Photo Processing Alternatives
Our meeting discussions often center on which processing software to use as well as which equipment. Here are several Photoshop alternatives and plugins that I own and use pretty regularly. They all run on Windows and Mac OS.
They have DxO PhotoLab 2 and the Nik Collection. Both work well but are more expensive over all because they (so far) charge for updates. I had the Nik collection already (purchased!) but paid DxO when they released it under their name (there were a few very minor updates) so I could stay in the update loop. Less than a year later, and (again) more minor updates, they want another fee. Really? That generated a lot of ill will on their Facebook page! To be fair though the update between PhotoLab and PhotoLab 2 were pretty significant and Adobe has charged an update fee for less.
Very good plugins. They work in Photoshop or on their own in Topaz Studio. They may seem expensive compared even to Nik but no update fees and are often on sale. You can buy them individually instead of loading up with the entire set.
Free! Comes with a selection of the Topaz plugins and you can add more as you need or want them. I’ve made some pretty cool images with this program. Also - FREE!
Note: it prefers a pretty hefty graphics card to run. My older laptop at work (yes, I sneak photo time at work!) barely runs it even though the other programs run fine.
Makers of Luminar 3 and a very nice HDR program Aurora HDR (which I don’t own). Luminar comes with many ‘looks’ to apply to your image and you can get more from the site - or create your own. I’ve made some pretty cool images with this one too. Does a great job at removing unwanted junk from your images. And it’s been free updates since version one.
This one is the most like Photoshop but not exactly the same - there are many differences that crop up as you use the program. Over all if you are familiar with Photoshop you will quickly learn this. This is the only one that allows you to add text, borders, drop shadows, etc.
Also - free updates!