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Affinity Photo vs Lightroom 2021: Which is Better?

Looking for the best photo editing software to make raw photo editing and fast color correction? Affinity Photo vs Lightroom, who will be the winner in 2021?

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Is it better to use Affinity since it is not as expensive as Lightroom editing software? In what cases should you use Lightroom and when it’s better to work with Affinity? Read the article presenting photo editing software comparison and find out the pros and cons of using these two programs.

You should note that this comparison is not completely fair in many ways, as Affinity Photo is more comparable to Photoshop than to Lightroom. So you might as well ask whether to use Lightroom vs Photoshop, as this is also a bit strange comparison, because the apps are so different.

However, many photographers ask the question of whether to use Lightroom vs. Affinity Photo, so let us first explore a bit more on why the comparison is a bit strange, and then move on to an actual comparison between Affinity and Lightroom where it makes sense.

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Comparing Two Types of Photo Editing Software

When comparing Affinity Photo vs. Lightroom, we actually compare raster graphics editors (like Affinity Photo and Photoshop), with Image cataloging and RAW editors (like Lightroom and Capture One)

Image Catalog and RAW editors

Lightroom photography software is an all-time leader when it comes to batch image editing and convenient photo management. The catalog system is not convenient enough and some users even hate it. But the thing is that you upload thousands of images (in any format) into the program and may easily edit them simultaneously. A great and in my opinion better alternative to Lightroom is Capture One, which is comparable in price too.

Raster Graphics Editors for Advanced Photo Editing and Image Manipulation

Affinity Photo is similar to Photoshop. There is no catalog in Affinity Photo, which also lacks in Photoshop, and you enhance each image in a separate window. It’s convenient when you need to spend much time editing every photo, but it is not handy when you should edit a great number of pictures for a short period of time: This is when you should use Lightroom.

In summary, Lightroom is more convenient when working with multiple images, but often you also need either Photoshop or Affinity Photo for advanced editing workflows.


One of the most important issues that make many users abandon Adobe is its subscription. You can’t install the latest version paying once. All you can do is to pay $9.99 every month for Lightroom CC (it comes with Photoshop CC) or use Lightroom 6 having bought it for $150.

Serif Affinity Photo team made it the other way. They don’t have a subscription; you have to pay $50 for a PC version and $20 for an iPad application.

AFFINITY PHOTO remains an obvious leader in terms of price.

Color Adjustment Options

The main function, which users like in Lightroom, is an easy and convenient color correction panel since the software was designed for this purpose. 80% of its options are targeted at it. Affinity Photo tries to combine Photoshop and Lightroom introducing possibilities of color correction and photo retouching, but is it really convenient?


In order to correct the exposure, contrast, white balance, you are to use the tools that influence the lighting in your photo.

In Lightroom, you find these settings on the Develop tab. All of them are located to the right. You may easily apply them manually or use auto settings. You simply work with adjustment sliders moving down throughout all the tools. They are gathered in small groups depending on the effects they add to the image.

Affinity Photo works almost in the same manner, being slightly more complicated. Having uploaded images, you will see a small window to the right offering similar functions at first glance. The thing is that they are situated in a random way and it is not convenient to apply them.

Besides, when you click on the tool, the effect is applied to the image and the program offers to choose the preset or adjust it manually. More logical tools are located in the Develop tab, but there are only 5 of them. If you want to use other ones, you are to move to the tabs above the tools.

It is possible to get used to it, but still, it is not convenient. The last thing that I don’t actually like is the fact that all the changes are applied with a short lag (and it’s not because of my computer).


Photographers use the Curves tool to correct the hues and contrast in the images. Having applied it, you adjust the tone of the whole photo, improve shadows and highlights.

When editing in Lightroom, curves are the simplified version of Photoshop curves. They work only in RGB color channels and don’t have additional options apart from classic curve features.

In Affinity Photo, the Curves is a more professional tool. You may work in RGB, CMYK, and LAB color channels. Indicate one color channel to which the correction should be applied, including the alpha layer channel. Wizard (default selection) applies the setting to all the channels.

