When you’re a professional photographer, choosing your photo editing software is pretty important – it’s going to be a key part of your process and central to your success. We’ve decided to have a look at a few editing packages that are on the market at the moment and how they compare.
It’s definitely worth extensively researching software before you make any decisions. Think about your proficiency with editing software, your experience and the complexity you’re looking for.
Adobe Photography plan
Use Photoshop and Lightroom on your Mac or PC for a pretty decent price and enjoy both of these superb programmes. Photoshop is still unrivalled for the complex, multi-step image editing and it just can’t be rivalled for the interface it provides to layer, re-touch and mask photos.
It’s not fantastic for organising your photos, especially if you’re professional with a large collection – it takes a bit of fiddling to find folders. This package is ideal for people with complex requirements, there’s so much you can do and so many tools to play with – in that sense, the possibilities are limitless, but working out how to do everything isn’t straightforward.
Serif Affinity Photo
If you’re looking for software other than Photoshop, Serif Affinity is a safe bet for all of your editing requirements. Whereas previous versions have been criticised for being too basic, Serif is now compatible with Mac software, which will please users everywhere.
Photoshop users will be familiar with the user experience in Serif, as it’s fairly easy to get to grips with and it’s similar in lots of ways. A few tweaks and some new terminology won’t take long to get used to. It’s budget-friendly too, but cataloguing is its downfall.
Phase One Capture One Pro 10
Capture One started life simply as a tool in Phase One equipment, but it’s now an image-editing package that can be used by any professional photographer. All of your images will be imported into an easily navigable database, with keyword tagging that you can then make modifications to. The raw conversion capability is impressive and photos are extracted with crisp detail.
There are a few useful things missing though, such as face recognition, automatic album creation and layer editing.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 15
Elements is a really good tool for photographers that aren’t schooled in Photoshop software and are just starting out. It’s very user-friendly and ideal for beginners and photographers of any level. This can begin to grate though, as some functions are a bit too stripped back, i.e the Adobe Camera Raw included is a scaled down version.
However, it does have a range of features like keyword tagging, face recognition, layer editing and content-aware edits – making it a perfectly adept software package for most photographers. Professionals with extensive experience might be looking for something a bit more advanced though, so it’s good to acknowledge that the package does have some limitations for expert Photoshop users.
Cyberlink PhotoDirector 8 Ultra
This package is pretty similar to Lightroom, in terms of its interface, viewing modes and image window. It’s pretty simple and straightforward to use with slick, easy to use design. The Adjustment function has an array of tools that you can use like filter effects, cloning tools and layer editing. You might still need to use another editor like photoshop or lightroom to get the exact type of images you want though to take your photo from raw to finished.
Cyberlink PhotoDirector 8 Ultra doesn’t have Automatic Album Creation, which can be impractical, but the rest of the features it has can make up for it.
Corel PaintShop Pro X8
PaintShop Pro has a really handy in-built Learning Centre, which helps you to get to grips with the software. It’s pretty similar to Photoshop and has most of the best corresponding tools. It’s a lot cheaper than Photoshop packages, but gives you a lot of the same capabilities. The image editing quality is good, but it is a bit slower than other packages, which means you might get frustrated when you’ve got some pressing deadlines to meet or a heavy workload.
It doesn’t have Automatic Album Creation, but what it lacks in this department – it makes up for it with keyword tagging, face recognition, good layer editing, lens profile corrections and content-aware edits.