Photography Tips & Techniques forum: Photo editing software

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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Sep 15, 2019 10:25 AM CST
What programs/apps do you use to edit your digital photos? Why do you prefer them to the alternatives? What do you think are their strengths and weaknesses?

I would love to see as many different answers as possible here.
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Sep 15, 2019 11:04 AM CST
Irfanview. If you want to take uncle Fred out of the shot because you no longer talk to him, you will need Photoshop. I do not have an uncle Fred, I do not own a copy of Photoshop. Photoshop and my brain do not get along. Irfanview is free. No reason not to have a copy. I have used it for over 30 years and never once did I have to go to the help section. It does everything I would ever need, and more and is customer friendly.
[Last edited by gasrocks - Sep 15, 2019 11:16 AM (+)]
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Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Herbs Annuals Hummingbirder Butterflies Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
Birds Cat Lover Houseplants Garden Sages
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gasrocks
Sep 15, 2019 11:31 AM CST
I also have a copy of XnView on hand in case I need more "power." It is also free. Photoshop can read and write something like 14 formats, 3 of which are Photoshop only. Hope you realize how foolish it would be to save your pix to a one software only format. Irfanview does something like 24. XnView does 800+ A lot of my sales were international. Many countries are not quite up to the current "standards."
[Last edited by gasrocks - Sep 15, 2019 11:34 AM (+)]
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Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Herbs Annuals Hummingbirder Butterflies Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
Birds Cat Lover Houseplants Garden Sages
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gasrocks
Sep 15, 2019 12:01 PM CST
Another key issue for me is getting that final archival copy of your image after you are done processing. A TIF w/ EXIF data. Irfanview doesn't. I use DPP by Canon. XnView will.
Name: Alan
Merseyside
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pikaia
Sep 15, 2019 12:30 PM CST
I use Luminar, which was awarded Best Photo Software of the year 2019-2020 by EISA. The latest version also includes a library system.
It is not as versatile as Photoshop, so you cannot easily make composite images for example, but it is cheaper and not difficult to use, and doesn't have a lot of gimmicky filters, and it meets my needs.
One defect that I have found is that it no longer has a history to allow you to revert to an earlier stage, and others have complained about this - perhaps they will restore it.
Amusingly, when it first came out it was only available for Apple, with the Windows version coming out later!
You can download it to try for free, the only thing you cannot do without buying it is save the resulting images.

https://shotkit.com/luminar-re...

Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Herbs Annuals Hummingbirder Butterflies Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
Birds Cat Lover Houseplants Garden Sages
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gasrocks
Sep 15, 2019 1:12 PM CST
Irfanview does 8bf filters. A huge deal. There are dozens of useful free 8bf filters out there. SmartCurve, noise reduction, fish eye correction, etc.
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Herbs Annuals Hummingbirder Butterflies Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
Birds Cat Lover Houseplants Garden Sages
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gasrocks
Sep 15, 2019 1:24 PM CST
Curves, if you have not discovered it yet is HUGE! DPP does curves. I remember one email I got from a student. I hate your guts. After you showed us what curves does in class and how to get Smart Curves free for Irfanview, I have been up all night long playing. I had to call in sick today. P.S. Thank you so much!
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Herbs Annuals Hummingbirder Butterflies Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
Birds Cat Lover Houseplants Garden Sages
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gasrocks
Sep 15, 2019 1:36 PM CST
IMO the all time best free 8bf filter: Virtual Photographer by Optik Verve labs. I would pay $200. for it.
Name: Ronnie (Veronica)
Southeastern PA (Zone 6b)
Count your blessings, be grateful
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luvsgrtdanes
Sep 15, 2019 5:12 PM CST
I like Photoshop for the simpler things...I don't get into some of the technical stuff they offer but I like the fact that I can take the fly off the perfect flower picture, or remove the hose from the garden photo I took and didn't notice until I put it on the computer. I like the sharpening and color correction. They offer a lot I don't use but like to learn when I have time in the winter. My son uses it for his job so I get to learn from him. I tired a few free ones and just didn't care for them.
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
Name: Rick R.
Minneapolis, MN, USA zone 4
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
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Leftwood
Sep 15, 2019 5:27 PM CST
Only because you said "as many different answers as possible", I still use Photofiltre. Way, way back when I was looking for my first free editing program (besides MS Paint), there was irfanview, but Photofiltre had an easier learning curve (although irfanview does more stuff. And not that irfanview is hard, either.) Photofiltre does all the regular stuff, plus batching, drawing lines and arrows (not curves), text, smudge, paint, etc. Very intuitive. Last I checked (10 years ago?) the English version still only had French instructions, but I have never needed them.

