Looking for a Lightroom Alternative? 5 Things to Know

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At ON1, we give you the features you want and use most from the Lightroom® and Photoshop® worlds in a single application. A Lightroom alternative that provides an all-in-one solution to save you time and simplify the way you work with your photos. We’ve seen questions asking how ON1 is different from Lightroom and want to share 5 Things to Know About ON1 Photo RAW for those looking for a Lightroom alternative.

1. Work with Layered Files

Probably the most significant difference between Lightroom and ON1 Photo RAW is a key feature found in ON1 Photo RAW – Layers. ON1 Layers is a big difference maker when you want to do more with your photos. It’s like having the power of Photoshop included in your raw editor, without having to jump outside of your workflow. With Layers, you can combine multiple images, blend exposures, replacing backgrounds and skies, swap heads, add textures, and a lot more. Unlimited creative potential.

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2. Supercharge Creativity with Effects

If you use Lightroom presets you’ll think of ON1 Effects as Lightroom presets on steroids. Effects includes 27 filters and amounts to limitless creativity when it comes to styling photos. Whether you are color grading, looking to style HDR photos, or looking for an elegant black & white look, the Effects tab in ON1 Photo RAW includes it all. Hundreds of built-in photo effects, filters, LUTs, borders, textures, and presets are available from the get-go. Even better is the fact you can stack and configure as many of the filters you need to create your unique look. Each filter has masking and blending options built-in so you can easily target them to just the right area or tonal range. Don’t forget; this is all happening right on your raw data, nondestructively.

3. No Import. No Problem.

In ON1 Photo RAW, you don’t have to import photos before you want to start editing. This is a significant difference between Lightroom and ON1 Photo RAW. In Lightroom, you need to import (or catalog) your photos from the beginning before you can do any editing. Not having to import is an “ah-ha” moment for people learning about ON1 and often makes them want to switch from Lightroom right away. Importing photos can take a long time and time is money. With ON1 Photo RAW, you have a browser-based system. Just navigate to any drive or folder where your photos live, and you can view and edit them instantly, without having to wait on a long import process.

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4. Your Work Isn’t Thrown Away

You don’t need to worry about losing the years of work and edits you made in Lightroom. Introduced in version 2019, ON1 Photo RAW is currently one of the only programs to offer a way for Lightroom customers to migrate editing settings into ON1. It’s also super important to note that this tool will also keep your edits in a nondestructive format. Your photos are also 100% safe during the migration process. Again, your original images and your settings in Lightroom are not modified by using the ON1 Migration Tool. The tool is perfect for a one time transfer of the Lightroom catalog and your Lightroom Edits to ON1 Photo RAW 2019 making it an ideal Lightroom alternative. You won’t lose all those years of work.

5. The Community and You Drive Feature Development

If you are searching for a Lightroom alternative, then choosing one with your best interests in mind is essential. At ON1, we pride ourselves on listening to our customers. Several years ago, we introduced The ON1 Photo RAW Project. The Photo RAW Project is where you the chance to have a say in what and how we develop software. Submissions are regularly reviewed and prioritized into our development schedule. These ideas continue to help us deliver the best available Lightroom alternative.

10 comments on “Looking for a Lightroom Alternative? 5 Things to Know”

  1. On April 14, 2019 at 3:55 pm Brian Townsend wrote:

    Lightroom gives me so many problems I am very anxious to find a replacement. One reoccurring problem is that it sometimes uses up all of my application memory and freezes. No other app has ever done this and I have 32GB of RAM to play with.
    Lightroom is first and foremost my media importer. I use Lightroom for importing photos from all sources, my DSLRs, GoPros, 360 Cam, video, including all of the iPhone image formats including DNG and Live Photos (Lightroom doesn’t do Live Photos very well), organizing them, completing keywords and metadata. I always select image sets as a batch during import, rename my image files upon import, giving them a meaningful filename and sorting them into categories. The Lightroom catalogue is my interim stopping point on the way to my image bank. I like that I can create my own catalogue structure. Lightroom is where I do all my picking, rating and rejecting of images.
    Lightroom has a fit if I try to import photos when even one single HEIF image on my camera roll. It won’t see any images at all until I delete that HEIF image.
    I export my final selections, group by group, (eventually) to my image bank – outside of Lightroom. This means that for later editing I have to reimport them into Lightroom so being able to avoid that importing step would be a bonus. I try to keep my Lightroom catalogue under 150,000 images.
    Organizing HDRs and Focus Stacking image files is useful to keep them separate from other images until they have been developed.
    I am quite content to catalogue unedited images and won’t bother editing them until the occasion arises that I need that image.
    One of the things I like about Lightroom is the Lens Corrections.
    I often use the Smart Collections as a way to quickly find certain types of images. For instance to find all images labeled Red and with 5 stars.
    Truthfully, after doing a bunch of image editing on my iPad Pro with Affinity Photo I find when I go back to Photoshop on my computer I find it rather clunky. Masking and retouching on the iPad screen with the Apple Pencil is far beyond what Photoshop has to offer. For year and years I have thought Photoshop would be my true love forever, but now, I would like to find a replacement.
    I have also been working with Affinity Photo and Designer on my desktop computer, as well as Luminar. You can see I’m primed to abandon the Adobe ship.

  2. On April 14, 2019 at 8:12 pm Carmen Hunn wrote:

    Regarding exporting work; are we yet able to export batch export photos or is it still one by one?

    1. On April 16, 2019 at 9:19 am Patrick Smith replied:

      Yes, you definitely can batch export photos. You will just need to select the files as a group before selecting export.

  3. On April 25, 2019 at 5:44 pm joe kennington wrote:

    sounds like a great product my only issue is some instruction, teaching videos tutorials on how to use it ??? can you help
    joe

  4. On April 29, 2019 at 5:41 am Robert Scott wrote:

    I am very new to ON1 and am mainly seeking and alternative to LR; not something to use along with LR. Once I complete my exploration, and migrate my LR Files to ON1, is there a need to keep those LR files on my computer, of can the files and LR be totally removed?

  5. On May 1, 2019 at 5:10 am jrenaphotos@gmail.com wrote:

    I hate when Lr file say “files could not be found” this clinch has been happening for years and the software should correct this problem. I’m ready to move on from Lr because they also have a huge problem that makes you feel like you are crazy. Last night I called Adobe and told them the issue and a foreign speaking person had to help me and I could not understand their english!!!!

  6. On May 27, 2019 at 6:04 am Alan Rhodes wrote:

    I purchased it today after trying out the free one. I have previously used Lightroom for years but don’t want to pay for the subscription version. For the first few days I found On1 very difficult to use, in spite of the demonstration videos and other videos on Utube, and was about to give up.
    I then found the instruction manual and found that reading through that was much easier than watching the videos and very quickly learned to do things in a different way than before.I have written this to suggest that you make people more aware of the existence of the manual. I only found it by accident and without it I would certainly have given up.

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