One of the great challenges for photographers today is keeping your photos organized. There are two best of bread applications that are the standard for professional photographers.  Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is available on both Mac and PC but costs $149 to buy.  Apple Aperture is only available on Mac and comes with a lower price tag of $79. What if you don’t want to spend your hard-earned money on software and you want free alternatives to Aperture and Lightroom. Below you will find my top 5 free alternatives to Aperture and Lightroom.

Picasa (PC and Mac)

Screenshot of Google Picasa 3
Initially released in 2002 Picasa has slowly and steadily evolved to include all sorts of great features.  Picasa is one of the most well known free alternatives to Aperture and Lightroom.

Features include …

    • Sync to Picasa Web Albums
    • Face recognition
    • Organize your photos
    • Edit
    • Geotagging
    • Create posters, collages, screensavers and even movies

digiKam (PC and Mac)


digiKam is perhaps the second most feature-rich application of the free alternatives to Aperture and Lightroom, that I have found.

Features include …

    • Import pictures from over 1200 cameras
    • Organize your collection by Albums, sub-albums, tags
    • View items in 300 proprietary RAW formats
    • Create slideshows, and calendars
    • Share your creations over 14 different ways with digiKam including uploading to Facebook, Flickr, and SmugMug
    • Geotagging
    • RAW image converter
    • DNG converter
    • Edit Pictures Metadata
    • Images batch processing


Darktable (Mac Only)

With an interface that resembles Lightroom, you may feel more at home using Darktable if you have used Lightroom previously.

Features include …

    • Non-destructive editing of images
    • Search your images by tags, image rating, and colour labels
    • Tethered shooting
    • Organize
    • Editing

PhotoScape (PC Only)


One of the most unique features that PhotoScape has is the Splitter function.  The Splitter function will take one image and splits it into multiple images.

Features include …

    • View your Photos
    • Edit one photo or Batch process files
    • Merger multiple photos to create a collage
    • RAW Converter
    • Face Search

RawTherapee (PC and Mac)

rawtherapeeRawTherapee puts a strong emphasis on RAW image processing.  It provides the user with a file browser, a queue, and an image editing tab

Features include …

    • Batch processing
    • Parallel editing of multiple images
    • Take advantage of a second display
    • Advanced colour handling
    • Advanced tone and exposure controls
    • Various interface layouts

As you can see there are many viable free alternatives to Aperture and Lightroom.  Each piece of software has its advantages and disadvantages.  Some of the free alternatives to Aperture and Lightroom even have features that are not yet available in commercial applications.  It really comes down to personal choice as to what software you choose to use.  I hope this blog post has helped you discover how you would like to manage your photo library.

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