#985. “We’ll fix it in post.”

By Paul Perton | Opinion

Mar 30

Software for photographers continues to evolve, we’re told.

Yet, the current releases of the mainstream apps stubbornly refuse to get better at doing the critical things, in much the same way camera manufacturers still don’t ship their products with on-board GPS, despite the marketplace endlessly asking to be able to automate this otherwise important, yet awkward and error prone routine.

If you’ve tried to use the clone/spot healing tool in Lightroom, or transfer GPS data from a flaky phone app, you’ll understand exactly what I mean.

For me and many other photographers, the unpredictable and iffy tools available from these apps has made it necessary to either accept less than optimal editing, or to consider roundtripping images into/out of Photoshop.

That’s not free of issues either. In addition to the birthing of a .PSD file of usually more megabytes than the original RAW image, we still have a ridiculous(?) sidecar file that pops up. And the option of creating an even bigger Smart Object file. FFS guys – couldn’t you make this harder to at least justify the effort?

All this even before Photoshop opens up its wonders to you, to attempt some kind of simple editing that Lightroom ought to deliver as a function so basic, it should be taken for granted.

It’s still winter in London and while the weather has been mild, its been pissing with rain for days, keeping me off my bike and the streets in general. The bat soup virus is threatening to keep me indoors for even longer and my need for some kind of mental stimulation (and a genuine need to learn more for a new project), pushed me to open a YouTube page and seek some Photoshop tutorial assistance.

Any of you tried this?

When Motorhead’s Lemmy died recently, I wondered long and hard how the world’s amphetamine makers would continue to make ends meet. So, it pleases me to reveal that their future is assured by a few creators of YouTube’s so-called Photoshop tutorials. I only looked at a few – I couldn’t take any more…

The power of the mighty amphetamine is all there in greater or lesser measure; bad skin, bad teeth, dog’s balls eyes and talking at a thousand miles an hour into a microphone that’s seemingly attached to my tutor’s top lip.

Photoshop exercise 1 – snack bar at London Fields

“Aight” says one babbler, jiggling the mouse to encourage it’s on-screen avatar to emphasise a button, layer, or action. All that is achieved is to make my own chemically un-enhanced eyeballs pop, as I try to follow the pointer skating around the screen, mirroring the crazed pulse and shaky hands of my tutor.

And, when it does get underway, the instruction comes at you in an unbroken stream of keyboard commands, new layers, duplicating layers, masks, brush sizes, blend options and a thousand menus and boxes that appear and vanish even if there isn’t even any actual editing going on. Meantimes, in desperation mine host has resorted to the keyboard as his/her mouse is sliding around in a pool of drool and going nowhere on screen.

Photoshop exercise 2 – Stratford International Station

Needing some calm, our tutor sneaks off to take a downer during what passes for a self-promotional selling break.

At some point when the dead air and blank screen has been edited out and when the ‘ludes seem to have kicked-in, the teaching finally starts. It’s still impossible to follow. Why did you make three duplicates of that layer? Where did that mask come from? Why don’t these edits affect the other layers. Why are you using HSL colours, why LAB mode and so on.

I’ve tried downloading sample files and following the exercise step-by-step, stopping the action (babble) at each stage and I still can’t make sense of what to do. Instead of a perfect, multi-layered image, I seem to end up with an inverted black and white picture that usually looks like a puckered anus.

Photoshop exercise 3 – Daisies

It’s that or a crack in my screen where my fist ended-up out of nothing more than animal frustration.

Shame. The tutors aren’t all to blame – dealing with Adobe and its endless and illogical changes to the fundamentals of the app would make me turn to drugs too. I can manage to quit Photoshop without causing any unsalvageable mayhem on screen – I think that’s about the only command Adobe has still to change. How did the interface wonks at Apple (and to a lesser extent) the PC community let Adobe change Cmd + H (hide) to Shift + Cmd + H?

I’m determined to learn some Photoshop skills, but if you’re waiting for the Damascene revelation(s) in my work, don’t hold your breath, it could be a while.

Photoshop exercise 4 – sunset over the Grand Canyon

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  • pascaljappy says:

    Paul, I can relate!

    We can probably excuse PS for being as complex as it is. It’s a do it all program that’s not adapted to photography but aims at doing every possible manipulation in the book. Whether that’s a good idea or not, others can decide.

