Affinity Photo Review

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo offers various tools that allow users to retouch images. These include the capability of removing skin blemishes and increasing eye color.

Affinity Photo’s interface resembles that found in Photoshop: on the left is a collection of tools, while on the right are panels for layers, adjustments and more. Each panel can be moved around or combined together into any desired configuration to best suit you.

What is Affinity Photo?

Affinity Photo’s core photo editing tools are similar to those found in Adobe Photoshop, yet without an image manager or cloud storage system. Instead, its free ‘Export Persona’ feature offers an impressive list of supported formats including PNG, JPEG, TIFF PSD PDF SVG EPS.

Most adjustments are non-destructive, so if you change your mind at any stage you can always restore to an earlier state. Adjustments can also be easily saved as presets for quick reuse. Live filters with built-in masks make an excellent way to maintain non-destructive workflow when creating images – for instance if adding too much Gaussian blur to portrait, simply use its mask feature to bring back into focus the subject of the photograph.

Most of Affinity Photo’s tools are fairly standard, including cropping, selections, brushes, vector tools and Liquify persona. But it should be noted that Affinity Photo offers some more advanced features – blending modes, distortion tools to create creative effects as well as Liquify persona for smoothing photos like Photoshop’s Liquify tool – that make this program stand out.

Editing RAW images

Affinity Photo’s non-destructive workflow for RAW editing is perhaps its greatest strength, enabling users to continue editing images without fear of making permanent changes; you’re free to continue tweaking or refining until your heart’s content! I haven’t come across such functionality anywhere else.

By contrast, JPEG files often discard valuable information you might need (but won’t even notice). This makes reverting back to previous works much harder.

Affinity Photo utilizes layers to store different kinds of edits such as text, adjustments and vectors so you can easily move, change or delete them without impacting the overall image. This makes editing more flexible while giving you an opportunity to try out various approaches.

Affinity also boasts an easy drag-and-drop tool, enabling users to add textures, cutouts, and other elements directly onto images without the need to rearrange multiple layers separately. Furthermore, Affinity includes a basic blemish removal feature ideal for quickly eliminating spots such as zits from portraits.

Cropping images

Photoshop remains a standard image editing application, yet there are other, easier solutions that provide similar or superior results. Affinity Photo from Serif is one such alternative which offers a range of tools familiar to anyone who has used a digital photo editor before.

Cropping images in Affinity Photo is an effortless experience. The crop tool can be found within the Tools Palette and switched on or off as desired, supporting multiple overlays for visually appealing compositions.

When using this approach to cropping images, it’s best to create a selection that encompasses the area you wish to keep of your original image. Affinity Photo offers various selection tools including the Lasso Tool, Marquee Tool, Magnetic Lasso Tool and Magic Wand Tool that make this possible.

Once your selection is made, select it in the Layers Studio Panel and press Command + J (Mac) or CTRL + J (Win) to merge your image onto a new layer. As with other layers in Affinity Photo, this operation is non-destructive allowing for future editing of both your selection and its resulting cropped layer.

Cropping panoramas

Affinity Photo offers many tools to assist in cropping and manipulating photos, including different crop shapes. Cropping can help straighten horizons or eliminate distracting objects and spots to create more intriguing compositions.

Affinity Photo offers several tools specifically tailored for working with panoramas. Stitching panoramic images can be difficult, but Affinity Photo makes stitching seamless panoramas easier with its automatic stitching process which aligns and blends photos together seamlessly to produce one seamless panorama. Just ensure all photos share similar tones and exposure settings for best results.

Affinity Photo offers a wide array of adjustments, filters and effects that will enhance your panoramas. Use its tools to add textures and gradients, apply blur effects or even create depth of field tilt-shift effects. Furthermore, Affinity Photo’s non-destructive Live Filters allow you to apply effects such as noise reduction and grainy film looks in a fully reversible manner.

Software includes advanced retouching and cloning tools to assist in perfecting images, such as frequency separation to remove objects from scenes as well as masking tools including luminosity range masks, hue range masks and band pass masks.


As with other serious image editing programs, Affinity Photo employs layers. This allows you to layer multiple images, text and shapes for creating complex compositions; layer masks enable further control over which parts of an image remain visible.

Software has many other tricks up its sleeve as well, such as panorama stitching, focus stacking, HDR merge and tone mapping capabilities. Furthermore, its nondestructive workflow and unique “live” filters enable filter effects without altering pixels directly.

Affinity Photo 2 has seen some significant upgrades since its release, including to its Layers Panel. Affinity has added icons before each layer entry to make it easier to identify its type, while vertical parent bars help visualise how layers stack, enabling you to easily see their layers stack hierarchy, as well as move any object such as groups or adjustments up/down the hierarchy by simply dragging.

There are also plenty of additional features, including an impressive suite of cloning and retouching tools – including an inpainting tool that could prove vital for portrait retouchers – and an extremely powerful live mesh warp which can straighten any crooked lines or add interesting distortions to images.

Layer masks

Layer masks provide an efficient and non-destructive means of restricting the effects of an adjustment layer or filter to a specified selection in your image. They function similarly to clipping masks but with gray tone values as their base value; additionally, their fine-tunability with the brush tool makes for effortless editing of mask edges.

Here we have an image of boats on a shingle beach with impressive colors and composition, but an uninspiring sky – so let’s change that. A layer mask allows us to select around each boat so we can paint with a brush to obscure the sky while revealing more boats.

When creating a mask, you have two options when adding one: either adding a simple black and white overlay, or taking into account active selections and hiding/showing layers depending on them. Furthermore, the Refine Edge dialog also offers ways of customizing preview mode and mask edge settings.

By default, layers and their masks are linked, indicated by a link icon between their thumbnails in the Layers panel. By unlinking them you can move your mask independently from its layer; additionally the Properties panel offers options to control its opacity or featheredness.


No matter if you are an amateur photographer or professional, Affinity Photo offers powerful image editing features with an array of tools designed to take your images and digital artwork to the next level. Created by Serif, this software provides an economical alternative to Adobe Photoshop that provides professional-grade editing without subscription models.

Affinity Photo’s Liquify Persona offers you a selection of warp and distortion tools to create various effects, such as straightening out crooked lines, creating 3D imagery or adding perspective. Furthermore, Affinity includes Live Mesh Warp to further distort layers.

This software shares many similarities with Photoshop in terms of layout. Tools are located to the left side of the screen with their settings found on top bar, similar to Photoshop. Adjustments and features such as layers, blending modes, image masks and panorama support are all present as are HDR processing and focus stacking capability as well as Tone Mapping Persona for toning images to your specifications. Non-destructive RAW processing capabilities as well as inpainting functionality make for impressive processing speeds; both should prove invaluable tools for portrait retouchers alike!

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