Editing, Part 1. Choosing Your Photo Editing Software.
Nov 20, 2019 | By: Melissa
OKAY! When I think back to the beginning stages of my business, it is almost embarrassing to admit, I had ZERO clue about the post processing... well, process. Do I give all the photos? Do I edit them drastically? Do I use the software that the camera came with? What software/s do I use? While I had a knowledge of photoshop for graphic design purposes, I was lost on how to even use it when it came to photography. This series will be a-z on editing! From software, to finding a style, to shooting for your style, to basic edits, advanced edits, to creating presets and batch editing. Ya with me?! If ya are, in the words of Scuttle, let’s get cracking...and yes I just made a Disney reference.
Let’s start with software. When it comes to software you have to have something for culling your images and something for the actual editing. Streamlining your cull to edit process is super important for time efficiency. The smoother your process is, the faster you’ll be able to get your editing done.
1) Your first option is Adobe Bridge. While I honestly have a Bridge window open almost everyday, I do nottt cull in this software. In my opinion it takes the longest. I used it for years and if I had to go back and tell myself what to do, this would definitely not be my recommendation. And now that I reallyyyyy think about it, I’m not even 100% sure why I have it open everyday, other than I’m just used to viewing photos in there.
2)Adobe Lightroom. If you’re newer to this game this is most definitely where I would start. They have a simple rating process and it’s much faster than Bridge, and the software you’re culling in is where you will be editing.
3)Photo Mechanic. Ok. So if you’re going to be a little bit of a fancy pants- this is the culling software I would suggest. It’s also the software I would suggest for all wedding photographers. And it has come to be what I use. But this comes with a hefty initial investment. Whereas the Lightroom/photoshop/bridge suite, you can get for merely $10/month, photo mechanic will cost you about $150 up front. But it was worth every single penny. It has literally cut my editing time down by half. HOLLLLAAAA! I mean seriously. Not for nothing, but the culling process is probably my least favorite part of post processing, and when you’re sifting through 1000’s of wedding photos, the quicker the better. This software loads super fast, low resolution previews. And you can set the ratings to align with Lightroom so that when you import, your ratings are carried over. You can get a free 30 day trial, but fair warning, you will cry when it ends.
In conclusion, go with Lightroom or Photo Mechanic.
1) Adobe Camera Raw to Photoshop. Adobe Camera Raw is the window that will pop up that is integrated between Bridge And Photoshop. So when you pull RAW files from Bridge into Photoshop, ACR pops up. While this is definitely the slower of the two options, it will get the job done for you.
Pros: You can create presets for Adobe Camera Raw (more on that later), which will help speed up your process. You can automatically apply your preset/s to all images in Bridge. You can sync your adjusted settings across a set of images.
Cons: It just runs slower. The culling process is slower, the loading process has always been slower for me. This will get the job done and very beautifully, with lots of ways to accomplish the same thing. But it would not be my pick for a wedding photographer. If it’s portraits sessions, and you don’t mind a bit of slowness in your life, knock yourself out.
2) Lightroom. I def would recommend this option as the simplest/quickest option. This software by the way, was made with photographers in mind.
Pros: Simpler learning curve for most. You’re working in just one software, one window. You can create presets, work with something called ‘smart previews’ which speeds up the whole process, apply your favorite preset/s upon import, sync any adjusted settings... pretty much everything you’d wanna do, you can do in here.
Cons: I honestly can’t think of any! Coming from a Photoshop background, Lightroom to me was a learning curve. But most find this much easier to learn, and it really is nothing too crazy to pick up.
All in all, my final suggestion for you: dun dun dun... is to go with Lightroom. The ideal situation is Photo Mechanic to Lightroom, especially if you’re a wedding photographer. But just starting out, and even in general, Photo Mechanic isn’t a necessity- Lightroom is. Photo Mechanic is a nice luxury to have and does become a matter of time saving=money saving. But don’t make the mistake of spending so much unnecessary money early on in your business! Tools do not make you more skilled. Grow your skills, until you outgrow your tools, then upgrade.
Next week we’ll be covering how to cull your images, seamlessly and effectively!