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In the continuous search for the best RAW processing software that can integrate my workflow of Lightroom and Photoshop into one app, I bumped into Picktorial.
A photography friend gave me early acces to the 3rd version of Picktorial so I could try it before launch.

Normally you would expect a lot of images that are created with the software I review, but this time I’m not sharing a lot.
You can go nuts on images and showcase them, but I’d rather speak about what Picktorial can do and how it works. Since it’s all about the software and it capabilities.

I had tried the previous version after some great reviews of the software on Forbes “10 Hottest design tools you must try in 2016” and Mac format “A superb app and a great buy if you need to replace Aperture”.

The quote from Mac format was true. It was a great replacement for Aperture, since Apple stopped it in 2016.
It was not a replacement for Photoshop and Lightroom, since they were superiour to Picktorial 2 but the targeted audience is also different between the two.

Now let’s fast forward to 2017.
Picktorial 3 is realeased today on April 4th and let’s dive into some of the features of this new release and see the major improvements they have made.

It can be a game changer for the people that find the Adobe packages too expensive and want a powerful tool to edit their photo’s.


What is it?

Picktorial 3.0 is a RAW processing software designed for MacOS.
It’s very well made, runs very smooth and gives you professional-quality, intuitive photo editing.

Picktorial 3 has features that you will love and that Lightroom doesn’t have!


Who is it for?

I think the software is suitable for both amateur and professional photographers.
It’s a very powerful RAW processing software that helps you to get the most out of your RAW images.
The software can only edit a single RAW so it can’t do exposure blending of multiple RAW’s like Photoshop can but you will have tools like luminosity masking and blending modes that Lightroom doens’t have.

So the software is pretty complete.

Features and design

This is where the fun begins.
Picktorial 3 is packed with features that work very intuitive and it has a beautiful design.
It can both work together with MacOS Photos and as a standalone app.

Lets start off with the design of the interface.
If you are familiar with Lightroom and it’s develop module, you will feel right at home. The good thing here is that Picktorial doesn’t have different module’s but everything is neatly organised inside the app on a single screen.

On the right you have all the information of the RAW file. You can see the gps location, EXIF and you can complete it with keywords and copyright information. When you click on the other tabs you get the presets library or the Adjustment panel.

Every adjustment works just like you would expect. It’s just like inside Lightroom.
Here you can change the exposure, contrast, clarity, white balance, highlights, shadows, etc.
Via the color tab you can alter the HUE, SAT and Luminosity of the different colours and apply a split toning adjustment. Further more there is the curves adjustment.

But now the fun really begins.
In the Retouch tab you will find a lot of interesting things.

All these options can be applied both locally and global.
With the locally applied retouch adjustments you can either brush them in or use a gradient.

Going even further inside the options of the retouch tab will lead you to luminosity masking.

You can apply your adjustments with the help of luminosity masks. That is something Lightroom can’t!

If you are new to luminosity based adjustments and don’t know what it can do for you here is an example:
Say for instance that you have a very moody sky, but want some more clarity and contrast in the darker part of the clouds. You can make the adjustment and with the help of the luminosity mask you are able to only apply it to the darker parts of the cloud, leaving all the brighter spots untouched.
This simply can’t be done with a brush adjustment.

To see it in action, see this video of Picktorial 3 explaining the use of the luminosity masks

Other tools normally found in Photoshop are also present in Picktorial 3.
Blending modes, selective colouring and Color Masks.
All brush adjustments can be fine tuned by selecing the size, feather, flow and edge detection of the brush. Giving you full control over where to place the adjustment.

One of the things that I rarely use, becasue I don’t do a lot of portaits, is the Skin smoothing brush.
It uses frequency separation to smoothen the skin and it can be edited on the flow. You can change the seperation and the texture while you are editing. This isn’t possible in Photoshop.

To see the brush in action, here is a video of Picktorial 3:

An other neat feature is the enhanced edge aware brush.
When I used it, it was pretty precise. To give you an example, here is a selection it made with one brush stroke.


One of the other features of Picktorial 3 is that all the settings are kept inside the RAW file.
If you move the files on a disk or even to the cloud all your adjustments will remain with the RAW file.

This means that collaboration is easy!

Just upload the RAW into the cloud and you can edit it from anywhere or with anyone you give acces to the file.

No more catalog in which your images are ordered and where all the changes are kept. This just works a lot easier when you work on multiple devices and it’s safer. If you ever had a corrupt catalog file in Lightroom you know what I’m talking about….

Pro’s and Con’s

There are not many con’s when using this software. Keep in mind who it’s made for (not for the photoshop pro). But one of the things that I miss when editing my photo’s (that they are working on as we speak):

– no upright tool or any other way of putting the verticals back to vertical

The pro’s are more clear and are really worth mentioning

– Luminosity masks and advanced blending modes
– Single space workflow
– Local adjustment tools which can be combined with luminosity masks
– Advanced skin smoothing brush
– Fast working app with a clear design
– Catalog free image handling
– The Price


Picktorial is a very good alternative to Lightroom and it’s packed with all the features you need, plus the ones you probalby used with Photoshop, all inside one app.
It runs very smooth and is designed very well. You will feel right at home when using the interface of Picktorial 3. Apart from all the goodies that are packed inside this package, giving you all the advanced tools you need, the other big advantage is it’s price.
I know a lot of photographers are not willing to pay the big bucks adobe is asking for their software, since they only use a small part of it. But with Picktorial 3 you get all the advanced tools you need for a good price.

In the end it’s always a personal opinion to what works best for you.
So I would definitely advise you to download the free 14-days trail and try Picktorial 3.
After using it for a few weeks now, I’m convinced it’s a great RAW editor for those who don’t want to use photoshop and for those who want an easy to use software package that just works flawlessly.

Picktorial 3 is now available for $ 39,99 USD ($69,99 normal price).
If you have a previous version of Picktorial this update is free.

For more information have a look at the Picktorial website.


Author Martijn.Kort

Fine art photographer focusing on architecture and cityscapes as well as capturing unique moments from the cockpit. Writing about photography techniques and sharing reviews. Ambassador for both ZEISS Netherlands and Nisi Filters. If you like my work, consider following me on Instagram!

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