Photography News 84 Web

Technique – software

Cameras are perfectly able to produce great images without any help, but it’s only when you put those images into software, does the magic really happen. Here’s our rundown of the best software out there to check out Software update

DXOPHOTOLAB4 ›  Prices Essential £115, Elite £179 ›  Compatible with Mac and Windows

NIKCOLLECTION 3 BYDXO ›  Price £129 ›  Compatible with Mac and Windows

LUMINAR4 ›  Prices Luminar 4 £54 Luminar AI £79 ›  Compatible with Mac and Windows

AFFINITY PHOTO ›  Prices £48.99 Mac and Windows, £19.99 iPad ›  Compatible with Mac, iPad and Windows

DxO offers the much-loved Nik Collection, a series of plug-ins for use with the brand’s own software or third-party software, such as Adobe Lightroom. There are now eight plug-ins, including Color Efex Pro and Silver Efex Pro for finely tuning colour and mono images respectively, HDR and the new Perspective Efex for controlling distortion. Users can now enjoy a non-destructive environment, combining plug-in edits with original edits in platforms such as Lightroom. The Nik Collection 3 includes more than 200 presets. These offer many creative possibilities with an extremely simple approach, including emulation of classic film stocks and looks designed for landscapes, portraits, street photography and much more.

With Affinity Photo, Serif has managed to combine the best of professional photo- editing tools with additional creative touches when they’re needed. From a technical perspective, live, real-time editing with smooth motion at full resolution is a significant draw, even when using big files. When it comes to editing, Affinity offers an innovative means of working with live filter layers, meaning effects can be applied in such a way that they can be masked, adjusted and reordered non-destructively. In addition to traditional edits, graphic design elements can be added in the same way. Tools like 32-bit image HDR merging, focus stacking and panoramic stitching offer a wealth of opportunity.

DXO’s PhotoLab 4 is a powerful editing software and its impressive optical correction capabilities are a functional cornerstone, but there’s plenty more to be had, too. All the adjustments you would expect are present and can be applied to specific areas – in addition to more typical masking – thanks to the brand’s U Point technology. The most recent update has seen several new and exciting features added to the software’s list of powerful creative tools, like DeepPRIME, which uses AI to de-noise and de-mosaic images marvellously. Usability has also been improved, with an entirely customisable workspace and an advanced editing history.

Luminar 4 by Skylum can be used as a standalone editing software with full Raw support or as a plug-in for Lightroom Classic, among others. It’s a powerful software that makes basic and creative effects simple. The intelligent AI Sky Replacement tool, for example, allows a complete sky change in seconds, even with fine foreground details. The AI Structure slider adds detail only where it’s needed, and the AI Accent tool will apply dozens of adjustments at a toggle. The new Luminar AI takes this even further, shortening more intensive tasks by adding advanced portrait corrections, realistic mist and composition corrections automatically.

ADOBE PHOTOSHOP AND LIGHTROOMCLASSIC ›  Prices Photography plan (20GB cloud storage) £9.98/mo, Photography plan (1TB) £19.97/mo, Lightroom plan (1TB) £9.98/mo

ZONER PHOTO STUDIOX ›  Prices $49 (£36.60)/year, $4.99 (£3.67)/mo ›  Compatible with Windows

PORTRAITPRO21 ›  Prices PortraitPro 21 £79.90, Studio Max 21 £279.90 ›  Compatible with Mac and Windows

CAPTUREONE 21 ›  Prices Capture One Pro 21 licence £299, Capture One Pro 21 subscription £180, £20/£24 monthly ›  Compatible with Mac and Windows

›  Compatible with Mac and Windows

Anthropics’ PortraitPro 21 caters for people photographers (LandscapePro is available for scenic fans) and what it does, it does very well. Using AI, the software can detect facial features and offer an automatic selection of skin, hair and background, or apply automatic but fully adjustable corrections. Expected features like skin smoothing and cloning are present, but so are some more surprising options. Skies can be replaced, shoot lighting can be altered with relighting and brush tools, realistic digital makeup can be applied and expressions can even be enhanced.

Zoner Photo Studio X is one of the most capable bits of photo-editing software on the market with world- class features like full Raw processing and a Photoshop-like editor for layer and masking work. Its interface is straightforward in use, both in the edit and in cataloguing, with images discoverable by date, location, keyword or through a folder system. Zoner Photo Studio has been flying under the radar for a while, and for a program to combine the functionality of both Photoshop and Lightroom, along with an extensive module dedicated to bringing your photographs to life, is no small feat. It

The recently announced Capture One 21 offers support for editing abilities of all levels. One draw is the advanced suite of colour control options, which can even match the colour science of certain cameras. In addition to control over levels and curves within individual channels, advanced layer options are there to be used alongside automatic tools like HDR. Capture One comes with three style packs of presets, with more available. When making tweaks, or editing from scratch, adjustments can be made simply using keyboard shortcuts, all within a customisable workspace. A split screen slider lets you see a before and after side by side.

Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom Classic are built for photographers and available on monthly subscriptions. Photoshop is the industry standard editing software and has been for years. There’s a whole array of brushes and tools to add flair to your images – filters and adjustments can be applied via layers and masks, and objects can be selected and removed, or others added in. Lightroom, meanwhile, is a brilliant workflow software with a skill set very different compared with Photoshop, so they complement each other very nicely. Its cataloguing skills are very powerful. The £9.98/mo plan includes 20GB of cloud storage in addition to access to the software. If you want 1TB of storage, the sub is £19.97.

includes a video editor, too.

8 Photography News | Issue 84

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