    What drives me nuts is the other software out there. It’ like noone who workd on development is actually a photographer. More likely, none have ever been film photographers, so their digital solutions are neither grounded in historical methodology not clever enough to invent a clear new path. So it’s absolute gibberish.

    My experience in online tutorials is not that large, so I won’t comment or make suggestions. Except for this very broad stroke generalisation: if it’s on youtube, there’s a fair chance it’s utter crap. Either a teaser for something you have to pay for (fair enough, I’d want people to pay for my stuff too, and i’d rather pay for good stuff than be invaded by free trash) or it’s made by someone with very strong biases or it’s made by a loony. Some programs supported by patreon campaigns can be better but, as a rule, it’s just plain rubbish. There are great islands of knowledge in this ocean of low quality content, but they are getting no love from the search engines and the ocean keeps expanding, making those islands more difficult to find every passing day. Good times.

  • Jean-Claude Louis says:

    Paul, I, too, can relate to your exasperation and sense of helplessness!

    My experience with various software and YouTube tutorials has been frustrating; there a few decent online sites, but unfortunately the type of photography they promote is very unappealing to me, mostly the ‘instagrammable’ genre.

    I have resorted to streamline my workflow and not listen to the siren song of new software developers. I process my RAW files with Capture One (which works particularly well with my Fuji files). In many cases, the images are ready to print. For those images requiring more work, I then use Photoshop – for local adjustments, luminosity masking, and color grading when desired. I finish the images for printing with Topaz’s Sharpen AI.

    The goal for me was to become as comfortable with the processing software as I am with my cameras, thus creating a continuum in making my images. I have spent all the time needed to learn Capture One in depth (with their own tutorials) and have acquired the limited, but critical, Photoshop skills needed for my work by practicing.

    Best of luck!

  • jean pierre guaron says:

    This post has REAL promise.

    On the one hand, we have the 99% – their “post” is mostly done by AI, inside their cellphones, and they won’t have a clue what you’re talking about, Paul. Which is kinda fashionable these days – most of the world’s most prominent political leaders haven’t a clue what they’re talking about, and nobody else does, either – although journalists seem to feel obligated to attempt to explain it to us.

    But then there’s the other 1%. People trying to create a “real” photograph, instead of a snapshot. People whose work is worth enlarging and hanging on the living room wall. And as the literature (and possibly also the training clips, although I’ve yet to see one that actually does it!) will tell you, SOOC really doesn’t ever work. There’s always something that needs attention.

    At this point the fun begins. What to use? Well everyone’s completely brainwashed.

    You’re supposed to use Adobe – because they need the money, and they charge the most, just to prove it. I am flatly refusing to have anything to do with their subscription model software programs. So I am using PS Elements 2020/Photo Editor/Expert [LMAO – you have to climb through a briar patch to get there, but that’s likely the best spot to try] and LR6. But because of something Pascal – I think – said ages ago, I use heaps of others. I collect them, like postage stamps. Maybe that’s why I can’t afford the more expensive range of Adobe products – too busy paying off the loan I took out to pay for the other 238 programs!

    I suspect Pascal is using Capture One Pro, because he got it cheap while he had a Sony, and now he’s spent all his money on the Hassy he’ll probably stick with it.

    Beyond there is a swamp. A lot of programs that are “interesting” – and because I have them and can, I do occasionally use most of them [most of the ones I have, I mean]. But none of them do “everything”.

    Come to think of it, neither does Pascal’s Capture One Pro. Nor do Adobe’s products – or at least none of the ones I am prepared to pay for do “everything”. And in fact some of the functions within them do precious little at all.

    So – at least in my case, there’s a pattern. A pattern of “a little dose of this” and “half a cup of that”. Very few of my photos go through less than four programs, before they head for the printer.

    And NONE of them make it to the printer without passing through something which is simply not available in any of them – a decent colour gamut, made to order, tailored specifically to the printing paper in my printer, that “fixes” all my photos as they head to the printer.

    I had an interesting contretemps with Adobe a while back. Pascal will yawn, he’s heard this one already. One of my projects is rather bizarre and involves creating a fairly massive panorama. Well not really massive – pros do FAR more elaborate and larger ones. But it utterly swamps the panorama program within both LightRoom 6 and PhotoShop Elements. Their algorithm simply collapses – it CAN’T DO it! What it DID do, was to chuck out two halves of my panorama – with all the verticals on the left left leaning over to the right – and all the ones on the right half leaning over to the left.

