Best Lightroom Alternatives for Mac in 2023

What features help Lightroom stand out? RAW photos development, file management, and cutting-edge technologies, to name a few. If you are looking for a Lightroom alternative, you need an app that ticks at least some of those boxes. And, if you have opened this article because of the title, you are likely to have one more limitation – the app must work on macOS.

So, let’s take a look at the 6 photo editors that may serve as great Lightroom alternatives for Mac. Some are almost exact replicas, while others offer unique features of their own. Keep in mind that this is not a rating list, each app has its advantages, and the ultimate choice depends on your goals and needs.

PhotoWorks

Photo Works Logo

PhotoWorks is a great alternative to Lightroom for Mac for those in need of a fast and uncomplicated app that helps you perform deep editing with minimal effort. Anyone may use its cutting-edge editing features thanks to its intuitive user-friendly design. Enhancing an image takes a few slider tweaks or using one of 200+ one-click effects. The toolkit also includes more advanced features, such as LAB and 3D LUT profiles, RGB color curves, and more. There are even more specific tools, like the portrait processing module and batch editing mode. In addition to a free trial, PhotoWorks is available in three paid variants: Standard for $19.25 per year, Pro for $39.20 per year, and Ultimate for $79.80 for a lifetime.

Capture One

Capture One is an application like Lightroom for Mac that is rather popular in a professional environment. Capture One can even open Lightroom projects and mimic its interface with some tweaking. It also surpasses Lightroom in terms of color correction, due to the absence of 8 color limitations of Lightroom’s HSL panel. Another key feature is tethering, which allows direct image upload from your camera in real time. However, Capture One is not designed for newbies, mastering it takes time and patience. It is also rather pricey, with a $358.80 lifetime license and a $28.80/month subscription. 

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Luminar NEO

Luminar Logo

Luminar NEO by Skylum is frequently recommended as an Adobe alternative. It combines cutting-edge AI with a comprehensive layout, allowing to automate the workflow, which makes it perfect for aspiring beginners and pros in a hurry. For more significant editing control, Luminar NEO includes a Lightroom-like toolbar. Luminar’s greatest downsides are limited management features and a lack of export options. NEO has a handful of subscription plans, but you can purchase a lifetime license for $149, which might be more beneficial than an Adobe subscription in the long run.

ON1 Photo RAW

ON1 Logo

ON1 Photo RAW is one of the best Lightroom alternatives for Mac aimed at a professional audience. It has everything to make your workflow as efficient as possible. On top of an essential toolkit for deep processing, it offers a set of neat features – Sky Swap AI, smart albums, Snapshot tool, and more. However, ON1 Photo RAW is not as accessible as most other apps. Firstly, it has a rather steep learning curve. And secondly, you need a computer that’s closer to the high-end to run it with no issues. On the other hand, the price is quite friendly – $99.99 for a lifetime license.

Darktable

Darktable Logo

Darktable is open-source software and takes place among the best free Lightroom alternatives for Mac out there. The interface is quite similar to Lightroom, but can be heavily customized. Darktable’s toolkit is also very evocative of the Adobe program – file management system, tethered shooting, RAW image processing, and other staple Lightroom features are present and function just as great. Darktable keeps growing and improving, but still has issues inherent to open-source software. Despite all its advantages, it runs fast but is not as stable as other apps. So, if you are willing to stick to free software, be ready for technical hiccups.

Pixelmator Pro

Pixelmator Logo

Pixelmator Pro is a great Mac Lightroom alternative for amateur or occasional editing. It is simple enough for rookies to grasp it, yet it is capable of thorough image manipulation with one-click effects and more subtle tweaks. Pros can also use it to develop RAW shots and achieve great results. Pixelmator even features an essential toolkit for digital painting. The accessibility of Pixelmator Pro comes at the cost of destructive workflow and the capability to process only one image at a time. The price tag is much more pleasing, though – only $49.99.

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The Bottom Line

Selecting the appropriate Lightroom equivalent for Mac can turn into a chore, especially with so many options on the table. While choosing your image processor, it’s crucial to take your individual needs, skills, and budget into account. Each of the apps above has its strengths and weaknesses, but the choice is yours.

Are you a Lightroom user or do you have a favorite alternative? Why not join the conversation and leave a comment below?

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Brandon Birch

Brandon Birch - Author

Brandon Birch is a lifelong photographer and videographer, as well as a prominent educator of the craft. He helps newcomers to grasp the basics and teaches them to navigate the diverse world of photo and video editing software.

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