Poll: What is Your Preferred Post-Processing Software?

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I'm Rob, the editor of Light Stalking. I try to keep this ship on course.

While we have had a couple of articles on post-precessing software for photographers, generally it seems to be a rather conrtoversial topic.

From people arguing in favor of their preferred software through to people who shun post-processing completely, it seems it is difficult to please everyone when you even mention software even though there are a lot of really great options in this area.

So we have decided to let you decide. Vote below and let’s settle the issue of Light Stalking reader’s most preferred option for post processing of digital files.

Leave a comment to let us know why you voted the way you did.

[polldaddy poll=4015827]

44 thoughts on “Poll: What is Your Preferred Post-Processing Software?

  1. Avatar of nathannathan

    There really is no “you must use” software to perform post on your photos. It’s whatever gets you the results that you want. If you feel it works and your viewers like what they see, then you’re on to something :)

  2. Steve

    I think Lightroom and Aperture are about the same. I like Adobe’s lens correction and noise reduction, though. Nothing about Lightroom or Aperture can approach the flexibility and power of Photoshop, but for most of my images, there is no need for complex masking, cloning large areas out or any of the creative things you can only do in Photoshop. I wouldn’t be without Photoshop, though.

  3. Shane

    Agree with Nathan.

    I like to use both Lightroom and Photoshop. There are certain things you can do in PS that you can’t in LR.

    I think it is up to the individual if they post process or not and wish that everyone would respect the choices of others when it comes to doing it.

  4. Avatar of leppodleppod

    My workflow consists of three choices, one of which is not mentioned in the poll. Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop & Nik Software plugins. In my experience the “debate” is between those who process their own images and those who let the camera do it for them. As a person who grew up in the chemical darkroom, I just don’t understand the latter. As for which software is “best”? Which ever one rocks your boat. What matters is the end result. Not the camera, nor the software.

    1. Keith Doucet

      Couldn’t have worded that better myself. I too am of the Chemical Darkroom generation and know from experience what gos on in there to make a great photo. Digital is no different except we no longer have to work in 15watt red light environment. I’d be willing to bet my last dollar even Yosuf Karsh did his fair share of dodging and burning.

  5. Bran Everseeking

    I use Digikam/Showfoto under Linux. for editing and workflow. 16 bit colour depth and its not graphic design oriented overkill for photo work

  6. Avatar of salnelsalnel

    I use Lightroom 3 for the majority of my editing and then take it into PSC5 for anything Lightroom can’t do. I think you have to find the program that suits you the best and for me, Lr rocks!

  7. Avatar of maclimiusmaclimius

    I work as a government photographer. At work for archival purposes we use Capture NX 2 due to the fact that it is the only software that allows us to write changes to Nikon’s NEF file format without converting to DNG or using sidecar files (or a separate Lightroom catalog for that matter). It also does a much better job of reading the camera settings since most of the time we are on time constraints and the only processing is adding metadata, cropping and adjusting file sizes. Capture NX does this just fine although a little slow. The major issue I find with Nikon’s Software is the character limit (500 characters I believe) in the file description which doesn’t exist in any other piece of software that I have found (View NX included). Most people are unaffected by this because they don’t have to worry about adding such long descriptions (photo journalists would be an exception). We also use Photoshop for more detailed montage and layered photographic work.

    For personal and outside use I use a combination of Lightroom 3 and Photoshop. The vast majority of the time I only use Lightroom because I don’t need the extra complexity and control that Photoshop offers. I have dabbled with Aperture but being a primarily PC user I don’t see the need to change my operating system for it when Lightroom does the job just fine. In my opinion Aperture and Lightroom are comparable.

    Photoshop is an immensely powerful tool but for cataloging purposes requires separate software (Bridge usually supplied with it and Lightroom integrates with it).

    All said it is up to you to decide what sort of work flow you require and how best each piece of software allows you to fulfill those criteria.

  8. Robert Ash

    Unfortunately my favorite post-processing software is not listed. It’s Capture One by PhaseOne. It has the best color rendering of any preprocessor, slightly besting Nikon Capture NX 2. Unfortunately Lightroom re-renders my .NEF previews and changes the colors unattractively, especially skin tones. I still use Lightroom a lot, especially for image management, but until it get the colors right upon import it’s unfortunately not my favorite. My 2nd favorite software is Photoshop. It works wonders once you get the colors right in Capture One.

  9. Gerhard

    I never install any Adobe products on my Mac. It sucks.

