Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo is a cross-platform photo editing app from Serif Ltd. that offers a subscription-free alternative to Adobe Photoshop, supporting Adobe Photoshop plug-ins and offering a full set of features that includes camera raw processing, full colorspace support (“RGB, CMYK, LAB, Greyscale. End-to-end CMYK workflow with ICC colour management, and 16-bit per channel editing”), full file format support (PSD, PNG, JPG, TIFF, EPS, PDF, and SVG), live blend modes, Frequency Separation editing, and “inpainting”, with a “fluid” user interface and hardware performance optimizations. Additional features include panorama photo stitching, haze removal, a choice of raw processing engines, a perspective filter, Photoshop plug-in support, Touch Bar support, recordable macros and batch processing, full HDR merge, HDR monitor support, HEIF support, 12-bit and 16-bit CMYK TIFF support and more.

Affinity Photo 1.8.2 is priced at $49.99 (currently on sale at half-price) for OS X 10.9 and up or Windows systems, with a free 90-day trial. Version 8 brought PSD Smart Object import, manual lens correction, improved plugin support (“especially for the new Nik collection”), more raw development batch support, and selection brush anti-aliasing, among other improvements.  Version 1.8.2 includes a bunch of fixes.

Affinity Photo for iPads 1.8.2 is priced at $19.99 for iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and 3, iPad Mini 5, iPad Pro, and iPad 2017 and later, running iOS 11 or later.


Luminar is photo editing software from Skylum (née Macphun) that works as a standalone app, an Apple Photos extension or as a plugin for Aperture, Lightroom or Photoshop. Features include support for raw and PSD files, plug-ins and extensions; noise reduction and object-removal tools; layers, blend modes, and masking; brushes, filters and presets; batch processing and more, positioned as a subscription-free Lightroom alternative. (See FAQ and user guides for more details.)

Luminar 4.2.0 is priced at $138 (currently $89) with a 2-computer, cross-platform license for macOS 10.12 and up and Windows. A trial version installer is available in return for supplying an email address. The latest release includes “Face Features Detection Network, Shine Removal Technology, Slim Face 2.0 Technology”, etc.

Version 4 brought “several tools informed by extensive machine-learning” (apparently similar to Apple’s iPhone 11 image processing):

AI Structure in Luminar 4 automatically identifies objects like people and their faces, skin, sky, buildings and more, and improves them intelligently, instead of globally across the photograph. It adds detail and clarity to areas that otherwise wouldn’t have much, boosting the structure and making for a much more pleasing image. What this means is that instead of adding Structure to an entire photograph, it selectively does so, meaning photographers no longer have to mask or brush out the effect.


HoudahGeo is a Mac app from Houdah Software S.A R.L. for connecting photos with geolocation data. Features include import of GPS track logs and waypoints from many brands of GPS devices, with automatic geocoding from track logs; built-in map display and adjustment; corrections for camera time zone and clock errors; reverse geocoding (determine location names and ground altitude from GPS coordinates); metadata (coordinates, location names, title, description, keywords, etc.) and tag writing (EXIF, XMP and IPC) to image masters or XMP sidecars; Google Earth KMZ/KML export; upload to EveryTrail and Flickr; integration with iPhoto, Aperture, Photos and Lightroom, and more. (See HoudahGeo user manual [PDF] for more details.)

Pin photos to the exact locations where they were taken. HoudahGeo stores latitude, longitude and altitude as geotags right within the image file, just like a GPS-enabled camera [and] supports many methods of geocoding, ranging from automatic to manual. Use a GPS track log, reference photos taken with iPhone or pick locations on the built-in map.

HoudahGeo 6.0.2 is priced starting at $39 for macOS 10.14 and 10.15 with a free trial version available. (Older versions for earlier Macs are available at the bottom of a support page.) The latest release fixes some bugs after a major update:

HoudahGeo 6.0.2

  • Fixes a problem with importing keywords from Apple Photos on macOS Catalina
  • Fixes a crash on loading track logs
  • Fixes a crash while searching for Places during map geocoding
  • Allows for the Inspector pane to be resized wider

RawDigger, FastRawViewer

RawDigger is a cross-platform app from LibRaw LLC, billed as “a microscope of sorts that lets you drill down into raw data” recorded by digital cameras. Features include “the real raw histogram of the raw data, which greatly differs from the in-camera histogram, as well as histograms presented by most of the raw converters”, plus under/over-exposure stats, and statistical calculations by channel or for arbitrary rectangular selections.

