BkSteve,

Is there a imaging software that ‘does it all’, or are we stuck with using many applications?  What do pros do?  Is there a strategy we can grow with as amateurs that makes sense?  I’m currently using ACDSEE and while it’s nice, I find I often want to do more.

Luke

Luke –

This is a great question.  With digital photography, software as much as our actual camera equipment is of equal importance.  Let me run this concept by you first, and then we’ll talk about the software which supports the concept.

 

This is a great question.  With digital photography, software as much as our actual camera equipment is of equal importance.  Let me run this concept by you first, and then we’ll talk about the software which supports the concept.

 

Your biggest cost involved with photography is your time spend on the learning curve.  This time will almost always equal more in lost value, than the cost of your camera equipment and the cost of your software applications.  Lost time should be avoided if at all possible.

With this mindset, formed from years of experience with myself and observing others, I think the best thing a beginning or even intermediate photographer can do, is to standardize their software based on the market leaders in image processing. Small name imaging products, or the free products we get with other applications or our cameras, generally cost us quite a bit through lost time.  Really, it’s the same with training of all types in all fields.

 

With this mindset, formed from years of experience with myself and observing others, I think the best thing a beginning or even intermediate photographer can do, is to standardize their software based on the market leaders in image processing. Small name imaging products, or the free products we get with other applications or our cameras, generally cost us quite a bit through lost time.  Really, it’s the same with training of all types in all fields.

 

I teach Adobe Photoshop Lightroom at most levels of my workshops.  I personally use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.  Lightroom combines the most of the important features from Adobe Photoshop which photographers need, into a top/down easy to use user interface with excellent image database capabilities, a print manager, and even a web interface.  Adobe Lightroom allows most amateurs to accomplish anything they wish with their images, while allowing them to grow with the UI and product at the same time.  It’s for these reasons why Lightroom is now the most popular piece of imaging software.  It’s become a standard.

 

Also consider that the most popular applications will have tons of support in the way of on-line tutorials and web videos.

 

Also consider that the most popular applications will have tons of support in the way of on-line tutorials and web videos.

 

Standards lend themselves well to transitioning into more advanced software.  As you progress with Lightroom and start looking for more advanced features, the logical choice is Adobe CS5 Photoshop.  Expensive for sure, but the most complete imaging software application ever.  It stands way alone at the top of the industry with no serious challengers.  Learning Lightroom and/or Photoshop is an excellent value for your learning curve time.

 

Standards lend themselves well to transitioning into more advanced software.  As you progress with Lightroom and start looking for more advanced features, the logical choice is Adobe CS5 Photoshop.  Expensive for sure, but the most complete imaging software application ever.  It stands way alone at the top of the industry with no serious challengers.  Learning Lightroom and/or Photoshop is an excellent value for your learning curve time.

This is what most pros do.  They’ll have a raw processor and database organizer like Lightroom and/or Phase One’s Capture One Pro 6, AND Adobe’s CS5 Photoshop.  For more specialized functions such as noise removal, skin softening, and much more.. they purchase individual plug-in’s which often work with Lightroom, but always work with Photoshop.  Any serious imaging company supports Adobe products.  They must to stay alive.  This benefits the consumer in a huge way.

So yes, most professionals maintain a ‘suite’ of imaging software, carefully tailored to their own needs and personal workflow.  Few professionals have identical needs and workflow, but we all use a raw processor and Adobe CS5 Photoshop.  Most of us use plug-ins.  Others use studio management software, green screen (chromakey) engines, software with video support.. the list is endless and it’s highly individual.

 

But as an amateur photographer you can position yourself very well by starting off with Adobe Lightroom knowing that when you reach that point where you’ll want more, yours skills in Lightroom will translate well to Adobe Photoshop CS5, and that both will remain useful to you at any level of photography.

 

But as an amateur photographer you can position yourself very well by starting off with Adobe Lightroom knowing that when you reach that point where you’ll want more, yours skills in Lightroom will translate well to Adobe Photoshop CS5, and that both will remain useful to you at any level of photography.

I hope this helps.

Please submit your questions to info@BangkokImages.com   All questions will be answered and most will show up in the weekly column.