A good free program, but I'm guess not anything better than others.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Be a superhero and wear a mask
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Baja_Costero
Sep 15, 2019 5:40 PM CST
Thank you everybody for your most helpful answers. I have found some new things to explore here. Thumbs up

I use Lightroom (which is like Photoshop Lite) to adjust the light, but I rely on Apple's default Photos app for cropping and organizing. Lightroom is better able to pull out details from the high and low end of the intensity spectrum than my camera or the other app. I strongly dislike the monthly fee for service, and I don't need or like to have my photos on the cloud, so I'm looking for something which can accomplish that task about as well with the images stored locally.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Sep 15, 2019 5:40 PM (+)]
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Name: Ronnie (Veronica)
Southeastern PA (Zone 6b)
Count your blessings, be grateful
Lilies Zinnias Morning Glories Annuals Bee Lover Dragonflies
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Salvias Region: Pennsylvania Garden Photography
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luvsgrtdanes
Sep 15, 2019 5:46 PM CST
That's one of the drawbacks with photoshop, it's not free. Thumbs down
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Be a superhero and wear a mask
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Sep 15, 2019 5:47 PM CST
I don't mind paying a one time fee (like Luminar charges) but the monthly withdrawal is getting me down.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Sep 15, 2019 5:49 PM (+)]
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Name: Ronnie (Veronica)
Southeastern PA (Zone 6b)
Count your blessings, be grateful
Lilies Zinnias Morning Glories Annuals Bee Lover Dragonflies
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Salvias Region: Pennsylvania Garden Photography
Image
luvsgrtdanes
Sep 15, 2019 6:32 PM CST
Yeah I get that, luckily my son's work pays for it and I get to use his. I'm so used to it I would probably pay if I needed to.

Here is one I just edited using the spot healing brush and fill option with the lasso tool.
Thumb of 2019-09-16/luvsgrtdanes/db4fe2 Thumb of 2019-09-16/luvsgrtdanes/f8eee1

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
Köppen Climate Zone Cfb
Region: Australia Bookworm Cat Lover Lilies Orchids Irises
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Australis
Sep 15, 2019 6:32 PM CST

Moderator

I use a combination of programs. Generally I use Irfanview to review my photos, but any serious work I do in Photoshop Elements (which I think you can still get with a one-time purchase, rather than a subscription; it's also much much cheaper than the full Photoshop Suite).

Paint.NET is also a good free program that has basic layering abilities like Photoshop and a much easier learning curve than something like GIMP. There's also a free plugin available so you can open Photoshop files in Paint.NET, although I don't think you can save them.
Plant Authorities: Catalogue of Life (Species) --- International Cultivar Registration Authorities (Cultivars) --- RHS Orchid Register --- RHS Lilium Register
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The current profile image is that of Iris 'Volcanic Glow'.
Name: Asa
Wasatch Front - Utah
Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016 Photo Contest Winner 2019
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evermorelawnless
Sep 15, 2019 6:43 PM CST
Elements is a standalone and isn't as intrusive. Everything happens locally.

IrfanView is magnificent for what it is. It's not a full-featured photo editor, in my opinion. Not even that great for tweaking, but those plugins look like they've got some merit. I use IrfanView for picking the keepers quickly (tho FastStone (also free) is pretty neat - especially for checking focus on my bees/birds) and might become a go-to for that.

I've tried both gimp and Paint.net (among lots of others) and both were overly complicated for my tastes. If I'm going to fiddle with a picture (after I've determined it's one I want to fiddle with), I'd prefer to put 2-3 mins into it instead of 2-3 hours. Elements lets me do that, usually. And I really like the way it deals with .RAW files (at least out of Pentax...dunno about anything else).

