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What Software do YOU Use?

softwaretoolsWhen it comes to our post-processing weapon of choice, many of us have a passionate connection to what we use. There are, of course, plenty of reasons (call them “advantages” or “disadvantages”) to all of the choices amongst the image processing giants; but in which arena do you find yourself in the most? Do you prefer Photoshop Elements? Photoshop CS/2/3/4? Perhaps you’ve made the jump into doing the majority of your work in ACR/Bridge or Lightroom? Or are you one of the brave souls who have chosen the venture outside the Adobe world completely, using software such as Aperture, Nik Color Efx, or your camera’s proprietory RAW converter?

The question is simple: We want to know what your processing tool of choice is, and why? Leave your comments below!

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Editor-in-Chief and Publisher at PhotographyBB
Dave Seeram is the Editor of PhotographyBB Magazine, photographer, Canucks fan, Lostie,  fanboy, Dad, blogger, entrepreneur, and part-time superhero. Dave is the owner of this blog, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the PhotographyBB Magazine and CLARITY: PHOTOGRAPHY BEYOND THE CAMERA
  1. Odyn Reply

    ACDSee Pro 2.5
    It’s great and I can’t find nothing similar to it’s Light Equaliser in other programs. New 3.0 is now released and I’m saving my money to buy it.

  2. Rich Demanowski Reply

    I use mostly LightRoom, simply because I don’t do a lot of heavy editing. Most of my post involves tweaking the Camera Raw settings to get the tonal range I want.

    PhotoShop still has the advantage as far as masking and the flexibility of layers. I’m still on CS3 … haven’t gotten around to switching to the CS4 suite, just because I really don’t use it all that often. I’d probably use it more if I upgraded, because CS4 integrates much more seamlessly with LR2 than CS3 does.

  3. David Terry Reply

    My weapons of choice are:

    - Lightroom to process all of my raw files
    - Photoshop CS4 to retouch purchased images prior to printing
    - Bridge for sorting and renaming
    - ACDSee for general handling of exported JPEG files
    - Occasional use of DxO to convert “challenging” raw files
    - ProShow Producer for slide shows
    - Fotofusion for albums, invitations, posters, etc.

  4. Sean Phillips Reply

    I use Lightroom for about 95% of my image editing. It does almost everything I need. If LR could do Panorama Stitching and Content Aware Scaling then that number would go up above 99%!

  5. Mike Tittel Reply

    I use Adobe Lightroom for the vast majority of my general editing and Adobe CS4 for in-depth retouching.

  6. IcemanYVR Reply

    I use Aperture for 95 percent of all my image editing. I don’t do very much image editing outside of levels adjustments, or getting the colour correct. If I need to print an image larger than 8×10, or it’s specific or problem image, then it goes to Photoshop.

    In fact, I use PS so little, I’m still using CS2. I do prefer Adobe’s sharpening over Aperture, but on normal stuff, there isn’t enough of a difference.

  7. Steve Meddle Reply

    I use Nikon NX2, save as tiff into CS4 for some dodge & burn, back out as tiff
    then into Iviewmedia pro for some caption & keywords…job done.
    Oh forgot to mention photomatix pro 3 sometimes.
    it all works for me.

  8. Mark Lindsay Reply

    I use ACDSee Pro 3, it has everything Lightroom has and much more for half the price!!

  9. Tyler Heibeck Reply

    I sort and label all my photos in Expression Media and then decide from there whether to process them in Raw Developer or Lightzone. Shots that don’t need and region specific adjustment and have a normal intensity dynamic range go to Raw Developer since it does a wonderful conversion job and is lighting fast. Images that need a bit more attention go to Lightzone. Pictures with noise issues get exported from either program as 16-bit TIFFs and are processed in NoiseNinja. All shots are then put back into Expression Media for cataloging.

  10. Jeff Reply

    Lightroom 2

    That’s all

    Why? Because I don’t want anything more than that feature-wise and I like the way it works.

  11. JR Photography BC Reply

    Aperture 2, and Adobe CS3 for heavy editing.

