ACDSee Photo Studio Software Review – Great Results & Easy to Use

Looking for a Lightroom alternative to sort and save your favorite photographs? ACDSee Photo Studio Software may be capable of meeting your creative needs. Especially if you want to organize, develop, and export images with minimal effort.

But, our goal isn’t just to find out whether ACDSee can stand up to its processing promises. Rather, we’re seeking out whether it stacks up to competitors.

With big shoes to fill, can ACDSee Photo Studio Software deliver the results we’ve come to expect?

ACDSee Photo Studio Software Review
acdsee photo studio

Name: ACDSee Photo Studio

Description: ACDSee is a photo editing and management tool that allows you to do advanced editing and organize your photos.

Offer price: 59.99

Currency: USD

Operating System: Windows, Mac

Application Category: Multimedia

Author: ACD Systems International Inc.

  • Mobile App
  • Price
  • User Interface
  • Organization
  • Editing capabilities

ACDSee Photo Studio Review

Despite a few hiccups, ACDSee is a solid image editor that’s consolidates all of your media into one convenient spot. Editing features go beyond basic tools thanks to the inclusion of “smart” features. The user interface could use a little bit more automation, but the convenience of having images easily accessible in one place makes it easy to forgive the inconvenience.

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About ACDSee Photo Studio

acdsee review
Today we’ll be reviewing a Lightroom alternative, ACDSee Photo Studio.

ACD Systems Inc was founded in 1993. Since then, they’ve focused on the emerging medium of digital photography. As they’ve grown, they’ve opened international offices in Canada, the US, and China.

They’ve worked on developing apps to bring for professional and amateur photographs alike.

ACDSee offers a few different products for customers to choose between:

ACDSee Home – $59.99

  • Digital asset management
  • Standard editing capabilities
  • Mobile syncing
  • Print capabilities
  • Windows accessibility

ACDSee Professional – $99.99

  • All ACDSee Standard features
  • RAW editing toolset
  • Windows Or MAC Accessibility

ACDSee Ultimate – $149.99

  • All ACDSee Professional features
  • Layer editing akin to Photoshop
  • Advanced adjustment/manipulation tools
  • Windows accessibility

As I happen to be a Mac user, today I’ll specifically focus on ACDSee Photo Studio Software for Mac 5.

Automated Ups and Downs

The image processing field is constantly shifting. Yet, ACDSee Photo Studio Software goes out of its way to automate the editing and organizing process for its users. In many ways, their technology alleviates the stress of organizing an archive.

Related: Best Lightroom Alternatives in 2023

But, there are a few areas that could use a bit of improvement.

Easy Navigation

Easy navigation. ACDSee Photo Studio software automatically sources images living on your computer. The navigation was easy to maneuver, using a hierarchy based on the existing Mac Finder.

ACDSee folder hierarchy
ACDSee Photo Studio software automatically imports images saved onto your computer’s hard drive.

Smart Recognition Features

Features like geotagging, facial recognition, and detection are super useful. With them, you can keep track of the people and places you photograph most. Filters allow you to sort through images by attributes.

This is one of the features I love most about ACDSee Photo Studio Software.

ACDSee Facial Recognition Feature
Features like facial recognition and geotagging make organizing files and keeping track of metadata easier than ever.

Manual Saves

Every time you make adjustments ACDSee Photo Studio Software prompts you to save or save as. This is annoying in comparison to Lightroom, which allows you to make live edits and export later on.

ACDSee Photo Studio Software
ACDSee isn’t perfect. For instance, it doesn’t have an autosave feature. Even the slightest changes need saving as a completely new file.

ACDSee Photo Studio Software Gives You Flexible Editing

Like most editing software, ACDSee makes updates and improvements to remain competitive. In fact, they’ve recently incorporated about a dozen new features into the software.

Naming all the software’s editing capabilities could take up this entire article. But here are a few attributes that caught our eye.

RAW File Support ✔

ACDSee Photo Studio supports RAW files from 500 different camera models. That makes it possible to edit regardless of what you’re packing in your camera bag.

ACDSee RAW compatibility
ACDSee supports a number of different RAW file formats. If your camera isn’t supported, you can write in a request for it to be included in the next update.

Keyboard Shortcuts & Smart Features ✔

ACDSee Photo Studio Software gives you customizable keyboard shortcuts for a smooth editing experience.

In fact, there are several “smart” features, including:

  • Detailed individual color adjustment sliders
  • Light EQ Technology that allows fine tonal adjustments

File Storage

Inside the program, you’ll find ‘Databases’ akin to Lightroom catalogs. Jump between databases easily to keep images organized and accessible.

Related Post: The Best Photo Organizing Software for Mac

ACDSee photo collection
ACDSee photo collections are quite easy to navigate and switch between. Organize your collection however you see fit!

Going Mobile with ACDSee Photo Studio Software

More so than ever, photographers value accessibility. In many ways, technology makes the average photographer’s job easier. However, coordinating images between cameras, computers, and phones is a chore.

