Jochem Kossen

Photography without Adobe

About that hobby

So, I used to have this hobby, photography. I liked creating photographs. It helped me getting away from the computer screen. But after a few years I didn’t notice progression anymore. Also, getting kids, switching jobs, moving houses and buying a road bike caused me to photograph less and less.

But lately I have this itch. An itch to create. An itch to take up my camera again and make photo’s. A good sign I suppose.

So, where to (re)start? The easy way would be to get a new subscription with Adobe, install Lightroom and import my library. Using Lightroom increasingly left me feeling a bit dirty though:

  • Lightroom requires a subscription. I cannot own the software.

  • Lightroom requires a cloud account. I have no interest in Adobe’s cloud

  • Lightroom has a bazillion options and possibilities, but I need only a few

  • Lightroom increasingly uses AI for photo editing. I don’t like AI editing my photos. My photos are my own thus I want to edit them myself.

Aside from my issues with the program Lightroom, I don’t like Adobe as a company. A few recent examples of actions I don’t like:

In short, I don’t want to depend on Adobe and be imprisoned in their “creative” cloud.

A new plan

  1. I make photos with my camera, and download them to a folder on my laptop in a structured path:


  1. My photo’s are mainly black and white and require little editing:
  • exposure
  • crop
  • rotation
  • contrast
  • shadows / highlights
  • black and white conversion
  • local modifications (masked?) for shadows, highlights and contrast
  1. Investigate software which does not require a cloud account.

I’ve looked at Skylum Luminar. A lifelong license is available at a premium price (compared to a monthly subscription). Its highlights include an AI-driven photo editor. So I guess it’s not for me.

I’ve also looked at a few Open Source tools:

  • RawTherapee 5.8 (5.9 is not available for Mac yet). 5.8 is really slow for some reason.

  • darktable 4.2.0. After playing a bit with it I got results I quite like. Also, darktable runs smoothly on my Mac and is available for Linux (which I run on my travel laptop) as well.

  • Gimp. This actually seems really good as the every-now-and-then photoshop replacement for putting the dots on the i’s. I almost never need Photoshop anyway, but it’s handy having a decent alternative available when necessary.

So, for now I’m focussing on darktable.

  1. Print using tools provided by the OS or printer manufacturer.

I don’t print much, but I do own an Epson SC-P600 A3+ photo printer. It’s perfectly usable with tools provided by the OS and Epson.