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What software do you use for image processing? This would be the software you use to make adjustments to your raw images (white balance, exposure, etc).

What software do you use for image management? This would be the software you use to apply meta data like IPTC data, keywords, location, contact info as well as use to later search for images in your archives.

I use Lightroom and Photoshop (mostly Lightroom). In Lightroom I do all my image adjustments and apply all of the initial meta data. I have also been working with Aperture lately to see how it compares to Lightroom. I save all my raw files in Adobe DNG format and use MediaPro (formerly iView MediaPro) from PhaseOne for image management.

Active Member
Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 208
Location: Columbia, Maryland
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This is more or less my workflow:

Lightroom - Import images, select keepers, key wording, cropping

Nik Dfine - Noise reduction if needed

Nik Pre Sharpening

Nik Silver Efex Pro (if needed)

Lightroom - Edit white balance, exposure fill light & recovery, saturation vibrance & clarity, spot removal if needed, grad filter if needed

Photoshop - more complicated edits requiring layers

Nik Output Sharpener

Print or Post from Photoshop or Lightroom



Registered: 03/05/11
Posts: 44
Location: Manchester, UK
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Great question Walter and anxious to hear about everyone as this will provide some valuable education.   A sample of that is MediaPro.  I do not do much serious work on the storage and organization of my images other than make sure the pictures are in a logical place...to my brain anyway.   I keep the RAW's as they are in a separate set of folders based on location.  When I work them, I will either save in PSP or JPG, depending on what I want to do.   I have a tendency to keep everything, therefore I do take a lot of hard disk!    I do have a redundant RAID drive the does make me feel more secure.  So, it would be interesting to hear more about what MediaPro does and I will research on the internet too.

Regarding workflow, I use Breeze Browser to work through my images and when I find an image to work on, I then open it in Photoshop.   The following is what normally occurs:


1)  Open in Photoshop (CS4 still at this time) and always adjust the exposure and some other sliders in the RAW Editor.  I also straighten out my image there if needed as seems easier to me. 

2)  Then I almost always go to Nik Software's Viveza 2 to perform any changes to the light, saturation, etc.  My FAVORITE software.  I RARELY mask in Photoshop anymore. 

3)  I will then typically use Nik Software' s Color Efx Pro to see if other adjustments are necessary.  Filters like the Pro Contrast, Contrast Color Range and Tonal Contrast I use for exposure correction, also Classical Soft Focus and Glamor Glow for portraits, the Darken/Lighten Center filter is great for subtle vignetting or getting light to focus on the part of the image I want, and then play around with many others as needed.  Good ones are Foliage, Infrared, Midnight,High Key, Skylight Filter and Bleach Bypass

4)  I will use Nik Software's Silver Efx Pro for all monochrome...excellent tool

5)  I do HDR a lot and either use Photomatix or Nik Software's HDR Pro.   I am so comfortable with Photomatix, I think I can control the image better.

6)  I use Panorama Maker for my panorama shoots.  Very happy with and I do this first before any other editing.

7)  The last thing I do is sharpening and I normally use a trick on Photoshop with the High Pass filter to do the sharpening.  I like the control.  Sometimes use Nik Software's Sharpener when printing.  

On a normal process, I actually get impatient if it takes more than 90 seconds to edit the first image that can be saved.   If I do not, I consider my in-camera technique to be poor.  It may take a few minutes to get more elaborate edits, but that is fine.  I have EVERYTHING hot-keyed too and rarely use the mouse, which I strongly recommend for expedience reasons.  Now...I just need a better monitor!!  When I get back home to USA......

Richard Schoettger

Registered: 03/14/11
Posts: 57
Location: Singapore
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I use Lightroom (currently using v2.7) for image management (which I think it works great for) and for perhaps 80% of my processing. Most images I post here are only processed in LR. I also use LR to create and update my website, through plugins furnished by The Turning Gate.

When I want to do a bit more work, I continue processing int Photoshop (currently using CS4, and wondering if to except Adobe's "extortion" offer to upgrade before the end of the year or lose out on the chance for future upgrades). I also use PS for making panoramas. I recently purchased Tony Kuper's PS actions for advanced masking and luminosity painting.

