Photo-Editing Software: Get to Know the Other Options

Photo-Editing Software: Get to Know the Other Options

Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard in post-processing, but it’s not the only game in town. It may be the most comprehensive and all-inclusive image-editing software system on the planet, but on the other hand, its interface can be daunting for many users, due to the sheer number of tools. Perhaps the biggest downside to the latest version, Photoshop CC, is that you can’t own it outright, because Adobe recently transitioned its iconic photo-editing application to a subscription-only model. If this doesn't appeal to you, there are simpler and more specialized alternatives that may better suit your style, workflow, and priorities. Below, you will find a roundup of some cool, contemporary photo-editing applications that may work better for you.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5

This complete photo-management and editing suite for Mac OS X and Windows is often the primary go-to system for many enthusiasts and pros who already have a full version of Photoshop. It has a logical interface, provides non-destructive editing that leaves the original files uncompromised, and lets you upload, organize, and manage large numbers of photos in an intuitive folder-based file structure using keywords. Additional features: enhances book creation and image-sharing capabilities, rich raw file processing capabilities, and provides an array of editing brushes and easy image straightening.

 Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Software for Mac and Windows (Boxed Version)

onOne Software Perfect Photo Suite 9 Premium Edition

This photo-editing package for Mac OS X and Windows consists of seven distinct modules that handle all aspects of fine-tuning, enhancing, and managing image files. New features include Quick Mask, which automatically creates masks with a simple brush stroke; Smart Photos, which saves all your editing steps and lets you re-edit photos at any time; Perfect Brush, which provides more natural results when adding backgrounds to masked selections; enhanced Noise Reduction, and an updated Crop & Level tool. Additionally, there are customizable filters and hundreds of built-in presets. It’s useable as a stand-alone application or as a plug-in for Photoshop, Lightroom, Photoshop Elements, or Apple Aperture. A Basic stand-alone-only version of Perfect Photo Suite 9 is also available.

onOne Software Perfect Photo Suite 9 Premium Edition

Perfectly Clear 2.0 Plug-In for Lightroom

Providing an enhanced degree of speed and automation, this Lightroom-dedicated plug-in allows you to adjust all aspects of an image’s appearance quickly and easily, including color, contrast, exposure, sharpening, and noise reduction, which is now controlled by an Enhanced Noise Reduction Engine. It also provides an enhanced Beautify set of features dedicated to portraiture, and an intuitive interface the can be paired with the host application’s acclaimed batch processing feature. Presets can be customized using Tweak settings, and the Split View feature and Opacity slider simplify image control and matching. It is delivered on a 4GB SDHC memory card, or is available as a download.

Macphun Tonality Pro 1.0 Photo Editing Software

Designed to elevate your monochrome images on any Mac running OS X 10.8 or higher, this stand-alone application offers advanced, comprehensive, black-and-white image editing and can also be used as a plug-in for Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, and Apple Aperture. Features include 16-bit RAW processing, use of up to eight layers with advanced blending control, and 150 one-click preset options including film type, blur, and lens emulations. It also provides vignetting and luminosity controls, and a variety of other tools inspired by traditional darkroom effects. It can export to TIFF, PSD, JPEG, and a host of other formats.

 Macphun Tonality Pro 1.0 Photo Editing Software for Mac (Electronic Download)

dslrBooth Professional Windows Edition Photo Booth Software

Aimed at wedding, event, portrait, and commercial photographers who want to set up a photo booth, dslrBooth Professional is designed to be efficient and intuitive and works with Windows 7 and 8 to automate most of the shooting and printing processes. The software is compatible with most DSLRs and all printers, providing a seamless interface for controlling both technologies that allows users to select multiple paper sizes, customize the layout of photos on the print, and add logos or graphics. With this Professional Edition, you can shoot against blue or green screen backgrounds and use the chroma-key function to replace the background with any image you choose. Other features: live view monitoring prior to the pictures being taken, integrated social media site sharing, automatic file backup, and touchscreen compatibility.

Corel AfterShot Pro 2

This intuitive and efficient raw file-editing program supports 64-bit processing for enhanced speed and is compatible with a wide variety of camera types as well as Linux, Mac, and Windows operating systems. It allows non-destructive photo editing with adjustments and tools to control composition, exposure and color, and offers a dedicated HDR module for refining the overall appearance of images. It also allows selective editing using masking tools and multi-version editing for unrestricted editing without compromising the original master files. It enables managing an extensive image library using tools for rating, tagging, and labeling files that works in conjunction with a robust search engine that can utilize user-defined criteria or EXIF metadata. Other features: an easy-to-navigate workspace design with Enhanced Zoom for faster previewing of smaller images, local contrast control, highlight recovery, noise removal, curve and level adjustments, and batch processing of raw files.

 Corel AfterShot Pro 2 (Download)

Hdrsoft Photomatrix Pro 5.0

This program is optimized for producing High Dynamic Range (HDR) images from bracketed exposures of high-contrast scenes that are shot at different exposures but otherwise identical, resulting in a single image that captures an extended tonal range. The HDR effect can be fine-tuned for overall contrast, detail, color saturation, micro contrast, highlights, white balance, gamma, color temperature, and more. Built-in presets provide quick selection of effects, and custom presets can be created for future use. A batch-processing feature automatically generates multiple HDR images and an export plug-in integrates with Lightroom for greater workflow efficiency. Other features: options for outputting and displaying thumbnails of custom presets, chromatic aberration and noise correction, and the ability to work in 32-bit HDR image formats.

