Which Photo Processing Software Should You Use?

Which Photo Processing Software Should You Use?

July 12, 2019 21 By Bernardo Ryan



hey guys this is Anthony Morgan tee I am mr. photographer calm you know there are tons of applications for processing images you might be a little confused about which application would be best for you I mean a lot of people are using Lightroom classic other people are using on one photo raw 20:19 some people swear by luminar 3 others are using alien skin exposure x4 still others say capture 1 is the best then many others are using affinity photo well in this video I'm going to talk about the pros and cons of each of these applications and hopefully that will help you determine which might work best for you before I begin just let me say that of course there's way more applications out there that will process images than the six we're going to talk about today of note there are two very popular open-source applications that I want to mention one is called darktable and the other is called raw therapy the reason why I'm not including them in the rundown that I'm doing today is because I'm really not very familiar with either of those applications I do not use them every day so I'm not familiar with them enough to compare them feature to feature with the ones I'll be talking about so I would be remiss though if I didn't mention them and in the description below this video I have links to dark table and raw therapy so you could download them and try them out as I mentioned they're open source so they're free and maybe there's something that would work for you now the six I'm going to talk about today I am in a Philly at four five of them so I want to mention that at the top as well and in the description below this video I'll have a link to my code of ethics statement please read that you could understand what it means to be an affiliate and what it means for me to be an affiliate so you could check that out now we're gonna start out talking about Lightroom now all the applications are non-destructive Raw editors of course you could edit other images bc beside RAW files but they're all the same in that regard they're non-destructive Raw editors and we're gonna stalk about probably talk about the most popular maybe and maybe the most blind is Lightroom Lightroom has a lot of advantages to it first of all let's talk about the pros it has a digital asset management module that's library module and it's very comprehensive you could put create collections and put images in collections you could star rate and color label images you could edit metadata you could move images from folder to folder you could do a lot of work on images and the metadata of the images in library module so it's very comprehensive library module has a develop module that's where the processing is done it uses you know the standard type of tab processing where you have a tab for the tone and presence another tab for the tone curve another tab for color another tab for detail and so on so it kind of uses that method very standard kind of processing it has kind of rudimentary standard tools cropping spot removal has a red-eye pet eye removal tool has graduated filter radial filter and a brush so it does do its job I mean it really does work well it's been out a long time it is pretty stable as far as I'm concerned runs well on my machines I do hear people complaining now and then it crashes on their machine but it does work pretty well on mine now it has a lot of modules now for some people it may be worthless to have all these modules for example he has a map module which I rarely use as a web module that I never use he has a book module that I used once but a lot of people like it they like to create books and with the book module you could create a book from within Lightroom upload it to the printer from within Lightroom pay for it from within Lightroom and do never leave while Lightroom and create a book you also can clean up create a slideshow in Lightroom but what I want to talk about a little more in depth is the print module the print module is pretty in-depth in Lightroom you could load ICC profiles for your printer iccprofile is something you would get from the paper manufacturer so using a very specific brand of paper like Hana meal photo rag paper you go to Hana meals website and download load and icc profile for their paper for the specific printer you're using loaded into Lightroom and then Lightroom controls the printing Lightroom will tell that printer exactly how to use or to print to that paper and very powerful print capabilities as I mentioned in Lightroom and a lot of photographers who print a lot love the print module not the easiest module to use and I do have videos I think three or four videos for videos on the print module that explain how to use it but it is something that is kind of unique to Lightroom in a way but very something that you could use now there is no LUT support in Lightroom but it does have camera profiles and it also has support for something like the xr8 color checker for those of you not familiar oh this is an X right color checker it looks like a palette of watercolor paints what a photographer would need this far as if they absolutely positively must have the exact precise colors in their photo they would use this and put this in the scene and light it with the lights they're using in their photo and take a photo with this then they use the software that's available in this to analyze it and it comes up with a profile that you load into Lightroom that it actually loads into Lightroom for you so that when you're taking photos in that same environment with the same lighting the colors will be exact now advertising photographer that's doing work for say coca-cola coca-cola red has to be exact IBM blue must be exact that's why photographers will need to use an app or a device such as this and that's where Lightroom comes in because it's integrated in the Lightroom their software will load it into Lightroom and you could very easily then make sure that you're getting true colors fashion photographers designer puts out a dress or something in