One thing that I’ve been doing in recent months is revisiting the software that I use for photographic post-processing, in part through a mentoring scheme with the Guild of Photographers. This teams up individual photographers with an expert, who in my case was a portrait and travel photographer. In case this is of interest, this short note summarises the approach I use now.
A few years ago when I first began taking this seriously, I stopped using the camera manufacturer’s software in favour of something more powerful, namely Adobe Camera Raw, which is available in Photoshop.
That seemed to offer most of the functionality required and I tried to avoid using Photoshop at all as it seemed so complicated. Abobe’s Lightroom was another possibility, with almost identical editing functionality to Camera Raw, but I preferred to do my own file cataloguing independently of any software, an approach that I’ve kept to this day. I do however use Adobe’s Bridge to help with keywording files and metadata.
Refining the approach
After a while, based on the great reviews it was getting, DXO’s Optics Pro seemed worth a look. Now called DXO PhotoLab, some key features included its comprehensive library of camera/lens correction tools and powerful noise reduction algorithms. It also includes many automated functions to give ideas for what to improve. I therefore switched to using this from Adobe Camera Raw.
What I do now
For various reasons, I’ve now gone almost full circle in that, whilst still using PhotoLab for the initial processing of RAW files, this is in conjunction with Adobe Camera Raw, which also has some great options, such as for removing spots, if there are any.
After resisting it for many years, I now also find Photoshop indispensable for final fine-tuning of images and for resizing files for web, book and other applications, and use it more and more. I also occasionally use DXO’s Nik Collection plug in for Photoshop for additional processing.
So this choice of software for photographic post-processing works for me but if you search on the term photography workflows online you may feel that there are as many approaches as photographers! The key though is to find something that you feel comfortable with and which gives consistent results without taking hours of your time to process just a few photographs.
A mentoring scheme is also worth considering and becoming a Qualified Member of the Guild of Photographers felt like a real step forwards. This involved submitting 21 photographs on three themes to be assessed by a panel of independent judges. The photographs in this post were part of that submission. Separately from that, if you’d like to see more photographs of the Mersey Estuary look here. Most months I also include tips on writing and/or photography in my newsletter and sign up details are below.