Adobe Lightroom Classic is the most popular photo editor and organizer in the market. It stands out for its wide selection of editing features and its powerful image cataloging system.
However, although it is a fairly comprehensive program, it can sometimes be a bit limited. Fortunately, Lightroom supports many plugins that allow you to increase its functionality. You only need to find the ones that fit you the most.
But, before heading into the 21 best Adobe Lightroom plugins, let’s clarify a few things:
What is a Plugin for Lightroom?
Plugins (also called add-ons) are pieces of software designed to work within another program— in this case, Lightroom. They are complements that provide additional tools for enhancing your retouching process without having to switch programs.
Some plugins may come with Lightroom presets, but they are not the same thing. A Lightroom preset is a series of default settings for editing images in one click. They work like a customizable filter and are perfect for batch editing and defining a uniform aesthetic within a project.
Moreover, many Lightroom plugins also work as standalone apps or extensions for Photoshop and other programs. What’s more, most paid options offer a free trial version that you can download and test for a limited amount of time before purchasing.
Still, keep in mind that most plugins are only available for the desktop version of Lightroom (Adobe Lightroom Classic). The mobile version (formerly called Lightroom CC and now simply Lightroom) is more limited.
How to Install a Lightroom Plugin?
Installing a plugin in Lightroom is pretty quick and straightforward. If you have never done it before, here is what you should do:
- Download the plugin and unzip the zip file.
- Open Lightroom.
- Go to File > Plug-in Manager.
- In the dialog box that opens, click “Add” in the low left corner.
- Select the plugin you want. You should choose a folder with a name ending in “.lrplugin”.
- Click “Done” and then restart Lightroom.
Et voilà! Your new plugin is ready to use.
It goes without saying that you should always download your plugins from reliable sources and follow all instructions and recommendations given by the plugin developer— if any.
Now that you know how to install Lightroom plugins, let’s dive into our list of recommended options:
21 Best Plugins for Adobe Lightroom Classic
Here is a varied selection of useful plugins for Lightroom, with both free and paid options for Windows and Mac users. We included software to simplify your workflow, advanced photo enhancement tools for professionals, and other alternatives for creative image editing.
Without further ado, here are our top 21 picks:
1. Luminar AI
Price: $79 one-device license / $99 two-devices license
Website: Skylum Luminar AI
Skylum Luminar AI uses artificial intelligence to enhance your photos in seconds. It provides quick, professional-looking results in a convenient, intuitive interface. In short, it is perfect for those who don’t want to spend much time editing.
Luminar AI works as a plugin for Lightroom and Photoshop or as a standalone app if you prefer. Its key features include AI sky replacement, portrait and skin retouching tools, color editing, creative presets, and more.
If you want to know more about Skylum Luminar AI, read our in-depth review here!
2. Topaz Studio 2
Website: Topaz Studio 2
Topaz Labs offers a wide variety of plugins for Lightroom, and Studio 2 is its most comprehensive photo editing software— which also works as a separate program. It is a powerful yet user-friendly tool for creative, non-destructive editing using layers and masks. Plus, it comes with high-end retouching features, presets, and AI-powered functions that will make your workflow much simpler and faster.
Overall, Topaz Studio 2 is a solid choice for professionals and creative photographers. If you want to know what else it has to offer, check our full Topaz Studio 2 review!
3. Exposure X7
Website: Exposure X7
Exposure X7 is a versatile and fast program designed for professional-grade photo editing. It offers 500+ presets, intelligent masking tools, layers, lens effects, organizational features, and much more. Besides, it has an intuitive, customizable interface and many realistic film filters for analog photography lovers.
Like the previous options, Exposure X7 also works as a standalone application and is, in fact, a worthy alternative to Adobe Lightroom because it allows you to make much more precise adjustments in a non-destructive workflow.
4. DxO PhotoLab
Price: $139 for the Essential edition / $219 for the Elite edition
Website: DxO PhotoLab
DxO PhotoLab is a handy Lightroom plugin and photo editing software mainly aimed at professional photographers. It comes with many intelligent features and one-click adjustments, masks, brushes, and more. Plus, it delivers outstanding image processing, color correction, and noise reduction capabilities.
This program is widely known for its high-class RAW processing engine and color editing tools. Nevertheless, it is a bit pricey, so it is best suited for professionals.
