Which Workshop?
Learning PEDs
Taster Session - Part 1 (Day)
Taster Session - Part 2 (Night)
Astro Photography
Portrait
Brownsea Island
Brighton Long Exposure
Seascapes @ Lulworth
Seascapes @ Portland Bill
Just for fun PEDs
Wire Wool
Light Painting
Falconry
Water Drop
Weekend PEDs
Dungeness / Rye
Birmingham
Cornwall
North Devon
Dartmoor
Isle of Skye
Photo Holidays
Chernobyl 2017
Scotland
United States 2017
Chernobyl 2018
United States 2018
Social PEDs
A Walk In The Woods
Swap Shop / Social
Bespoke PEDs
Bespoke 1-2-1 Sessions
Post Processing

What software do I use to process my images, is a question I get asked on a regular basis.  As I use several different apps it's not such a simple answer as saying "Adobe Lightroom" (which I've never used in anger).   I've been a Windows user my whole life, and although I believe most of the products I'm using are also available on other platforms, there is an obvious bias.  Also, I've never been a big fan of Adobe (ie Photoshop and Lightroom) - I have nothing against them as such, you can debate the whole monthly subscription model in your own time, I simply never really got on with them.  Photoshop was notoriously expensive, and Lightroom I just never really liked.   But enough of what I don't use...

I have a six stage process.

1.  Downloading images from the SD card [Breeze Downloader Pro]
All this simple application does is copy the image files from the SD card to a folder on my PC.  I have it set to create a new folder based on the date the image was taken, and copy all files taken on that day into said folder.

 

2.  Sorting, culling, renaming images [Breeze Browser Pro]
Stage two is where I cull, sort and rename images.    Culling comes first, and I can be quite ruthless at this stage, keeping only the very best images.  I often use the magnify feature to be sure my kept images are pin sharp.   Next I'll create more meaningful folder names, and then I'll rename the images.   I'll either use date_time.xxx or a sequential number depending on content - eg if its a landscape image then I'll rename it with the date and time (171024_162141) and if its an event/wedding/model shoot then I'll use something like MEH_001, 002 etc.   I often shoot in RAW/JPG mode on my camera, which of course creates two files for each image, but thankfully the software picks up on this and keeps the same file name for each image.

 

3.  Basic editing of RAW files [Corel Aftershot Pro or DxO Optics Pro]
For images that need basic editing (ie exposure, white balance, contrast, lens distortion etc) then I'll use Aftershot Pro.  As RAW editing software goes its fairly simple, but it gets the job done in a quick efficient way.   It's perfect for working on a large number of images as you can copy/paste alterations as needed.  DxO is another RAW editor that I used to use, it was particularly useful at noise reduction on high ISO images.  The only reason I no longer use it is because they don't support Fuji RAW files.

 

4.  Advanced editing of RAW/JPG files [Serif Affinity Photo]
This is where any more advanced work happens.  If I need to clean up the image (let's say an annoying road sign, or a person wearing a brightly coloured jacket in an otherwise perfect landscape, or and more commonly, the occasional dirty sensor mark).  The InPainting Brush Tool (Serif's version of Adobe's ContentWare) normally gets the job done very well.  Mostly I'll be working on JPG images, but it does have a powerful built in RAW editor, but it's really only good for one image at a time, and for me it's only the very best images that make it to this stage.  It's also really powerful at stitching together panoramas (ie a number of overlapping images).

 

5. Final processing of JPG [Skylum Luminar 2018 Skylum Aurora HDR 2018, Nik Plugin]
As above it's only the very best images that make it to this stage, and it's where I'll add the "filters" that all RAW images need to make them "pop".  Luminar and Aurora are both similar in the way they work, but can produce quite different results, so I'll often dip into both applications to see which version I prefer.   Also, and definitely not to be overlooked is the currently free Nik Plugin - I say currently because it's recently been purchased from Google by DXO who seem to have plans to develop the software further.  It works as a plugin - meaning you need to run it from inside another application - such as Photoshop, Lightroom, and very handily for me, Serif Affinity Photo.  It's got some excellent filters, but my favourite is "Silver Efex" which produces some of my favourite black and white images. 

 

6.  Resizing images for web use [ImBatch]
Finally, if I'm using an image on the web, then I'll run it through ImBatch.  It resizes the image (to around 800px on the longest edge), sharpens the image a little, adds my "Copyright Michael Palmer 2017" text, and finally adds my logo, before saving the web sized version in a separate folder.  

Photo Experience Day Review
“From a beginner I have now attended a couple of experience days and social evenings...  All have been fun as well as educational. The social days are a great way to meet like minded people, share experiences while getting more practice with the camera and I hope to do more soon.”
 

 

I've been using Aurora HDR 2018 for a while now, and when used properly (ie sparingly) I've been really rather impressed by the results possible from it.  This photo, for example, was merged from 3 images taken at different exposures (exposing for the buildings and sky).  Although good results are also possible to obtain from single images.  

However, don't take my word for it, download the free trail version for yourself and give it a go.