Photo editing software - What's best?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by sara_sanders, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. Hi there. I am currently searching for the best editing software. I have downloaded a couple of free trial versions
    (Lightroom 2, Adobe Photoshop Elements 6) so that I could try them out before I had to purchase one. I'm leaning
    more towards Lightroom 2 after several hours of playing with both. However, I'm hoping to be able to get some
    opinions before I make my final decision.

    A little background - I own my own event photography business. I'm doing mainly weddings right now - and I'm
    already booking up pretty fast for next year. I'm a huge fan of editing my photos after the weddings to fit the bride and
    grooms' tastes (B&W, Sepia, Focal B&W, etc.). I need a program that is going to be relatively easy to edit a lot of
    photographs ((I try to take around 1000 shots per wedding), yet still gives me plenty of tools to work with.

    Between the aforementioned programs, which one do you like best and why? If you don't use either program, what
    program do you use and why do you use that one?

    Also - I love to use tools like Focal B&W (where only one part of the picture is in color), soft focus, etc. However, I
    am having a hard time finding those on Lightroom 2. How would I go about doing something like that?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.

    Sara
     
  2. sara - make sure you try photomechanic. I find that the most processing time is spent finding the good from the bad files and comparing - photomechanic is the fastest raw browser I have found.

    on the other hand, 1000 shots per wedding sounds pretty low to me. I'm more of a 2000-4000 shot kind of guy.
     
  3. LR 2 - couldn't live without it. I use 100% and occasionally export to PS for some things. Its just such a complete program. I shoot RAW, import the RAW in, flag the good stuff, edit from there. You just can't beat it, in my opinion. I'm sure there are plenty of people happy with Aperture too, so you should check that out as well.
     
  4. I'd recommend ACDSee Pro 2.5. I've been using it for years. It's half the cost of Lightroom (only $130), has an
    incredible RAW engine, does batch processing, image management, and I use their tools for 95% of my editing.
    And, since most of what I shoot is JPEG, I use their shadow/highlight equalizer tool extensively. It's the best
    shadow / highlight tool you'll find anywhere, because it lets you adjust specific ranges of brightness within your
    photo, without disturbing the other levels. You can bring up just the shadows without disturbing the highlights. It gives
    you very fine control. And, they have the same equalizer tool in their RAW converter too, which is built in to the
    program.

    Also, unlike LR, you don't have to "import" a folder of images to work with them, and then export them somewhere
    else. You simply navigate from folder to folder, and thumbnails are created on the fly, similar to any other file
    explorer. It's much faster and easier.

    You can download a free 30 day trial from their website, just google it.
     
  5. LR2 is becoming my most used PP tool.
     
  6. ditto ... "... LR 2 most used photo editing tool !!!! ..." since I've been shooting RAW.

    Ray
     
  7. LR2 is the 'quick and dirty' version of Photoshop CS3. If you're serious about the craft, master CS3.
     
  8. Photoshop CS, or CS2, or CS3 is the industry standard.
     
  9. Shooting RAW and about the same number of shots that you do (1,000+) per wedding I use LR 1.4.1 (am migrating to 2). It saves me an incredible amount of time working up proofs for the client and for my web site.

    All images I put in albums and sell are further refined with PhotoShop CS3. I can create incredible images here but it takes time and this care with final images pays off with the prices I have established.

    The RAW processor (my choice is LR, but it may not be your choice) prepares an acceptable proof. Only PhotoShop gives me the quality and individuality I demand for all my clients.

    Stu
     
  10. A dedicated raw processing program like LR2, ACDSee, or CU1 is great for getting through a high volume of images, but I don't see any of those programs as able to completely replace a dedicated image editor like Photoshop. For some images and some features (like the spot color you're looking for, etc.) you need a real image editor. Photoshop Elements ($100) is the low end version of Photoshop CS4 ($700), but you need something like this at times. Other options in the Elements price range are PaintShop Pro, and Picture Windows Pro. Full blown CS4 is the standard though.

    I think an event photography business needs both types; fast raw processor, and dedicated image editor. But if you can only afford one, it has to be the image editor, because it will also process a large amount of files (slowly), but the raw processor can't do many things you will need it to do.
     
  11. my vote would be LR2 with CS3 for the more intricate stuff.
     
  12. I also use LR, and tried many others. But LR was the easiest to go through many images. That said I didn't spend as much time with other programs. Whether you also need Photoshop depends on what you want to do, and how much time you want to spend, and what you know how to do.

    But I do find LR to be slow to load images and previews and histograms, and make corrections and apply them. I have a dual core 2.0 ghz pc with 2GB of ram, with win XP, and it's just not fast enough. When I have many images it's a major waste of time. I will give photo mechanic a demo.
     
  13. LR2 is what I use 99% of the time.
    I just found how to do a simple spot color using the brush tool set to -100 saturation and the Auto Mask box
    checked. It worked well for the particular shot I did it on. I don't do much spot color, I think it's going out of fashion,
    but thought it would look cool



    I mainly use PS for when I want to use Kubota action, have very detailed editing to do or making composites or
    graphic design work like thank you cards.

    Sam
     
  14. .....Christopher Hartt , Sep 30, 2008; 07:45 p.m.
    LR2 is the 'quick and dirty' version of Photoshop CS3. If you're serious about the craft, master CS3.....