  12. Walter Beck Reply

    I use Lightroom for 95% of my work – importing, cataloging, keywording, rating and quick processing. For the other 5%, I use Photoshop/Bridge. Once I learned that using XML “sidecars” for metadata, I found the integration with Lightroom and Photoshop/Bridge to be even tighter.

    I would be great if Adobe had a product that let you chose functionality from the 3 tools that you wanted and create your own custom package.

  13. Trevor Reply

    I use Lightroom 2 for everything but the most demanding cloning work (PS Elements for that) and noise reduction (Noise Ninja for that).

  14. Brian Hampson Reply

    I use ACDSee for basic, quick edits. If more indepth is required, then PS CS4 comes in as the big hammer.

  15. Sedgwick Reply

    I use ACDSee Pro 2.5 because its so fast and intuitive for trawling through thousands of images and has enough editing power for most of my needs. I’ve tried the Adobe contenders but they are so sluggish at image browsing and management that they were left unused and unloved.

  16. John Tammaro Reply

    I use Lightroom 2 for everything.

  17. Jennifer Reply

    I use the Gimp, because it’s free and very similar to older version of Photoshop, which is the first editing software I used, so it’s something familiar to me. While I’ve definitely found things missing in Gimp that Photoshop has, I haven’t yet found something that justifies the price.

  18. f0rTyLeGz Reply

    PhotoShop I have never even looked at another product.

  19. Dallas gilliam Reply

    I use photo mechanic by camera bits. I love this software I think it is easier than lightroom.

  20. Joe Dyndale Reply

    I use Bridge CS4 for managing my files and ACR for processing my RAW files (I always shoot in RAW). Finally I open the images in Photoshop CS4 for final tweaking/fixing (if necessary) and saving to JPEG.

    I used to do almost everything in Photoshop, but in CS4 the ACR module is no amazing it has taken over almost all processing. To be able to use that great adjustment brush on the RAW data is awesome!

  21. Joe Dyndale Reply

    Oh, I forgot: When I do HDR I’ve found the best thing is to do the merging in Photoshop and use Photomatix Pro 3 for the tonemapping.

  22. cootang2 Reply

    Silkypix pro.
    Why? It’s cheaper than lm and powerul.

  23. Ken Weinert Reply

    Gimp for editing, ufraw for converting the RAW images and initial adjustments.

  24. Drew Reply

    Import to Aperture2, do most of my edits there and advanced work in CS4.

  25. QuBe Reply

    - CS3 for all commercial imaging.
    - PhotoImpact (an oldie but a goodie) for web imaging (because I know it like the back of my hand) and it does better jpeg compression than even Photoshop
    - ACDSee Pro 2.5 as my image viewer/librarian – because it’s very fast (particularly wit RAWs) and has a much better workflow than Bridge…for the way I work, anyways.

  26. John Maxwell Reply

    On PC – Faststone Image Viewer for organizing photos, Photoshop Elements for editing, Picasa for some editing and uploading to Picasa Web Albums.
    On Mac – iPhoto to organize and do light editing, Photoshop Elements for heavier editing.

  27. Bob Reply

    I use Capture NX2 to convert from raw to tiff then Photoshop CS4.

  28. Paul Parkinson Reply

    From time to time I use all of these: Lightroom, Photoshop Elements 7, DxO Optics Pro, PhotoMatix and DeNoise. If I could only have one, then my vote would go to Lightroom.

  29. sebD Reply

    I use the Gimp and Hugin for my many panoramas.
    Why ? Because they are more than enough for what I do and most importantly they are libre and open source.

  30. Terje Reply

    I use Bibble ( for raw conversions, outstanding product. It has functionality like Lightroom, but a lot faster and it has Noise Ninja built in so you can do real noise reduction in the raw workflow. And of course it comes for Linux, Windows and Mac. So all of you “there is only adobe” folks, check out the Bibble 5 preview, it rocks !!

    For real editing I use Gimp, and I look forward to adjustment layers and 16 bit funcionality !!

  31. IcemanUK Reply

    I use Lightroom and Photoshop. Lightroom for the heavy batch processing (WB, tone, tagging, minor touch-ups) and Photoshop for the few pictures that need a bit more work. Lightroom has saved me vast amount of time when processing my RAW files.