    I use Aperture 3.1 and if I have to do somethings I can´t do in Aperture I like Pixelmator.

    For me the best combination at all.

  10. Jan

    I use:

    Aperture – because its beautiful and (imho) more intuitive than Lightroom

    DxO – when I pushed the ISO too hard or when I suppose that lens correction would be better for the image

    Photoshop (CS3) – only when absolutely necessary

    Photomatix – when I feel like experimenting with drugs

    Canon Photo Professional – for tasks like tethered shooting or special batches (which are two of the tasks Apple Aperture is really not good at)

  11. Kathleen

    I use Elements as it gives me editing and cataloguing in one programme.

    I shoot RAW and do a lot in post but find CS5 more than I need, it’s graphic-design oriented, and Elements is 1/10th the price!

  12. Kathleen

    I use Elements as it gives me editing and cataloguing in one programme.

    I shoot RAW and do a lot in post but find CS5 more than I need, it’s graphic-design oriented, and Elements is 1/10th the price.

  13. Avatar of 100iso100iso

    I prefer specific software for specific tasks. There’s not one, that can do everything well as I need it. With large amounts of pictures, I prefer Aperture for the developing process and the database management. Photoshop for the more refined work and Nikon NX II or Photomatix for special tasks. I think, they all work best for special purposes.

  14. Avatar of gilrilgilril

    I always start w/ Capture NX, using Nikon Transfer to download, and View NX to organize folders etc. These 3 work well together. If I need to do any cloning or spot remove I then go to PS Elements. I use Picasa to put albums available to the web.

  15. JamesF

    You left out ImageMagick, which I use for bulk and scripted edits, like resizing/sharpening for web or print.

    Bibble because it rocks, it’s available for Linux, and it means I don’t need to care when Adobe will get around to porting Photoshop.

  16. Mark

    Yeah most definitely Bibble! It owns the DAM and postprocessing world for me on all platforms (Windows, Mac and ofcourse my favorite: Linux!)

  17. gareth

    Bibble processes all the way from Raw to perpective correction to heal/clone to remove annoying blemishes. That’s all I need.
    I don’t often do image manipulation in the Photoshop sense – and when I do I use PhotoImpact at a tenth of the price :-)

  18. Bill McCracken

    Bibble and Aperature are in a league by themselves. Bibble has the best workflow abilities of the two. I’ve used both extensively. The point of photography is to spend LESS time at the desk and more time on the shooting scene, Bibble enables this. Bibble is simpler and more expedient product than Photoshop. Photoshop for most photo workflow is too expensive, too bulky to get photos out the door and into buyer’s hands. The other products or freeware should be considered photo managers or picture viewers. Not sure why they would be in the same quality of poll, but someone lobbed them in there. ALL of my photos are handled in Bibble.

  19. Liju Augustine

    I use capture NX2 for whatever basic adjustments that’s needed. I’ve never been a fan of Photoshopping. I am not going against the flow, but somehow I haven’t warmed up to the idea of heavy post processing. I would like to remain and grow into a photographer, not to a photoshopper.

    Regards
    Liju Augustine
    http://lfotos.wordpress.com – Learning by sharing.

  20. Jack McGuire

    I picked Lightroom even though I also have Photoshop Elements 7. I find the learning curve for LR is not as steep as it is for PE7.

  21. Avatar of cwiddiedcwiddied

    All though I use photoshop and Nik Efex…I upload straight into Lightroom where my files are catalogued. I do any adjustments if needed there first, i then export to other programmes should i require specific processing!

  22. Avatar of zeroequalsinfinityzeroequalsinfinity

    DXO for Raw conversion is a must have for me. The camera and lens corrections are excellent, and I love the ability to make many corrections at this stage with relative ease. (I do love my presets; they enable creating a good starting point, and hence save me a fair bit of time.)

    Photoshop is my other software of choice for all the reasons that anyone who uses it is already aware.

  23. Angela

    If you think about it, every big name photographer in the darkroom used some sort of post-processing. It may have been dodging and burning areas of the negative but they processed it no matter what. So why is any other method of post-processing so objectionable? Even composites were common in the darkroom era… so why not composites using software today?

    I think it is just a matter of those who don’t know how and what post processing software is really for who find its use objectionable.

    I use Photoshop, Lightroom, Painter, Capture, and a variety of plugs to enhance my art.

  24. Pingback: A Killer Collection of Adobe LightRoom Tutorials « Oxford School of Photography

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