5. Aurora HDR
Website: Aurora HDR
Developed by Skylum, Aurora HDR is one of the best Lightroom plugins for creating high-dynamic-range images using a powerful AI-based engine. It is versatile, easy to use, and provides natural-looking results and superb image quality to please professional HDR photographers. On top of that, it supports batch processing and includes plenty of presets for quick, creative editing.
Aurora HDR also works as a separate program, and it allows you to fine-tune as many details as you want so you can have absolute control over the final HDR photo.
If you want to know more about its features, check out our Aurora HDR full review.
6. ON1 Photo Raw
Price: subscription plans from $7.99 / $169,99 for a perpetual license with all plug-ins / $150 for the plugin set only
Website: ON1 Photo Raw
Like PhotoLab and Exposure, ON1 Photo Raw is a complete post-production suite equipped with AI-powered features, cloud-based photo editing capabilities, cataloging tools, and more. Its highlights include a time-lapse creator, a Sky Swap AI function, layers, masks, and portrait enhancement features.
ON1 offers five pro-grade plugins (NoNoise AI, Effects, Resize, Portrait AI, and HDR) that you can integrate with Lightroom, Photoshop, Capture One, Affinity, Corel, and Apple Photos. The entire set costs $150 on their website.
Yet, the ON1 Photo Raw photo editor comes with all those features built-in, and you have the option to buy a perpetual license of the program along with the five plugins separately. If you have the budget, that might be the most suitable choice to get the best of both worlds.
7. Portraiture 3
Website: Portraiture 3
From Imagenomic, Portraiture 3 is a popular Photoshop and Lightroom plugin built to simplify and improve portrait editing in a few clicks.
Simply put, Portraiture makes skin retouching a lot faster and easier. It comes with many presets and intuitive tools to smooth the skin and remove imperfections without the need for time-consuming selective masks. However, it is pretty expensive for a plugin, making it a more suitable alternative for professional portrait artists.
Price: $115 for the Private License (limited features) / $289 for the Pro License (all features)
LRTimelapse is a well-known plugin for time-lapse editing, keyframing, grading, and rendering— all within Lightroom Classic! And, you don’t even need to convert your RAW files.
This plugin also allows you to create day-to-night and night-to-day transitions with the Holy-Grail-Wizard feature. In addition to that, it has other fun functions to get stunning timelapse videos in high resolution.
9. Blow Up 3
Website: Blow Up 3
From the same creators of Exposure X7, Blow Up 3 is a popular Lightroom plugin for enlarging images without compromising their quality. It can come in handy when you need to print large photos to hang on a wall or even for billboards.
With Blow Up 3, you can resize up to 300,000 pixels per side while keeping all details sharp and clear. Moreover, the program has a straightforward interface and presets for widespread paper sizes and photo papers.
10. The Nik Collection
Website: Nik Collection
The Nik Collection by DxO is a set of eight Lightroom plugins developed for professional image editing. The plugins also work for Photoshop, DxO PhotoLab, and Serif Affinity. The collection includes all these software:
- Color Efex Pro – For more control over color correction.
- Silver Efex Pro – The best Lightroom plugin for black and white photography.
- Viveza – Perfect for precise color editing.
- Dfine – For removing noise without softening your photos.
- Perspective Efex Pro – To fix optical distortions.
- HDR Efex Pro – For realistic HDR photography.
- Analog Efex Pro – To give your pictures a classic, analog look.
- Sharpener – To make your images sharper in a few clicks.
Unfortunately, you can’t buy the plugins separately. Yet, if you have the budget, the Nik Collection is a tremendous investment that will change the way you edit images.
11. Topaz DeNoise AI
Website: Topaz DeNoise AI
Topaz DeNoise AI is, without any doubt, the best noise reduction software in the market right now. Available as an Adobe Lightroom plugin and standalone app, this is another gem from Topaz Labs that provides stunning results in a few seconds using artificial intelligence to remove noise effectively without losing detail.
If you want to know what makes it the best noise removal tool for photographers, check our in-depth Topaz DeNoise AI review!
12. Optics (Digital Film Tools)
Price: subscription at $9 per month / $149 for a new license
Formerly called Digital Film Tools, Optics is a complete toolbox of presets and special effects to mimic optical camera filters, film grain, lens flares, film lab processes, and more. The plugin also supports masks and layers for non-destructive image editing and is perfect for creative photo artists. It works with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, as well as a standalone app with batch-processing capabilities.
