Verdict: 4 stars Lightroom is Adobe’s bold vision of a cloud-based photo organizing and editing tool where all your images can be organised, edited and viewed anywhere on any device. For mobile users and content creators it’s a clever and effective proposition, but for regular photographers, while its editing tools now include AI masking, A lens Blur and the rest of Adobe’s latest Lightroom features, its restrictions, the closed nature of its editing ecosystem and its cost remain a major barrier.
Life after Photoshop software reviews
Choosing the right software isn't easy and you often have to try quite a few different applications to find the ones that suit you. We're all looking for different things, and quite often a single piece of software won't do everything that we need.
So these reviews are designed not just to see whether the software out there is any good or not, but to explain exactly what it does and how it might fit into your workflow.
- Always download the trial version if there is one. My best guess at what photographers need is not necessarily right for you.
- This is an archive of all Life after Photoshop review content. There is also a curated guide to the best photo editing software.
Verdict: 4.5 stars Lightroom Classic is the traditional, desktop-based version of Lightroom. Its editing tools are powerful and versatile, aided by new and steadily improving AI masking tools. Lightroom Classic continues to be the professional cataloguing and editing tool by which all others are judged, though it’s not always the best.
Verdict: 4.6 stars Capture One Pro is not cheap. It’s not designed for beginners, and it doesn’t have Adobe’s cloud-based ecosystem – yet. But it’s excellent for tethered shooting, it offers both session-based and catalog-based workflows and its editing tools and output are superb.
Verdict: 4.8 stars Nik Collection 6 is the latest version of one of the photographic world’s best-known and best-loved plug-in suites. The updates in this version are modest but useful, and that’s not really a criticism because it’s hard to see how the Nik Collection could be made much better.
Verdict: 4.5 stars If you want a single, all-in-one, do-it-all photo organizer, editor and effects tool, look no further. ON1 Photo RAW 2024 is in a class of its own. Other programs might give you better cataloging tools, better raw processing or a wider range of effects, but never in one place like ON1 Photo RAW does.
Verdict: 5 stars Silver Efex Pro 3 is still the best black and white plug-in there is. It creates rich, dense black and white images that echo classic analog films and darkroom techniques in the digital age.
Rating: 4.5 stars PureRAW 3 only does one job, but it does it extremely well. It takes your RAW files and applies DxO’s own lens corrections and, optionally, its DeepPRIME noise reduction process to produce images which are sharper, smoother and straighter. It can make average cameras and lenses look twice as good and extends your camera’s usable ISO range by up to 2.5 stops. These aren’t empty claims – this is what it does.
Verdict: 4.8 stars Capture One 23 is a professional Lightroom rival that offers a step up in both image quality and editing tools, and supports a greater variety of professional workflows. The RAW processing is excellent, the editing tools are powerful and the new Cull view, layered Styles and improved Variant handling alone make the upgrade look worth it. Capture One is not cheap, but it’s designed for professional, quality-orientated workflows.
Verdict: 4.5 stars ON1 Photo RAW 2023 is probably the closest thing there is to a photo editor that does absolutely everything. This version adds AI subject recognition and masking features. ON1 Photo RAW’s scope and ambitions are impressive, though the AI doesn’t always work perfectly and ON1 Photo RAW 2023 can sometimes feel sluggish.
Verdict: 4.5 stars Affinity Photo 2 is not a huge leap forward from version 1 for photographers, but more a major refresh and rebranding for Affinity. It remains an extremely powerful professional Photoshop rival at an exceptionally low price. Its tone mapping is superb, its RAW processing can now be applied non-destructively and its central Photo personal is hugely powerful.