    I spat the dummy and bought Affinity Photo – its panorama program is light years ahead of Adobe’s offering to cheapskates like me, who refuse to bankrupt themselves so that they can help Adobe get rich. I’ve no idea whether playing their silly game and paying the extra would give you a better panorama program in their “cloud” versions of PS and LR anyway. And since I was offered a special deal on Affinity, it cost practically nothing.

    So how do I post process after all that crap? Well right now, I shovelling a batch of photos through using Affinity, a couple of DxO programs (PhotoLab and ViewPoint), Capture One Pro and PSE 2020. They’re not altered a lot, in any of them – yet the end result is invariably significantly different to the original. Which is inevitable – because I shoot mostly in RAW. If you shoot mostly in JPG, that should be less so.

    Going to stop here. This could go on for hours. And nobody’s likely to be all that interested.

    Oh – and your tutorials.

    Well yes – some just blather – I had one on the screen this morning – he went on for half an hour and I honestly can’t imagine why he ever decided to put such utter twaddle to air, he ended it all without ever saying anything of any interest to anyone except himself – he just seemed to be testing the setup he uses to make tutorial clips for YouTube.

    Some are tied to particular software programs – they are helpful up to a point – but it seems you have to stop them all the time to find exactly WHICH icon they clicked on, to produce the result they’re suddenly talking about, so you can have some hope of following the trail and using it yourself.

    Others are omnivores and trying to help the world at large – often, by promoting something else they’re interested in.

    And then there are the articles. Various publishers produce articles on post processing – just as they do on every other aspect of photography. I’ve had to establish a “control centre” removed far away from my desktop – a folder for ALL that stuff, opened on my hard drive (just like all the “systems” files on my MAC – applications, users, documents, etc.) It’s no use when you want to access them, having to “re-find” them on the internet – but storing them nearer the desktop causes clutter and slows down the computer.

    However – I can see it will be helpful in keeping me off the street during the COVID-19 lockdown, so I am not complaining about it. Just agreeing with you, Paul.

    • jean pierre guaron says:

      Update – oh, forgot – I did use Luminar 4’s AI sky replacement function the other day, on a couple of shots that were taken on a dull grey day, to give the sky at least SOME interest. It works fine – I was most impressed. (I’ve only been able to find one other program capable of doing it, and that one was so flaky to use that I gave up the struggle, after fighting with it all day on one shot).

    • jean pierre guaron says:

      ADDENDUM – breaking news, just received. Affinity is being made available on extraordinarily generous terms, because of the outbreak of COVID-19. The retail price is something like $94 – when I bought it, it was on special at $49.

      But right now, you can get it for $25 – and if you don’t think that’s sufficiently generous of them, they’re chucking a free 90-day trial – something I’ve never even heard of, from ANY of the other software manufacturers. Details in the URL below – which landed on my desktop 5 minutes ago.

      Should you buy it? – at that price, it’s a dumb question – if you EVER intend post processing your own photos, of course you bloody well should! I use it to de-noise, improve clarity & sharpness, reduce haze (which also boosts skies, if they’re flat because of cloud cover!) – and its panorama program is great, once you get familiar with it, it makes Adobe’s look neaderthal.


      • Paul Perton says:

        Hi Pete and thanks for the comments.

        The trap I keep falling into is seeing these applications and thinking they will transform my photographs into sparkling, printable masterpieces.

        Truth usually dawns when I’ve spent my bucks and fought with the software a while – invariably, I still have thousands of mediocre pictures, betted edited maybe, but nowhere near the print-and-rush-to-the-framers photographs I was hoping for.


      • Alan says:

        This is cruel. One post and two new programs to upset my comfortable applecart. Thanks (I suppose) for the Affinity tip. I’ve downloaded it and will give it a try.

        • jean pierre guaron says:

          Costs you nothing to try, for the next three months! And I’m always there, if you need advice! Some of it’s a bit tricky, till you get a handle on it. After that it’s easy – all downhill.

          What drives me nuts is the fact that the colour gamut in all these programs differs from one program to the next. So it’s all very well having a range of programs, some better than others at specific tasks (DxO for instance is MILES better at fixing verticals, horizon lines and various types of distortion – while COP is great for burnout highlights, dark shadows and related issues – although some of the finishing touches on that are best left to PS – while Affinity tops the class with panoramas, clarity, sharpness and haze). Did you notice that NONE of them was PS? orLR? which have the best colour gamut in the field, for finetuning the colours, before you go to print?

