The Best Photoshop Alternatives for Travel Photographers in 2023

The best Photoshop alternatives

Without any doubt, Photoshop is the most popular editing app among photographers. With Photoshop you can do pretty anything when you come to photo editing, but it’s not a tool for everyone. 

First, it’s rather complex and you need time to master it. Second, it’s not a cheap tool, and there is no free plan. Third, if you are a travel photographer and need to edit photos on the go, the photo editing apps we outline below can enable you to work even faster than you do the same fast in Photoshop.

We need to mention that we divided alternatives for Photoshop and Lightroom. That’s said, we outlined alternatives to Lightroom in another post. Also, we need to mention that this post is good reading for all travel photographers, regardless of your experience in photo editing because you can find a lot of useful apps regardless of the level of your knowledge.

Last but not least, we recommend you to try at least some of these apps even if you are currently using Photoshop because maybe you will do some work better or faster than in Photoshop.

Table of Contents

Luminar NEO is our choice as the best Photoshop alternative for travel photographers so far. First of all, this is a very powerful photo editing software and has a high level of leveraging AI in photo editing tools. Furthermore, if you already use Photoshop you can use Luminar NEO as a plugin within Photoshop and try these AI-powered features within the Photoshop interface.

Luminar NEO is a part of Skylum’s photo editing tools and we can say that it’s the best choice for the traveler who is also a photo enthusiast. If you are not an amateur, but also aren’t a pro photographer, we are pretty sure that Luminar NEO should be a fantastic choice for you.

This is a standalone app, so it means that you need to install it to your PC or Mac, like other software, and then work. The interface of the Luminar NEO is simple, so if you ever use any photo editing tool you will use Luminar NEO easily. Also, if you take photos in RAW you can edit them in Luminar NEO.

So, why we are sure you will love Luminar NEO when you come down to edit your travel photos. Because there are plenty of tools that will accelerate the process to make your photos artistic. We are aware that AI is a buzzword today, but when you come to Luminar, it’s not just a buzzword.

Let us give you a few examples:

One of the best tools for travelers in Luminar NEO is automatically erasing powerlines. Another tool that will fit most travel photographers is dust spot removal. If you use more than one lens the chance is high that you switch them outdoor and in a hurry which increases the possibility that dust get inside of the lens or sensor. And with Luminar NEO you can easily remove ugly dust spots on your photos.

Besides that, you can replace a boring overcast sky with a much more dramatic one instead. Also, you can automatically reframe your photo and adjust the composition. When we come to portraits if you take shots of people you can increase the bokeh effect and get a perfectly blurred background. Furthermore, you can easily adjust anything on the subject face (eyes, mouth…) in a few clicks.

The above examples are just a fraction of what Luminar NEO offers to you to help you edit your travel photos faster. Furthermore, you can use it not just as a standalone app but also as a plugin for Photoshop.

Pros for travel photographers:

  • Accelerate or remove the time-consuming parts of editing (removing dust spots, removing powerlines…);
  • Lots of AI tools for fast but advanced editing;
  • Sky replacement AI and structure AI tools to create easily more dynamic photos;
  • Portrait AI and skin enhancer AI tools that use face recognition to be able to adjust parts of the subject’s face in a few clicks;
  • Can work as a standalone app or as a plugin for Adobe Photoshop;
  • Support work with layers;
  • Work with RAW photos as well.

Cons for travel photographers:

  • There is no mobile app;
  • Also, there is no web app, so you can not edit photos directly from your browser, without install of the app;
  • If you have an older computer, maybe the app would work slowly. It simply needs a lot of hardware resources to work properly.

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo - one of the best Photoshop alternatives among paid apps

Image source: Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo is also one of the best alternatives to Photoshop. If you have at least some experience with Photoshop you will quickly adapt to this app because its interface is pretty similar. However, if you are not a Photoshop user, you can quickly learn the basics in Affinity Photo but for advanced usage, you simply need to invest time to learn it as you would learn Photoshop because of its complexity. 

The main advantage of Photoshop is that Affinity Photo is much cheaper and can replace almost everything that travel photographers need. Of course, some things can not be replaceable where Photoshop is the king, but for many of us, Affinity Photo is a fantastic budget alternative.

This is a standalone app which means that you need to install it and it’s compatible with Windows and Mac OS there is also a version for iPad, but you can not use Affinity Photo on smartphones or tablets powered on Android.

You will especially like how easily you can create HDR, panorama, and 360 images with Affinity Photo. Also, there is a tool to make focus stacking. We need to mention that Affinity Photo supports RAW file editing and also can work with an unlimited number of layers. If you already have PSD files with smart objects you can also edit them with this app considering that it supports all Photoshop files, and you can also save files as PSD.

Of course, there are plenty of retouching and brushing tools (including clone, patch, and unwanted object removal brush) with an option for frequency separation. You can also easily do lens correction and remove noise and hot pixels.

