AfterShot Pro… A Lightroom Alternative? | Part 1

Shutterstock image by Minerva Studio

Part 1 | Save time importing, sorting and rating your photos

So… you’re thinking about making the move from Lightroom to Corel AfterShot Pro.

Well, my name is Eric, a new contributing writer to the Corel team and a professional portrait and travel photographer. I recently took the leap and let me tell you why exploring a Lightroom alternative was such a great decision.

I know jumping to a new software can be a big step, and you might be a bit apprehensive about it; but—take it from me—there are all kinds of advantages to making the switch.

In this article, part 1 of my introduction series, we’re going to see how AfterShot Pro will actually help you cut down on time spent in front of the computer by streamlining your workflow and getting you back where you belong—behind the lens making photos!

Finding your best shots… There HAS to be a faster way!

Like all photographers, I take way more photos than I’ll ever turn over to a client or need for myself. Now, I have no doubt that your workflow is different from mine, which will likely be different from many other photographers out there. That said, no matter what software you use, one of the most important first steps of any workflow is culling your images down to your best shots.

In my opinion, this is one of the other guy’s biggest downfalls… and one of the main reasons I started searching for an alternative to Lightroom.

First, you have to import your images… which, on its own, takes forever.

Then, as you review each photo you’ve just finished importing, you have to wait again for the thumbnail preview to load fully before finally getting a peek at the image in high resolution.

For me, this alone was enough to kick-off a search for a something different.

After all—time is money and we all want more of it. If you agree, then you’ll be pleased… because this is where AfterShot Pro first shows its prowess.

Get right down to work in AfterShot Pro by navigating to the folder with your photos and double-clicking to bring them up.

No Catalogs…? No Problem.

From my perspective, an alternative to Lightroom should be more than a simple clone, it should give you an advantage, like new and faster ways of working with your images.

As we’ve discovered, importing to Lightroom’s catalogs slows down the whole editing process. In AfterShot Pro, there is no importing required – meaning little to no wait time before you start editing.

With the intuitive file tree panel on the left side of the interface, you have the ability to quickly navigate to the folder containing your images, and start editing.

With a double-click of the mouse, the images in the folder appear as thumbnails, and are available for instant viewing, even if they are RAW files.

Now, instead of either using a separate tool for culling and rating such as Photo Mechanic… or waiting for Lightroom to slowly load each individual photo… you can quickly and easily sift through, sort, and rate all of your images.

You still have the ability to work with catalogs in AfterShot Pro and they’re pretty darn powerful… but, thankfully, this is a choice the folks at Corel leave up to you.

How I Sort & Rate Photos in AfterShot Pro

Like I mentioned earlier, we all have different workflows and what works for one photographer, might not work for another. For those of you just getting started with AfterShot or photography in general, I’ll share my workflow for sorting and rating images after the shoot.

My first step is to go through all of the images and flag the rejects for deletion. Maybe they’re out of focus, or the model is blinking. Whatever the case, I try to trim the fat first, so that I can get down to a workable number of images. During this process, I often give a high star rating (4 or 5 stars) to any photos I know I like and want to work on.

QUICK TIP: Activate the Magnifying Tool (with the ` key) then hover your mouse over a section of the image for an instant magnification preview—great for quickly checking focus and sharpness.

After my initial run through of all of the images, it’s time to take a breather. I like to give my eyes and brain a break, so that when I go back for each consecutive round of ratings, I have a bit of a fresh start.

When I’m back at it, I give one star to any images that I think might be contenders. For the next round of culling, I look only at the starred images. I repeat this process, giving higher stars each round until I get the batch down to the final images I’m happy with. This might be 1,000+ if I’m editing a wedding, or maybe just 2-5 images if I’m working on a personal portrait project.

After applying star ratings, quickly filter your images to review your picks.
After applying star ratings, quickly filter your images to review your picks.