    If you're serious about the craft, master the craft of photography. Way too many 'photographers' rely on 'tools' to fix
    photos that should have been shot correctly in the first place. If you need some serious retouching, hire a person that
    does retouching. That's what they do, let them do it. If people could shoot their own weddings they would. They can't,
    so they hire you. That's what you do. 'Mastering' a program like p/s. could become a full time job. Not mastering it
    means you're not using the capabilities of what you paid for. There are tons of kids coming out of 'art' schools that
    have learned p/s., etc. They'd love the experience, you'll love the weight off your shoulders.

    Bill P.
     
  15. I use PS Elements and DxO Optics Pro. If you are not familiar with DxO you owe it to yourself to check it out. It is composed of algorithms that correct camera and lens combined short comings like CA, barrel distortion, etc. And allows you to edit in batch mode if you choose. It's awesome.
     
  16. I use LR2 and PS CS3. The two programs are meant to be use together. LR is very good at light touch ups. PS is for the more heavy duty stuff that can't be done in LR. If all you need to do is minor white balance corrections,and cropping,and or color corrections then Lr is enough. Hope this helps you.
     
  17. Jim Strutz is right that these image management programs can't totally replace the need for Photoshop. I've used Lightroom, but again, for me, ACDSee Pro 2 has been way better and more intuitive to use, and covers 95% of my post production work. The other 5% of the time I spend with Photoshop, mostly for text and image layers and stamp-tooling. I have a feeling that many here just use Lightroom because Adobe is the "big dog" on the block, and many haven't even tried ACDSee or anything else to evaluate the differences.

    There's nothing wrong with that, and folks can use what they like, but just because Adobe has all the market share doesn't mean they have the best tools (or best price).

    I'm still frustrated with PS CS3, because it still doesn't have things that other programs have like customizable buttons for one-click access to the most used functions, customizable toolbars, etc. It has macro-based actions, but there are MUCH better ways to accomplish these functions from a human factors standpoint.

    I guess we'll see what CS4 has to offer in this regard.
     
  18. Couldn't live without Lightroom 2.0 - best thing that ever happened to photography... I just use photo shop for touch-ups and lightroom for color adjustment and cropping...
     
  19. I haven't gotten the nerve to actually purchase a photo editor yet. Since I am just starting out, I've been using Google's Picasa 3 beta version. It has all sorts of automatic as well as manual tools. The newest beta version that just came out has the retouching option as well as being able to add text to an image as well as watermark. Pretty fancy for a free program.
     
  20. Interesting viewpoints on LR and PS. After having used PS for sooooo many years, my first exposure to LR was
    WOW for one reason only: the preciseness and detailed tools for processing RAW files. My analogy was that LR
    was the surgeon's scalpel compared to PS's very sharp knife.

    When I first saw the screens on LR, I wondered what everyone was raving about. As I got in deeper, I could see so
    much more to the functionality of LR. I ended up buying a book by Martin Evening ... EXCELLENT. According to
    some friends, Scott Kelby's book is also excellent but does not go as deeply into the product.

    Clearly, one must still use PS for other editing functions not present in LR. And this leads me to my other "thought"
    on Adobe: EVERY function in LR could have more or less easily built-in to a version of PS instead of rolling out an
    entirely new product.

    My other point with PS is ACR 3.4 (Adobe Camera Raw) in CS2. No further updates on ACR were available to PS
    CS2 users, one had to purchase PS CS3 to get the new versions ... or purchase LR which included the new versions
    of ACR.

    And by the way, Picasa 3 is probably the best of the best free editing pograms. I wouldn't be surprised to see
    Google include layers in their next version. By the way, Picasa 3 reads RAW fiels !!

    Ray
     
  21. Without a doubt, 100% Lightroom 2. It is simply the best, most intuitive digital photography tool out there.

    "LR2 is the 'quick and dirty' version of Photoshop CS3. If you're serious about the craft, master CS3."

    Actually, LR2 and CS3 use the same RAW conversion tools, so this really isn't true. 99% of CS3 is completely unneeded for photography and working on multiple images at the same time is 100% easier with LR2. It simply does everything I need.
     
  22. I've got a long history with Photoshop so I just default to using that, but unless I missed it, nobody has mentioned using Bridge CS3 in their workflow. You can't do any RAW editing in the program itself, but in terms of pre-editing work like organizing, batch-renaming and metadata tagging, I love it. That, in tandem with ACR and the ability to automate batch actions through Photoshop (and the other Adobe apps), I find it works really well for me. I think a lot of people were put off by Bridge CS2, mostly because it was a really badly engineered piece of software... but the CS3 version fixed just about all the issues.

    That being said, I've only scratched the surface of LR2, and quite like what I see so far, so I may wind up porting my workflow over to that. To each their own! Long live options!
     
  23. If you have a choice of just one, I would recommend Photoshop. If your budget will allow both, go for it but just one, go with PS. Perhaps my LR2 skills aren't at a level to use it 100% but each photo I edit in LR, I finish in PhotoShop.
    Not only that, PS has so many other tools that LR doesn't. I don't believe you can create an album page in LR?
     
  24. i believe lightroom is a much professional tool for event or wedding photography.
     
  25. I think Amazifier is the best. I use Paint.net/PhotoScape/Irfanview as well, but I like the nice UI in Amazifier and its definitely easier.It’s a free one like Paint.net and PhotoScape but Amazifier is far more simple and a has real cool look and feel. You can download it on here - www.amazifier.com.
     

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