Pros for travel photographers:

  • A lot of advanced editing tools like lens corrections, retouching, layers…;
  • Built-in tools for creating HDR and panoramas;
  • Built-in tool for focus stalking;
  • One-time fee with lifetime updates;
  • Full support for Photoshop (PSD) files and smart objects;
  • Photographers who have experience in Photoshop will like a very similar interface;

Cons for travel photographers:

  • There is no mobile version;
  • The iPad version is not included in the price (you need to buy it separately);
  • Photographers with zero experience in Photoshop need to invest time to learn it because of its complexity.

PhotoWorks

PhotoWorks - interface

PhotoWorks is another Photoshop alternative that can be a good choice for travel photographers. It is a standalone app, so you need to install it on the hard drive of your computer. There is a free trial, but you won’t be able to download your work until you use paid plans.

The main advantage of this app is the simple but powerful interface. There are 6 logically ordered sections with editing tools. In the first section called “enhanced”, you will adjust exposure, contrast, saturation, and stuff like that. Then, logically you will move to the next section called “tools” where you can make lens correction, re-frame the image, reduce noise, and similar. 

The next section is called “retouch” and there you will be able to easily correct things on the skin or face. Then you can use section “effects” if you want to make additional edits like expanding the dynamic range and creating pseudo HDR and stuff like that. The thing we especially like is batch processing where you will import photos you need to edit and edit them with a few clicks.

We especially like what you will get in the retouching section when you come to the editing portrait photos. There is a Portrait Magic feature that will enable you to tweak the face in one click with a lot of predefined styles. However, if you prefer more manual editing there are two other features called Face and Body Sculpt in which you can make any other adjustment while the app will automatically recognize parts with face detection.

Pros for travel photographers:

  • Fantastic retouching options;
  • Support for RAW file editing;
  • Solid AI-powered tools.

Cons for travel photographers:

  • There are no mobile or web-based versions (you can install it only on Windows-powered computers);
  • There is no support for PSD files.

PicMonkey

PicMonkey - website

Image source: PicMonkey

PicMonkey is a photo editing tool owned by Shutterstock, so If someone knows what is important to photographers on the go, Shutterstock should know it.

First of all, this is an online photo editor, so you can access it either via browser or using the mobile app. In any case, you can work in PicMonkey from any device as long as you have an internet connection. Need to say that you will get cloud storage for your photos no matter which plan you choose, which is a benefit when you are on the go.

You shouldn’t expect many advanced features because it’s not a tool devoted to pro photographers, but more for quick editing on the go and preparing photos for social media. So, once you upload photos you will be able to adjust exposure, make the image sharpen or soften, change color, reframe the image, add filters, and download the image fully prepared to upload to your social media. Considering its nature you can also use tools for skin and face editing.

Pros for travel photographers:

  • Easy to access considering that it’s an online photo editing tool;
  • Cloud storage for photos;
  • Solid face editing tools and filters.

Cons for travel photographers:

  • Only basic photo editing tools.

Luminar AI

Luminar AI - the best Photoshop alternative (free)

Luminar AI is a perfect choice for travel photographers who want to make quick edits on photos but don’t want take compromise on the result. In the other words, with Luminar you will be able to make fantastic edits but don’t need to spend hours on your computer.

The catch is that Luminar AI fully relies on artificial intelligence which means that the app automatically recognizes parts of the image and makes adjustments. It means that the app will automatically recognize faces, sky, and others.

Luminar AI is a standalone app and you can install it on all Windows & macOS computers, but you can also install it as a plugin for Photoshop and Lightroom.

The main way to edit photos in Luminar AI is through the templates. You can think about templates as they are filters but more sophisticated. Then AI suggests the perfect templates for the image and if you want you can fine-tune it. This flow speeds up editing photos a lot. 

Unfortunately, there is no batch editing option so you still need to upload photos one by one and export them in the same manner. Another thing we miss in Luminar AI is the lack of layers, but if you use Luminar AI as a Photoshop plugin you don’t want to worry about it.

Pros for travel photographers:

  • Fully AI-powered app;
  • Easy to learn;
    A fantastic choice if you want to edit your photos quickly;
  • Top-notch sky replacements feature;
  • Standalone app + Photoshop & Lightroom plugin;
    Support editing of RAW images.

Cons for travel photographers:

  • There is no mobile app or web app;
  • There is no option for layers.

Conclusion

Photoshop is truly an industry leader and many photographers use it as a default photo editing app. But there are also plenty of competitors nowadays which offer you either easier workflow, either cheaper, or are good compromise especially when you are on the go.

We outlined to you Photoshop alternatives for travel photographers and we made this overview based on our personal preferences, so maybe you will find some app more or less useful than it was for us. Also, we are going to update this list as soon as we find additional photo editing apps which can compete with Photoshop enough to be considered as an alternative.

If there is any other app you think should be on our list, please let us know in the comment section below.

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