  32. reedycreek Reply

    open with UFRAW, convert and export to GIMP to make any adjustments. for astrophotography, open raw in PixInsight LE to adjust, some modifications in GIMP if necessary. they’re all free and do everything i need to do…right now!

  33. Steve Reply

    DxO Optics Pro (for it’s ability to correct lens distortion) to convert raw to 16-bit tiff then Photoshop after that.

  34. Jay L Reply

    I have tried many of them. Previously, I used ACR and PS CS2. However, when the 40D was released ACR did not have full support and so I switched to Canon DPP for RAW processing. I have tried Lightroom, but found that it tried to do too much for my taste. Here is what I currently use:

    – Canon DPP for basic RAW conversion
    – Photoshop CS4 for more advanced image editing


  35. Gareth Glynn Reply

    My arsenal:
    After dowwnload, review in Bridge. Open the keepers and pre-process in ACR.Choice of Photomatix, Nik (BW & Color) Efex and finish up in Photoshop. Save my copy to TIFF and one JPEG for web use.

  36. Maciej Reply

    For 90% of my work I use Lightroom 2.5
    For 5% Photoshop Elements 7
    For 3% excellent, not very well known but very cheap easyHDR (
    For 2% Capture One 4
    ProShow Producer for slide shows

  37. Erika Reply

    I recently discovered Capture NX2 for processing my NEF (RAW) images and as I prefer to enhance my photo’s but keep them looking as naturally as possible, I don’t use anything else. I am delighted with the results and would love to learn how to use the program to its fullest.

  38. Greg Reply

    On PC- Caputure NX2, with Paint Shop Pro X2 when layer work is needed.

  39. photoKaki Reply

    I use ACDSee pro2.5 for transferring from my SD card and common viewing. It is damn fast in opening images and u can scroll through all images in your folder using the mouse scroll.

    Then I use Capture NX 2.2 for converting and touch-ups on most photos. Good tool with powerful U-point and LCH editor. Most useful software for Nikon shooters!

    I only use Photoshop CS4 only when I need to do aggresive Noiseware Pro noise reduction or some cloning to be done. And sometimes for use with Photomatix HDR.

  40. George Holmes Reply

    I use Photoshop CS4 and have a lot of plug-ins. Occasionally I use Painter 11. Use is to make my images as much like what I saw in my head as possible, compared to what the camera actually saw. Another use is to create more paintings from my images.

  41. Don S. Reply

    I can see I will be in the minority here.

    I have used Photoshop Elements since Version 1 for all of my image management and 90% of my editing. I have CS4 for the other 10%. PSE 7 is built on the same engine as CS4. Of course, I have to admit I teach adults Photoshop Elements, so obviously I need to stay current with it. For HDR I use Photomatix 3 Pro.

    For slide shows and multi-media presentations I use Premiere Elements 8, MS Movie Maker or Vista DVD Maker to take the output of PSE 7 (now PSE 8) to its final DVD.

  42. golfzilla Reply

    98% Lightroom 2; 2% Photoshop CS4. I do use iPhoto for snaps on the road and portfolio.

  43. Joseph Hoetzl Reply

    Lightroom 2 is where most of my post is done. Photoshop for retouching a select few, and DxO for architectural type shots.
    I wish Lightroom had the perspective tool set that DxO has – for perspective corrections, DxO rocks.

  44. Jan Reply

    Nikon Capture NX2 for most of the RAW file processing and prep work.

    ACDSEE 2.5 for image viewer and catalogue tool

  45. Denise Reply

    I usually use Photoshop CS3 but that’s only because of my ignorance for Lightroom. I’ve owned the program for over a year and am just now starting to learn how to use it. Knowing the little bit I do know about LR, I will be using that more because of it’s functions and ease of use.

