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7 Things I Love About Affinity Photo

Blake's Hand in Affinity Photo

I started learning Affinity Photo just a couple months ago, and I quickly discovered how powerful it is. The program has a lot of useful features and I want to share a few of my favorites, along with how they help me.

It’s Non-Destructive

One of Affinity Photo’s main goals is to be non-destructive. We can change things as much as we want and it won’t hurt the original photo. This is useful because it makes everything reversible. We can add and remove layers and undo changes whenever we want and it’s super easy to do.

There’s also a History tab where we can use a slider to go back in time through the changes we’ve made in a project.

Macros are Awesome

Macros are amazing because they speed up workflow and they’re simple to use. We can hit “record” and then make changes to an image. Once we hit “stop”, all the steps we took while recording are put into a macro.

We can save macros into a library and then apply them to any project (helpful when working with a series of similar photos).

Macros help especially when we’re using specific techniques and need to translate them over a set of images. It’s better than doing something tedious over and over.

Use Stacks to Blend Images

Affinity Photo gives us the ability to blend near-identical images by importing them all at once into something called a stack. Stacks blend images together by averaging the data in each image.

This has a bunch of uses.

For example, it can reduce noise in an image, because noise is randomized and will be different in each photo. I’ve had problems with noise before, particularly in nighttime photos, and this is one way to fix that problem.

Also, it can remove unwanted objects from an image.

Let’s say I took a series of still photos of an empty highway except for a car that happened to pass at the moment I took the picture. Stacking the photos of the highway (and the car moving down the road) would eliminate the car from the image because the car would be in different places in each photo. The stacking algorithm wouldn’t include the car because the average of each picture doesn’t have the car in the same place.

See Blend Modes in Real-Time

This feature is small but it is one of my favorite things about Affinity Photo. When selecting a blend mode, I can skim my mouse over all of the blend mode options and instantly see what they look like.

This is subtle but it speeds up the workflow. Once you’ve used this feature for a while, it’s hard to use other programs that don’t give you that instant feedback the way Affinity Photo does.

Save with Snapshots

Snapshots allow us to keep multiple versions of a single file saved at the same time.

This is useful because it allows us to try out multiple techniques without having to save a new file or worry about messing up our work. We can jump back into a saved snapshot if we decide that we don’t like what we’re doing.

Batch Processing

Batch Processing is kind of like a large-scale version of macros. With batch processing, we can put a massive series of photographs through the same edits all at once.

I’ve found that the best time for me to use this is when I’ve taken a group of photos that are similar, and I’m not sure which once I want to use. Running them all through a batch process gives them all the same treatment right away so I can see what they look like and choose which photo I want.

Refining Selections

I often need to select particular items in an image, but making a really specific selection can be hard.

When using the Selection Brush Tool, we have the option to “refine” a selection which is a powerful way to create a mask. While refinement can be a tedious process, it creates a solid result and is worth the effort.

Conclusion

These are just a few reasons why I think Affinity Photo is awesome. Of course, there is a whole lot more to the program than what I just mentioned here but these are some of the features I love the most.

If you have time, I’d suggest exploring Affinity Photo and testing some of these tools out to see exactly how powerful they can be.

If there are any features you love that I didn’t mention here, feel free to add them to the comments below…

9 thoughts on “7 Things I Love About Affinity Photo

  1. Do you use Aperture? How does Affinity compare to Aperture?

    1. Hi Glen. I previously used Aperture (before it was discontinued by Apple). It’s a great app. And they’re very different apps.

      Aperture has a lot of photo editing capabilities of course, but it is also for organizing and cataloging photos. Affinity Photo isn’t a photo organizer/catalog. It’s a photo editing app, more like Photoshop.

      If I remember right, you can set Aperture to use external photo editors, so you could use Aperture to organize your photos and then use Affinity Photo to edit them if you wanted to.

      That’s my understanding anyway. Blake knows far more about Affinity Photo than I do, so he can correct me if I’m wrong. :)

      1. So what app does Blake use to organize/catalog his photos? I’m still in the search for a solution to the Aperture demise as well. And for something that makes it easy to access from FCPX.

        1. Smart money seems to be on Capture One : good value (but not so good if you live in Brexit Britain – sigh).

          1. I’ve also heard good things about Capture One, though I haven’t used it. I like the low price of Affinity Photo for sure, especially considering how powerful it is.

      2. I believe Affinity, or maybe it was MacPhun regarding Luminar, are suggesting they’ll tackle DAM (digital asset management) in future versions, a la Aperture. I’m still using Aperture and I’ve set in Preferences…Export…External Photo Editor –> Affinity Photo (be sure you’re on v1.5.1 or better as there was a .tiff problem with earlier versions not writing the edited copy back to the Aperture library). Next, Luminar is set-up as a plug-in to Aperture. Both work great in this manner. Hope that helps!

  2. Is it possible to make an selection with a fixed size? like 1920×1080 pixels.

    1. Hi, Frank. As far as I can see, there’s no way to make a selection with a fixed size, unfortunately. The crop tool, however, does allow you to crop at constraints such as 1920×1080, if that happens to be what you’re trying to do.

  3. I have noticed Affinity showed up as an extension in Photos on the Mac.

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