it they want that color exact in the photos there you go that's where Lightroom shines it also has tethered support so if you're in a studio shooting tethered it has that it has a HDR and panorama support it does not have focus stacking support though but you could do HDR s & panoramas let's see some other I guess cons is there's no layer support at all so you can't do anything with layers it has limited masking it just has masking for the local adjustment tools and the masking for those tools is a bit quirky and unique to Lightroom I do have some recent video as I've done on the masking in Lightroom and encourage you to watch those if you're interested in doing any masking with Lightroom but as I mentioned it's limited to the local adjustment tools it has no LUT support at all so you cannot apply a lot to your image but it does have as I mentioned comprehensive profile support and profiles are kind of like lots also another thing that a lot of people don't like is you have to import images in the Lightroom you just cannot navigate to where they are on your hard drive and start processing them you have to go through a formal import process and import them into Lightroom it's time-consuming sometimes if you have a lot of images and sometimes it's just a little confusing at least for some users it is the main con at least from what I've read from everyone is it's only available as far as Lightroom classic is concerned it's only available as a monthly subscription currently in the United States the photography package which is Lightroom classic Lightroom which is kind of a Lightroom in the cloud I call it which I've done videos on it's it's got many and most of the features Lightroom has but it works with images that are in the cloud that version it also works on like iPads and you know other types of mobile devices and Photoshop is $9.99 a month now it's 99 a month today July 11th 2019 but a month or two ago Adobe kind of floated out with some users that it was like $19.99 a month and then they said they were running a test so not to take that seriously but I mean it may have been a test and they were saying if they could get away with it but I suspect that that photography package will be going up it's gonna be higher than $9.99 I would imagine soon probably somewhere between that $9.99 and $19.99 so it's gonna be in there somewhere again it's a monthly charge if you want all of Adobe software in the United States it's like 50 to 99 you get every application they have but again a lot of people don't like that monthly fee so if you you might want to consider one of the other applications we're going to be talking about and the first one we'll talk about is on one photo raw 2019 in my opinion on one photo raw 2019 is the most comprehensive of all the applications we're going to be talking about it has the most features now it has a library or digital asset management module they call it the Browse module and in the Browse module you could do those things you could do in Lightroom you could star rate color label edit metadata instead of collections it has I think what do they call it albums you could put images in albums similar to collections so it has all the pretty much features that are in the library module of Lightroom are available here the Edit module has some more features though then compared to Lightroom first of all has the developed tab in the Edit module or in the edit panel you see there's tonin color adjustments color adjustments details that sharpening noise reduction lens Corrections transform tools all that is available in the develop tab then it has an effects tab and with the effects tab you could add any one of a number of different effects to your image and you can see on this specific image I have a dynamic contrast effect a color enhancer effect tone enhancer effect and a vignette effect added to the image now with the effects come masking and it is pretty comprehensive and powerful masking you could do luminosity masks you can mask an effect so it only affects a very specific part of your image with a brush you could use the luminosity mask you could use blend modes the blend modes that are common in an application like Photoshop or available here and you could do like you know an effect that just like affects this tree for example if you wanted to so very comprehensive also it has layer support so you could do layers so you could have a number of FEX on one layer and maybe different effects on another layer and then use layer masks so that group of effects that are on a specific layer only effect a very specific part of the image and again that mask could be a luminosity mask just a mask you use with a brush to brush it in or out of specific areas or you could use blend modes again so very powerful also there's a portrait tab now I would consider the portrait capabilities or processing that's in on one foot or 2019 to be rather rudimentary but you got to remember where I'm coming from a been a professional for some time and I've learned portrait processing in photoshop and photoshop you could do some really powerful like skin smoothing and things in Photoshop it's a little more rudimentary in on one foot or I'll 2019 but it's much faster and much easier to use you could enhance eyes you could whiten teeth you could read and lips you get smooth skin you could remove blemishes have tools to remove blemishes so very easy to use very quick and I think most professionals could get away with using the portrait tab here wedding photographers graduation photographers and so on no problem I think the portrait tab works fine you also could process HDR images panorama images and focus stacking are available in on one photo raw 20:19 so as I mentioned it's it's very comprehensive application has ICC support for printers and printer paper the print module or the print capabilities aren't as um involved not as well develop maybe as Lightroom but very capable so you'll be able to do that now whether it has it has tethering support so if using in the studio like Lightroom in oh well you could tether to it um I'm the the jury's out whether you could use an x-ray colorchecker