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Favourite Software

March 2nd, 2009 by admin


With so much talk regarding what camera does what, which lens does this and how many gigapixels my new phone has, little effort is allocated to discussing the software that photographers use. With digital photography, software is so important and different raw converters, image editors, etc all make as much difference to the final image as the camera itself. Here is a basic list of what I use, I am still refining this and trying new applications, so I will try to keep you informed if I find anything I like.

OS, Vista Business.
As mentioned previously, I’m no Mac fan. I use one at the office and although I have finally become used to it, I still prefer Windows for the most part. I haven’t had any issues with Vista so far, it seems fast to me, plays the games I want, runs the applications I need, and I like the way it looks. I run Business as that’s what the laptop I bought came with.

Image viewers
I use 2; ACDSee, and Photo Mechanic. PM is awesome, it manages pics well, and nothing compares to it for speed of viewing RAW files. They are viewed faster than Jpegs using some applications. After a shoot, I copy the pics, and crank up Photo Mechanic, giving me the fastest way to view my shots. ACDSee I use as my default viewer, its pretty cool for browsing hard drives, and is fast for web sized pics, as well as a one click send to Photoshop.

Image editors
Again I use two, one more than the other. For the most part, it’s Adobe Lightroom.
After trialing version 1, I wasn’t very impressed. On my old PC it was unusably slow, so I basically gave up. Version 2 helped resolve my speed issues, and now I run it as my main editor/processing software. I import the pics, select and edit them in LR, then I can export easily for high res, print size, web size, print packages, whatever. It has a few cool web gallery plug ins installed, and the main one I use, simpleviewer is cool but a little slow in LR, so I do that in the most serious of serious editors, Photoshop. PS I really only use for major work, i.e. de-rigging a car, retouching portraits, etc etc.
I do also use Bridge for one thing, generating Contact Sheets as PDFs. That part of it is cool too. Bridge used to be painfully slow in its early versions, it’s now at a point where it is actually useful.

FTP programs.
So many different variations of the same thing, I used to use WS_FTP religiously, however have now discovered SmartFTP, and I really like it.

Raw converters.
This is a minefield. Adobe Camera Raw is almost a standard, but CaptureOne has some pretty strong supporters. I have only briefly played around with C1, and wasn’t instantly converted, perhaps when the 5DmarkII arrives and C1 supports it I will do more testing. At the office we still use Canon’s Digital Photo Professional on the Macs, as its the only one which can do Raw to CMYK Tiffs in one easy step.

Web Browsers.
I only use Firefox now. It’s quick, slick and efficient.

Burning software.
I’ve tried a few here and there, Toast on the mac works OK, but isn’t hardcore enough for my tastes. On Windows it has to be Nero. It’s pretty much perfect, that Roxio stuff which came with the laptop is a joke.

3 Responses to “Favourite Software”

  1. Brasher Says:

    here I am using MSpaint like a rookie this whole time…

  2. Ed Says:

    DDP is good because it retains the in-camera picture styles if you need them. Lightroom etc throw all that info out :(

  3. Mark Pakula Says:

    I think the latest version of LR keeps that info and allows you to add it to other shots not shot with it.

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