Camera Bits Photo Mechanic 5More than one high-level pro finds that Photo Mechanic is the only organizational tool they need. Like a Porsche 911 SC stripped of frivolous elements that in get the way of the driver and the road, Photo Mechanic doesn't do any image enhancement. It's strictly a photo manager, and it does that really well. You can import from multiple flash cards simultaneously, edit IPTC metadata and generally manage large photo libraries quickly without drama. List Price: $150.
Effects And Plug-insThere are so many plug-ins available now that it's impossible to list them all. Here, we're covering a few that will form a sound foundation for doing a number things to make your images stand out.
Alien Skin Bokeh 2Alien Skin Bokeh 2 is just one of Alien Skin's many plug-ins. It lets you easily apply lens effects to simulate tilt/shift lenses and create highlyselective depth of field. These looks have become enormously popular in recent years, particularly with wedding and portrait shooters. The latest version of Bokeh lets you apply multiple effects to an image in different areas, and you can match the grain structure to the blurred area for a seamless effect. List Price: $199.
Athentec Perfectly ClearPerfectly Clear is a set of 12 quick corrections that you can apply to improve exposure, reduce noise, remove color tints, improve skin tones, adjust contrast and sharpening, and more. The software can apply enhancements automatically, or you can take manual control and fine-tune the results using slider controls. List Price: $199.
onOne Perfect Mask 5onOne makes a number of useful plug-ins and stand-alone software packages. Perfect Mask is useful because it does the heavy lifting of the often tedious process of masking and isolating your subject from the background, and it does it well. The latest version has a library of backgrounds that you can drop into your portraits or other photos. List Price: $99.
Nik Silver Efex Pro 2Nik Software was recently acquired by Google. The company has been a favorite of photographers for years due to their powerful U Point technology, as well as their photographer-oriented workflow. Silver Efex Pro 2 is Nik's powerful and highly fine-tunable application for converting photos to black-and-white. You can choose from a number of presets or create your own. Either way, once you've made the conversion, you can customize the image with U Point controls in a limitless manner. List Price: $199.
Tiffen Dfx 3Tiffen Dfx 3 Digital Filter Suite is available as a plug-in for Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture or a stand-alone software package. It's multi-talented software that can simulate dozens of Tiffen optical filters, as well as recreate the look of specialized lenses, film-lab processes, film grain structures and more. Dfx 3 also includes tools that can fix common photo problems, compression artifacts and noise. List Price: $169
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