with it I I don't know how to do it I can't figure out I've read online that supposedly you could but then I've read that you can't so if someone knows put it in the comments below and help us out so again x-ray color checker very small probably percentage of photographers need to use the x-ray color checker but if you do need to use it you got to make sure your software could handle it some cons I found export to be slow when you're export image just relatively slow it just takes a long time for it to chug out an image not really sure why and I wrote too much too soon and what I mean by that is the good thing is they're always adding to this software they're always adding new features focus stacking was recently added tethering things they keep adding to it so you'll get an update and it might have a major new feature added to it but a lot of times it's just not quite stable on that first release of a new update so it takes another update to fix whatever wasn't stable so you know that could be a pain in the neck but then again it's nice that they keep updating it it does have LUT support it has a lot filter so you could add lots you can't use lots again in Lightroom no lots in Lightroom and I'm not sure this is an issue this might just be an issue with me uses an open source database for its its lens profiles so when you do lens Corrections it's looking to an open source database for those Corrections in my mind when I think open source I mean anyone could add a lens profile to it I wonder how rigorous and precise those lens profiles may be so I haven't had an issue with it no but I just wanted to mention that and throw that out there I'm always a very powerful resize module works really well so it has a lot a lot of features tons I haven't even mentioned what I do recommend again is all of these applications have 30-day trials free trials and I don't believe with any of them that you will have to use a credit card download the free trial mate for first all make sure that the software is right for you that it has features that work for your style and workflow and secondly make sure it runs on your system because all of our systems are different we have different applications running in the background and somebody might be having might have something that's running in the background that conflicts with one of these applications and causes it to crash all the time and you don't want to spend all this money on the software to have a crash and on one photo raw cost $99.99 it is currently on sale Jolla July 11 2019 for $79.99 $79.99 I'm not sure how long it lasts alright so just trying to be thorough so a hundred bucks it's yours you'll get all the updates for that version you purchase for free but when they come out with a new version then you'll have to pay an upgrade fee and I'm not sure how much the upgrade fee but I'm sure it's less than $99.99 now one thing to note is that this is on one photo raw 2019 last year they had on one full or 2018 I suspect that next year they're gonna have on one photo raw 2020 so those are the major new versions that you'll have to pay an upgrade fee so you may have to pay an upgrade fee every year or so for the software that's where the advantage comes in of paying monthly for a software application if you pay monthly you get the latest version no matter what and it doesn't cost you any extra so on one photo ah in my opinion the most comprehensive of the software we're talking about today next is lumen our three lumen our three is a little bit unique but we should probably talk about first the different versions of Luminara came out first of all they had lumen are maybe three years ago then a couple years old go lumen are 2018 and then they came out with lumen are three now they also have what an application called lumen our flex lumen our three and lumen our flex are the two current applications lumen our three has a digital asset management module the library module so again it compares to on one in Lightroom with the library module you could move images from folder to folder you could start rate them you could color label them you could edit metadata put things in things that are like collections in Lightroom I think they're called folder net folders that are called albums in in in this application there's so it's very very comparable to the library module one thing advantage I didn't mention on one photo 2019 and lumen are three is you do not have to go through a formal import process like you do in Lightroom you could just navigate to wherever your images are and start working on them so you're good to go also if your lightroom user you could import your Lightroom catalog although it doesn't import the edits it just imports the catalog where it is so you know it's a pretty cool program I like it I think if you're a landscape photographer I think it's probably one of the best applications out there it does a great job on landscape and cityscape images it has 52 different filters now it doesn't have the tab design like Lightroom has we were in the develop module it has different filters like the effects are in on one member and on one photo raw we had these different effects and you click on add filter and you can see these different effects filters well lumen are similar except it has 52 different ones look at all of them so there's all different types of things you could do to your image and with that it would probably satisfy just about any style so if you're a high contrast black and white shooter you may find this works great as I keep hitting my mouse and switching or on the other hand if you're a pseudo HDR photographer you may find it works equally great so it will satisfy a lot of different types of photography or in photographers and you'll find a filter or set of filters that set that or you know satisfy your style or that you'll enjoy using it has filter masks so you could apply a filter to a very specific part of your image you could do it with a brush or use a luminosity mask so very powerful there it also has layers so you could put filters on different layers and then use layer masks to mask it in again with a rush or use