Recently, I was discussing with a photographer friend of mine about the importance of post-processing.
I was trying to press on the fact that no matter which device you use to capture a photo be it a mobile or an expensive DSLR you still need post-processing software to give it the much-required panache.
Then why should I even bother procuring new photography equipment when I have to eventually rely on software? This is how he put it.
Garnishing is to cooking as post-processing is to photography
No matter how good your capture is, you must invest in basic image processing before considering it as a final copy.
In this post, we would be talking about Lightroom which is undoubtedly one of the most popular image processing applications out there. We’ll also talk about how to get Lightroom for free.
Don’t get too excited as there’s a bit of a compromise involved.
Lightroom at a glance
Adobe Lightroom is a market leader in image editing, post-processing, and organizing your workspace.
Its cloud-based service allows you to access your images across devices. While you are using Lightroom on your Android or iOS smartphone you can use the app instead of your default camera app to capture images.
As all your editing gets synced to the cloud in real-time you can access all your editing projects across devices.
Under its default plan, you can get 20 GB of cloud storage and you can even extend it to 1TB.
Their primary target audiences are photographers and it provides a plethora of different image editing options for RAW or JPEG images.
Thanks to Lightroom’s advanced image recognition algorithm you can easily search your image gallery based on the elements in it.
Lightroom’s most sought-after feature would be setting up a workflow for editing. You can set up a preset on your image and apply it to a group of images. In this way, all your images would have a common tonality and signature styling.
Is there a free version of Lightroom?
There is no free version of Lightroom but you can use it for free for a 30 day trial period.
During this trial period, you can use all available features. After the trial period expires you would be prompted to choose from different subscription options.
If you do not opt for a subscription plan you won’t be able to use Lightroom on any of your devices. Also, all your backup data on Adobe cloud would not be accessible to you.
How to download & get Lightroom for free?
To download Adobe Lightroom for free, you have to first create your Adobe id. For the sake of simplicity, I’d suggest you install the Adobe Lightroom trial on your desktop or laptop.
1. Create Adobe ID
Visit their accounts page to create your Adobe account and activate your Adobe ID. You can use your Google details or set up your Adobe Account from scratch.
The Adobe ID is used by Adobe to track your various Adobe App subscription and to log into different workspace and devices.
If you want to change your Adobe account details and Adobe ID you can do it from the accounts page too.
2. Lightroom free download from Creative Cloud
You can consider Creative Cloud to be Adobe’s app store. You can download or visit Creative Cloud, sign in with your Adobe ID, and download Lightroom for free.
Once the installation is completed, you have to log in to your Adobe account. Then you can select Lightroom and download it on your local machine.
3. Installing Lightroom on other devices
Once you have logged into Lightroom on your desktop, you can download respective copies of the application on your Android or iOS devices.
To access the Lightroom projects that you have saved on your desktop, you just have to log in to Lightroom with your Adobe credentials on your smartphone.
Currently, Adobe allows you to use Lightroom on two devices simultaneously. The moment you log into a third device you would be logged out from one of the devices.
Adobe Lightroom Pricing Options
Now that you have used adobe Lightroom for free what’s next? Adobe provides you several different subscription options for its software products.
You cannot own a Lightroom license or a perpetual copy of the application. Here are the different Lightroom subscription options.
Annual Plan paid monthly – $9.99 per month
Annual plan prepaid – $119.88 per year
Your Lightroom subscription comes with 1 TB of cloud storage. If you are a pro user and want to upgrade your cloud storage you can do it at $9.99 per month per TB.
Is Lightroom free for students?
Students or individuals can only use Lightroom for free during the 30 day trial period.
After that, they can opt for a subscription of their choice. There’s no exception for students. However, students can get a jaw-dropping discount if they opt for the complete Creative Cloud subscription. Here’s how
Up to 60% discount for students and teachers
Students and teachers can get an amazing discount on Creative Cloud subscriptions. An annual plan paid monthly would cost a student $19.99 per month while a prepaid annual plan would cost $239.88 per year.
The subscription would allow the students to access over 20 Adobe creative desktop and mobile applications.
Note – To avail the above benefits you must be enrolled in an accredited school or college. You also have to provide proof of eligibility issued by your institute.
School / College Department Licencing
Schools and universities can opt for bulk licensing for a certain group of students.
Adobe provides different subscription plans for shared licensing and for using creative cloud applications among groups.
Their single app licensing subscription starts from $14.99 per month and can go up to $330 per year for all Creative Cloud applications.
Department leads can also do minor tweaking to the plans and get a tailor-made plan for their respective departments. For such requests please reach out to Adobe’s consultation team.
What are other alternatives to Lightroom?
1. Skylum Luminar
You can call Skylum Luminar the Lightroom killer. Its AI-powered image-processing engine helps you process your RAW images at the click of a button.
Its intelligent AI engine can figure out the elements present in your pictures and isolates the best color grading for it. Its Unified styling helps you to add similar color presets across all image selections for faster bulk processing.
Luminar’s landscape and portrait tools feel as if it’s right out of a science fiction novel. You can edit atmospheric lighting, and background and superimpose existing landscape features that suit your images. You can also make precise facial enhancements at the click of a button.
DakTable is a free Lightroom alternative. It is an open-source image-processing tool and can be used supported on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. It is best known for its non-destructive image processing and performance.
Whenever you edit your images in DarkTable a copy is edited and the original image is never altered. This helps you backtrack your changes.
Its GPU accelerated image processing allows you to process high-quality RAW images on systems with moderate configuration. DarkTable provides different exporting options in different formats.
You can even share your processed images over mail or on social media right from the application.
Pricing – You can download and use all features of DarkTable for free.
Apart from the same old image processing features Affinity Photo allows you to edit 360-degree images and create HDR images. Affinity Photo allows you to add unlimited layers of filters, color presets, and blend modes.
It features powerful brushing tools which are completely customizable and can be tweaked according to your editing needs. You can even customize your brush and share it with other Affinity users.
Creating a panorama with Affinity Photo is a blast. If you are even a tab bit intrigued, make sure to check out their photo stitching feature.
Pricing – Affinity Photo is available for Windows and Mac devices and would cost you $24.99. If you are used to editing on an iPad, you can get an iPad license for $9.99.
Download Link – Affinity Photo comes with a trial period of 90 days. Get It Here
If you want to use Adobe Lightroom for free you can do so during the trial period of 30 days. Once the trial period expires you have to opt from one of their subscription plans.
If you are a student you can get up to 60% discount on their Creative Cloud software bundle subscription.
If you are not impressed with their subscription plan you can look out for other Lightroom alternatives that can be procured for a one-time payment. If that’s still not your jam, you can check out DarkTable, which is a free image-processing alternative.