ACDSee Mobile Sync
A view of the ACDSee Mobile Sync app.

ACDSee came up with a solution to make the process as seamless as possible. The ACDSee Mobile Sync app, integrates your mobile content into an existing database.

It’s available for Android and Apple products. Meaning most smart devices can transfer images in an instant. The app even keeps track of which images you’ve already transferred to an ACDSee database

ACDSee Photo Studio Software Guides You Every Step of the Way

For new photographers, the prospect of working with new software is intimidating. Luckily, ACDSee Photo Studio Software caters to beginners and seasoned photo veterans.

For any and all questions, ACDSee hosts a comprehensive community space open to all users. Forums, a chat widget, and interactive workshops provide platforms for questions and conversation.

ACDSee tutorial library
There’s a large collection of tutorials and walkthroughs ACDSee users may utilize to get a better understanding of their software.

And they don’t stop there.

ACDSee realizes getting comfortable and exploring software isn’t something that happens overnight. Thus, they provide resources to show customers how much their product accomplishes.

There are video tutorials with instructions on how to access and use tools. Luckily, customers no longer have to miss out on features they don’t understand. Now, learning how to achieve a certain look is as simple as logging onto Youtube and pressing play.

Comparing and Contrasting

So, it goes without saying that ACDSee has some awesome assets to offer photographers. But the question most readers will ask is whether it stacks up to competitors like Lightroom or Luminar.

RELATED POST: Luminar vs. Lightroom – Which One Is Better?

ACDSee Luminar Lightroom
Which brand comes out on top when compared back to back?
ACDSee Photo Studio Software Lightroom Compare Contrast
The design utilized by ACDSee and Lightroom is quite similar.

ACDSee Photo Studio Software has identical or equal base features to its competition.

But for those used to working with rival products, the design may seem a little less intuitive at a glance. Nevertheless, there’s not a whole lot this series of sliders can’t do.

Cost of ACDSee Photo Studio Software

Now, one of the most compelling selling points for ACDSee is the price point. Luminar offers a flat one-time price. Whereas Adobe only offers a recurring subscription.

Notably, ACDSee offers both.

At the time of this publication, Luminar 3 prices range from $70 to $218 for a lifetime license. Contrastingly, ACDSee Standard costs between $60 to $150.

The difference in subscription prices is even more dramatic. To demonstrate, let’s look at the ACDSee Home plan. You get the top four products for up to 5 users at $89 annually.

Now, let’s compare that to Adobe’s bare-bones plan. The one which includes access to Lightroom and Photoshop costs $119 per year.

Cost ACDSee Photo Studio

Surprisingly, ACDSee primarily seems to cater to Windows users. While they do have software for Mac users, the capabilities and edit options are limited.

This may not be an issue for some artists, but when the competition is as tight, the setback could be a dealbreaker.

RELATED POST: The Best Software to Organize Your Photos on a Windows PC

So, Did We Love ACDSee Photo Studio Software?

This might be your first encounter with an ACDSee product. Yet, as I’ve learned after a few days of playing around with the free trial, it’s easy to fall in love with.

ACDSee Photo Studio Software
ACDSee is a solid choice for experienced photographers and novices alike, providing plenty of resources at a low price.

ACDSee has a commitment to simplifying photo organization and editing. Their tagging and developing tools make archives easy to sift through and optimize.

Add ons like the Mobile Sync app and tutorial library make learning painless. Also, smart features bring out the best aspects of your imagery.

Best of all, the price of ACDSee Photo Studio Software beats out the competition. Whether you prefer a subscription or would rather stick to a single transaction is up to you.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. All ACDSee products offer a 3- day free trial period. Sign up to see whether this ACDSee can take your workflow to the next level!

About The Author

6 thoughts on “ACDSee Photo Studio Software Review – Great Results & Easy to Use”

  1. I’m not crazy about ACDSee’s healing and cloning. I like Luminar Flex’s better. Can you make a sensible workflow using the two? Flex is intended more as a plug-in to Photoshop or Lightroom. Photoshop’s selection and healing is superior, it’s the one feature that keeps me subscribing.

    1. meghan boilard author

      Hey Joe! Great question. Unfortunately, the Flex plugin isn’t currently compatible with ACDSee at this time. However, this may not always be the case as ACDSee does support a few third party Photoshop plug-ins from popular developers like Nik and Topaz Labs. I wouldn’t be shocked to see some Luminar plugins join those ranks in the near future, especially with the Photo Studio 2020 release date coming up.

      1. Hi Meghan does ACDSee work as a cross platform editor, for jumping between iOS and Mac. Is the syncing part snappy enough. Thanks.

  2. Thanks for the review, once all the photos are uploaded does this software also store your images in their cloud or do you then save to an external hardrive?

  3. There’s a lot to like about ACDSee, it has a powerful set of editing functions and a DAM that addresses just about everything. Unfortunately, ACDSee seems to place features as a priority over ease of use and the UI has suffered as it crams ever more things into a small space. It’s a shame, since at its core it is very capable, but all that is lost if it becomes unusable.

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