a luminosity mask to apply it to very specific areas and parts of your image with the layers it does not have HDR and it does not have panoramas and it does not have focus stacking so that that isn't there it does have LUT support though so you can put lots or use lots on this application so Lightroom no lots on one in luminar 3 lots also I started talking about I got sidetracked is the other application luminar flex does not have the library module but it's meant to be used as a plugin mainly for Lightroom and Photoshop so if you're a Lightroom user but you want to take advantage of these 50-plus filters you could by luminar flex and use it as a plugin and then you know adjust your image accordingly as a plugin so it's pretty powerful but it has some significant cons I need to mention first of all Windows users the Windows version is lagging the Mac version feature wise and it's been since they came out the company that makes luminar is called Skylab software they are originally called mcfine they made applications exclusively for Mac computers few years ago they changed their name to sky loom and they started porting those images or those applications over to Windows now it's my opinion I have no proof of this it's just an educated guess that most of the programmers there are probably MEK programmers and they innovate and create new versions of the application on Mac first and then ported over to Windows later so there's features that are in the Mac version that aren't in the Windows version and they they're trying with every release to make them more equal to one another but there's still some things that are missing also the Windows version isn't as stable as the Mac version I hear a lot of Windows users complaining that it's really slow or that it crashes a lot so again this is where that 30-day free trial comes in download it and try it out make sure that it works for you and works the way you expect it to work the price is 70 bucks they have some you know add-ons to it where you get some they call it looks which are really presets that will you could pay a little extra but 70 bucks is lumen our three and again its standalone program includes library module all that stuff and you're good to go so pretty cool again though some some of those you know stabilization as far as being how stable it is on Windows computers also what I found – I should mention real quick I found the erase brush to be really slow so if you're removing sensor spots and things it's slow and a little buggy also there's no printer ICC profile support so if you're a plan to print your own images to like expensive you know photo rag paper or something like that there's no way for you to use the printers icc profile or those papers icc profile so that's something that might make the program not applicable or not usable for you so keep that in mind next application we're going to talk about is alien skin exposure x4 this one too has a library module and again the library module could do all that library stuff we talked about before also I use kind of the tab layout like Lightroom does so you have like a basic tab or you could do tone adjustments detail tab for sharpening and so on you can see it has layers and masks now the masks aren't as advanced as say the masks are in on one photo raw 2019 or in lumen are three there's no luminosity masks just basic masks so you could come in and use a brush to mask in or out the adjustments in specific parts of your image so at least there's masks I mean Lightroom doesn't have any masking at all although other thing is there's no profile support so there's no camera profiles you see in the basic tab whereas in Lightroom on one photo raw have profile and Luminara 3 actually have profile support you can see there's none here so there's no profile support let's see it has no HDR no panoramas and no focus stacking and it doesn't have the printer ICC profile support either so if you're printing yourself you cannot use printer ICC profiles here either so that might be a disclaimer or not a disclaimer just something they can you not want to use the application this program is a little more expensive than some of the others this 119 119 bucks you could upgrade if you old on an older version 479 but of the applications this one in my opinion at least on my computer runs the fastest and is the most stable you do not have to formally import images into this like you do in Lightroom so it's similar to an one photo raw and luminar you just navigate to wherever they are in your computer and start processing them so it's very stable it works well it's a good raw processor it's just doesn't have some of those features that you might want so profile specifically especially if you using like an x-ray color checker you know there's no tethering as far as I know in this either so pretty and I'd say I don't want to call it a basic raw processor but compared to the other applications I guess it's more basic alright so that is alien skin exposure x4 next one is capture 1 capture 1 is I'll tell you right off the bat if if aliens can expose your export is the easiest program to use a capture one is definitely probably the hardest to use it's it's difficult to kind of get the hang of so it has the equivalent of a library module and again you could do the star ratings and the color labels and all that stuff and you can see that's over here on the right and you can see where I could star rate an image or give it a color a label stuff like that so it has all that in the edits part of it though that's where it gets a little more complicated it uses kind of the tab system that is in Lightroom although you have a little more control of moving them around and putting them in different spots or just not having them appear at all but you can see it's a little more it's on the left and it looks so that even looks a little more complicated so there is going to be a bit of a larger learning curve now the advantage of capture one a lot of photographers feel is fuji photographers love it they think it processes Fuji images made with the x-trans sensor much better than any other application especially Lightroom