For cropping, I love IrfanView, but it re-saves the .jpg and that's a lossy save. So if you're working from a .jpg and save it as a straight .jpg, you're losing a bunch of stuff and introducing a bunch of other stuff. Which, in just about every respect, is kind of a bad thing to do. There's an option to create a "lossless crop" which I used in making a calendar once. But it's clunkier than just saving it out.

IrfanView is also pretty good at batch processing. Not necessarily for finishing the photos, but for cutting crops or overlaying text (even metadata) or even for resizing. (Tho we think that Elements does a better job resizing for the site (1000x pixels wide max) than either IrfanView or the site's native resizer.

One thing that's really easy to do (at least for me) with any editor is to overdo it. Lots of times a minor tweak will really make something pop. And more edits will just make the thing look plastic or pretend.

All that said, I still haven't figured out a consistent workflow for the volume of stuff I shoot...nor a consistent processing process. But I'm pretty pleased, mostly, with Elements. The documentation is abysmal, though.
This is fun: The thread "Asa's former lawn...or (better) Dirt's current gardens" in Garden Photos forum

My bee site - I post a new, different bee photo every day:
http://bees.photo
Name: Asa
Wasatch Front - Utah
Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016 Photo Contest Winner 2019
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evermorelawnless
Sep 15, 2019 6:43 PM CST
Great minds...??? Guess you posted while I was typing.
This is fun: The thread "Asa's former lawn...or (better) Dirt's current gardens" in Garden Photos forum

My bee site - I post a new, different bee photo every day:
http://bees.photo
Name: Rick R.
Minneapolis, MN, USA zone 4
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
Seed Starter Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Leftwood
Sep 15, 2019 7:04 PM CST
All programs, including photo organization programs, eventually become obsolete. If you want your pics permanently accessible, especially by younger generations in the future, use file folders, not programs.
Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
Köppen Climate Zone Cfb
Region: Australia Bookworm Cat Lover Lilies Orchids Irises
Seed Starter Annuals Container Gardener Garden Photography Forum moderator Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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Australis
Sep 15, 2019 7:04 PM CST

Moderator

Asa, your post prompted a few more thoughts. I have used FastStone from time to time; generally the feature I use it for is its ability to correct timestamps. If I have taken a bunch of photos on my point-and-shoot whilst on holiday but forgot to set the right timezone (or even when there's daylight savings), FastStone can fix that easily. Only program I've found thus far that enables me to do that.

Regarding lossless JPG tools, the other program I use is JPEG Lossless Rotator (freeware). Very handy for correcting the rotation if your phone or camera doesn't automatically do it (or gets confused), as well as fixing any incorrect rotation flags (some phones set a rotation flag rather than storing the image the right way "up"; not all programs read these flags - especially when you upload to a website - so rotating the actual image is very useful in these circumstances).
Plant Authorities: Catalogue of Life (Species) --- International Cultivar Registration Authorities (Cultivars) --- RHS Orchid Register --- RHS Lilium Register
My Notes: Orchid Genera HTML PDF Excel --- Lilium Traits HTML PDF --- Lilium Species Crosses HTML PDF Excel --- Lilium Species Diagram
The current profile image is that of Iris 'Volcanic Glow'.
Name: Asa
Wasatch Front - Utah
Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016 Photo Contest Winner 2019
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evermorelawnless
Sep 15, 2019 7:52 PM CST
Leftwood said:All programs, including photo organization programs, eventually become obsolete. If you want your pics permanently accessible, especially by younger generations in the future, use file folders, not programs.


I agree a billion percent. When I copy them off, I use this format for the day: 2019.09.15 (because windows and everything else can sort that way) and then divide them up by month (2019.09 - sept) and year (2019) photos-originals.

That way if I get a stray folder somewhere (it happens), I know exactly where it lives. My camera, on the other hand, does the folders like this: 100_0915, 101_0915, etc. - which is fairly useful except when you're shooting two cameras...or empty your card once and resets...or you want to know what year that particular folder is for (even tho you know the month/day).

YMMV on organization. This method's pretty bulletproof for me.
This is fun: The thread "Asa's former lawn...or (better) Dirt's current gardens" in Garden Photos forum

My bee site - I post a new, different bee photo every day:
http://bees.photo

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