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Affinity Photo review

Affinity Photo is a more advanced editor for hardcore amateurs and professionals. Its tools, however, are excellent.

Affinity Photo review
(Image: © Affinity)

Our Verdict

Affinity is a powerful photo editor, and is primarily aimed at composition and actual editing (rather than simple enhancement). Ideal for experts, and it comes at a good price too.

For

  • Excellent price
  • Great range of features
  • Full 32-bit editing

Against

  • Complicated to use

Affinity Photo is one of the best kept secrets in the photo manipulation world. It's powerful, comes with a range of tools that you'd expect to find across something like the Adobe Suite, and it offers a broad range of support for file types, plug-ins, and more. It's cheaper than most other software or cloud packages too, making it a brilliant option for serious editing. The only reason it isn't at the top of our best photo editing software list? It's quite complicated to use, and doesn't offer as much help and support as the equally powerful Adobe Lightroom / Photoshop CC combo. 

Affinity Photo review: Features

Affinity Photo comes with all of the basic editing tools you'd expect: red eye removal, cropping, selection, painting and drawing tools, and vector shape tools. It also includes more advanced tools like a cloning stamp, batch processing, font effects and lens distortion correction. We found these features quite easy to use, and they produced top-notch effects, although some feel a little basic next to what you get with the latest version of Photoshop. While most of the tools are here, it's intimidating for beginner users, and unless you're a serious hobbyist or a pro, you won't get the most out of Affinity's features, and may find them overwhelming.

Much like other pure photo editors, Affinity Photo lets you work in layers: you can create mask layers, rearrange layers, and choose between vector or raster layers. Ideal if you're looking to create a brand-new image from your photos, but less useful if you're just trying to make your pictures look as amazing as possible. One helpful feature Affinity offers is its Assistant button, which appears as a tuxedo icon. When you click on it, you're able to create presets for specific tools. For example, you can set it up so that when you click on the Brush tool, the Assistant automatically optimizes the layer type and applies the specified tool settings.

In terms of photo enhancement tools, you get some great photo stitching options, a full 32-bit workflow for HDR images (and things like 3D software images), and 360 photo editing too. Again, this is more tailored towards advanced editing, and beginners may find themselves overwhelmed by the number of options.

Programs like Affinity Photo and Photoshop weren't designed to have built-in organizing systems. You can browse through image files on your computer, but there isn't an advanced image search function or a ranking system, which means you'll spend more time trying to track down a specific image with this software than other photo editing applications. Like Photoshop, which uses an exterior photo organizing program, Affinity Photo has its own separate app to help organize photos. However, Affinity Photo currently does allow you to view EXIF information for photos, which helps you remember when a photo was taken and what resolution and shutter speed it was taken with.

Affinity Photo review

(Image credit: Affinity)

Affinity Photo review: Compatibility and export options

Affinity Photo is compatible with RAW, JPG, TIFF, PNG, GIF, PSD and PDF files as well as more obscure file types. This flexibility allows you to open a range of files and save your work in a way that optimizes your images. Typically, when uploading an image to the internet, it's best to compress it so it loads faster when viewed online. Affinity Photo helps you optimize photos for the web by giving you options to manually adjust the size and compression of your photos when you save them. Affinity Photo does not support any animation files, though, so creating animated GIFs is not an option with this image editor. Unfortunately, Affinity Photo does not come with the ability to save photos to online galleries, nor can you upload images directly to social media or email.

One aspect we love is the iPad app, which seamlessly integrates with your desktop version, so you can easily share projects between devices. The app has many of the same layout elements, so you don't need to learn a whole new system, although obviously the shortcuts will change. It's a great way to help you edit while you're mobile or away from your laptop or home computer. If you're switching between laptop and tablet, Affinity is a fantastic choice.

Affinity Photo review

(Image credit: Affinity)

Affinity Photo review: Price and support options

You get a free trial with Affinity, which lasts for a generous 30-days. After that, the fee of around $50 is a very cost-effective option, considering what you actually get here. While it isn't as powerful as Photoshop or Lightroom as individual programs, it does a good job of taking some of the best features of the two and combining them.

It's available on Mac or PC, and comes with decent customer support via chat or email. You'll find a bunch of tutorial videos on the website, and they cover both the desktop and the tablet version of Affinity. They're not as exhaustive as some apps, but you should find what you need. There are start guides and shortcut guides available as PDFs too, which is handy if you want to have a list of them while you learn. 

Should you buy Affinity Photo?

Affinity Photo offers a plethora of advanced photo editing tools to help you create professional-looking photos... once you get to grips with the interface and tools. For novices, the range of options can be intimidating, and using some of the more advanced tools feels quite complex. Advanced users who are familiar with things like the Adobe CC suite will learn quicker. The results you get, especially if you add plugins like Nix, can be stunning and are only really limited by your creativity. The price is attractive too, so we'd recommend that you download the free trial and give it a try. We'd heartily recommend it for intermediate and advanced photo editors, but novices may want something a little easier to use.