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Expensive Alternatives

There is suddenly a lot of talk about Adobe's latest release of Lightroom 5 beta. This for me was worth looking at, but I think it’s time my readers were shown an alternative.

Lightroom 4 for the full package (and ya, I just looked this up) is S$178.75. This will allow you to manipulate the raw images you took with your digital camera to give it the best color and feel. But then you might need to do more with your image. What then?

Adobe Photoshop CS6 full package will set you back S$1,023.75. No lie! I just looked that up too! Now there are other products you can use from Adobe and it all seems to have a lovely price tag to go with it. Oh and then there is the need for a computer to use it on! Most Adobe users seem to lean towards a Mac and yes, my friend, that’s gonna set you back even more!

But what if this isn’t your day job, or you're just starting and don’t have that kind of disposable income to throw at a hobby? Perhaps you look to find a pirated version and run with it. I say there is a better way and it’s legal.

Linux is a free operating system that you might even find gives better performance than you were getting on a computer that you already have. You don’t even have to wipe out the computer to try it out. You can download the OS and try it from a bootable USB drive to see if it has what you need. I’m currently running Linux Mint and I love it. It has something of the old Windows feel to it and just runs great. It’s not the hard-to-use thing that most people concern themselves with, thinking that Linux is just for geeks that mysteriously just know how to work it. It is simple to install and use.

Now back to photo manipulating. So the two products I mentioned before cost more than a computer that you could have picked up to run Linux on. What next? Well, there are a couple of free products that work like Lightroom. I chose Darktable, a great raw image editor that is free. No watermarks unless you buy it, just free. And as a substitute for Photoshop, I use Gimp. Another completely free application. I’m sure there are those saying this has to be a scam or a catch. Why else would everyone else pay so much for the other software when there is a free alternative? Well, that might be exactly it. Free seems too good to be true and that costly stuff has a great marketing team to make you feel like the cost is worth it.

So what’s the catch? Well, if you make a living off this free software, they ask that you donate to help further its development. There is no pressure, just a request that if it works for you, give something back. This way you can use it legally, find it does what you need and from there you give something back to help make it even better. Now that is what I love about open source! I’ve found just about any application I have needed in Linux and if I was truly hard pressed, I did make my computer a dual boot so I could look for applications on the operating system my computer came with.

Clearly the choice is yours. I’ve only provided an alternative that may save you a considerable amount of money and I’d love to hear your thoughts about this topic in the comments. Do you use Adobe? Did you pay full price? Hopefully all this will help someone make a more informed choice.

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