Serif's Affinity Photo is the best alternative to Photoshop that we've ever found. It provides many of the same photo editing tools but at a much for affordable rate; a one-time payment of $49.99 instead of Adobe's monthly or yearly subscription. Affinity is constantly updating and making changes to improve and add tools to the software. If you give it a try, you might just be surprised by what you find. Affinity has the shortest free trial period of all of the programs we tested, lasting only 10 days. While this is definitely short, you should be able to test out the software enough to figure out if it's a good fit.
This software feels similar to Photoshop and even shares many of the same hotkeys, so Adobe users will adapt very quickly. You'll find all of your basic editing tools like a red eye remover, crop, selection and shape tools. We were very impressed with the object removal tools, which took unwanted elements away from our photos and filled in the space as though there had never been anything there. This software also makes it very easy to remove backgrounds from your images. The layers toolbar shows you all of the masks attached to your work so you can easily adjust them or remove them without harming your original photo. Affinity Photo has 36 preset filters, making it easy for you to fix the lighting of your images or add a fun look to them.
The program makes it easy to create panorama and HDR images. Separate toolbars pop up and guide you through the processes giving you the ability to manually adjust the settings. If your images look distorted you can fix them using the lens distortion correction tools.
Something Affinity Photo offers that Photoshop doesn't is the Assistant Options button. You can instruct this tool to automatically make changes to your image layers while you work on them so you don't have to. Easily manage the assistant by selecting the button that looks like a butler's suit on the top of the page.
Like Photoshop, this software wasn't created to house photo organizing tools. This means you won't be able to add keyword tags, color coding or star ratings to your photos. Serif has told us that a separate photo organizing app is being created for this program. If you really want a photo editing software with built-in image sorting tools you might be interested in CyberLink PhotoDirector Ultra. This software does allow you to view your EXIF metadata, which shows data from your camera settings on each picture.
Affinity photo works with RAW camera files, letting photographers process them the way they want. It's also compatible with JPEG, TIFF, PNG, PSD and PDF files, which gives you more options to work with. The software gets your images ready for posting online with its image optimization options. When your photos are ready, share them directly to Facebook, Twitter or Flickr from within the program or send them to family and friends via email.
Affinity photo has an active user forum where you can discuss the software with other members of the community. You'll also find video tutorials and a FAQs page on the website, should you need them. If you need further assistance, Affinity Photo customer representatives can be reached by email or by phone.
Affinity Photo is the best professional-level photo editing software in this review. It falls short when it comes to photo organization options, which is the reason it didn't score as high as our best overall pick. However, it offers powerful, Adobe-level effects and control at a much more affordable price, making it a great option for anyone who wants to avoid a subscription.