Experimenting with Affinity (a viable alternative to Photoshop)

Experimenting with Affinity (a viable alternative to Photoshop)

Having decided to take my photography quite a bit more serious I’ve realised I can’t continue to play with Photoshop Elements. As hard as I try to “get it right in the camera” and avoid the need for post processing I can’t. Images have to be shrunk to appropriate sizes and watermarks added and that’s what Elements is good at.


My work is starting to get noticed and I’ve needed to improve. Starting point has been shooting in RAW format, which gives me much greater control over the image if I do need to dive in. It also means I get everything from the sensor when the photo is taken, which is A Good Thing. Unfortunately my trusty copy of Elements can’t cope with the format my Canon 750D is kicking out. An upgrade to Elements was recommended, which prompted me to start looking around.

Full Fat Photoshop sucks

I tried “Full Fat” Photoshop. It was quite fiddly and I didn’t get the sense I was in control as much as I should have been. No doubt after 30 or 40 hours of work I’d have probably got the hang of it, but remember I am predominantly a hobbyist. I don’t have masses of time to invest in learning software (just blogging about how I can’t!)

There was another massive problem: the resource overhead Photoshop demanded. Every five seconds or so the fan went off on my MacBook and it pretty much stayed on if I had two images open. My battery life plummeted from 7 or 8 hours to less than 90 minutes. (Don’t mock, I’m running a 15 inch MacBook Pro with 2.3GHx i7 and 16GB of RAM). Needless to say Photoshop went back and a refund provided.

There appeared an app called “Affinity” and it was good

Then I stumbled upon Affinity, something built specifically for the Mac (a Windows version is due soon). It’s pretty cool. The interface is a fair bit simpler than Photoshop if you’re doing basic editing and it looks like all the deeper controls are there if you need them. It’s quick, way quicker than Photoshop was, and my fan has yet to fire. The results, from what I’ve done so far, seem pretty good too. Only thing I’ve not been able to work out that I think I ought to is how to convert images to a decent PSD file, although everything’s getting saved as Affinity’s native format for now.

Price is also a huge factor. At the moment it ran to about forty quid from the Apple Store, with a promise of no subscriptions and free updates. Given Photoshop was coming in at over a hundred that was a good deal to have.

Elements is still in the mix. I’m going to continue to use it to create the images for the website simply because it is pretty easy to use and I know my way around it. The bigger projects I’m working on are going to be put through Affinity.

Still get it right in the right place

As for the results? Well, the image of Cate was created in Affinity from a JPG taken on my old Canon DSLR. As I get more RAW files I’ll put some more images up.

But of course none of this changes my mantra of “get it right in the camera”.

About Ross A Hall

I help companies make the most of content. Some people call me a writer, others a content manager. I prefer "someone who gets results".

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