Photoshop has been the undisputed leader when it comes to photography editing software for well over 20 years, it has come a long way in that time and cemented its self as an essential program for any photographer. Much to every amateur photographers disappointment, nothing has really presented itself as much of a competitor to photoshop. Until now, in 2015 Serif began to change the scene with their new Affinity range of creative software including Affinity Photo.
Affinity Photo was built for the Mac from the ground up, unlike Photoshop that has legacy code in new versions. Affinity Photo is very much targeted at photographers, whereas Photoshop has become a tool for creatives in many different fields, not just photography. So I will be looking at how I replaced Photoshop with Affinity in my photography workflow.
There are a few different reasons why I decided to switch over to Affinity Photo and ditch Photoshop for photography, here are a few of the main reasons.
- Much quicker processing
- Better RAW development
- Intuitive interface for Photography editing
- Quick and powerful removal of objects with the inpainting tool
- Cost. Affinity Photo cost just £30ish (one off), compared to the current Adobe CC subscription you can pay around £16 per month for Photoshop. Technically you are renting Photoshop with the Adobe CC subscription model
Break up your workflow with Persona Workspaces
Opening a raw image into Affinity you will start off in Development persona, there are 4 personas in Affinity. Personas in Affinity Photo are different work areas for performing different processes. I like how Affinity give you a work area for each process so you aren’t stumbling around menus trying to find what should be right at your disposal.
In Development mode, you can make powerful adjustments to your RAW image before moving onto the Photo Persona. Development is what I love the most about Affinity Photo, you can perform almost all edits here such as basic edits, lens corrections, tone adjustments, detail refinement and my favourite is the use of overlays for controlled adjustment of the part of the image. The overlays are particularly useful for landscape where you want to adjust the exposure or contrast in the sky without effective the foreground or landscape of the picture.
After you have finished developing your RAW image you can move along to the Photo persona to make further adjustments and access more powerful tools for manipulation of your image. With this image, I just used the inpainting brush and the burn brush. The Inpainting brush was used to remove the power lines in the image, inpainting allows for much quicker removal of unwanted elements and works extremely well in most cases as you can see in the example below. Removing elements is a much quicker process in Affinity than in Photoshop.
You can see in the examples below the difference between the original and the effects of just 10 minutes of editing. How far you go with your edits is entirely up to you but with Affinity, you can achieve just about anything you want with your editing.
What about Lightroom?
One of the advantages of Photoshop is the integration with Lightroom, you can still use Lightroom and Affinity but if you are looking at switching due to the Adobe CC pricing model you may want to look at other alternatives such as Phase One Media Pro, Capture One Pro or ACDSee Mac Pro.
I recently started using ACDSee Mac Pro to manage my images and make quick adjustments before moving to Affinity photo for full editing. I picked ACDSee as it allows you to keep a reference library rather than importing your photography into the library that is only accessible with the software you are using.
Update: I recently ditched ACDSee for Capture 1 Pro as Capture 1 allows me to use a reference library which was important for my workflow.
Give Affinity Photo a try, it won’t replace Photoshop for everything but it can certainly replace Photoshop for editing photography. Affinity is due to release Affinity Photo 1.5 which will bring a load of new features such as a dedicated HDR persona and 360 image editing capabilities.
When comparing the £39.99 price for Affinity Photo to even Adobe’s Photographers subscription it still works our much cheaper and you can use it on as many machines as you want.