          Why the hell the industry couldn’t standardise on that, at least, is another mental breakdown on their side of the fence, which simply fries what brains I’ve still got, on my side of the fence. If they ever did, everyone could march forward. As is, they’re are ALL a complete pain in the butt!

          Oh – and before I forget it – found an “expert” telling all of us that, no matter what we use when taking the shots, or printing them, there’s one conversion we “HAVE” to make. Use AdobeRGB in post, by all means – right through to the printer. But don’t use it on JPGs that you send by email or SMS, or JPBs you post on social media (including Instagram – is that “social media” too? – wouldn’t have any idea). Instead, in PS, click on the “Image” tab – go right down to the bottom of the menu that drops down when you have, and select the last line “Convert Colour Profile” – and when it opens, click on changing it to sRGB. Apparently your addressees might get strange colours in the copies you send them, when they try opening them at their end. Never heard of that till last week, but it’s far better to do it while you are creating a copy for attachment to emails, than having to come back later and change it.

          And don’t complain – this should keep all of us off the street till COVID dies and prevent us from doing so. And teach us all sorts of new stuff in the process!

  • Allan Dew says:

    I feel your pain. I’ve used LR since it was a beta product, never objected to paying for updates as it matured but drew the line when the subscription model was mandated. ( not the money, the principle.). Now precariously stuck on version 6. I would very much like to leave Adobe in the dust. I’ve dabbled with a number of other programs and I also find their tutorials brain numbing but I can deal with that. For me the BIG problem is cataloging! I have thousands of images cataloged in LR and should I find nirvana in other image editing programs where oh where do i park all my photos.

  • Frank Field says:

    My frustrations are with Adobe and Lightroom in particular. I’ve been using LR since it was introduced as V1.0 in March / April 2007. Throughout its evolution, Adobe has consistently regressed the code — each major and minor update breaks features that used to work and require yet another “dot release” to patch up again. It’s as though Adobe depends largely on its customer base to test its software. I certainly have learned to defer upgrades for a few weeks when a new version of LR is released. A growing, unaddressed set of issues (Adobe’s claims to the contrary) are performance issues. Try to select multiple images and you will find the software literally multiple seconds behind you. This is true in catalogs with a few hundred images and catalogs with tens of thousands of images (all working from a high-end i7 desktop machine with oodles of RAM plus SSD). The software clearly suffers from multiple memory leaks (use your Windows tools to see just how much memory LR has claimed and watch it grow as you continue to edit). Ultimately something hangs and you need to restart the program. The only defense is to plan to close and reopen LR frequently across your editing session. Like too much of silicon valley, Adobe is distracted by bright shiny objects rather than doing the hard work of building and maintaining a solid foundation. The current bright shiny objects are mobile versions of PS (multiple mobile versions) and LR, all designed to draw you into renting storage in the “adobe cloud” at prices that are not inexpensive. Finally, I expect the coming insult will be an increase in the price of the monthly license fee. If you go to adobe.com and explore pricing plans, you will see them trying to lure new subscribers with offers of USD 20 / month in lieu of the USD 10 / month most are now paying.

    • jean pierre guaron says:

      “trying to lure new subscribers with offers of USD 20 / month in lieu of the USD 10 / month most are now paying”

      Tell me you’re kidding! That’s completely barmy!

      • Frank Field says:

        Sadly, true. I happened to stop at adobe.com one day in the past month or two, trying to understand which of the PS mobile versions were supported in the “photography plan” which most of us use and bills at USD 9.99 per month. I was presented with an offer of USD 19.99 / month for the photography plan. A bit of checking around the internet at the time found a statement reportedly from adobe that they conduct marketing experiments and trials all the time. Guess they were trying to see how many would bite at two times the price. I suspect that a doubling of price will send many of us on our way to GIMP and some of the other open source offerings, never looking back on adobe. My better images tend to get their optimization in PS rather than LR. Several years ago, as adobe forced the subscription model on us, I stopped saving those images as PSDs and started saving them as far more portable layered TIFFs. I do not want to be in a position where I cancel an adobe license only to see that I can no longer open my best images.