this is an image made with Fuji I forget which one I think in X Pro – maybe but either way this is a Fuji raw file and you can see the processing done on it so a lot of Fuji photographers love it Sony photographers love it – a lot of Sony photographers think it processes Sony RAW files really well as well now there's really no HDR capabilities there's no focus taking no panoramas there is tethering if I remember right there's um now in this one you have to import images you just can't navigate to where they are in your hard drive and start working on them so you do have to go through a formal update process so there's that and what I consider maybe a con if you talk about pros and cons it's expensive it's probably the most expensive application we're going to talk about it's um if you just want to buy it outright its $299 now you can do monthly monthly is 20 bucks so 20 bucks a month or $2.99 now they do have style packs that you could add to it there's kind of like presets dad costs they add I mean you could spend them over hundred dollars with if you want all the style packs with it and everything but if you're a Sony or Fuji users they have specific versions for you so if you're a Fuji user or a Sony user and you want to buy it outright you by the Sony version for the Sony usually the Fuji version for the Fuji user it's 2:19 so it's cheaper than $2.99 or it's sixteen dollars I believe a month now currently I see they have the Sony and Fuji versions on sale I don't sure how long the sale lasts if you want to buy it outright it's 109 or it's $8 a month so that's pretty affordable there especially again like I said a lot of Fuji users just love it again I recommend you download the 30-day free trial and try it out so see Fuji users download 30 day free trial this one download Lightroom see which one works better if you're gonna pay monthly and see which one works better for you also there is going to be a significant learning curve with capture one it is kind of different for lack of a better way I am going to be doing some videos on it in the future I plan to do them working on a project now actually for something else that I can't mention yet but I got to finish that project so it's kind of set I wanted to do this one by middle of July which is at July 11th you could tell I'm behind so beginning of August now I want to do videos on capture one and you'll get a better idea of how it works so capture one it's not as feature-rich as some of the other ones but it's all in praat and just RAW processing it's probably more powerful and it has layers I should add it has layers it has masking a luminosity has all the stuff that an advanced application would have four layers so it has all that doesn't have some of those other bells and whistles slow-like HDR panorama 'z focus stacking and you also have to import the images which a lot of people don't care to do now the last one I'm just going to talk about briefly is affinity for I want to talk about it because a lot of people talk about this in email me about it affinity photo is more of a direct replacement for Photoshop than it is Lightroom affinity photo is laid out almost exactly like Photoshop you can see over on the Left we have all the tool well all the tools over on the right we have layers it's got masking it has all the tools so you could do focus stacking all the different things you could do or most of the different the things I mean Photoshop has been around forever and it's very feature-rich affinity photo hasn't been around as long so it doesn't have all the features but it has most of the major features and the features that a photographer would use so it is like I said it's it's a little more complicated too so if you're ever tried to use Photoshop and we're a little lost you may get a little lost in affinity photo as well but it it does a very good job and I mean it's a really good application but there is a learning curve I do have a number of videos on affinity photo you could check those out if you're interested in affinity photo and actually I may have misspoke earlier I'm not sure if affinity photo has a trial I'm not sure if it does someone could write in the comment section below if they do it is available for Windows and Mac in the in the Apple Store for Mac and online I believe for Windows and it's really relatively cheap for what it is it's 49 bucks so compared to you know 49.99 when you compare it to Photoshop one photo it before Photoshop is Photoshop CC is like seven hundred dollars to buy so you can see while a lot of people chose to use affinity photo over Photoshop but now with the photography package if you want to spend the ten bucks a month as it is now you'll get Photoshop as well and then you won't need an implication like affinity photo but I do find that affinity photo does a lot of things faster than Photoshop a photo stacking for example way faster an affinity photo like five times faster on my computer compared to Photoshop and does the exact same thing it does the exact same thing some other types of blending image blending way faster on affinity photo compared to photoshop but if you're really into photoshop you may want to check out affinity photo it's lower overhead too I think on your machine so it doesn't use as many resources so I found it works really well but I wanted to mention it only because I get a lot of people asking me about it but it's really not a direct replacement for Lightroom it does everything Lightroom could do but it does way more and it's a little more complicated and has a bigger learning curve um so throw that out there I'm sorry this video took so long I really am I I I know I probably forgot to mention a lot of things if I forgot any feature or anything feel free to comment below I want to try to be as thorough as possible and I won't mind if you correct me if I made a mistake whatever whatever it takes so we make sure that whoever is interested in getting any of these applications knows what they're getting I just want it to be as accurate as possible so that's it thank you everyone who watches my videos I truly do appreciate it I'll talk to you guys soon you