You may adjust the minimum and maximum input. It’s suitable for 32-bit files with tone values falling outside the range. They may be also used to apply an accurate adjustment of the tone range in 8-bit and 16-bit files.


HSL is a tool panel that allows working with colors. The name is an abbreviation of three words ‒ Hue, Saturation, and Luminance.

Lightroom provides detailed HSL processing applying all eight half-tones separately. You may also work with black and white pictures implementing creative ideas.

Speaking about Affinity Photo, you may work only with five half-tones or with all half-tones simultaneously which is not available in Lightroom. However, this function is not an essential one.

Thanks to intuitively understandable and fast color correction, LIGHTROOM wins in this color correction battle.

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Image Retouching Options

For qualitative image retouching, you need to have enough tools, at least half of those Photoshop offers. Lightroom has only one picture retouching tool ‒ Spot Removal. It is applied to remove small skin defects, but the problem is that it copies the area with better skin automatically and many errors occur. You may also use the brush (it’s situated in the brush tab) to whiten teeth, eyes, improve the skin. But they are very inconvenient to work with.

Affinity Photo resembles many Adobe Ps tools. Users appreciate the ability to work with layers since it opens many picture retouching functions. Apart from basic image retouching options, such as lighting, burning, cloning, patching and removing stains or a red-eye effect, Affinity offers such tools as magic drawing brush and others.

If you are interested in image retouching, AFFINITY PHOTO is better than Lightroom.

Additional Functions

Creating image editing software, the developers want to make them unique and impress the users with new functions which are not available in other programs.


1. Crop Overlay

When you crop an image in Lightroom, the original picture is not changed. It is really convenient since you may crop the pictures in various ways and create many copies of them. In such a way, you pick up the cropping variant you like, the one which conveys your message.

2. Graduated Filter

This tool allows changing such properties as temperature, color, shadows, clarity, etc. in the form of a gradient. You have an ability to reduce the dynamic range of the shot, darken the lightest part of it.

Moreover, applying Gradient and Shadows effect, you may darken the necessary part and the gradient will “move” from the darkened zone to the original picture.

3. Lightroom Presets

One can’t agree more that presets belong to LR advantages. These are changes applied in one click. These tools are especially useful in batch image editing. You may correct the color in your photograph and then export or share the picture.

Professional and amateurish shooters share the presets, so it is not difficult to find these plugins (free or paid ones) on the Net.

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Affinity Photo

1. Stock Images

I like this function and believe that those who use stock images will also appreciate it. You can make a search in the Shutterstock program and use the images for work.

2. Defringe

When an image loses its clarity, then stripes, color contours or spots appear, we may speak of such defect as chromatic aberration. In this relation, Affinity is better than Lightroom, since it has a Defringe feature. It is applied to eliminate chromatic aberration smoothing blue, green, and red colors.

3. Affinity Photo Presets/Macros

Presets in Affinity Photo is tied to each individual tool and cannot give you a finished image with a single click. If you are looking for something a way to achieve a specific look with a single click, one option is to get the Affinity Photo Macro Package. LUT packages are also available on the web that can help you get a one-click look applied to your image. Alternatively, you can supercharge Affinity Photo by coupling it with the Nik Collection plugins and then buy a set of Nik Collection Presets & Recipes. It will require a round trip to one of the Nik plugins to apply presets/recipes, but these plugins also open up for a whole new level of photo editing.

Who Wins?

Judging Affinity Photo vs Lightroom, we must clearly understand that these two apps are designed for different tasks. Lightroom editing software is targeted at fast image color correction of a great number of images simultaneously. As for Affinity Photo, it is used to perform advanced picture retouching of each picture separately. Choose Lightroom if you work with RAW files since it is perfect for cropping the image and correcting colors and shadows. However, if your pictures require image retouching, Affinity is the best variant, actually.

Featured photo by Yurii Hlei from Pexels

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