Topaz Labs LLC Topaz Impression

This stand-alone or plug-in program transforms photographs into unique images that resemble paintings: replicating the styles of the Impressionist masters and providing the ability to create your own look with a choice of 14 different brush effects. Brush strokes, color palettes, brightness, and background textures are adjustable and, since it works as both a stand-alone or as a plug-in, a compatible host editor is not required. Other features: choice of 47 custom presets, HSL Technology lets you adjust hue, color saturation, and lightness individually across 8 different colors, and a choice of dozens of different textures including brick, canvas, wood, rock, and a variety of paper types.

Topaz Labs

Phase One Capture One Pro 8

Configured to deliver the speed and sophisticated controls required by professional photographers, it streamlines the editing process for an efficient workflow, and offers an extensive range of controls for all aspects of post-production, including dedicated clone and repair layers, enhanced local adjustments, HDR, and black-and-white conversion. It also provides full image processing and RAW file conversion, offers support for both Catalogs and Sessions types of organization, and provides rich tethered shooting capabilities. Other features: more than 300 distinct camera profiles and individual lens profiles, lens-cast correction, soft proofing capabilities, metadata editing capabilities, the ability to create Smart Albums and Smart Previews, noise reduction using camera profiles, film-grain emulation, keystone correction, and search filtering by keywords, EXIF, and IPTC data. It’s compatible with Mac OS X 10.9 or later and Windows 8/7.

Corel PaintShop Pro X7 Ultimate

Provides users with a suite of advanced editing tools and introduces new features, such as Magic Fill technology to help erase unwanted image areas and replace them with a matching background, as well as providing text- and shape-cutting tools. It also supports faster 64-bit processing, comes with Perfectly Clear by Athentech Imaging and Reallusion FaceFilter3, and provides the Color Materials Palette with an extensive array of brushes, textures, and backgrounds. Other tools include Image Dialog for choosing sizes for photos, prints, and graphics, Quick Preview for instant effects, faster brushes, XMP support for RAW files, HDR merge, enhanced batch-processing tools, drag-and-drop layer creation, and redesigned dialogs that access eight different effects, including Selective Focus, Vignette, Retro Lab, Graduated Filter, Depth of Field, and Red Eye Removal. Photo Mapping utilizes GPS data for organizing images or placing them on a map.


JPEGmini Photo Optimization Software

This ingenious and affordable photo-resizing app is designed to reduce overall file sizes that make them more manageable without sacrificing image quality, resolution or format. It can reduce JPEG file sizes by up to 80% to free up hard-drive space and shorten upload times. It uses a compression algorithm that imitates the human visual system to ensure that the appearance of the image remains the same, while removing redundancies within the image structure without creating any noticeable aliasing or artifacts. Using a two-stop process it analyzes how much compression is possible and then, using a unique JPEG encoder, applies a degree of compression that yields a file that looks the same as the native file. It can compress JPEG files up to 28MP and has been tested in accordance with the ITU BT.500 standard to perform as claimed.

Tiffen Dfx v3 Photo Plug-In

One of the chief attractions of this unique software system is that it emulates the precise effects of 121 filters in the Tiffen portfolio, with more than 2,000 special effects for further personalized control—all of which will run in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, and Apple Aperture. However, it also provides a very intuitive, nondestructive layering system that saves intermediate correction steps and provides an ingenious window system that lets you select easily from a range of possibilities and view Custom and Comparison images side by side at any stage in the post-production process. It supports JPEG, TIFF, and raw file types, includes grain and color-correction controls and a Paint system that includes Blur, Clone, Eraser, Mosaic, Red-Eye, Repair, and Scatter functions. It also provides multiple filter effects, as well as de-band, de-block, Film Type, Key Light, Rays (light-ray effects), Glow Darks, and Texture options, plus a Match setting that assesses the color, detail, gradient, and tone of one image and matches it to another.


DxO OpticsPro 10 Elite Edition

This brand-new version of DxO OpticsPro expedites the initial stages or post-processing and uses PRIME de-noising technology to speed up the noise reduction process to yield images with enhanced detail and natural color rendition. It also provides Clear View haze reduction to increase clarity, and DxO Smart Lighting to control color, tones, and exposure and provide intelligent sharpening to deliver more vivid images. It can also correct for a wide range of optical anomalies using equipment-specific profiles to eliminate distortions, vignetting, and chromatic aberrations. Other features: powerful raw, DNG, and JPEG processing, automated or manual Smart Lighting to bring out shadow and highlight detail, and a dedicated anti-moiré tool. Additionally, the workspace layout is customizable, white balance and dust tools can be used together within a single image, and enhanced processing capabilities, as well as collaborative editing with Lightroom, speed up the workflow.

DXO FilmPack 5 Elite Edition

Original Image
Fuji Velvia 50 Kodak Kodachrome 64 Lemography Redscale 100

The primary purpose of this new cutting-edge software is to enable users to simulate the unique appearance of different film types with digital photography, thus adding an analog element to the digital workflow. It covers more than 80 distinct film types, including black-and-white, color negative, and color transparency films, and enables their grain structures and appearance to be applied to digital images. It can also process raw image files, compensate for optical defects, and minimize digital noise while doing so. It also provides a wide range of traditional creative effects including toning, filter effects, light leaks, and vignettes, all of which are controllable. In short, it offers some of the most beloved aspects of film photography within an efficient digital interface. Other features: micro-contrast adjustments, batch processing capabilities, and plug-in or stand-alone operation.