  46. Christian Reply

    iPhoto most of the time. It allows me to fix white balance in jpegs. Also use PS CS3 with ACR and Bridge, but most of the time, jpegs and iPhoto

  47. Stephen McGrath Reply

    Lightroom 2 is my core workflow product. The templates are brilliant, and availability of user-created content peerless.
    Photoshop CS3 is used only when I need detailed layer and region control, and I used it begrudgingly.
    Adobe already has too much of my money so CS4 will never be on the menu. Lightroom 3 is in beta but so far doesn’t offer anything significant over v2 so only time will tell if an upgrade is on the cards there.

  48. Zé Maria Reply

    I use Lightroom and PS CS3. The first one to develop the Nef files and convert them to DNG and the second one to fine tune the jpg produced by the first.

  49. kang bedjo Reply

    I used GIMP. Its free and suit with me. 100% in GIMP.

  50. David Reply

    Image Ingestor to bring images in. IMatch to review, rate and sort. ACR & CS3 to edit and to print. Very powerful combination.

  51. tmt Reply

    RawTherapee for raw conversion, Gimp for aftermath. They are both free, and rawtherapee makes the raw conversion really fast.

  52. vague_logic Reply

    Have both Aperture and Photoshop but haven’t used Photoshop for nearly a year as Aperture does what I want with an easy interface and low cost. I will not be upgrading Photoshop any more and have started to use Pixelmator for the tasks Aperture can’t handle.

    • Laurence Field Reply

      I use the latest Aperture and Pixelmator and I agree with vague_logic – they are powerful and easy to use.

  53. Simo Reply

    ufraw + gimp because software is like sex: it’s better when it’s free.

  54. Spodeworld Reply

    I use Photoshop Elements. I chose this over Photoshop mainly due to the price differential, and as Photoshop Elements is quite powerful. It is frustrating though when I see Photoshop articles demonstrating a technique I would like to apply (like the excellent ones in this mag), but as Photoshop and Elements do not map one-to-one, I either can’t or am not sure how to go about it.

  55. John Reply

    Adobe Bridge for batch processing, RAW adjustments, and image viewer/organizer.

    Adobe Photoshop CS3 and a multitude of after market plug-ins for everything else.

    Photoshop does everything I will ever want to do and then much more!!!

  56. John Reply

    Adobe Bridge for batch processing, RAW adjustments, and image viewer/organizer.

    Adobe Photoshop CS3 and a multitude of after market plug-ins for everything else.

    Photoshop does everything I will ever want to do and then much more!!!

    See some of my images at

  57. vetch jones Reply

    Paintshop Pro 9 and 11 – sometimes CS3, but most often PSP.

  58. George Quiroga Reply

    I use Lightroom 2.5 about 90% of the time and Photoshop CS/2 about 10%. The only thing that is missing for me from Lightroom is the ability to add special effects borders and/or grunge layer overlays to the image for final presentation. If I had that, I probably would use CS2 less and only for manipulating images or combining them with graphics.

  59. Paul Topol Reply

    I use Capture One. Have for the past 5 years. LOVE it! Battle with Lightroom. Learning Photoshop. Attempting IviewMedia.

  60. Cathy Reply

    I’m really liking Lightroom 3.2 for fast editing, color correction and watermarks. I can mark and resize photos for client facebook pages in very little time now. CS5 is my other software that I love.

  61. Berluscani Reply

    Lightroom 3.3; Photoshop CS5; Illustrator CS5; under Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

  62. Carl Reply

    Just upgraded to PSE 9 from PSE 5 so I can use the new Portrait Magic Pro Action Pack for Photoshop Elements. That should do it for software for me. Carl

  63. Steve Reply

    I use Photoshop (various) and Lightroom as I have to teach it. However, I can never understand how Photoshop got where it did as it has to be one of the most difficult programmes to use. I must say that I do like lightroom a lot. At home I prefer PhotoImpact and use Lightroom as well.

  64. Ian Carter Reply

    I have Photoshop on my desktop PC in Australia, but have been living and travelling in China for the past 5 years. I found ACDSee Pro2 just before I came here in 2006 and it was so fast and intuitive with all I needed then. I have since upgraded to each new version; just licenced the ACDSee Pro4 beta to full version. I may never use anything else; this has all I need and more.