RawDigger 1.4.0 is priced from $19.99 to $89.99, depending on features, for macOS 10.12 and up with a demo download available. The latest version includes support for the Nikon Z60, D780, Canon EOS M200, and more.

FastRawViewer is another app from the company, priced at $19.99 – it is designed for “extremely fast culling and pre-processing of RAW images: i.e. display, visual and technical analysis, applying basic corrections, sorting and setting aside or directly transferring the selected ones for further processing.”


PhotosRevive is software for macOS and iOS from NeededApps (Jeremy Vizzini) that promises to automatically colorize old black-and-white photos using “a revolutionary artificial intelligence that will add colors in an ultra-realistic way.”

We know that the colors chosen by the engine may differ from those of your memories. That’s why the app lets you add indications of colors. So you can help the artificial intelligence ​​and change the rendering as you please.

PhotosRevive 1.2.0 is priced at $17.99 for macOS 10.13 and up from the Mac App Store with a download available at the company’s website.

PhotosRevive 1.1.1 is a free download for iOS 12 and up but requires in-app purchase of “credits.”


RawTherapee is a cross-platform app created by Gábor Horváth (and produced by the RawTherapee Development Team) specifically for processing (“developing”) digital raw photo files non-destructively and with high quality, keeping all changes in separate sidecar files and leaving the originals untouched. A history system lists all changes and lets you jump back to any previous step (or take a “snapshot” of a particular point in the editing process).

The app offers an extensive and impressive collection of features that includes support for raw files up to 32-bits, plus HDR DNG, as well as JPEG, PNG and TIFF; “advanced control over the algorithms with many fine-tuning parameters and curves”; multithreading for performance; floating point for precision; batch processing; a variety of demosaicing algorithms; many exposure and tone controls, as well as many noise reduction and detail enhancement options; batch processing; color profiles; and much more. (See RawPedia for more details.)

RawTherapee 5.8, the latest version, is free and open source software for OS X/macOS (probably 10.10 and later), Linux, and Windows.

Iridient Developer

Iridient Developer is a Mac app from Iridient Digital Inc. that offers high-quality conversion of raw and other images from a large collection of supported cameras, with lens correction, color management, customizable tone curves, noise reduction, demosaicing and multiple sharpening options. Other features include drag and drop batch conversion, chromatic aberration correction, advanced histogram views, monochrome processing, hardware optimizations, support for IPTC, XMP and EXIF v2.3 metadata, high-quality resizing and more.

Iridient Developer 3.3.10 is priced at $99.99 for OS X 10.7 and up. The download functions as a fully functional demo but adds a watermark to images. The latest release brings support for CR3 images from the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, HIF images from the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III (currently on macOS 10.15 Catalina only), NEF images from the Nikon D780, RAF images from the Fujifilm X-T200 and X100V, and DNG images from the Leica M10 Monochrom.

Iridient “Transformer” software is also available, priced in individual $36 editions for specific camera families (e.g. Canon, Nikon, Fuifilm, Sony, etc.) to convert their raw files to DNG format:

Transformer provides some of the high quality, early stage RAW processing algorithms from Iridient Developer in simple, easy to use utility that can be combined with existing photo workflow programs like Lightroom to quickly improve RAW image quality.

DxO PhotoLab

DxO PhotoLab is cross-platform image-processing software from DxO Labs that includes features for non-destructive editing, raw conversion, denoising, moiré removal, exposure and color correction, “smart” exposure optimization (with face detection), haze removal, and selective tone controls, batch processing, distortion correction based on profiles for thousands of lens/body combinations, local adjustments via “U Point” control points, “smart assistants”, a “DxO PhotoLibrary” for organizing and searching images, and more. (See DXO tutorials for more details.)

DxO PhotoLab 3 is available in Essential and Elite editions for macOS 10.13 and up (or Windows) priced at $129/$199 (with two/three activations), respectively, and there’s a 30-day trial available. The latest updates include a new repair tool.

Nik Collection

Nik Collection is a set of cross-platform photo processing plug-ins from DxO Labs (which acquired them from Google after Google had acquired Nik Software).

The collection consists of includes seven separate plug-ins for use with Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Lightroom: Dfine for “noise reduction tailored to your camera”, Sharpener Pro for image sharpening, Viveza to “selectively adjust the color and tonality of your images”, Silver Efex Pro for processing black-and-white images (dynamics and grain with emulation of popular films), Color Efex Pro “for color correction, retouching, and creative effects”, Analog Efex Pro for the “look and feel of classic cameras, films, and lenses” and HDR Efex Pro for HDR processing.

