What app is like Lightroom but free?

Lightroom is one of the most popular image editors, but the monthly subscription fee puts a lot of people off it. Is there a free alternative Lightroom app?

If you love photography, then you’ve probably used Adobe Lightroom to edit your photos.

Lightroom allows you to edit your images without permanently altering the original files, and it’s one of the most popular image-processing solutions.

However, some photographers complain that the application is too expensive.

So, what app is like Lightroom but free? Fortunately, several excellent alternatives provide the same features as Lightroom but without the high price tag. 

Lightroom is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud family and is a photo processing, editing, and organizing app that you can utilize even if you’re a first-time user.

Yet, a lot of budget and beginner photography enthusiasts complain that Lightroom is too expensive to use.

So here are some alternatives that provide the same features as Lightroom but for free.

1.   Darktable

Is Darktable a good alternative to Lightroom? Many people seem to think so.

As an open-source photography workflow application, Darktable is an excellent tool for beginner photographers and those who want to access different editing features without paying for any. Just like Lightroom, you can enjoy non-destructive editing, which allows you to have the original file in addition to the edited one.

Unlike other open-source tools, this one is pretty organized, supports 21 languages, and offers several learning tools like video tutorials and forums. It allows you to retouch photos, add geo-tags, remove haze, use color tools, and denoise the photos, and it’s also updated regularly to include more features.

2.   Apple Photos

If you’re an iPhone or Mac user, you can easily edit all your photos using Apple’s photo app. Apple Photos automatically transfers your photos from your iPhone or iPad to your Mac computer, and once edited, they’re transferred back with no importing or exporting.

In addition, it supports the ProRAW format from most camera models and features special modes like Portrait and Live modes.

Using this app, you’ll be able to classify your photos using keywords and geotagging. It might not be the most comprehensive photo editing app, but it’s always free and a great choice for beginners.

3.   PhotoDirector Essential

The best thing about PhotoDirector Essential is that it uses simple and straightforward tools that enable every beginner to use the app. Unlike Lightroom, which requires users to study for weeks and even months, this one is pretty easy and features a user-friendly interface.

The app is packed with practical editing tools that users can access for free, in addition to several premium features that are accessible for a $54.99 annual subscription.

PhotoDirector Essential isn’t just for beginners; it allows you to organize your photos and workflow while adding your own keywords and tags. It also comes with several artificial intelligence tools like object removal and color adjustment, in addition to several effects and filters.

Wrap Up

The three alternatives to Lightroom mentioned in this article are excellent options if you think that Lightroom is too expensive.

They have a lot of cool features that can improve your photo editing experience, and two of them are always free.

You might also be interested in our article on what happened to Lightroom.

Shotkit Writer, Product Tester & Instagram Manager

Jeff Collier is an experienced film photographer who enjoys experimenting with modern digital photography equipment, software and apps. He’s also an ex-world champion triathlete and avid cyclist, clocking hundreds of km each week in the beautiful Tweed Valley of northern NSW, Australia.

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