The old adage is that “it’s a poor craftsman that blames his tools,” and while there’s some truth to that, we know the right tools make the work and the process better, more predictable, more efficient, and even more fun. In photography, gear matters, and our software matters, and together they allow us to do what we love to do. But there is a sea of options out there and we narrowed down the bare essentials we think should be in every photographer’s toolkit, have a look!
1. Photo Backup
In photography it is said that you if you don’t have your data backed up in 3 different places you don’t have your data backed up. Typically that means you have your local drive, a copy of that drive (preferably stored in a different physical location in case of fire or other disaster) and a copy in the cloud.
All the redundancies might seem a bit excessive but the safety of your images is paramount to anything else. However, if you’re going to cut corners there’s only one you should cut, and that’s the second hard backup, but definitely keep a copy in the cloud, and arguably no one makes this easier than Backblaze.
Backblaze let’s you back-up your computer and all attached drives for only $6 a month. Not only that, but should the worst happen and your computers are stolen or drives fail, you are able to either download them all from Backblaze as one might expect, or Backblaze will mail you a physical drive with all your data so you can make quick work of downloading it all again, and then simply ship back the drive!
2. Photo Editing
When it comes to photo editing, Adobe Lightroom is the ubiquitous photography editing software and has been for over a decade. Together with Photoshop they can accomplish start to finish editing, pixel bending, retouching, and asset management. Thankfully, they are now sold together with the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription plan for $10 a month, and that subscription comes with access to their mobile versions as well.
Lightroom highlights include but not limited to:
- Most familiar digital asset management
- Mobile apps
- Seamless round tripping with Photoshop
- Raw processing on desktop and mobile
- Cloud sync
- Global and local adjustments
- Largest library of professional presets
If you’re looking for the most well covered and common photo editing and organization app then Lightroom is it, and its mobile solutions are relied upon by professionals and the everyday creator alike.
Adobe Lightroom comes in three different subscription plans, you can choose one that is well suited for your needs. But if you wish to just use Lightroom and no other Adobe apps like Photoshop then their Photography Plan is what to go for and it’s $9.99 a month.
If you’re looking for the professional’s choice of photo management and processing software, then Capture One is the benchmark, and unbeknownst to many, Capture One has been around longer than Lightroom. It was developed to handle files from Phase One’s large sensor Medium Format cameras, considered the best in the world, but lucky for us Capture One is available and accessible to all for pretty much any camera in existence.
While it and Lightroom are very similar they each have advantages. Capture One doesn’t yet have a mobile option (but rumors are they soon will), but it is also the industry go-to for tethered-capture, and the most accurate camera profiles and color control. It is why in major fashion and product studios like Peter Lindbergh and Amazon you will find Capture One being used. It is considered the best raw processor.
Capture One Highlights:
- best tethered capture
- Individually developed camera profiles
- Advanced color control and color grading
- New styles and presets
- Faster workflow
- Multiple purchase options (subscription or flat)
- Skin tone tool
Capture One continues to be a professional’s choice but has become more accessible to everyone in recent years, and it remains the top choice for studio and portrait photographers.
Plans for Capture One start at $9.99 a month, but there are brand-specific versions which are reduced in price and others that are free!
3. Photo Culling
Photo Mechanic is the most known and used manual photo culling app in the industry. It is mainly an ingestion and viewing tool that accomplishes those tasks quicker than apps like Lightroom or Capture One.
It simplifies photo management as it allows you to download pictures from your source and then pick the best ones amongst them with just a few clicks. Its tools include the evaluation of photos, their organization, and selection. On top of that, it also allows you to view your pictures without delay in rendering.
- Fast image ingestion and preview generation
- Add dynamic titles
- Keywords to each photo
You can also automatically add names of states, cities, and countries on photos with GPS coordinates and overlay watermarks on images.
Capture One is considered the industry standard for faster manual culling and has been a staple for over two decades.
It goes without saying that we are fans of AfterShoot, but not without due cause. AfterShoot is an automated machine learning and artificial intelligence application made by photographers for creatives. Unlike other culling apps, AfterShoot handles most of the work for you whilst still keeping your preferences in mind, and it’s always improving.
Aftershoot aims to do 90% of the work in 10% of the time. You simply drop in a folder of images to be culled, take a few seconds to set your sensitivity preferences, and then AS will cull and sort through your images for you–never deleting–by flagging and star rating and all the metadata carries over into Lightroom and Capture One with one click.
It is the fastest easiest way to find the best images in a set!
- Automated and fast
- Easy to use
- Gets better over time
- Subject recognition
- Duplicate grouping
- Adapts to your preferences
- Differentiates between
- Blur and camera shake
- Closed eyes and blinks
- Under / overexposed vs properly exposed
- Shows previews of selections
- Works with the best photo editing software
AfterShoot is easy to use, fast, works with Windows and Mac OS including Intel and Apple Silicon M1 Macs. It’s also free to try so try it now!
4. Photo Delivery
JPEGmini is an image size compression tool, that is simple, and incredibly effective. Designed by the genus minds behind Beamr, JPEGmini is a drag and drop application that quickly compresses them whilst not sacrificing any perceivable quality level.
Unlike exporting from other apps at various quality percentages, JPEGmini will deduce exactly how much is can reduce an image file size by before it affects visual quality, and does that and no more. It has been tested against the best printers in the world and come out successful. It is also able to be used as a plugin for Lightroom and Capture One which makes it extremely convenient.
If you want to reduce your image file sizes whilst not giving up any image quality there is no better solution than JPEGmini.