Like other high-end products from Boris FX, Optics is a professional software developed by VFX experts in the film industry.
13. Excire Search 2
Website: Excire Search 2
Excire Search 2 is an AI-based plugin for Lightroom that helps you find and organize your images easily and quickly. It analyzes your Lightroom catalog and adds keywords to all your photos so you can search for them at any time through the Excire finder. The best part is that it doesn’t require an internet connection to work, and it has a simple interface with intuitive features.
This plugin has various search methods and includes an impressive Search for People tool that allows you to find photos through face recognition. It is, for sure, a convenient solution if you handle large amounts of files and want to speed up your organization process.
Price: subscription plans from $7 per month
Evlaa is a collaborative Lightroom plugin that allows you to create and share private proofing galleries with clients without leaving Lightroom. With it, your clients will be able to review, rate, and select the photos they want, as well as leave feedback, download images, and send you payments. The process is fast and easy, and it is a great way to speed up your workflow, saving an average of one hour per shooting.
There are three different subscription plans available to use Evlaa, but you can download a 15-day free trial to test out the plugin before buying.
15. Perfectly Clear
Website: Perfectly Clear
Perfectly Clear is a plugin for Lightroom designed for automatic image correction. It offers a wide variety of intelligent tools and presets for fast and efficient editing. It is available as a standalone app, a plugin for Photoshop, Lightroom, Photoshop Elements, PaintShop Pro, and an external editor for Photos for Mac, Aperture, and Capture One.
Overall, Perfectly Clear is a solid piece of software for all kinds of photographers who want to speed their retouching process.
Price: free / $10 registration fee
LR/Instagram is one of the best free Lightroom plugins for photographers who post their work regularly on Instagram. As its name implies, this plugin lets you share your photos on Instagram directly from Lightroom. What’s more, you can add captions and hashtags, crop your pictures, and publish them to multiple accounts. It is simple and effective.
You can download the plugin at no charge, but then you will have to pay a $10 registration fee from the Lightroom plug-in manager so you can keep using it in time.
LR/Enfuse is a free Lightroom plugin that allows you to blend multiple exposures seamlessly. It might be helpful for HDR photography, focus stacking, and night photography. It provides very natural and high-quality results in a convenient, simple interface.
The plugin has no cost but, for full functionality, you must donate to the developer. This way, you ensure that LR/Enfuse continues to work smoothly and bug-free.
Developed by Jeffrey Friedl, Photosafe is a pretty simple software that allows you to select photos and protect them against accidental deletion. It doesn’t affect anything in your editing workflow; it just blocks the pictures so that you can’t delete them from Lightroom. That is incredibly useful for wedding or event photographers who handle large numbers of images regularly.
19. Focus Mask
Website: Focus Mask
Focus Mask is a simple yet functional free plugin. It highlights the sharper areas in a photo by applying a red mask that becomes darker in the regions of greater focus. However, sometimes it can point out blurred zones, but it still gives you a general idea of the parts where you can recover more detail. That is particularly helpful when you need to select the best shots within a set of similar photos.
20. TPR LR Backup
Website: LR Backup
If you want to guarantee your photos are always securely backed up, this plugin by The Photographer’s Toolbox will be your best friend. LR Backup allows you to schedule catalog backups, compress the existing ones, and manage catalog backups within Lightroom. In a nutshell, it simplifies backing up your Lightroom Classic files while helping you save space on your computer.
21. The Fader
Price: Free / $10 registration fee
Website: The Fader
The Fader is one of the most popular free Lightroom plugins, and it allows you to control the intensity of any preset you apply. It is super simple to use; you only have to drag the intuitive opacity slider anywhere between 0% to 150% to regulate how much of the preset you want to apply, and that’s it!
Adobe Lightroom is a feature-rich program on its own, but you can always upgrade it with some plugins. There are many great tools to choose from, but hopefully, this list will help you pick the perfect plugin to improve your workflow and achieve more striking images.
Just remember to download the free trials to get a quick look before buying! That way, you will know for sure which program is more suitable for you.
If you found this post helpful, share it on your social media and help your fellow photographer friends discover the ideal plugin for them. And, for more software recommendations and reviews, check our Photo Editing section!