  • Alan says:

    Well thank you! I thought I was the only one who struggled with Photoshop! To be honest, I gave up a long time ago and only use it for spotting and occasionally and laboriously select areas for local correction. Curves works well for final tweaking and the Edit->Fade tool is very helpful. Every time I’ve tried to get fancy with layers it’s ended in tears. I have no interest in tutorials. Like you, I have no intention of paying for more of the same so make do with my CS3 version, circa 2007.
    Is now a good time to discuss workflow? I thought it would make for a post but don’t think I have enough knowledge to do that so will make do with a comment. As a caveat, I fall back on my non-professional status. Time is not of the essence, consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds and if I’m happy it’s good enough.
    First, after years of foolish resistance, I shoot everything in RAW only. I started with Nikon’s horrid program and have been much happier after going Lumix and being turned on to SilkyPix. I finally splurged on their latest and greatest v10 with support for all RAW formats and JPEG. It’s not the smoothest interface (an acquired taste) but does a lot of things very well, has a great and explanatory help file and responsive support should you need assistance. The current version is quite fast. The upgrade cost me about 100 bucks.
    My workflow is thus (though I feel a little uppity calling it a ‘workflow’):
    1. Copy RAW files from the camera card to an SSD on my Windows computer. When travelling I copy to my Surface Go and again to a USB key so if I’m robbed my photos will likely survive.
    2. Copy RAWs them from there to a USB hard drive and a NAS. Belt and two sets of suspenders.
    3. From the SSD, open the RAW folder in SilkyPix
    4. Apply some general settings to the entire folder, e.g. saturation, clarity, colour balance, etc.
    5. Select and colour-tag whatever I like.
    6. Individually correct (colour, saturation, brightness, HDR, perspective, cropping, contrast, sharpness) each selected image and mark for ‘development’.
    7. Batch develop marked items into TIFFs into my Photos folder on a local hard drive.
    8. Copy TIFFs from there to the USB hard drive and a NAS
    9. Add (“ingest”) the new files into Daminion. If you haven’t tried it you should, Daminion is wonderful. I stick with the inexpensive standalone version. They also provide great personal support should you need it. Nice people.
    10. Tag the files in Daminion. I start with author and copyright for everything en masse. GPS data is automatically incorporated and there’s a nifty world map feature. I like to tag people, location and, if the spirit moves me, a few keywords. If you do it right, “Creation DateTime” will be right but this can be tricky so if there’s a problem check your import setting to make sure you aren’t accidentally using the file date. Normally, ingestion is a two click operation. All tagging is point and click, i.e. select every file with Uncle Bill in it, right click on Uncle Bill in the names list, right click and choose Add to Selected.
    11. Once tagging is complete and the tags are incorporated into the original TIFFs, re-copy the TIFFs to the USB drive and the NAS.
    12. If files need a bit of tweaking, open them in Photoshop by right clicking and Open With (photoshop). Remove dust, re-size, adjust colour, brightness and contrast etc. Re-save and update the file’s thumbnail in Daminion (Ctl-B).
    13. Use Daminion colour tags or star ratings to select desired files for printing, export for DS, my blog, email, Blurb, whatever, and batch export as the appropriately sized JPEG (or TIFF) to a temporary folder and go from there.
    14. I hate to end on #13 so will add Topaz Sharpen as another step squeezed after #12 if needed. I’d never heard of it and thank you for adding to my workflow! Just what I needed! Really! It’s on sale for $60 so what the hell… Very good but very, very slow (“CPU intensive” understates it!) so I’ll use Topaz sparingly. As a former Canadian prime minister said about wartime conscription, “Topaz if necessary but not necessarily Topaz.”

    I’m proud to say that, except for occasional SilkyPix upgrades (and I feel no need to upgrade v10) there are no ongoing license fees.

    Friends, I sense a departure from DS’s normal highbrow standards of photo appreciation and philosophisizing. A rent in the DS force. It must be due to the mental oppression of our temporary imprisonment and fear. Take care, everyone, and let’s stick together through these difficult times. Be well. This will end.

    BTW, I’ve just created a new blog post and, as always clicks, comments and follows are very welcome. My endorphins need a boost. http://www.travelphotorepeat.com

    • Paul Perton says:

      “…a departure from DS’s normal highbrow standards of photo appreciation and philosophisizing”. That’s my forte Alan. When the going gets arty, you can rely on me to pull on my tin foil hat and revert to the lowest common denominator.

      Actually, we’ve not had much coverage of workflow and apps on DS for a while. If you’d like to formalise your comment and add some illustrations, we’ll happily post that.

