Chapters 0:00 Introduction 0:28 Ingest and Culling Software 2:08 Editing Software 5:05 Backup Software 7:05 My Editing Workflow 11:18 Conclusion
So, photography software can fall under one of three categories: ingest and culling, editing, and backup software.
First, we’re going to start by looking at ingest and culling software. This is software designed to help you get your pictures off your memory card and onto your computer. It can also help with file management, image tagging, and very basic editing tasks.
For example: you can use ingest and culling software to automatically rename all of your images and tag them with copyright information while they’re being transferred to your machine.
Two of the most popular ingest and culling softwares are Photo Mechanic and Adobe Bridge. Photo Mechanic is a standalone piece of software, while Adobe Bridge is included as part of the Adobe Creative Suite. One other popular and cheaper alternative is FastRawViewer, which offers about 90% of the same functionality.
All of these programs cost money, which leads me to a popular question: why would I pay for culling and ingesting software when I can just use my editing software?
There are two huge reasons:
Number one: Photo Mechanic can load preview files instantly. In the same amount of time it takes me to zoom in to 100% in Lightroom, I can cycle through an entire album in Photo Mechanic. And it’s not like I don’t have enough computer power for Lightroom – I’m using a powerful, custom-built desktop machine in this example.
Number two: Photo Mechanic can automatically apply file naming conventions using variables, metadata and copyright information while ingesting. This is how I manage to optimize all of my images for my website, helping me to increase my page ranking and land on the first page of Google Search results.
Alright, so the second type of photography software is used for editing. This is the software designed to help you with the creative part of your photography – adjusting color, contrast, saturation, and everything else. And as I just mentioned, editing software will also include some basic ingest and culling features – but nothing as fast as a tool like Photo Mechanic or Adobe Bridge.
Two of the most popular editing softwares are Adobe Lightroom and Capture One. Capture One is a standalone piece of software, while Lightroom is included as part of the Adobe Creative Suite.
Now hold on – some of you are thinking, what about Adobe Photoshop?
One of the common misconceptions when it comes to photography is that you need to be using Photoshop to edit your images.
The reality is that you should only be using Photoshop in very specific situations. This is because of the difference between pixel and parametric editing software.
Lightroom is a parametric photo editor. When I increase the exposure of my picture by +1.5, Lightroom records this as an instruction, but the original file stays the same. I can close Lightroom completely, come back to it later, and reset my exposure by undoing it. This is called a non-destructive edit.
Photoshop is a pixel photo editor. When I increase the exposure of my picture by +1.5, Photoshop applies the adjustment directly to the image. If I want to close Photoshop, I have to save the image and fully commit to the change. This means that if I open Photoshop later, I can’t reset the exposure by undoing it. This is called a destructive edit.
And when it when it comes to photography, it makes more sense to use a parametric editor like Lightroom – it means you can easily change your mind later.
Finally, the third type of photography software is used for backups.
I already explained the three different types of backups in the Equipment Fundamentals section. I’m going to assume you watched this and you understand the difference between a local, a remote, and an off-site backup.
New photographers tend to overlook this, either because they forget or because they want to deal with copying their pictures manually. But a simple piece of backup software can really help you to keep your work safe without any extra effort.