Photo Post-Processing: Are These the Replacements? Yes and No.

Output Sharpening Low Glossy comparison 1

In photo editing, you find the software tools that almost every photographer uses: Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. But, what if you could replace those with low or no-cost versions? Maybe you can and maybe you can’t:

The Replacements?

The big one in here is Adobe Photoshop. No one disputes that this software is king of the image-editing game. Some potential replacements are

  1. The Gimp – a free and open-source software program that is updated frequently and has the capability to do layers and other image modifications similar to Photoshop.
  2. OnOne Perfect Photo Suite – commercial software with capability to do layers and enhancements.

My choice here would be The Gimp software. There is a wider range of image modifications possible with The Gimp than with the OnOne product. The Gimp is free while the OnOne product costs near or above $100 USD. Neither have the wide range of capability of Photoshop and neither can use Photoshop plugins.

Adobe Lightroom is an indispensable product for many photographers and there are many similar products out there, but none quite as good. I will concentrate only on one_ Lightzone.

  1. Lightzone used to be a commercial image editing and enhancement product but has since changed into a free and open source one. It hopes to be a free alternative to Lightroom.

Lightzone does not have the cataloging power that Lightroom does and is missing other features that Lightroom has. However, Lightzone as an image editor has a phenomenally different approach with its zone system of image enhancement. The re-light tool itself seems quite amazing. I would say that this software, while not being able to replace Lightroom, is certainly worth a look as an image editor.


As photographers become disgruntled with the cloud computing model that more and more software manufacturers are going toward (Adobe, Microsoft, etc.), these alternatives software packages may get more attention and become more developed to where they can replace the majors. Right now, in my opinion, they are not quite ready.

Thank you for reading what I wrote — I hope you enjoyed it!