Culling my editing software

As many of you know, I own quite a bit of editing software. Some of it through curiosity, some if it through affiliates, but all of it to use. Over the years I’ve used it so I can make fair comparisons to other software, plus I have tutored software packages to those in need.

As happens every few years, I have built up far too many packages to be useful. So the decision has been made to cut back to an amount of software that will do me well for all my needs.

Taking it needs, that’s important to you when you choose what you use. Generally I try and get things right in camera, so don’t always need to edit the raw files, but tweak the jpegs. Of course, there are also times I need to do some more technical work and edit the raw files, so choice is important to me.

Before my culling I had these packages on my laptop. All the most recent versions:

Capture One
Photoscape X Pro
ON1 Photo Raw 2021
Nik Collection

Affinity Photo
Aurora HDR

I have decided to take streamline how I work. This meant running a little test on software I want sure about, to see if it was quick and able enough. For the most part, I want to keep a browser type view, I also want the ability for colour grading and presets/LUTs. The test was really simple, I had some rocks at a rock pool that were shot directly into the sun, and I wanted to see how easily I could raise the shadows to reveal the rocks in the best detail, as well as preserve the sky.

After going through everything, and really thinking about what I use and don’t (plus the fact I don’t really tutor that much at the moment), I decided to keep these editing programs:

PhotoWorks – Although I’ve not been using Photoworks 10 long, I’m already in love with how quick it is to edit jpegs and raw files. It’s many features mean I can get the job done efficiently and with little trouble.
Photoscape X Pro – For quick editing of jpegs, there’s no rival. This program is amazing and generally my go to editor for social media or family prints. It is very versatile, and has so many features such as colour grading presets, borders, brilliant text abilities and much more.
LuminarAI – An amazing raw editor that works really well with Fujifilm files. The software is nice and fast, and reliable, which is why I use it more than ON1. Another very versatile package, especially useful for changing skies or backgrounds if ever needed, plus it has great portrait AI options.
ON1 Photo Raw 2021 – My love affair with ON1 is hit or miss, usually because of the endless problems with it that most every user has experienced. The latest update though seems more stable, so I’ll keep this for now.
Gimp – I can get things done in Gimp much faster than Photoshop, and like the way it works. Perfect for more arty projects. It’s basically a less intimidating version of Photoshop, with all the features I could ever need or use.
Aurora HDR – For my HDR images when Photoscape X Pro fails to align on complicated instead images. Plus, it gives me a little bit of play in the look, should I want to experiment.

As you can see, I got rid of some really big hitters, but I just use other things more. I’ve never liked Affinity, mostly because of its below par raw editor. I like Adobe Camera Raw, but it’s inside Photoshop and not worth keeping for that. I don’t like the way Lightroom or Capture One have you import images, although I do prefer Lightroom of both of them. Nik Collection is a funny one, as I used to use it a lot, but fell out of love with it and never used it recently.

And what about my beloved Darktable? Why, you may ask, have I decided to remove this? The answer is simple, although it’s the most powerful of all the editing packages, I just don’t have the patience to tinker at the moment, plus the direction it’s taking with the different workflows is making things a little more difficult for me to get my head around. I want quick and easy, so that’s the complete opposite of Darktable!

I think in this day and age, you can’t go wrong with whatever software you use. There’s no bad software, and it really is about using the editor that you want to use. My next step might be to lose either ON1 or LuminarAI, as they are both quite similar in what they do. I’ll see over the coming weeks which I use most for everyday editing.

Remember, editing is a very personal thing, use what suits you best, and use what gets you the results that make you the success that you are today.

Published by Mark G.Adams

Fujifilm And Olympus Documentary Photographer, YouTuber & Blogger.

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