Ask DN: I use Photoshop and Lightroom for photo editing, but want to leave Adobe CC. Any recommendations?

almost 5 years ago from , Product Designer

Adobe CC is too slow and too expensive, so I'm looking for alternatives. I exclusively use Sketch for UI design and I've checked out Pixelmator for image manipulation, but haven't found any good replacements for:

  1. Image sorting/editing in Lightroom.
  2. Image editing in Photoshop.
  3. Making documents/posters/etc. in InDesign.

Any recommendations?


  • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, almost 5 years ago (edited almost 5 years ago )

    Lightroom alternatives

    I don’t think there’s anything worth mentioning? It depends what you’re using Lightroom for though.

    Photoshop alternatives

    Affinity Photo, Acorn, and Pixelmator are all good. It will depend which features you use in Photoshop though. I would really struggle to use anything other than Photoshop itself. Price aside, I still think it’s the best.

    Now might be a good time to mention that Adobe has a US$9.99/mo deal for just Lightroom and Photoshop.

    InDesign alternatives

    It really depends what you’re trying to achieve. Some things may be possible in Affinity Designer or other tools. Affinity Publisher is coming. I’ve used Pages quite a bit to build PDFs, even though I have a lot of experience with InDesign. Certain tasks are better suited to other tools. But, for large print documents, it’s difficult to go past InDesign and Illustrator. They really are great. For lighter tasks, especially those not being sent to offset printing, there’s a few decent alternatives. Hey, even Markdown + HTML/CSS can be an awesome option for big PDFs.

    7 points
    • Adil MajidAdil Majid, almost 5 years ago

      I didn't know about the $9.99/month for Lr and Ps! That's awesome. Probably going to check that out then. Thank you Marc!

      1 point
    • Duncan RussellDuncan Russell, almost 5 years ago

      I second Pages for quick and dirty PDFs. It's unexpectedly good.

      Also, if you want to animate a couple of elements in your visuals, Keynote's another handy shortcut.

      0 points
  • Mario Uher, almost 5 years ago

    What about Affinity Photo? It boots faster than Photoshop, is simple to use, yet powerful and works very good in combination with Affinity Designer.

    7 points
    • Jaison JustusJaison Justus, almost 5 years ago

      I switched to Affinity month before to both designer and photo. I really like the software. Good product and its not as rich as adobe suite, But the roadmap seems very promising. I recommend you to give it a trial.

      0 points
  • Adam RasheedAdam Rasheed, almost 5 years ago

    Web Designer and commercial photographer here. I exclusively use Sketch for UI design and for $10/month Photoshop & Lightroom Combo for Photography.Done and Done.

    Depending on your workflow, hopefully you can do the same :)

    5 points
  • Max LindMax Lind, almost 5 years ago (edited almost 5 years ago )

    Second this.

    I keep finding myself looking for a VSCO iPhone app equivalent for the Mac. Something simple enough to go through a batch of 5-10 photos fairly quickly, but with a little room for advanced editing.

    • Adding to OP's question, has anyone found any good Photos (Mac) extensions? I grabbed Tonality back in Oct, but haven't used it much.
    5 points
  • Felipe Tofani, almost 5 years ago

    I have been testing Picktorial for a few weeks and it seems like a good Lightroom alternative.

    3 points
  • Greg Warner, almost 5 years ago

    Definitely check out Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo. I've been using them for months and I've barely touched my CC apps (except for a bit of print work in InDesign, although Designer can fill some of that spot). They're supposed to have an image catalogue tool in the works too.

    1 point
  • Marvin Hagemeister, almost 5 years ago (edited almost 5 years ago )
    1. Capture One as Lightroom replacement. C1 is the go to raw converter in the fashion & commercial photography industry. I made the switch from Lightroom a few years ago and haven't looked back. The way C1 renders and lets you edit color is far superior in my opinion.

    2. If you are on a mac you should check out affinity photo. I haven't used it yet, but it's been praised a lot in the past months.

    3. I never did print design I'm afraid. For UI Design I fell in love with Sketch.

    1 point
  • Account deleted almost 5 years ago (edited almost 5 years ago )

    I believe there is a $10/month option for just LR and PS... so if that's all you mostly use and saving $$ is a main reason you are leaving... it is an option.

    Lightroom is in a class by itself. If you use it primarily for sorting, Photos is pretty solid. If you do any RAW-level editing though... it's gonna be almost impossible to match it's capabilities.

    EDIT:: Ooops, see a few others have mentioned the Adobe package deal.

    1 point
  • Silver SovaSilver Sova, almost 5 years ago

    Check out PhaseOne's CaptureOne (279€) or DxO's Optics Pro (199€). Or you could still use Lightroom CS6 (149 USD), without the CC monthly payments. There's a bit of a difference between Lightroom CS6 and CC, though: http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop-lightroom/versions.html

    0 points
  • BAKA .kidBAKA .kid, almost 5 years ago

    i can't vouch for this, but i just found the link on another site, and apparently its free for a limited time... https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/polarr-photo-editor/id1058273036?mt=12

    0 points