I have used Lightroom for a few years now, but not too seriously.

I am probably not the only one who doesn’t like Adobe’s subscription model, and I don’t like having to pay yearly for this and a product I never use (Photoshop).

The features I like in Lightroom are the non-destructive editing and the fact that most of the adjustments are mostly automatic, which is good for an amateur like me.

I would probably have gone for Aperture, but it’s been abandoned. The open source Dark Table might do, but it’s not very intuitive (not that Lightroom is so obvious either).

What is a good OS X application which will do the above, but is easy to use, and is likely to be around for a while?


Since asking the question, two alternatives have surfaced:

Luminar (https://macphun.com/luminar) is a simple photo editing package which I now use routinely. It’s full of presets as well as a bundle filters. It has the non-destructive features of LightRoom, as well as layers.

PhotoDirector (https://www.cyberlink.com/products/photodirector-ultra/features_en_AU.html) actually looks a lot like LightRoom and also does a good job.

In my experience, this here is what I have found:

  • Luminar is a good photo editor, but it lacks photo management, which is one of the good things about LightRoom. MacPhun say this feature will be added soon, but I can’t comment on how good it is, of course.
  • PhotoDirector has decent photo mangement, similar to LightRoom. However, I have found that it has limited exporting and flexibility. For example, I could only export 400 flagged originals by hacking the database itself, which is not a good experience.
  • MacPhun is very responsive to support requests.
  • Cyberlink also respond, but the support process is tedious. The support form is awkward, and you will need to ask the same question multiple times before someone understands what you want. I needed it a lot, and found that it interfered with the experience.

Overall, I am inclined to recommend Luminar, but I am still waiting on the Photo Library management feature.

  • 4
    Possible duplicate of Alternative to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
    – CRSouser
    Mar 8, 2016 at 5:12
  • @CRSouser Well, the linked discussion is about Linux alternatives. While DarkTable and LightZone are available for OS X, I am asking what else might fit the bill. Currently I find DarkTable counter-intuitive, and LightZone’s download links to a error page, which is not normally a good sign.
    – Manngo
    Mar 8, 2016 at 9:37
  • @CRSouser This is asking for OS X alternatives; that is asking for Linux alternatives. Not a duplicate, in my view.
    – user46
    Mar 8, 2016 at 15:17
  • @undo The titles and tagging need to be clarified in both then to distinguish the difference.. it could also be argued the other post is not looking for an alternative but a substitute as Lightroom is not available on Linux.
    – CRSouser
    Mar 8, 2016 at 15:38
  • @Manngo You can still independently purchase Lightroom outside of the subscription model and even though I have a subscription I continue to also purchase Lightroom versions independently to ensure long term integrity of my collection and not be locked out by a subscription.
    – CRSouser
    Mar 8, 2016 at 15:39


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