Home Buyer's Guide Software
Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Top Photo Software

Popular applications to organize and improve your photography

Labels: SoftwareGear
This Article Features Photo Zoom

The newest version of ACD System's popular workflow software includes 10 GB of storage in the ACD Online cloud for easy backups of your photo library. ACDSee helps you stay organized with metadata, keywords, file properties, GPS location, ratings and color labels. It also has the ability to save hierarchical keyword searches, such as Nature/Wildlife/Birds/Eagles. The nondestructive adjustment brush lets you make localized enhancements to color, plus smart sharpening, red-eye reduction and more. Share your images directly through Facebook, Flickr, SmugMug, Twitter or Zenfolio without leaving the app. List Price: $199.

Lightroom received a significant upgrade, introducing several new features that simplify common photo tasks. The Upright tool quickly straightens horizons and makes perspective corrections on vertical and horizontal lines. There's a new Radial Gradient tool for custom vignettes and an Advanced Healing Brush to remove irregularly shaped objects in just a few clicks. Also new is location-based organization for grouping your photos by GPS data, an advanced black-and-white conversion tool and improved book creation with customizable templates. Lightroom 5 is included in Adobe's Creative Cloud or can be licensed separately. List Price: $149 (full license); $79 (upgrade). It's also available as part of the recently announced Photoshop Photography Program, a subscription similar to Creative Cloud, that includes Photoshop CC and Lightroom, priced at $9.99 per month for those who sign up by December 31, 2013.

If you missed the big Photoshop news this year, how? Adobe announced sweeping changes to its Creative Suite, now dubbed Creative Cloud and available only as a subscription—no more perpetual licenses. In return, Adobe promises more frequent upgrades and new features. New features in Photoshop CC include a reengineered Smart Sharpen that greatly improves upon its predecessor with dramatically less noise and an innovative Camera Shake Reduction tool that can fix blurry images by analyzing the path of the blur and counteracting it. Photoshop CC is available as part of the complete Creative Cloud for $599 per year ($49 per month) or on its own for $239 per year ($19 per month), or as part of the Photoshop Photography Program along with Lightroom, as described above.

Photoshop's simpler, photographer-friendly little brother offers both organization and editing tools. The Organizer provides a hub from which to catalog both photo and video assets by location, person (with face recognition), event and personalized tags. As in previous versions, Elements 12 has Quick, Guided and Expert editing modes that customize the interface and workflow to match the comfort level and skill of the user, making it a good choice for beginners to grow with. Guided mode offers tutorials for more advanced edits, such as "Restore Old Photo." Expert adjustments include a new Pet Eye tool and Straightening with auto-fill edges. List Price: $99 (full license).

Apple's Aperture 3 is a professional workflow and nondestructive editing suite that can handle your entire photo workflow from import through print or for sharing online. New features in version 3 include an enhanced White Balance tool with preset modes adapted for Skin Tone, Natural Gray or Temperature & Tint for tricky mixed lighting. Also improved are the Highlight and Shadow tools for recovering details at the extreme ends of the dynamic range. A Professional Auto Enhance tool analyzes your image and makes several key adjustments automatically—a great starting point for adding your finishing touches. List Price: $79.

Under the hood, the newly upgraded Corel PaintShop Pro X6 is now 64-bit-compatible to take full advantage of modern processors. The interface has also experienced a redesign for a simpler, more inviting experience. Auto-grouping for sequential images makes file management easy. Additional advanced editing tools include Smart Carver and Object Remover for eliminating unwanted objects from your image and Auto Selection with edge detect for quick masks that snap to the edges of your subjects. List Price: $79 (full license); $59 (upgrade).


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