I am looking for software that will allow me to get rid of my monthly Adobe subscription. It’s not too expensive, but it is an an expense that comes out of my bank account every month. I found out yesterday that Adobe Bridge is free and separate from any subscriptions, so I downloaded it and it works much better than many other free and even paid alternatives for managing a photography collection. What I especially like is that it uses my computer’s folders to access photographs and doesn’t create a database that may or may not match up with folders and files on the hard drive.
Getting something to replace the Develop module of Lightroom is a bit trickier. I tried Gimp, but it’s complicated and much more than I need. Deleted. I’m also trying the free trial version of Affinity Photo. It’s similar to Photoshop and quite cheap. It’s more than I need, though, and I wish it had simple sliders for things like Sharpen instead of Unsharp Mask. I don’t like and am not good at fiddling with complicated adjustments. I do recommend it for people who like and want Photoshop but aren’t willing to pay every month for it.
Most photo editing software seems to be either too automatic and simple (what’s it doing to my photos?) or just too much for the average photographer. Lightroom is a nice balance, but I don’t want to pay every month and I don’t like using a database. But if you don’t use a database you need to make a copy of every photo you want to edit. It’s all very painful, isn’t it?
So I thought about going back to the source. The camera. Why bother at all with adjusting contrast, clarity, levels, blah blah blah in the computer if I can just get things right when I press the shutter release button? This will have the added benefit of making me more careful when making photographs. Long ago I was a member of a Nikon photography forum and there was a very good Thai photographer who posted photographs there. People asked what settings he used. “JPG and a number of camera settings”. Scandal! WHY wouldn’t he use the RAW file format so that he could adjust everything without loss of quality, etc etc. His answer, which I will never forget, was, “I paid a month’s salary for this high-tech digital camera. Why should I have to do any work after I’ve pressed the shutter?” Grumble, grumble, but no one could argue with his results.
So today’s mission, if the weather is decent after work, is to take the digital camera somewhere pleasant, put it on a tripod, and work on getting viewable and printable results right from the camera.
(What I’ve said above applies to digital photography. Getting things scanned is another nightmare).