Few images are perfect right out of the camera. Most require at least some level of work to make them ready to print. Here are some of my favorite software tools.

Photoshop — I use maybe 25% of what Photoshop can do. From a fairly humble beginning, Photoshop has turned into a big, sprawling program that serves many different kinds of users. Its ability to work with various plug-ins and its actions are second to none. Maybe some day I’ll know how to do everything in Photoshop, but I doubt that I’ll live long enough.

Adobe’s Photoshop product page

Adobe Bridge — Lots of folks like Adobe Lightroom. I don’t. Lightroom forces you to work its way and demands you do things a certain way. Not only is that annoying, Lightroom becomes very slow if you have many images. In my active directory, I have 20,000-plus images. In back-up storage, there are probably another 50,000 or more. Adobe Bridge, which comes with Photoshop, is a nice digital management tool. It’s flexible and lets me work the way I wish.

Luminar — My not-too-distant goal is to switch to Luminar as my primary editor. Luminar has a lot to like about it. It’s cheaper than Photoshop, It doesn’t require an annual subscription. It has a wide range of editing tools and the way it handles presets is just amazing. That said, Luminar is a tool very much still in development. It doesn’t have a digital manager (one is promised in 2018) and the printing module is underdeveloped. Skylum Software (formerly MacPhun) seems to be devoting resources to making Luminar better. Highly recommended.

Luminar Home Page

Aurora HDR — For the longest time I resisted High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography. I’ve seen way too many images that are complete distortions of reality. That’s fine if that’s what you’re trying for, but not so fine if you want reality. Then I tried Luminar’s companion product, Aurora HDR and fell in love. Aurora lets you edit with a gentle touch or hit that image with a distortion/color hammer. You can chose from mild to wild. I like Aurora because it has allowed me to restore images to what I actually wanted when I made the photograph. Also highly recommended.

Aurora HDR product page