If you’re a professional photographer, then you’ll need a decent software toolbox to improve, enhance and generally edit your images. The problem is, there are few areas of software where there are more products and it’s often difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. What follows here is a roundup of a variety of tools that will help you remain better organised, more efficient and producing higher quality images in your professional work.
For those that are rushing constantly from shoot to shoot, you’ll know how easy it is to forget equipment and how much hassle it is to keep changing settings and cameras for each job. If you use Outlook, then a great solution is Microsoft Pro Photo Shoot. This simple plugin provides you with an excellent organisational tool that previews your upcoming shoots and details exactly what type of equipment, location, shoot details you will be dealing with. Note that it only works with Outlook 2003 or 2007 though. Meanwhile, one of the most common first tasks after a shoot is resizing and some programs make this much more complicated than it should be, reducing image quality in the process. PIXresizer certainly doesn’t however and enables simple resizing, just by clicking on the thumbnail and selecting the ratio you want to change it by – whether by pixels or percentage.
Image editing is perhaps the most important post production task you need to perform as an photographer and there can be few developers better than Adobe at catering for these needs. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is about as good as it gets in this regard and for anything you can’t do on it, Adobe Photoshop fills in the gaps. Both are highly professional products enabling you to do anything from adding filters to changing pixel resolutions. The downside of course is that neither package comes cheap – in which case if you’re on a budget, Paint Shop Pro allows you do pretty much the same things at a fraction of the cost. It’s also a lot easier to use if you’re just starting out in your photographic career.
Of course for many serious professionals, the only machine they’d even consider image editing on is a Mac. Again, there are a plethora of choices but few better than Apple Aperture. This all-in-one toolbox is endorsed by professionals worldwide enabling you to deal with RAW images as easily as JPEGs. A slightly easier to use but less powerful package is LightZone which focuses solely on retouching but guides you through the retouching process from start to finish.