Software today is almost as daunting as it is when it comes to purchasing camera bags, lenses, accessories and the like.
It used to be that no matter what you did, you somehow wound up with Adobe image processing software. There is nothing wrong with that, because Adobe has served the needs of the photographer for a long time and will continue to do so I think for a long time to come.
But image processing software today has expanded the choices that we all have, some good and some not so good. But this is not a critique of any one software but simply some thoughts on where we are today with the choices we have.
The players are Adobe, Skylum/Luminar, On1, Iridient, Dxo, Alien Skin. I mention these because they are all excellent programs and most of them have extensive options for processing an image and they happen to represent a big chunk of users. In many cases photographers will have one or more of these applications on their computers and in the case of Adobe you might have Lightroom on a tablet as well.
Adobe more than anyone else has the best if the only true eco system through their creative cloud which enables users to work from anywhere on almost anything at anytime because of their across the board syncing of all types of files, especially raw files. For that reason alone I have to have Adobe so I can work on my Ipad Pro when I am out and about taking pictures or just sitting in a coffee-house catching up to some of my imaging work.
But for desktop users, Adobe, while advancing their software is really not advancing features that are deemed creative necessities for photographers.
So where does it all stand. Alien Skin has pretty darn good image management and excels in the fact that they have the best film presets out of anyone. And some of these presets, especially for black and white work are outstanding. —– On1 Photo Raw is also a very good image management system and has continued its feature rich layer technology and the use of presets and textures to enhance images. But there is a fatal flaw in the software in that it needs pretty powerful, very current graphic card capability in order to work fast and not crash. — Dxo has always been best at handling things like noise and image clarity (except for Fuji) but they are in financial trouble and it is hard to say where they are going.
This brings me to Skylum/Luminar. This company started out as a plug-in provider for Adobe products, and had some of the best image enhancement plug-ins in the business which added abilities that Adobe did not have and in some cases still does not have. But it was not all that long ago that the youngsters who started Luminar decided to make a stand alone program. It had its problems with speed, and at times did not quite give users the performance they wanted, but the company unlike most others reached out for real feedback and slowly implemented changes which brought them to a place that beyond the state of the art processing that other companies still struggle to give us as photographers. But the final thing they needed to do, and had promised early on to do was provide a digital asset management capability forcing users to rely upon other software to provide the DAM.
That is all about to change and the link I have given you will lead you to the next phase this company is about to unleash, which is the promised DAM as well as a revision to an already great interface which is truly designed for a photographers needs.
So take some time to read about where they are heading and about promises kept. All of this at a price of $69.00. No subscription, just inexpensive and more capable than any other software out there.
Am I saying buy it? No! But I might recommend you try it free and see what it is capable of giving the photographer. It can either be the simplest interface or the most complex depending upon one’s needs.