Once my picks are selected, I always copy them to my backup drives so that I have the selects in more than one place. It takes a long time to narrow the images down, so it would be quite a shame if I had to go through the process all over again.

Now, since AfterShot Pro 2 is a lot more than just a system to rate and cull your images, you don’t have to take them to another piece of software, you can simply take your selects and do all of your non-destructive editing right in the same interface.

Be sure to check back soon. In part 2 of this series, I’ll show you how to take the next step in your workflow, including correcting white balance and exposure, adding sharpness, and other simple ways to make your images look their best.

Try AfterShot Pro today! Download the free 30-day trial and discover the faster way of working with your photos.

Comments (22)

Reader Interactions


  1. Juan says

    It’s a great program but, for me, it would be a replacement if it only came with more lens supported. My lens are quite standard (I would like to think so), and neither Aftershot 2 nor Paintshop Pro makes a lens correction. Of course Nikon’s software does and so does Lightroom.

    • Alex Brazeau says

      Thanks for letting us know, Juan. We’re working on expanding our lens corrections database and hope to have some more news soon. Stay tuned!

  2. RobinUK says

    I agree, to improve the supported lens area would be great. I have a Sony A6000 (many, many users) and the standard E-mount lenses are not supported.

    but het, ASP2 is a great product!

    • Alex Brazeau says

      Glad to hear you’re enjoying ASP2, Robin! The team is working on improving the number of lens corrections available. I’ve passed along your request for the Sony E-mount lenses. Thanks for the feedback!

  3. Ian Davis says

    I completely concur with Robin, I’m also using an A6000 and I simply can not believe Corel hasn’t created a lens profile. I use current versions of Aftershot and Paintshop Pro. I was using VideoStudio Pro (X3 through X8). However, I dropped it in favour of Cyberlink Studio Director 14 Ultimate Suite primarily because of the barely existent support or meaningful forums. Similarly, with AS and PP, I’m on the edge of leaving because Corel doesn’t seem to keep up with it’s customers needs. It’s too bad because I’ve really been trying to stay away from the pricey Adobe’s Cloud. And Aftershot, in particular, is a really good product. But, I just upgraded my old Sony DSLR that was supported to the A6000. Had I have been on the ball I would have first checked to see if AS/PP supported the A6000.

    I’ve made lens suggestions to Corel but never got a reply back. In particular, getting a profile for a DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ would have been very useful indeed. (The quadcopter uses the DJI FC200 camera.)

    Anyway, thank you Eric for this blog post.

    • Alex Brazeau says

      Hi Ian, thanks for the feedback. I’ll definitely share those models with the team. We’ve got some info coming soon on lens correction profiles, hang tight!

  4. Joe Bostic says

    A smooth migration path from Lightroom to Aftershot would be necessary for me. I have thousands of rated, flagged, color-tagged, keyworded photographs in many collections. Most in DNG format. Transitioning to Aftershot needs to be smooth and painless. Otherwise, I’m stuck with Lightroom.

    • Alex Brazeau says

      Hi Joe, thanks for letting us know, appreciate the feedback. We are working on making that transition as smooth as possible. We’ll definitely be sure to keep everyone in the community posted as more news becomes available on this front. Thanks again. Cheers.

      • Mark F says

        Seconded. I use LR now, and have been converting everything to DNG and using keyword tagging. I’m very interested in AfterShot for improved speed and Linux support (and it looks more professional than Darktable), but as far as I can tell AS doesn’t read converted DNGs (I don’t follow the explanations as to why). So, it’d be great to hear news of LR migration!

        • Alex Brazeau says

          Hi Mark, thanks for your comment. Our team is assessing support for converted DNGs, though I don’t have any more details I can share at this time. DNG is a proprietary file format that converts your image from its original RAW format to a universal standard. It’s not actually a RAW image format, but rather a different file type altogether. As more info becomes available, we’ll be sure to keep the community up-to-date with everything. Hope this helps!