Nik Collection 2.3 is priced at $149 for macOS 10.12 and up, and Windows, with a 30-day trial. The software functions as a plug-in for Photoshop, Lightroom, and “DxO PhotoLab 2 Essential Edition, our new standalone host launcher for Nik Collection 2.”

The latest version brings macOS Catalina compatibility and a number of other features, including “150 creative filters, local adjustments on RAW files, support for HiDPI displays, and DxO’s advanced optical correction tools.”

Asus ProArt PQ22UC

ProArt PQ22UC is a 4K OLED display from Asus that features a 21.6″ panel with 99% DCI-P3 color coverage, hardware calibration support, HDR, and an innovative mount/support system. Other features include 10-bit color depth and a 14-bit LUT, 6-axis color adjustment, Delta E < 2, selectable color temperature and gamma modes, plus the ability to save and optimize color profiles in the monitor itself, response time of 0.1 ms, pixel density of 204 ppi, a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and support for HDR-10, HLG, and Dolby Vision. An innovative, detachable stand can be folded for transport, with a carrying bag. Micro HDMI 2.0 and USB-C ports connect to a host computer, and a second USB-C port is used for the power adapter.  (See user manual for more details.)

Asus ProArt PQ22UC [Amazon] lists for $3999 ($3886 when checked at Amazon). Note that maximum brightness is limited for very bright/white content.

Brightness:  330 cd/m2 (Typ.) Peak white, 130 cd/m2 (Max.) Full white

Complete Digital Photography

Complete Digital Photography (9th edition) is a comprehensive (416-page) book from photographer and teacher Ben Long, very clearly written and illustrated with many examples. Topics range all the way from anatomy and functioning of human eyes and brains to digital photo workflows, raw shooting, image sensors, composition, color and tone correction, lighting, retouching layers, output, and more, with step-by-step editing tutorials included.

Complete Digital Photography is list-priced at $64.99 for the latest print edition or $34.99 for four ebook versions: PDF (all computer types), ePub (Apple and iOS), and azw3 and Mobipocket (used by Amazon’s Kindle system).

Complete Digital Photography print and ebook versions are discounted at the Complete Digital Photography website, currently on sale at $40 and $25, respectively. (Volume pricing is also available for colleges and other educational institutions that use the book for photography courses.)


PowerPhotos is an Apple Photos “toolbox” from Fat Cat Software (Brian Webster). Capabilities include creating, merging, splitting and managing multiple photo libraries; iPhoto/Aperture library migration to Apple Photos; browsing and searching across libraries; identification of duplicate photos, and built-in help. (See documentation for more details.)

PowerPhotos 1.7.8 is priced at $29.95 for macOS 10.14 and 10.15, bundled with iPhoto Library Manager for Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later with iPhoto 8.1.2 or later. (The software can be used in a limited-feature trial mode prior to purchase.) Older PowerPhotos downloads support OS X 10.10 through macOS 10.13. The latest release fixes some macOS Catalina problems and other glitches.

PowerPhotos works with the built-in Photos app on your Mac, providing an array of tools to help you get your photo collection in order. PowerPhotos allows you to work with multiple Photos libraries and store them wherever you want, including on an external drive or a network drive. Split up your giant library into smaller ones by copying photos and albums with a simple drag and drop, preserving metadata such as descriptions and keywords along the way. Or, if you already have multiple libraries, use PowerPhotos to merge them together while weeding out duplicates along the way. PowerPhotos also features a powerful duplicate photo finder, a browser to let you see your photos without even opening up Photos itself, a multi-library search feature, and more.


GIMP is a cross-platform, open-source graphics editor (and alternative to Photoshop) that features a very extensive collection of tools and operations, a customizable interface, perspective and distortion correction, retouching (including healing and cloning tools), layers and masks, color management, plug-ins, scripting, pressure-sensitive input device support, and much more. (See GIMP FAQ, the GIMP docs and GIMP news for more details.) The latest versions include multiple user interface themes, HiDPI support, many performance and feature improvements, more metadata support, broader file format support, and much more.

GIMP 2.10.14 is free for Linux, OS X 10.9 and later, or Windows. Older downloads are available for earlier Macs (with the X11 user interface system required for Mac OS X 10.5 and earlier), and newer developmental versions are also available with the most advanced features.