Other programs I routinely use include:

Nik Dfine - for noise reduction

Photomatrix  - for HDR processing

and BlowUp 2 - for up and down sizing

Joe Becker
Tacoma, Washington, USA

Registered: 01/13/11
Posts: 55
Location: Tacoma, Washington,
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I am currently post processing using Photoshop Elements 8 but I am considering upgrading to either Elements 10 and/or Lightroom.  I like the features I see in Lightroom especially the cataloging as Elements Organizer leaves alot to be desired.  I am looking forward to reading the comments on this subject.  JC

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I thought I would post a follow-up to this. I have been using Apple Aperture exclusively since January when I worked on the Aperture-vs-Lightroom article for the site. I bought a book on Aperture recently and learned a few more tricks about the Aperture user interface that I didn't know. The more I use Aperture, the more impressed I get. I imported all of my 35,000+ raw files into Aperture and did some DAM assessments. It has a very powerful search capability. It lacks the ability to do complex "AND" and "OR" combinations in searching, but most DAM tools are missing that. I have high hopes that Apple release an Aperture 4 some time this year that will include some of the missing features ("missing" for me anyway) like lens correction and lens profiles like Lightroom, more complex metadata search capabilities, better noise reduction. There are several articles on the net discussing wish lists for Aperture 4.

I have not completely given up my Adobe products, but I also have not spent the money on upgrading to CS6 versions. I did upgrade to Lightroom 4. Now that I have spent eight months really emersing myself in Aperture 3, I think it would be worth going back into Lighroom 4 and working some of the same images I have processed in Aperture 3 and comparing the workflow and the quality of the output. I think Aperture gives Adobe a run for their money on raw image processing. I think both have excellent output options including JPG files, creating web galleries, making books, and creating slideshows with music. Both can send images to external editors for editing in ways that Aperture and Lightroom can't do natively. Naturally, Lightroom integrates more seamlessly with Photoshop, but Aperture can send rendered TIFF images to Photoshop and import the results of Photoshop editing.

If I had to look at Aperture or Lightroom as a true all-in-one application without using an external application like Photoshop, I think I would tip my hat towards Aperture for the more powerful image editing features, but Lightroom is a very capable tool and it does offer some features missing in Aperture. The three biggest Lightroom advantages in my opinion are multi-platform support (Windows & OS X), lens profiles and correction, and noise reduction.

Has anyone else looked at other tools than the one they currently use? What made you want to look at other tools? What do you consider when evaluating one tool versus another?

Active Member
Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 208
Location: Columbia, Maryland
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Since I'm one of those rare Sigma DSLR users, my workflow starts by opening a photo in Sigma's Photo Pro RAW converter software.  I do my initial adjustments there for overall exposure, including highlights, shadows, and fill light.  I rarely make color adjustments, unless the photo has an overall undesired tint to it, or maybe to desaturate a color (typically red).  I used to routinely make my initial sharpness adjustment here, too, but with my too newest lenses I find that it's an unnecessary step at this stage of the process.  When I'm finished I save the file as a TIFF.

Next I open the TIFF file in Photoshop Elements 10.  I'll usually click on Enhance>Auto Smart Fix just for kicks, just to see what happens.  Then I immediately go to Levels to set the blacks, whites, and midtone contrast.  I may also play around with Shadows and Highlights or Brightness and Contrast, as needed.  I may use the Spot Healing brush or the Clone Stamp to remove unwanted items or blemishes; use the Straighten Tool to fix crooked horizons; and, use Image>Transform>Perspective, or Skew, to adjust for camera distortion.  After resizing the image for the web, my last step is a final sharpening with Unsharpen Mask.  I save the finished file as a JPEG.

I originally used the Organizer in Photoshop Elements to file and organize my photos, but I found that it opened too slowly on my ten-year-old desktop computer.  It's much faster for me to use the Windows folder structure.  My desktop's hard drive is only 120 GB, so there isn't much room for photo storage.  As a result, I use two 1 TB external drives, one for the original photo files and the other to back up the first.

Registered: 01/21/11
Posts: 12
Location: Maryland's Eastern
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I shoot JPG fine + Raw so first I download this and name the folder. Within that folder I split up the JPG and Raw images to their own folders. Next I build an Edit folder where I store all edits. The jpgs I use as my proof folder being that if I want to browse through the images, they load much faster as jpgs in Windows 7 - Windows Photo Viewer.

Once I have selected an image to work on I open the RAW file in Nikon NX2. (Sometimes the JPG is good enough for the use I have in mind and I just work straight from that file.) I find that the colors are more true with the Nikon software. Here I adjust WB, exposure compensation, color mode, shadow/highlight, saturation. It is then exported to PS. Here I do the final tweaks. Clone, crop, straighten, adjust levels, vignette if necessary, grad ND, etc. I have Nik filter plug ins here. I finish with re-sizing and re-naming.

I also use Elements, and Lightroom for some things that they seems to do better.


Registered: 01/19/11
Posts: 68
Location: Tempe, AZ
8 posts :: Page 1 of 1