      • Alan says:

        Sounds good. Wherever will I find the time? Would you please fix a small typo in the third last para… should read “feel no need” not “feel new need”. And delete this comment too, I suppose. Thnx!

    • jean pierre guaron says:

      Denoise at step 12? I’ve been told it ought to be done at the start. Possibly because of its impact on the pixels in the frame – done before you do anything like re-sizing or clarity or sharpening for instance – and maybe the same applies to adjusting tone, colour, exposure, contrast, etc

      I’ve no scientific basis for suggesting it though – I’m merely repeating something I read several weeks back, in one of the online photography magazines.

      And on this vexed and difficult question of cost, which is being raised in a number of the comments on this post [LOL – I was right, wasn’t I, when I said at the start that “This post has REAL promise.”!] You rapidly get to a point where it simply doesn’t matter what else they come up with – none of it makes any of your photos noticeably any better – so you hit a ceiling, beyond which it becomes quite pointless and a complete waste of money buying anything else, no matter WHAT it is. Better to keep your money and spend it on a new lens that you really DO need.

      • Jean-Claude Louis says:

        Good point! There is so much information out there about this, some good, most of it plain garbage.

        In my view, there are two distinct processes involved in the ‘development’ of an image:

        1) The conversion of a RAW file into a master file (usually TIFF). For this step the goal is to produce a file that contains a maximum of information with the minimum of manipulation – it involves adjustment of exposure, white balance, color balance, a reasonable amount of contrast and sharpening, very little if any clarity/structure, correction of chromatic and luminance aberrations, and lens profile corrections if available. That’s the file that should be archived and backed up.

        2) The enhancement of the master file to produce the final image. I start with de-noising if it’s still required (I like the results achieved by Topaz’s DeNoise AI). Then all the steps to optimize the image – that’s taste-dependent. Sharpening is always the last step, whether for print or monitor display; usually very little of it, if any, is needed.

        This works for me. I only use three tools: Capture One for step 1, Photoshop and Topaz for step 2.

  • Yep, I’ve just spent the last few days going through exactly what Paul said and having the same results. I don’t deal well with tutorials. If I did I would have been more successful in school and in church.
    I tried reading Alan’s post but by the time I got to #4 my head was spinning so I quit. I do use PS, having worked out my own system of PP, but I do NOT use the “cloud” for storage. I download my RAW files from the camera into a folder that I place on my desktop. Then I back up that folder on an external HD. I work from the desktop (I usually have many labeled folders there) until I’m finished with that folder (It might remain on desktop for several months), then I move the folder and all the images on it to the external HD. I delete the folder(s) from the DT, usually at the end of the calendar year and make a 2nd back up the external HD.
    That means I keep the current years folders handy on the DT; I have them backed up on an external; at the end of the year I confirm the backup of the folders on the external make another backup; and then I delete them from the DT. My own cloud. The externals are labeled and filed.
    It works for me, your production volume and mileage may vary.

    • Alan says:

      Sorry if my linear detail overwhelmed. I was in a groove.
      To summarize:
      1. Use a local drive for speed.
      2. Back up everything in more than one place. Cameras & computers can be replaced but not travel & photos.
      3. Select, enhance & convert raws to tiffs. (SilkyPix)
      4. Catalog & tag tiffs. (Daminion)
      5. Tweak tiffs. (Photoshop)
      6. Select & convert tiffs to jpegs suited to the purpose at hand (Daminion)

      • Jean-Claude Louis says:


        I like your emphasis on workflow and the distinction you make about workflow and software; the workflow being the process to go from a raw to a finished image, the software being the tools used in the process.

        Your workflow is very sound and can be used with whatever software one fancies. Mine is similar, but uses other tools, Capture One vs. SilkyPix, PhotoMechanic vs. Daminion, and Photoshop.

        I haven’t heard of Daminion; will check it out. I use PhotoMechanic as a first step to weed out the unwanted raw images. I use it again at the end of processing, to caption, tag, rank and keyword the final images. I’m not using any of the cataloging software; my experience with them has been nothing short of catastrophic. I’ve built my own catalog, housed in a Thunderbolt-connected 32TB DAS – easy to search, very fast, reliable.

        Are you going to write up a post on workflow? It would be a good starting point for an interesting exchange of views and practices.

