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Photo Editing Software, what do you use?
Discussion in a recent thread got me thinking about the software we use in our processing, what do you use?

I started out on PaintshopPro back when it was still owned and developed by JASC in the mid 90's.

Around 1998 I switched to Adobe Photoshop 5.

I've tried GIMP and Irfanview in the freeware market and both a re good alternatives to some payware programs.

For the last 10 years I have used ACDSee for viewing and cataloging and Adobe Photoshop for editing, currently CS6. I also have some NIK and Redfield plugins.

I've tried lightroom and just didn't like either the process or the workflow.
I use Paintshop Pro x8. Just installed this version after having x6 for a while. Have not really used it much, still very much a beginner. I have learned to get rid of unwanted parts of a photo, and do a bit of lightening, darkening etc. preferring natural photos as much as possible. How does this rate with Photoshop or Lightroom? I see a lot of people using these.
Jane, I use P/S CS4, does far more than I will ever need. The new CC version, seems to me, amazing value, always updated, Cost around £95 a year, I would pay that happily, if necessary. Ed.
To each his own!
ACDSee 19 for cataloguing, Lightroom 6 for initial workflow, along with Nik software, and Photoshop CS4 for the fiddly bits. I have Paintshop Pro X8, but have never learnt to use it, and I quite like GIMP 2.8 (but never really mastered that either).
I love the simplicity of Lightroom, for the easy correction of the basic image, but really use very little of what it does.
Ask yourself, "What's most important for the final image?".
I started this hobby in 2011 with PaintShop Pro X4, and upgraded via X6 to now using X8. I think it is amazingly well-featured software for the price which, as I have upgraded roughly every 2 years, averages out at about £30 per year. It does everything I want it to do, plus very much more that I have yet to discover.

Lightroom 5 for importing, cataloguing, batch processing and RAW conversion. Photoshop CS5 for anything requiring layers or, as John said, the fiddly bits. I don't subscribe to Adobe's on-line software because I like to have what I need and use right on my own PC with a CD containing the application in my library that I can touch and feel.
Take my advice.  I'm not using it.Wink

I use Serif Photo Plus X5. There are newer versions, but, as yet I've not needed to upgrade, as X5 is capable of a great deal more than I use it for anyway.


(Mar 26, 2016, 06:23)GrahamS Wrote: I don't subscribe to Adobe's on-line software because I like to have what I need and use right on my own PC with a CD containing the application in my library that I can touch and feel.

I feel the same way so have the stand alone version of CS6.

Great minds think alike.....
Take my advice.  I'm not using it.Wink

As I've mentioned elsewhere in these forums I only use CS6 because I was forced to upgrade to get support for the 7D mark II... the only version of camera raw that supports it will only work on CS6, and I didn't want to go the DNG converter route.
PaintshopPro has evolved tremendously and it will continue to do so to meet the needs of ever more discriminating users. I use it all the time with amazing results, including graphics for commercial purposes. As a reward for marketing a tremendous product for a fraction of the price of the so called "industry standard" guys, Corel has my loyalty and I upgrade on a regular basis.
After reading pixelmakers entry I thought I would give Paintshop Pro X8 another try. I am not having a lot of luck working through the book I bought, so I decided to jump in and just try processing a raw image. I find, that on my laptop, the program is like watching paint dry. It takes several minutes before it is ready to go, and when I use it, the latency when I move sliders, is dire. Does anyone else experience this?
My processor is an Intel i5-4200U CPU @ 1.60 GHz 2.30 GHz, 8 Gb of installed RAM, running Windows 10. I have about 300 Gb of free space on my hard drive.
Ask yourself, "What's most important for the final image?".
I use

1. Windows Photo viewer to view and delete images not wanted.
2. Lightroom to add into catalogue where they are on hard drive (rather than import because I lose track of them that way)
3. Lightroom to edit, dodging into...
4. Photoshop to remove unwanted elements (lasso tool), magic wand or quick selection tool to edit background brightness and contrast, and a few other tools but not that many yet, then 'save' to go back into LR or 'export'.
5. Lightroom to export.
6. Photomatix pro for HDR
7. Portrait pro.

I have Photoshop CC and LR as part of Cloud package for which I pay monthly subscription. Keen to explore Camera RAW and more PS.
Yes, I have Portrait Pro as well. It is my wife's favourite software!
Ask yourself, "What's most important for the final image?".
I posted this some time ago in another thread but I repeat it here as it may be useful to new members:

My Workflow
I apologise in advance if this is long winded. Look away now if you are time challenged.

