Alternatives to Lightroom

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by bruced530, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. I've been on the fence for years wondering whether Lightroom is for me. Yes I did try it out a few years ago, but still couldn't make up my mind.
    I'm an amatuer, and probaly take around 200-400 images per month, probably about 10 - 20% of those are worth keeping.
    I already use Photoshop CS6 and think its terrific. I was just hoping for something to keep my images organized.
    So is Lightroom for me, or would something else be just as good for my situation ?
  2. I can't speak to other software programs except for DPP, which I didn't like, but I'm an amateur too and I love Lightroom. It's perfect for me, but I'll start looking for alternatives if Adobe ever hides it in the Creative Cloud.
  3. If the main goal is to keep them organised... there are several programs that do only that; for example Phase One Media Pro or IDImager PhotoSupreme. They do not have the editing tools that Adobe have, and their integration with Photoshop might be less than Lightroom's, as LR and PS can work very tightly together being both from Adobe. But they're very powerful tools for keeping track of your images.
    Lower end tools that can work quite well for organising images (which I take as keywording, sorting by date/keyword/EXIF data etc.) are Windows Live Photo Gallery, or on mac iPhoto. They do the trick, be it not as deep as the above mentioned tools.
    And there is Adobe Bridge, part of Photoshop CS6 - since you already have it, I'd start with that to see if it can fulfill your needs.
    If you want a tool that integrates both organising plus all the basic editing that covers 95% of the usual work, then Lightroom and CaptureOne are the prime candidates; but if you're fine with doing the editing already in Photoshop, then spending extra money for functionality you won't use could be a bit a waste.
  4. If you're on a PC, then ACDSee is really good. It's what I used for years before jumping fully to a Mac. But like Wouter said, Adobe Bridge can help a lot. You can use keywords, but a lot of the basic organizing is still on you. If you're on a Mac, then Apple Aperture is also an option.
  5. +1 for Lightroom. It never hurts to have other options to choose from, especially given Adobe's hunger for money AKA Creative Cloud: Darktable (Linux only), Picasa (Windows), Sagelight are a few that come to mind. A google search for Lightroom alternatives may yield lots of other options as well.
    For the moment Adobe releases LR as stand alone version so you don't have to subscribe to Creative Cloud but I'm not sure about the future, that's why I keep an eye on alternatives.
    Since I have not tried these programs in depth I'm not sure if and how they will work together with CS6.
  6. Dont take this the wrong way but if you're shooting 200-400 a month w a low 'keeper' percentage, you may want to consider slowing down a bit and being more 'deliberate' in your shutter pressing as to when the moment is right.
  7. Photoshop CS6 and Bridge can be used to organize your images if you keep them in appropriate folders, if need be within folders, etc. Be sure to give you files descriptive names but include the date of shooting perhaps, as an additional guide.
    For Macs, Aperture is an alternative for 'organizing' -
    If you have Photoshop, you don't really need the picture 'editing' capabilities of Lightroom.
  8. Go with Lightroom. You cannot go wrong with it and you'll find that you can probably make most of your edits in LR instead of CS6.
  9. Firstly, I use Lightroom and think it's excellent. Lightroom and Apple's Aperture are the two all-in-one solutions (database, library, process, book, print, export etc.) but many photographers prefer to separate out some of these functions. Press and photojournalists often use Photo Mechanic as the fastest way to sort, caption and output images, they would need Photoshop/Camera Raw (or similar) to do the image editing though.
    One option - other than buying Lightroom - is to use Bridge/Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and Photoshop in combination to do most of the sorting, editing and output you'd need. You can sort images in Bridge, open and batch process them in ACR (whether raw, jpeg, tiff etc.) and finish if necessary in Photoshop. The Camera Raw engine is pretty much the same as Lightroom. I prefer Lightroom for its userfriendliness and easy ability to catalogue all my images.
  10. You've tried LR for a few years and you still wonder if it's good for you? If you can't figure it out for yourself, how do you think we can help you?
    LR and Photoshop are two very different software, It really depends on what you do. You could try Element. You won't have to learn a new software and you will be able to organize your pictures.
    Good Luck
  11. I am a former Lightroom 3.6 user who has switched to ACDSee Pro 6 about 3 months ago. I had used Lightroom since the V1 Beta. If you recall, ACDSee pro 1 came out about the same time as Lr1. I tried both, and clearly Lr was superior to Pro 1, so I decided on Lr.
    However, as good as Lr was (and it IS good!), I never felt fully comfortable with it. But even so, I upgraded it twice though my discomfort never let me upgrade to V4 and I stuck with V3.6. Eventually, my unease got stronger and stronger, and I determined to see if I could find something before the V5 Lr beta expired.
    I tried most of the PC and Linux based titles, but I found that, for me, ACDSee Pro 6 was what I was looking for. The image quality is every bit as high as Lr, and the workflow suits me to a "T". It also works well as the "front end" to CS6, and virtually every other editor out there.
    I won't lie though, the change was painful, Lr and ACDESee Pro have 2 radically different approaches to workflow management. I had to learn new ways of doing things, and I had to forget some old things I "knew" about post processing. That being said, I am quite content with my change. I feel quite comfortable with my photos and I feel in control of the workflow.
    I'm not going to tell you to use ACDESee Pro 6, that's not my job. ACDsee has people dedicated to marketing their products. But I will say, if you are uncomfortable with Lr, and you feel you have given plenty of time to get used to it, don't waste any more time. Start downloading the free trials available for your particular computer and start testing. Even if you don't find anything you like better than Lr, at least you will know more about how you like to manage your workflow and how you like to do post processing. If you can't have fun, then you might as well work for a living.
  12. Is ACDC Pro pretty fast for you? I won a copy at a photo seminar several years ago and it was brutally slow on my computer. Lightroom was much faster, but perhaps that's changed with the later versions of ACDC Pro.
  13. Is ACDC Pro pretty fast for you? I won a copy at a photo seminar several years ago and it was brutally slow on my computer. Lightroom was much faster, but perhaps that's changed with the later versions of ACDC Pro.​
    If you are talking about simple responsiveness, it's MUCH faster than Lr, which makes sense given Lr's database centric approach to organization as opposed to ACDSee's image browser based approach. The workflow is different, which, if you have a Lr POV, might seem 'slower' since the steps are different and take different sized 'bites' of the overall job at hand. But, it takes me no longer to complete a photo in one than the other. I haven't noticed any significant difference in how individual controls respond to changes. Batch operations in ACDSee is significantly faster overall, since the DBMS isn't touched unless you are affecting those fewer functions that require a database update. As I said, in the earlier post, the transition isn't painless. It requires unlearning old habits and attitudes and learning new ones.

