What Does Develop Persona Mean in Affinity Photo?

Photo editors often challenge new users with seemingly arcane terms. While these traditional terms make sense once you understand them, they can make you scratch your head when editors use them to label features. One such case is the Develop Persona tool in Affinity Photo.

Develop Persona is the RAW image editor for the Affinity Photo graphics editor suite. It is a low-cost, open-source solution for editing unprocessed images straight from digital cameras. As such, it lets you edit RAW files through dedicated adjustments, panels, and tools.

Because the tool will not resave your images as RAW, you must make all your desired adjustments while in Develop Persona. Therefore, by reading further, you will learn how to use the tool to bring out the best features of your photographs.

What is the Affinity Photo Develop Persona Tool?

If you are new to digital photography, you will quickly run into a roadblock. All professional-quality cameras output their photos in RAW files. RAW is the industry standard for numerous reasons, but mostly because:

  • RAW offers the highest possible resolution at around 21 Megapixels
  • RAW images are completely unprocessed and lossless, they are as they were taken

This specialized image format requires equally specialized editing tools that can handle the high resolution and dynamic realistic colors and details. They also require high-end, professional editing features such as layers, masks, batch image processing, preset libraries, and digital asset management.

As such, you only really see them included in higher-end graphics editing solutions such as Adobe Photoshop and Affinity Photo.

Develop Persona is the Affinity Photo RAW Editor

In Affinity Photo, Develop Persona is the main RAW editor, serving as an open-source alternative to Adobe’s Lightroom. It provides an easy-to-use but cost-effective way to work on your photos so you can edit them without losing your source files.

There is no special procedure to use the tool either. Affiliate Photo will launch Develop Persona automatically when you open a supported RAW file. You can then work on the photo like it was any other type of image through the various dedicated panels, tools, and adjustments. You can even use features such as Clipped Highlights, Chopped Tones, and Clipped Shadows within the tool.

Notable features and panels include

  • Develop Assistant that lets you toggle between tonal and exposure adjustments
  • Detail sharpness, Noise, and Lens correction
  • Basic, Tone, and Brush adjustments
  • Crop and image orientation
  • Blemish removal
  • Focus and scope
  • Snapshots and version comparisons

Develop Persona will even auto-save your work so you can continue from where you left it. You will never have to retrace your steps even when working on other photos.

How to Use Develop Persona in Affinity Photo

Due to its modular nature, how you use Develop Persona largely depends on what you want to accomplish.

Histogram Adjustments

You access the histogram options by clicking the histogram located above the right menu bar. From there, you can view all the RGB channels or just one of them, letting you spot any clippings and the overall brightness. You can even use the Scope tool to evaluate the exposure.

Other useful adjustments include:

  • RGB Parade and Waveform
  • AF regions, Meta, and Focus information

Saving Your Adjustments as Presets

You can save your photo adjustments and modification as presets so you can reuse them on other photos. While in Develop Persona, click the “Ass Preset” button on the top right corner of the menu. You can then select the preset from the Presets menu to use it.

Basic Image Adjustments and Tools

You will find all common image editing tools on the Basic Tab, including Black Point, Exposure, and Brightness.


The shadow, highlights, and tones clipping markers and tools on the menu bar at the top right.

Comparing Before and After Snapshots

Develop Persona provides two ways to compare and evaluate the results of your adjustments.

  • Split View – uses frames you can toggle on and off
  • Mirror View – places the before and after snapshots in different windows

Paint and Brush Overlays

Paint and brush adjustments are the only basic tools not on the Basic Tab. Instead, you access them by selecting the Overlay buttons on the menu. You can only access the Basic Tab while these overlays are active. So, make any other adjustments before selecting them.

Apply Gradients

You can adjust gradient levels from the Gradient Overlay. This overlay does not lock out the Brush overlay. So, you can combine the two to make more complex adjustments.


Develop Persona is the native RAW image file editor for the Affinity Photo graphics editing suite, It provides you the tools to professionally process and modify the photos you take with your digital cameras in a simple to use interface.