It may be worth remembering some of the other factors that influence the quality of a digital image. Different camera manufacturers use different Jpg encoding/decoding algorithms which can affect the quality of the produced Jpg file. The in-camera Jpg compression settings can also have a great affect on image quality. A Jpg file is only an 8 bit image and if one is only going to post the file on the web, or view it on a PC or TV screen the recommended colour space is sRGB, which cannot accommodate the full colour gamut of the original scene. (Poor rendering is not limited to Jpg engines. There are some pretty serious issues regarding Adobe Lightroom’s ability to properly render RAW files from both Fuji cameras and Canon Eos 5DS/DSr cameras and the Nikon D810.) http://

If, however, your intention is to produce an exhibition quality print, the colour space of choice would usually be AdobeRGB. This colour space can accommodate a wider gamut of colours than the sRGB profile, as can a modern inkjet print, therefore it would be beneficial to set the camera to the AdobeRGB colour space if the JPG files produced by the camera are going to be used to produce the print.

Shooting RAW with a 16 or greater bit depth would be an advantage, as the full 16 bit colour depth would be present in the RAW image. Once processed, this colour depth can be preserved by converting the result to a Tiff file with the AdobeRGB or ProFoto RGB colour space profile. This file should be used to generate the final print, as converting it to a Jpg file will sacrifice some of the colour gamut even if the Jpg is low compression and AdobeRGB colour space.

There is no advantage in setting the camera to sRGB colour space for Jpg output and then converting the files to AdobeRGB afterwards for printing. The original sRGB files will not contain the full colour gamut possible with AdobeRGB anyway. Regardless, colour management is a whole other subject. This may be of interest: http://

Opening a Jpg file in Adobe Camera Raw for editing does not convert the file into a RAW image. This is not possible. It simply allows one to use the editing controls of ACR on the Jpg file. ACR does not have a particularly good Jpg engine and Jpg files edited in ACR can have unpleasant artefacts, depending on which make and model of camera produced them. Far better results can be had by opening the original camera Jpg file directly in Lightroom or Photoshop or PSP for editing. If using Photoshop, make sure that the working colour space matches that of the image file. i.e: If the camera is set to sRGB, set the working space to sRGB and if the camera is set to AdobeRGB, set the working space to Adobe RGB. Setting the camera to sRGB and the editing software colour space to AdobeRGB and then converting the file to AdobeRGB for editing is a negative exercise.

If you use Adobe Lightroom to edit your RAW files, Lightroom will automatically display the image in the library module as sRGB. If you open the image in the “develop”module, it will be displayed as Pro-FotoRGB, which is an even wider colour gamut than AdobeRGB. If you then export the image from LR, you are offered the opportunity to set the colour space of the exported file to any profile you choose.

My workflow is as follows (this is just the way I work - you may prefer a different workflow and your mileage may vary):

For family shots and snapshots: Nikon D7100 (or Fujifilm X-T10)

Camera set to sRGB - Jpg normal - Optimal quality - size Medium, picture control Vibrant, sharpening +6, contrast auto, D lighting auto.

Files are copied from memory card to a folder on HDD and the folder is duplicated on a backup HDD. I don’t use Lightroom to copy the files from the memory card to the HDD as the process is too slow.

Files are imported into Lightroom catalogue “at present location” using a preset that bumps the clarity and the vibrance up slightly and adjusts the tone curve to increase mid-range contrast slightly.

Files are reviewed in LR’s Library module and the rubbish is marked as “Rejected” (X)

Rejected files are deleted from the LR catalogue as well as from the HDD.

Files are then reviewed again using the loupe view at 100% and are again marked as either rejected (X) or “Pick” (P). The files marked as “Pick” are opened in the develop module and edited for shadow / highlight detail, white point and black point, IF NECESSARY. Most times, the files do not require any adjustment.

Back in the library module, the files marked “Pick” are exported as Jpg fine files with sRGB colour space, full size, with the suffix “master” added to the file name, to a folder named “Master Negs - Family” The same files are then exported again as Jpg’s to a folder named “Family pics Web”, and a subfolder showing the location and date, downsized to 1280 x 853 pixels, compression 60%, sRGB, sharpened for screen display. These are the files that I distribute to family members or post on the family website.

For competition, commercial or exhibition prints: Nikon D610.

Camera set to RAW + Jpg large fine. AdobeRGB, Picture control Normal, Saturation 6, Sharpening 5, Contrast auto active D lighting normal. (All these settings only affect the Jpg files, remember)

All images are copied to a temporary folder on the HDD and the RAW (NEF) files are converted to DNG using Adobe DNG converter. (I don’t use Lightroom to copy and convert the files as this is really too slow. There is now some opinion that with the new generation of high resolution cameras converting to DNG does not save significant disc space if one uses the lossless compressed RAW setting)

All files are copied to a folder on the HDD named for the camera type and to a subfolder named for the file number range and a brief description i.e: Nikon D610_xxxx-xxxx_Smith portrait and the folder is duplicated to the backup HDD and to the second backup HDD.