        • Alan says:

          Like Photo Mechanic (or so I understand) Daminion is cataloguing software, i.e. Digital Asset Management.They sell expensive, multi-user, server-based, web client versions to large organizations but keep their inexpensive standalone version available, free up to 20,000 images.
          About 15 years ago, I started out with a buggy cataloguing product whose name I can’t remember. It was bought by MS and remained buggy.
          Nonetheless, I managed to tag a lot of files with names, dates and places and when I discovered Daminion and ingested my existing files all tags came along and populated the Daminion catalog. The best thing is that tags are saved to the image file in industry-standard ITPC format so if you get rid of Daminion, another DAM can read the tags and build a new catalog. Nothing is lost.
          Over time Daminion’s become better and better and I’ve learned how to optimize it. For example, I started out trying to keep all my files on a shared NAS drive but it was very painfully slow. Now I keep them on a local HD and it flies.
          It’s a Windows product though you can run it on a Mac through Parallels.

      • It really takes very little to overwhelm me, Alan. Reading your second post I think you and I are doing about the same thing for storage. I just left out processing steps for my post. I shoot mostly birds and when I have a finished image ready for print or whatever I copy it into a different folder Called Frame Birds for the calendar year I’m working in. I also copy the RAW image and the master file with processing steps into another separate folder called BirdKeepers 2019. Plus, I still have the original folder with the original downloaded images. These all get backed up and I end up with three backups for each folder. Whew!! Several years ago, when I was first starting, I lost 12,000 images in, (I love this movie term), One Fell Swoop, while I was preparing for show in our gallery. I eventually recovered them but the amount of work involved in reorganizing them was astronomical. Quote the Raven…. nevermore. :))

  • Bob Kruger says:


    Brilliant images all. I think my favorite is “Daisies”. Perfect image to celebrate spring. I can’t imagine how you accomplished such PP mastery. Perhaps you could make a YouTube video to reveal your “magic” to the rest of us 🙂


  • Dallas says:

    Looks like I’m the odd one out. I must be easy pleased, I find LR & PS reasonable easy to use and are happy with the results I get. I learn’t to use both from YouTube over the years and only take notice of a couple of trusted “Tubers”.

  • Pascal Ravach says:

    5:30am Saigon, Vietnam. You got me worry, Paul: I had to stop laughing so loud that I woke up my sweetheart. Sorry dear, Paul’s fault.

    P.S. 1 (post-scriptum, not PhotoShop): I played with all softs except COP, for years and years; abandoned PS 10 years ago, even if I see why the seek for perfect image often pushes people like Ming Thein to use it.

    P.S. 2: your images are often gorgeous, Paul, gave me so often a “Fuji envy”… the wonderful texture, the colors… translating any image to printing is just another world, as I can attest (I have an Epson 7900, a 128 kg monster, costing a used car in inks, and my so-so results are just BS compared to what a professional printer and teacher friend does in Ottawa with her 9900…).

    P.S.3: I stabilized my workflow ages ago: shoot Raw, input in DxO (always ready for new cameras and lenses, does wonder with old gear too, best Denoise with the Prime function, best lens corrections, best geometry, honest and interesting updates, not forced to rent Adobe new versions), output in Dng (a true universal formal, large but SSDs are cheap now), keep my LR6 because with 100.000 photos and 1000 keyword I am #$*%#* prisoner of their keywords-based catalog system – but, shht don’t share you can rent for one month and quit, then you keep the catalog intact!, will try that when my next MacBook will force Catalina adoption…-, and print… oh well, that’s for another day.

    P.S. 4: nobody here seems affected by what is to me “the” concern as far as I am involved: when we shoot with “character” lenses (old beauties like my Olympus, Can or new ones like the Voigtländer), the more we process, improve – objectively – everything… the more we LOOSE some of the beauty… been observing that endlessly, with M43 to the Sony A7R2… how often did I came back to the first crappy unprocessed image and found that its specific, barely defined magic was lost at each subsequent processing!

    P.S. 5: tired of P.S. too long post, I stop here 🙂

    • Paul Perton says:

      Pascal, I found printing ex Lightroom frustrating, expensive and very, very unsatisfying. I then read a DS comment (one of Pete’s I think) which mentioned Mirage Print and suddenly, it all started to work. Maybe it’ll help you, too?

      • Pascal Ravach says:

        Thanks Paul, that’s Interesting! I tried several printing programs, including expensive ones recommended by Lula “in those days”, but never heard of Mirage Print… will have a look and try it when I can come back to Canada.

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