Best Lightroom Alternatives for PC

As a creative professional at the beginning of their career, you may not have the resources for expensive software like Abode Lightroom. Hence, your solution is to seek Lightroom alternatives.

Adobe Lightroom is a powerful photo editing and management software designed for creative professionals. It offers a wide range of functionalities for organizing, altering, and sharing digital photographs.

This article will present you with two best free Lightroom Alternatives that you can use to manifest your work. One of them is for Windows and the other one is for macOS.

Let's get started!

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Why look for Lightroom alternatives?

Although well-known and designed for professionals, like any other Adobe products, Lightroom comes with a high price.

The annual subscription is about $120, which when combined with other photographer's needs may be quite unaffordable to some users. Therefore, a cheaper (or free) photo editor option is much needed.

The best alternative software to Lightroom discussed in this article we picked based on the following criteria:

  • Price. The image editors offer free versions of their applications as well as a PRO plan which is still less expensive compared to Lightroom.
  • Operating System. The photo editing applications are specifically designed for a designated OS, allowing the best compatibility.
  • Ease of Use. The picture editing software selected have straightforward interfaces that are simple even for beginner photographers.
  • Toolkit. To help produce high-quality results, the chosen apps satisfy the professional needs to create true artwork.

Icecream Photo Editor

Icecream Photo Editor is a popular Windows software that offers various features for enhancing and retouching images. This is a simplified Adobe Lightroom alternative, however, it still offers robust functionality for making edits to images.

Here's what Icecream Photo Editor provides in terms of functionality.

Editing Tools

The free photo editor offers basic editing functionalities such as adjusting colors, blurring background, cropping, resizing, rotating photos, etc. Additionally, you can add text to pictures, draw, and apply stickers or frames.

Presets and Filters

Similar to Lightroom, Icecream Photo Editor provides preset filters that users can apply to their photos to achieve different looks and styles.

Collage Maker

There are also collage-making features. The free image editor has various templates and layout options for creating collages, as well as tools for adjusting the size, spacing, and orientation of the images within the collage.

Photo Manager

The photo organizer simplifies the task of managing your computer's photo collection. You can efficiently navigate through images within folders, swiftly adjust orientations as needed, and promptly remove any undesired photos.

Supported Formats

Icecream Photo Editor enables users to edit images in a variety of commonly used formats, including JPG, JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, and BMP.

Why is Icecream Photo Editor the best Lightroom alternative?

  • Affordable. The free photo editor can be used for free with some restrictions or you can purchase a lifetime PRO license for just $39.95, which is way more affordable than Lightroom.
  • Easy to use. The user-friendly interface of the photo editor makes it a breeze to navigate, even for those new to the profession. You don't need any technical skills or knowledge.
  • Wide range of tools. This photo editing software offers a wide variety of tools to help you achieve professional-level editing results.
  • Batch processing. This feature allows you to apply changes to multiple photos simultaneously, saving you time and effort.

Using Icecream Photo Editor can provide a simpler and free alternative to Lightroom. Although the program is best suited for beginners and amateur users, professional photographers will also find it capable of performing various tasks.


Darkroom is a powerful photo editing application available for macOS as well as iOS and iPadOS. It's known for its intuitive user interface and comprehensive set of editing tools, which makes it a good Lightroom alternative.

Below is a brief overview of how Darkroom compares to its Adobe confrere.

Editing Tools

Darkroom offers an extensive photo editing toolkit similar to Adobe Lightroom's Develop module. Users can adjust exposure, contrast, color balance, sharpness, cropping images, reduce noise, and more.

Presets and Filters

Within this photo editor, you will find preset filters and adjustment tools to enhance images quickly. There is a possibility to create and save custom presets for future use in both applications.

Local Adjustments

You will enjoy advanced picture editing tools for making adjustments to specific areas of a photo, such as brushes and gradients. This functionality is similar to Lightroom's local adjustment tools.

Pros of using Darkroom as an alternative to Lightroom:

  • Powerful Tools. Image editor provides a comprehensive set of editing tools, including advanced options for clarity, empowering users to achieve professional-quality results.
  • Efficient Workflow. Seamless integration with macOS ensures a smooth workflow.
  • Mobile Compatibility. Darkroom offers a mobile app for iOS devices, giving users the flexibility to edit photos on the go and sync edits across multiple devices via iCloud.

There is a paid version of the photo editor called Darkroom + that is less expensive compared to Lightroom. You can get a monthly subscription for $4.99 or make a $79.99 one-time purchase and share your work with your family through the app.

Overall, opting for Darkroom as a Lightroom alternative offers a blend of intuitive design, powerful editing tools, and efficient workflow, particularly for macOS users.

FAQ on picking a Lightroom alternative

What are the key features to look for in a Lightroom alternative?
Consider factors such as photo editing capabilities, workflow efficiency, platform compatibility, cost, and user interface. Assessing these aspects can help determine which alternative best suits your specific needs and preferences, ensuring a seamless transition from Lightroom to a new image editing solution.
How do I know which free alternative to Adobe Lightroom is best for my needs?
When picking the photo editor, consider your preferences, including the type of photography you do, the size of your photo library, and your editing style. Research and compare different alternatives, read user reviews, and consider trial versions to test out the software before making a decision.
Is it possible to move my photo collection from Lightroom to a new alternative?
Yes, it's possible to transfer your photo collection from Lightroom to a new app. You can typically import your entire photo library, including metadata and edits, into the new software, ensuring a seamless transition without losing any of your valuable images or editing work.


Determining the best Lightroom alternative for your needs involves evaluating various factors. This article showed you 2 best free Lightroom alternatives for Windows and macOS. Each of them offers upgraded versions that you can use when you feel comfortable enough to commit.

Ultimately, choose the photo editor that aligns best with your workflow and editing goals.

Paul Skidmore

Tech Writer and Photography Aficionado

Paul is a self-professed photography and tech nerd and has years of experience working with various editing software. He has a passion for travel and has taken his camera to destinations including Antarctica, Singapore, Indonesia, and Greenland.
4 min read
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