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ACDSee Photo Studio Professional 2021 Review

ACDSee Professional Photo Studio 2021 Review

ACDSee Photo Studio Professional 2021 is vastly superior to ACDSee Home 2021 and almost identical to ACDSee Ultimate 2021. In other words, ACDSee Professional 2021 is the pick of the bunch.

Combining contemporary photo management tools such as face recognition and geotagging, with a powerful, lag-free raw processing; ACDSee Professional 2021 is one of the best all-in-one photo suites on the market today. Jump to Conclusion

Table of Contents

  1. What is ACDSee Photo Studio Professional 2021
  2. What can ACDSee Professional 2021 do?
    1. Photo management
    2. Photo Editing
    3. The Edit tab
    4. HDR
  3. Is ACDSee Photo Studio Professional 2021 any good?
    1. Ergonomics
    2. Speed
  4. Who is ACDSee Professional 2021 for?
  5. How much does ACDSee Home 2021 cost?
  6. Conclusion

What is ACDSee Photo Studio Professional 2021

ACDSee Photo Professional 2021 is an affordable all-in-one photo suite that combines elite-level photo management and outstanding photo editing.

ACDSee Photo Studio Professional 2021 Photo Viewer
Using ACDSee Professional’s photo viewer

As a result, ACDSee Professional 2021 is an ideal solution for enthusiastic and professional photographers. If you need fast, powerful editing and have a wild photo collection to tame, ACDSee Professional 2021 might just be your ticket.

Best of all, you can buy and own ACDSee Professional 2021 outright for less than 18-months worth of subscription to Adobe Lightroom.

ACDSee Price Comparison

As ACDSee’s mid-tier product, Professional 2021 includes the same amazing photo management found in ACDSee Home 2021. Read ACDSee Home 2021 Review.

But, whilst ACDSee Home 2021 suffers a sub-par photo editor, ACDSee Professional 2021 features the same powerful raw editor as that found in ACDSee Ultimate. Read ACDSee Ultimate 2021 Review

This is to say ACDSee Professional 2021 is very good for editing photos. The main difference between Professional and Ultimate is that Ultimate has access to layer-based editing making it good for a little light-weight graphic design.

But if your primary focus is photography, you might find Ultimate’s additional features are wasted on you.

What can ACDSee Professional 2021 do?

Photo management

Organizing Photos into Categories

Organizing photos by folders has its limits. For instance, you organize your photos by year, location, or people. But what if you want to do all three?

Managing photos in ACDSee Photo Studio Professional 2021

With ACDSee Professional 2021, you can tag a photo with any number of keywords and assign it to any number of categories or collections.

For example, you could tag a single photo with keywords such as ‘Greece’ and ‘Jill’ and be able to retrieve that photo at a later date using either.

Reverse Geocaching

If your camera has GPS, you can browse your geotagged photos using ACDSee Professional’s 2021’s map view.

However, if your camera lacks GPS, you can drag your photo onto the map and ACDSee Professional will write the location and coordinates back to your photo’s EXIF data.

Geotagging in ACDSee Photo Studio Professional 2021

Face Recognition

You can set ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2021 to automatically detect the faces in your photo to which you can manually tag that person’s name.

Face recognition in ACDSee Photo Studio Professional 2021

As you tag your photos, ACDSee Professional begins to recognize who’s who, and after a while, you’ll find your entire collection has been tagged.

It works better than you think, but if it does get it wrong, it’s easy enough to force manual corrections.

Photo Editing

Interestingly, ACDSee Professional 2021 has two photo editors. The Develop tab is powerful, super-fast, and lovely to use. The Edit tab is a little old-fashioned and largely redundant.

Editing within the Develop Tab

ACDSee Professional 2021 has the same fantastic raw processing as ACDSee’s top-tier product, ACDSee Ultimate 2021. Therefore, you can open raw files, make your adjustments, and save those adjustments as presets to be used again and again.

Editing photos with ACDSee Photo Studio Professional 2021

Like most photo editors, ACDSee Professional features all the usual tools such as gradients, exposure adjustments, and white balance.

There are also some modern perks such as automatic lens correction, preloaded filters, and effects. And new to 2021 is the color wheel making selective color adjustments a breeze.


If you are happy with your adjustments, you can save them as presets. Like many photo editors, you can save the sum of your entire edit and reuse it over and over again to one-click process future photos.

Editing Photos with ACDSee Professional 2021
Choosing from the in-build presets

Alternatively, you can save singular adjustments as presets. For example, you can save your favorite tone curves and split tones, ideal for automating and accelerating low-level micro-adjustments.

Because it is 2021, ACDSee Professional 2021 comes stocked with a number of presets for you to try. Some of these are quite nice and will serve you well as a starting point for creating your own.