  65. Gary Eckhardt Reply

    PhotoshopCS5,Lightroom 3,Olympus Viewer

  66. Wade Reply

    I use Photoshop for image editing. However, I have an older system and PS is VERY slow to start up. If it’s a quick and dirty edit, I use PS Elements. However, I do most of my creative work in MS Picture It. I prefer the way MSPI does cutouts; I find it more intuitive than PS. And I like the way it handles collages better also.

  67. John Dodd Reply

    Photoshop CS4 extended. Whatever the hype about other software….we all know that Photoshop is second to none!!

  68. Roger Daigle Reply

    Photoshop Elements 10….CaptureNX2…Photomatix Pro…Portrait Professional 10 and Neat Image for noise reduction.

  69. Terrence Reply

    I use mainly Photo Scape and what I can’t do with this I use Corel PaintShop Photo pro x3

  70. Pat Autrey Reply

    I use Sagelight. This is a sleeper of photographic image editing. Only $40 and is better than Lightroom. Seeing is believeing

  71. Mike Crone Reply

    Because of the work I do (photo restoration & retouching) I use Photoshop CC & Lightroom 5. I also have an arsenal of plug-ins for each.

  72. Dave M Reply

    I use PS CS6 and OnOne Perfect Photo Suite. OneOne are enhancing their product constantly to a pont where its versatility means I am using PS less often. The new version due for release in Nov 13 contains a basic editor which will be very useful.

  73. Christian Reply

    In my toolbox:

    ufraw & Gimp

  74. tony greenfield Reply

    Hi. At the moment I’m limited to an iPad and learning PS Touch and Leonardo they do the basics OK I’ve got a little masking and all the basics. It’s a good experience to be limited. Tony.

  75. Keith Walker Reply

    I use Zoner Photo Studio which is very powerful, easy to use and does all I want

  76. Wadjinn Reply

    I use Nikon Transfer to transport from card to cumputer and during this transport change the file name into the name i use in my archive (yyyymmdd-uummss)and ad some tags if wanted.
    Overview and editing metadat (GPS, subject, etc.) is done in Nikon ViewNX. Some of the editing on the RAW-file is done in Nikon Capture NX2 (images that needs correcting for color, exposure, contrast, etc.)and saved as RAW again.
    The real deal in editing is done in Photoshop CS5.1 (i don’t like PS6 and i hardly don’t use more tools than i ever used in PS4 20 years ago)
    That’s the common image of a Nikon photographer, isn’t it?

  77. Paul Reply

    Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4. Quick, easy, accurate.

  78. Joe Reply

    Lightroom 5 & PS CS6 with NIK, Topaz plugins and on occasion OnOne…

  79. Alejandro Ceppi Reply

    I mainly use DxO to develop my Raw files which I normally convert to tiff for post-editing. Sometimes I use ACDSee Pro for Raw and other times I save from DxO to DNG format and then do from there some adjustments with ACDSee Pro. For editing my tiff files I am now normally using Corel PaintShop Pro Ultimate and now and again I go back to Serif PhotoPlus. I have PhotoShop (an old version of PhotoShop and a fairly new one of Elements) but I rarely use it. Some of the plugins which I have that I use more often are Color Efex Pro 3 and several from Topaz. I recently bought Panorama Studio Pro which I am finding to be very good for panoramas.

  80. max Reply

    I never used an additional tool for watermarking and post processing my photos,but recently i came across a software called Mass Watermark.Its a great piece of tool which has a unique style of processing,You can watermark,resize,add exif info,optimize and direct upload to picasa/flickr in a single flow.This software has helped me save tons of time.Its not a free tool $30.

  81. Jack Dowell Reply

    I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom5 to process my raw images. At times, I use Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 when I need to do layers or process HDR images.

  82. David Reply

    I use Lightroom 5 for about 95% of my photos. This was up 5% over Lightroom 4 when spot removal was enhanced to take out wires and similar things and some other features.
    Photoshop CS6 for the other 5%
    Photomatix Pro 4 for all HDR
    Eye-One Match 3 to calibrate the monitors.
    ProShow Producer to do slide shows
    Perfect Photo Suite 7 for B&W and sizing plus other modules

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