  5. Anthony Seg says

    After shot is a very nice product.. but if you are needing to miss out on say adding your manual lens like you can with lightroom is the lower price worth it… I been using Corel for a while and currently starting getting professional gear. And hoped that Corel would be the go to product, yet if a company the size of Corel can’t keep up with little things like a main brand camera, why keep it… most if not all photo boards look for metadata showing not just your image but the skill you have using the type of lens like manual. I like Corel it a good product but I just can’t afford losing because Corel just can’t handle anything after 2008.

  6. HelenT says

    Hi there, I’m enjoying the ASP3 and considering migrating from LR. Just wonder how I can move my existing LR catalog to ASP3 – I don’t want to re-do all the ratings, metadata, e.g. keywording etc….Any suggestions?

    • Alex Brazeau says

      Hi Helen, the AfterShot Pro development team is assessing support for converted DNGs, though I don’t have any additional details to share right now. We’ll be sure to keep the community in the loop on this as more news becomes available. Thank you.

  7. Will in DC says

    Just got my first proper camera. Adobe is out of the question because of the subscription model (I’m just a beginner enthusiast!). How does Corel Aftershot 3 (not 2) compare to Cyberlink Photo Director? One advantage I see in cyberlink is it’s also a photo editor and it has face recognition. However, I LOVE the idea of not having to import and “load” photos.

    My needs: basic editing, SEARCHABLE, tagging, raw files.

    • Adam says

      Hello Will,

      What kind of editing are you looking to do? AfterShot features non-destructive photo editing tools – it is easy to tag, search, and manipulate RAW photos, as well as editing them by batch or individually. If you like, you can download a free trial of AfterShot to take a closer look before deciding!

      Hope this helps,

      Discovery Center Team

  8. Xterrapixel says

    Is the converted DNG file now supported in ASP? Meaning the ones that Adobe converted from Camera original RAW to Adobe DNG standard? Las time mid 2017 I had ASP trial and it would not open any of my DNG files.
    Any update on the DNG format being now supported? Thanks

    • MoJo says

      Alex Brazeau wrote on Nov. 9, 2016…about The Team looking at ways that Corel Aftershot Pro 3 would (might be able to…) open .DNG files. I use a Phase One IQ3-100 Trichromatic digital back, mounted in behind a non-XF/DF Phase One camera body; thus, I shoot “manually”… without the sophisticated interfacing going on between XF/DF bodies, the IQ3 back, and Schneider LS blue-ring lenses. All I’d like…is to have knowledge about whether Corel made the “Import .DNG” breakthrough? Today is June 2nd, 2023. I actually bought Corel AfterShot 3 and am running it on Win 10 64bit PC. Phase One RAW is a format that only (to my knowledge) CaptureOne software can read. “Lets Blow The Doors Open Guys!” The Trichromatic back requires “us” (end-users) to be free to innovate our own unique workflows; based on what we “can afford” system-wise. Some of us prefer to innovate around our own equipment. The IQ3 was a surprize-acquisition that sparked my understanding, and going about customization of a camera, is far more exciting and viable, that dropping crazy-money with Phase One systems technology, when one can do it for 1/5th of the cost. Corel…. Ya Wanna Sell LOTS of software? Then please make AfterShot Pro 3 and .DNG Reader kindly, lol! “Your Customer” 😊

  9. S K Jain says

    For beginner which is good software to edit photos in auto correct. I have after-shot 3 and corel paint shop pro x 9 .

    • Adam says

      Hello S K,

      If you are just starting out and are just editing a couple images, we would suggest PaintShop Pro with the Essentials workspace enabled! PaintShop is our dedicated photo editing and image manipulation suite, and the Essentials workspace shows only a collection of the most common tools to reduce confusion and speed up the editing process. AfterShot is more of an image organization and bulk image editing program. If you have a DSLR camera and need to apply the same adjustments to an entire hundred image shoot, that is where AfterShot is best. For more in-depth edits, we recommend PaintShop.

      Hope this helps!
      Discovery Center Team

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