The Microsoft Store has gained some powerful apps for creators this year. Affinity Photo is a powerful photo editing software that could easily be an alternative to Photoshop for many users.
The app is available for Windows 10 for $49.99 from the Microsoft Store — there's also a 10-day free trial available through the Affinity website.
Affinity Photo has a wide set of photo editing features including raw editing, color correction, HDR merging, panoramic stitching, and a full set of retouching tools. It is very much a professional photo editing software that will become increasingly useful as you learn the app's ins and outs.
A major boost to Affinity Photo is that it allows you to import and export Photoshop PSD files — with full support for multiple layers! The app also works across Windows, iOS, and macOS so you can bring your files across devices. You can also use the app to format entire folders for batch editing.
Using the app takes some time to get used to — it has a learning curve that's not dissimilar to Photoshop's. Affinity Photo has different areas for editing, such as developing for color and brightness corrections, and if you don't know what you're looking for you can get lost in the menus and options. With as many features as it offers, it's easy to get lost, so I definitely recommend taking some time to poke around and see what does what.
I've used Photoshop and Lightroom for editing both work and personal photos, but I'll admit that my skills are fairly raw. I could tell that I was only scratching the surface of Affinity Photo and that it's designed more for professionals. But with a price cheaper than even the bare-bones Photoshop Elements, which is currently on sale for $69.99, and significantly cheaper than full Photoshop, it's very tempting to switch over.
How it compares to Photoshop
Affinity Photo is a great app within its own right, but comparisons to Photoshop are unavoidable. It stands up against Adobe's photo editor very well, both in terms of features and price.
Affinity Photo costs $49.99, but that is a one time fee. The full version of Photoshop requires a subscription, the cheapest option being Adobe's Photography plan which is $9.99 per month. The value of these depends on what other software you're using. If you're already using multiple apps in the Adobe Suite, then it's probably not worth paying for a separate photo editor. But if you are looking for a powerful photo editor and that's it, then Affinity Photo is available at very fair price.
The layout and features of Affinity Photo are going to feel very familiar to Photoshop users and for a vast number of photo editing cases both Affinity Photo and Photoshop will be able to do the job. There may be some very specific Photoshop features that some users can't live without but Affinity Photo covers many of the same areas.
Affinity Photo coming to the Microsoft Store continues the trend of powerful apps coming to the store in 2017. It's a powerful photo editing app that comes at a very fair price considering how much it can do.
The app does have a steep learning curve, especially for people new to photo editing but it provides a wide set of options and features for professional photo editors. After testing out the app I'm actually cancelling my subscription that gets me Photoshop. Some professionals may need specific Photoshop features but for me Affinity Photo covers all the bases I need it to.
- One time purchase.
- Works with photoshop files.
- Very powerful photo editor.
- Has a learning curve for users new to photo editing.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org.