Files are imported into LR catalogue “At present location.” RAW and Jpg files are displayed as separate files.

Files are reviewed in LR’s Library module and the rubbish is marked as “Rejected.”

Rejected files are removed from the LR catalogue and deleted from the HDD. (Not the backup files.)

The RAW files are viewed again using the loupe at 100% and checked for sharpness, and again the rejects are deleted. (Both RAW and Jpg but not the backup files)

The files selected for use are marked “Pick” (P). The RAW files thus selected are opened in the “develop” module, which is similar to ACR, and corrected for exposure, contrast, clarity, vibrance, sharpening, white point, black point, and luminance and saturation of the individual colour channels. If necessary they are opened in Photoshop (from within LR) and a copy with LR adjustments is edited. I do this where I need to use layers etc. The result is automatically saved in the same location as the original as a Tiff file.

The edited files are exported as Tiff files with the suffix “Master” appended to the file name, at original size, to a folder named “Master Negs” with the file numbers and a brief description as the folder name.

The same files are then re-exported as Jpg files downsized to 1920 X 1080 px 60% compression sRGB colour space for sending to the client/subject/customer electronically or burning to a CD.

The files selected for printing are again opened in the develop module and checked for colour and contrast in Photoshop and re-sized according to the size of the print at 300ppi before being exported as Adobe RGB Tiff files to a folder with “Print” appended to the file name.

The Jpg files are merely used as a reference when reviewing the files initially and are not used for anything further.

Only once all this is done are the memory cards formatted in camera.

So to summarise, on the HDD there are four versions of each image.
The original ex-camera file (RAW or Jpg or both)
A “Master Neg” full size Tiff file in AdobeRGB colour profile.
A “Print” Tiff file resized to the print size at 300 ppi in AdobeRGB colour profile.
A “Web” Jpg file downsized, compressed and sRGB colour profile.

It is not necessary to backup these files on the second HDD as the LR catalogue is backed up on both HDDs as well as the backup HDD. As LR is non-destructive, any file can be re-created from the catalogue data as long as the original file is available.

Having said all that, most people will never tell the difference between an image produced ex-camera as a Jpg low compression sRGB or as AdobeRGB colour space, or between a Jpg Fine and a Jpg Normal (especially with a Nikon set to “Optimal Quality” in the setup menu.) To make very good prints up to 16X20 you don’t need more than 10mpx and some say even less, depending on the print resolution chosen. 300ppi is only necessary for prints viewed at arms length. Exhibition prints are commonly viewed at much greater distances and therefore the resolution in ppi can be much lower without affecting the apparent quality of the image. An advertising billboard is printed at 10ppi. If pixel peeping floats your boat, by all means print your murals at 300 ppi, but you will waste a lot of computer storage space and you will need a powerful PC! The main advantage in having a high resolution camera is the ability to crop the image without having to re-size the result.

Most of the latest generation digital cameras, even the inexpensive point-and-shoot models, will produce images straight from the camera of sufficient quality to be usable without further processing. Press the shutter release, take the memory card to a good high street photo lab, have a poster sized print made, hang it on the wall and go “Wow!” every time you walk past. It can be that simple.

Finally, the old adage: While the equipment helps, it’s the brain behind the camera that creates the photograph. Go take pictures. Enjoy!

Take my advice.  I'm not using it.Wink

Here is something else that I have posted before, that new members may find interesting:

I have seen this written here many many times but I don't know why so many folk just don't seem to grasp the fact that Lightroom is designed as a primary asset cataloging and image management system for commercial use in high volume production environments. To use it to the full extent of it's capability, it has to be used exclusively and from the start, as the only cataloging tool preferably in conjunction with Photoshop CS. Every image you download to your PC should be downloaded via Lightroom, with no exceptions, and thus be entered in Lightroom's catalogue, tagged and allocated to a specific collection. Lightroom's greatest power lies in it's cataloguing, tagging and batch processing functions. It is designed to be used primarily with RAW files, as it's image editing is non-destructive. This means that all of your editing actions are not applied to the actual image file, but are appended to the file as a seperate "recipe" or log file. If the RAW file is a proprietary file (NEF, CR2 etc) the edits take the form of a seperate "sidecar" file with the attribute XMP, which is stored alongside the original RAW file. If you shoot in or convert your RAW files to DNG format, the edit info is stored within the DNG file, not as a seperate file. In this case, the edit info can never be seperated from the RAW file and be lost. In both cases the original RAW file is never altered. If the RAW file is opened and edited in Photoshop CS, from within Lightroom, the result can be saved as a new Tiff or Jpg file and it will be automatically stores alongside the original RAW file and entered into the Lightroom catalogue. If you use Lightroom as a management system for your entire workflow you will benefit from it's power and elegance.