    One of the great things about ACDSee Pro 6 is the high level of customization of the working environment. You can tweak it in significant ways that simply can't be done in Lr.

    That being said, I don't think the Mac version of Pro is as competent as the PC version. It is sold and supported as a separate product with it's own release cycle (Now at version 3). Reception has been tepid in the Mac community, many complain that while it manages photos and does competent raw conversions, it can do no bit mapped editing, and that is one of the reasons people like ACDSee Pro 6. I have also heard some stability complaints regarding the Mac version. It clearly is not as mature a product as the PC version is.
  14. Right now my method for organizing is I shoot the images and when I get home, I have a folder called raw images under which I have subfolders. When I copy the images over, I start a new subfolder with where I shot the images and the date.
    As far as my keepers, I shot images of swallows, and shot a total of 171 images, and I think I kept 25-30. For other shots of less "difficult" subjects, the keeper rate might be about double, then again, I'm pretty picky about what I keep too.
  15. "I've been on the fence for years wondering whether Lightroom is for me."
    You're an avid photographer who has spent years of his life hesitantly wondering, 'Should I try something?'.
  16. Lightroom and Aperture are both good, but I think LR is a bit ahead now. It's quite easy to edit down quickly in Lightroom. You can also do most all of the processing you will need for the great majority of images in Lightroom (or Aperture).
  17. For low volume photographers CS6 and Bridge as all that in needed; as the OP has that already . If you are processing a lot of images and speed is of the essence, Lr is excellent.I use both LR and Bridge CS6.
    Lr is my preferred tool for initial editing and web prep as resizing and watermarking is quick and easy. The ability to edit multiple files on Lr is far faster than ACR. I am not so enthusiastic about the file management of Lr. I prefer Bridge for that; as it will see any file without having to import to the database. I do keep specific LR Catalogs for projects on separate hard drives with their images.

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