DPP Solutions: Essential Software

Unless you’re hoarding a freezer-full of film and chemicals and submitting your slides, negatives and prints in mailers, you’re going to need to have and use at least some software. Photoshop remains mandatory for just about every pro. It’s incredibly useful and powerful, but you might find that you’re not using it as often as you once did. That’s because software that was originally designed for simple organization and low-level adjustments has become more powerful and useful. Also, specialized plug-ins have come along that can do the heavy lifting that you used to rely on Photoshop to handle. In this short article, we’re going to look at some software that every pro should have on their system.

Image Management And Organization

Handling a pro’s extensive image library is no small feat. There are a number of excellent options available for Mac and Windows users, but remember, effective image management begins with a good organizational foundation. We’ve published a number of articles on organization, so go to www.digitalphotopro.com to get some ideas on how you can build a solid foundation.

Image management software has come a long way. Today, you can use your image manager to handle everything from batch renaming to sophisticated color correction and web publishing. Many image management programs can make use of plug-ins that further expand their scope.

ACDSee Pro 5

With features to help you import and organize your images and add ratings, keywords and color labels, ACDSee Pro 5 is a powerful organizer for your image library. There also are tools that can correct lens distortion and perspective. Long a favorite of Windows users, ACDSee Pro 5 is fast and powerful, and it supports still images as well as motion and other media. List Price: $139.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4

What began as RAW workflow and organization software has evolved into a multi-faceted image powerhouse. Lightroom will manage, optimize and output your photos, as well as work seamlessly with Adobe Photoshop. Lightroom 4 is the latest version, and among its new features is support for GPS metadata so you can find images by location. Like many image management programs today, Lightroom 4 supports motion as well as still images, and a nice little feature is the ability to customize workspace with your own logo. List Price: $149.

Apple Aperture 3

When Apple introduced Aperture a few years ago, the Cupertino-based company made it clear that they were going to be a strong player in professional imaging. With the introduction of Aperture 3, that commitment remains strong. Taking the most useful workflow components from their lower-end iPhoto software and combining them with sophisticated professional elements, Aperture is one of the best options for organization, management and RAW workflow. One particularly nice feature of Aperture is the ability to use it with your Mac laptop and Mac desktop computer. On the road, you can fully manage images in new "events" within Aperture, then when you get back to your home base, connect the laptop to your desktop computer as a targeted drive and simply move the event to your main Aperture library. Aperture 3 supports HD video, and you can make multimedia slideshows with those video clips within Aperture. List Price: $79.

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