When comparing GIMP vs Lightroom, the Slant community recommends GIMP for most people. In the question“What is the best photo editing software?” GIMP is ranked 3rd while Lightroom is ranked 7th. The most important reason people chose GIMP is:
GIMP is completely free and open source, meaning you can use GIMP and all of its features without spending a penny. This makes it an excellent case for artists or designers who may not have the budget to spend over 700 USD on Photoshop. It is also available for free on Windows, Mac OS and Linux. It's licensed under GPL with source code available [here](http://www.gimp.org/source/).
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Free, open source and cross-platform
GIMP is completely free and open source, meaning you can use GIMP and all of its features without spending a penny. This makes it an excellent case for artists or designers who may not have the budget to spend over 700 USD on Photoshop. It is also available for free on Windows, Mac OS and Linux. It's licensed under GPL with source code available here.
GIMP is the most feature rich free image editing tool. It has most image manipulation and workflow tools that you would expect from an image editing software and what it lacks it makes up with plugins.
Pro Content-aware tools with a plugin
There's a content-aware fill plugin available for GIMP.
Pro Modular & single-window interface options
By default GIMP splits out each window, but you can check to use the one screen mode in options if you prefer.
Compared to to other photo editing software, GIMP is very light weight. In addition it isn't very resource-intensive, meaning you can put it on a flash drive and have it with you to load up on just about any computer.
Gimp has less features than programs like Photoshop, but for a beginner, or someone not needing complicated options, Gimp is the perfect choice. It allows you to quickly do basic photo manipulation so you can easily get the product you need without having to worry about complicated features getting in the way.
Pro Full channel support
Pro Excellent asset management capabilities
Lightroom allows, for example, organizing images based on folders, color labels, flags, rating, keywords, GPS location, it can automatically create smart albums (albums that automatically update based on set rules) and it can be set to automatically backup, rename based on set rules, apply default processing, add keywords to images on import. It offers that functionality in an intuitive way and allows extensively customizing layout, behavior and workflow of managing assets to better suit your needs.
Pro HDR support
Can merge multiple shots into one in order to expand dynamic range.
Pro Facial recognition helps find and tag people
Lightroom has built-in facial recognition support that can be used to find the same person in any collection of photographs.
Pro A good number of cameras have built-in lens profiles for lens distortion correction
Lightroom has over 900 lens profiles from all kinds of manufacturers, including major lens brands like Canon, Nikon, Leica, Pentax, Ricoh, etc. You can see the full list of supported lenses here. Lens profiles will in most cases speed up the process of correcting lens distortion down to 1-2 clicks.
Pro Intuitive interface that's streamlined for a photographer's workflow
At a high level the interface is organized into broad groups of tools called workflow modules. Modules like "Library" for asset management and "Develop" for manipulating the photos. Each module displays only those tools that are needed for that task. This allows you to separate concerns between tasks and reduces interface clutter. When you're, for example, developing the image, you're not bothered by interface tools relating to exporting it.
Within each module tools are grouped in a logical manner. Develop module, for example, will group tools relating to basic image adjustment, lens correction, and effects.
And there are a plethora of keyboard shortcuts that improve the workflow speed even further. At all times you can easily navigate between images you're working via arrow keys, quickly compare images before and after making edits with
\, or see side by side comparisons with
Pro Supports tethered capture
You can connect your camera directly to Lightroom and have Lightroom display images as soon as they are captured.
Con Unintuitive interface
GIMP doesn't embrace OS X application design, thus Mac users might have a hard time wrapping their heads around GIMP's interface.
Con Less features than other programs
Being a free program, it shouldn't be surprising that it has limited features. For those needing more advanced features for something more professional, GIMP just isn't for you.
Con Lacks adjustment layers
Adjustment layers offer a non-destructive way of combining different photo manipulations. Without adjustment layers the only way to see changes is by irreversibly editing the image.
They are promised in future updates.
Con Poor performance
Con No layer-based image editing capabilities
There are no layers removing any ability to blend images, create composits, overlay text, etc.
Con There's a learning curve
Con Hot folder option could be better
It can take a couple of seconds for Lightroom to check the folder for incoming images and that can noticeably slow down the workflow. Additionally, only the last image is imported as active.