and Mac. As it is an open-source image editor, you don’t need to spend a single buck to use it. For quick and efficient editing, it has a separate module called Edit.
You can find Styles, History, and a lot of editing tools on the right. The styles of this software work similar to Lightroom preset. Using them, you can create different photo effects to make your image stunning.
Most importantly, LightZone also offers a non-destructive editing workflow. It means it doesn’t affect your original photos and keeps the file untouched.
However, I recommend you use this software for developing your raw files. But when it comes to organizing photos, then it’s worth looking for an alternative.
IrfanView is another free photo editing app for viewing, organizing, and sorting raw files or others. Using this free image editor, you can organize photos by using tags, icons, folders, and names. Though it is an image viewer and photo organization app, it comes with editing tools to edit images.
With IrfanView, you can convert raw files, create slideshows, and perform batch editing workflows. Keep in mind; I recommend you Irfanview for organizing and sorting images. If you are looking for a hardcore or advanced raw photo editor, then it is not the app you seek.
In this case, you can use Darktable or Raw Therappe. Another downside of Irfanview is its interface seems a bit old. Overall, it is an excellent software for image viewing and organizing photos.
05. Chasys Draw IES
Chasys Draw IES is a versatile photo editing software for Windows. The free image editor has packed with every tool you need to give a stunning look to your photo. This free photo editor app comes with three different photo editor suits:
- Chasys Draw IES Artist
- Chasys Draw IES Converter
- Chasys Draw IES Viewer
Chasys Draw IES Artist has packed with advanced editing tools like layers, adjustment layers, and so on. With it, you can do the trickiest photo editing workflow like cutting out image backgrounds from complex photos. Chasys Draw IES Converter helps you to convert raw files in a lightning way.
On the other hand, Chasys Draw IES Viewer helps you to organize and develop raw files. For photographers, Chasys Draw IES Artist may be a good selection. The downside of this app is it has a steep learning curve. So, if you are looking for an easy-to-use app for organizing and doing basic editing tasks, then it’s better to try a new one.
06. Apple Photos
Apple Photos is a built-in app for organizing, sorting, and editing photos for Mac users. Right off the bat, Photos helps you to organize and view raw files as well as other formats in a smart way. You can sort images using date, name, rating, ISO, and a lot more.
The built-in software of Apple is faster and performs better than any other free photo-organizing software on this list. Even it works better than Lightroom. Apple Photos doesn’t only let you organize photo but also come with editing capabilities.
With it, you can make adjustments like correcting brightness, adjusting clarity, and so on. Moreover, you can crop & resize photos with the built-in software of Apple. However, Apple Photos is not recommended for those who are looking for software that has advanced editing capabilities.
07. Microsoft Windows 10 Photos
Like Apple Photos, Microsoft Windows 10 Photos is also a built-in app for viewing and sorting images. The performance and workflow of this Microsoft built-in app are similar to Apple Photos. With it, you can view images and organize photos.
Also, you can do basic editing tasks like cropping and resizing with Microsoft Photos. Even it lets you remove unwanted objects from an image. Therefore, Microsoft Photos lets you adjust the brightness, exposure, and clarity of a photo.
Indeed, you can’t find any difference between Apple Photos and Microsoft Photos. However, the downside of Microsoft Photos is it takes time to view large files. Even I have trouble opening jpg and png formats. At the same time, you can’t perform advanced editing workflows like retouching and color correction with it.
08. Photoscape X
Photoscape X is a free raw converter app that you can use to convert your raw files to jpg. Using Photoscape X, you can also view images both individually and in slideshows. Compared with Lightroom, you can find every editing tool to make your photos enticing.
The free photo editor lets you crop & resize photos, adjust brightness, contrast, and much more. In this app, you can also find over 20+ adjustments, effects, and frames to bring back life to your images. Therefore, other editing tools like filters and collage templates are also available on this software.
09. Pixlr X
Pixlr X is an online-based photo editing software that you can use as a Lightroom alternative. The interface of this online photo editor is intuitive and easy to understand. It divides its interface into three different modules:
- Graphic Designer
- Collage Maker
The Pixlr Edit module is the backbone of this software. You can find all the editing tools in this module. Basic editing tools like cropping & resizing cut out, and adjustment tools are available on Pixlr. Beauty retouching tools like blemish remover, wrinkle removal, and eye enhancer let you make your portrait enticing removing the imperfections.
Therefore, a lot of filters and effects are available in Pixlr X to make quick adjustments. On top of that, Pixlr X has packed with free collage templates to create amazing collages. Even you can make graphic elements like business cards with Pixlr X.
The flaw of Pixlr X is you can’t organize photos and develop the raw files completely. But for doing basic adjustments and beautifying retouching workflows, Pixlr X can be your next go-to software.