All of the professional photographers who use it, that I have spoken to, have no, or few issues with Lightroom and most have a dedicated member of staff who has received training in it's use. When used correctly, it saves a lot of time and effort which means more profit and better customer service.

Lightroom does not and cannot replace Photoshop CS or PaintShop Pro for image editing and manipulation. It will only do the relatively simple things that a commercial wedding or portrait photographer may need to do to lots of images, quickly. It cannot do the things that Photoshop et al can do for image manipulation and illustration and graphics.

If it is used as a stand-alone application, as no more than an image editor, with little or no regard to it's workflow management features, there will be times when it will seem problematical or clunky. Most people who complain about it's user interface, menus or methodology should not be using it, but would probably be better served by using Photoshop Elements and Adobe Bridge or some other image editor. Lightroom's image editing features are designed to provide a quick and simple way of correcting minor anomalies prior to the RAW file being exported downstream, singly or in batches. This is why the editing module is so similar to Adobe Camera Raw and why there are no features such as layers or masks. To purchase Lightroom only to do image editing is like purchasing a stretch limo to take the kids to school. It'll get you there but parking will be tough....

This is how I see it. Your perspective may differ.

Take my advice.  I'm not using it.Wink

I take all my images in raw format, other than the cameras that don't have raw (Dimage Z3 and phone). I then transfer them onto the laptop using Lightroom and Lightroom does my cataloguing. I do the initial conversion to 16 bit ProPhoto RGB using Lightroom. From there on I work solely with 16 bit tiff files. I only convert files to sRGB, 8 bit, JPEG, for posting on the net of for general viewing. The bulk of my images were taken as JPEG, as I am a fairly recent convert to raw, and those images are not catalogued in Lightroom. I use ACDSee for them.
All the work I do, from recent images, is done from Lightroom using Nik plugins, or if required, Photoshop.
My camera is set for no noise reduction and no sharpening. Lightroom too is set with noise reduction and sharpening off. I use Nik for my noise reduction and raw sharpening.
Nothing I do is for anyone other than myself. I do not sell images or do any commercial work, so my workflow suits my quantity of work. I enjoy post processing. I do not want to speed it up.
Ask yourself, "What's most important for the final image?".
How do you view your final processed images, John - screen (if so, how big and what resolution?) and/or print (if so what is your usual size and your typical maximum size?)?

Thank you.

I very seldom ever do prints, unless someone asks for one. If so I will have a 10 x 8 made for them. Normally I just view the prints on my 27" monitor, or my 40" LED TV. In either case they are viewed at 1920 x 1080. But I take pictures for the future, not for me. The intention is they will be passed on to my family and their family. Who knows what may be done with them after I am gone.
Ask yourself, "What's most important for the final image?".
Well I shoot jpeg only, just put them in folders on HD, edit with P/S CS4, sRGB, only print to A3, have a few 100, works as far as I am concerned. Ed.
To each his own!
(Mar 28, 2016, 12:43)Jocko Wrote: I very seldom ever do prints, unless someone asks for one. If so I will have a 10 x 8 made for them. Normally I just view the prints on my 27" monitor, or my 40" LED TV. In either case they are viewed at 1920 x 1080. But I take pictures for the future, not for me. The intention is they will be passed on to my family and their family. Who knows what may be done with them after I am gone.

John, unless you make archival prints from your image files, there is a good chance that nothing will be passed down to your family when you are gone. My daughter has a photo-book made once a year, containing all of the family snapshots of her and my grandchildren taken during the year. The books are 6 x 8 " and 50 pages, and will last forever, long after the digital files from which they were made and the HDD that they were stored on are in a landfill somewhere.

Take my advice.  I'm not using it.Wink

Once I am gone they can do what they like with them. It doesn't bother me one way or the other. I get my enjoyment out of making the record. It is there if they want it. They can bin it if they don't. I cannot afford to have thousands of images printed up.
Ask yourself, "What's most important for the final image?".
Very philosophical John. Ed.
To each his own!
I might just come back and haunt them.
Ask yourself, "What's most important for the final image?".
As I read all the other replies I feel slightly light-handed when it come to Photo Editing applications that all the other people have.
I have Adobe Photoshop Elements 13 with its Organiser. it's about all I can afford as the CS versions seem too expensive for my wallet.
Using the PSE seems to fit with my current requirements.

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