It’s also worth mentioning the actions browser. Like presets, the actions browser offers one-click effects such as boosting brightness, HDR simulation, and many, many more. These actions can be applied to singular photos or to entire batches at once.

The actions browser in ACDSee Professional 2021
Browsing landscape effects in the actions browser

The Edit tab

Oddly enough, ACDSee Professional 2021 comes with two editors. Honestly, I am not sure why this is the case since the Develop tab has much the same functionality and a vastly superior user experience.

The edit tab in ACDSee Photo Studio Professional 2021

However, the edit tab does have a few exclusives. For instance, you can use the edit tab to add a watermark or wrap your photo within a border.

Special effects in ACDSee Photo Studio Professional 2021
Border plus ‘Age’ special effect

But perhaps the edit tab’s biggest unique asset is its special effects. Here, you can choose from more than 72 special effects, some of which are quite interesting whilst others, less so.

It is also in the edit tab where we find the biggest difference between ACDSee Professional 2021 and ACDSee Ultimate 2021.

In ACDSee Ultimate, you can commit your adjustment to layers, add shapes, and write text. Thus, the edit tab in Ultimate is acceptable for a little graphics design or for blending multiple adjustment layers to create unique compound effects. In other words, Ultimate’s Edit tab is more like a basic version of Photoshop.

As for ACDSee Professional’s edit tab, I reckon you’ll never use it.


HDR in ACDSee Professional 2021 is poor. Not only does it lack functionality, but it rarely works properly. If you are looking for a photo editor with decent HDR, you might like Affinity Photo.

Alternatively, you could augment ACDSee Professional or any other photo editor with HDR-centric software such as Aurora HDR.

Is ACDSee Photo Studio Professional 2021 any good?

Yes. ACDSee Photo Studio Professional 2021 combines world-class photo management with outstanding photo editing, then packs it into one of the cheapest all-in-one photo studios on the market.

Given that most raw editors are essentially the same, what makes Professional 2021 so great is its speed and ergonomics.


Professional includes a very thoughtful interface. For example, many adjustments can be made by poking and scrolling your mouse cursor over the part of the photo you wish to adjust.

If you want to boost the brightness, saturation, or contrast of any particular tone, simply click on a tone to be adjusted and drag your mouse left-to-right, up-and-down until you’re satisfied with the result.

Gradients in ACDSee Professional 2021

Having made your adjustments, you can save your image outright or take a Snapshot. Snapshots are ideal if you wish to create multiple edits of a single photo. For example, you might want color and black and white versions of the same photo.

If you are unhappy with your work, you can disable any particular adjustment. Alternatively, you can use the history tab to step back through each of your adjustments to an earlier iteration of your edit.

Or, if you have really wet the bed, don’t worry as all of your adjustments are non-destructive. Therefore, you can restore your photo to its original out-of-camera state no matter how much you’ve changed it.


ACDSee Professional 2021 responds to every click and adjustment immediately. As a result, you’re rarely be waiting for ACDSee Professional to do its thing.

And because it is so fast, you can observe the effect of your adjustments in absolute real-time without the lag and stutter evident in other products.

Who is ACDSee Professional 2021 for?

ACDSee Professional 2021 is an ideal choice if you are a snap-happy enthusiast or professional photographer with loads of photos to manage and edit.

If you are a more casual photographer, the power of ACDSee Professional 2021 is diminished. If you only edit your photos occasionally, you might prefer Luminar AI. Read Luminar AI review.

Not only is Luminar AI cheaper to buy, but it has the gentlest learning curve of any advanced photo editor I have ever used. But for photo management and large editing sessions, I used ACDSee. Read ACDSee vs Luminar AI

Luminar AI Review
Luminar AI is the best photo editor for easy and fast results

How much does ACDSee Home 2021 cost?

ACDSee Photo Studio Professional 2021 costs USD$179.99. However, ACDSee often offers discounts. If you would like to receive a weekly email featuring the latest discounts on ACDSee Professional and other software and camera gear, click here.


ACDSee Professional 2021 is ACDSee’s best-value photo studio. Not only is it vastly superior to ACDSee Home, but it includes all the best parts of ACDSee’s premium photo studio, ACDSee Ultimate.

For your money, you get outstanding photo management and a powerful editor for processing your raw and jpeg files.

And unlike many other feature-rich photo studios, ACDSee Professional gets out of your way with sensible ergonomics and almost zero lag.

Then, there’s the price. Even at full retail, ACDSee is considerably cheaper than Capture One Pro and you can own it outright for the same price as an 18-month subscription to Lightroom.

However, if you are an infrequent photographer looking to edit a few photos a month, many of ACDSee Professional’s advantages are diminished. For instance, you’ll be less desperate to use its amazing photo management and applications such as Luminar AI are cheaper and far more suitable for casual use.

But if you do need to tame a massive photo collection and tend to process dozens of photos at a time, I highly recommend ACDSee Professional 2021.

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