SmugMug Review

Perhaps the best-known hosting website for photographers is SmugMug, a platform that has been around since 2002. SmugMug acts as an online gallery space, letting you display your photos easily and – relatively – inexpensively. I have been using SmugMug exclusively for almost a year, and I have grown very familiar with its range of tools and capabilities. In general, I have been very impressed by SmugMug; for this review, I will cover some of its main uses and features, as well as the positives and negatives of using SmugMug to host your online gallery.

[Read more…]

Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery Review

One of the worst feelings as a photographer is to realize that you have accidentally deleted one of your photos, and you have no way to recover it. Most photographers have horror stories about such situations — I once nearly lost all my photos from a trip to San Francisco — but it is often possible to recover deleted photos using special software. One such software is Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery, which claims to be able to recover images from memory cards or hard drives, even after reformatting the drive or deleting an image.

[Read more…]

ACDSee Pro 8 Review: Searching for Alternatives

It seems so long ago I opened an image on a computer for the first time. It was last century, in fact. And, as strange a thing this may be to remember, it is because opening that first image was the first thing I ever did with a computer (an old four-eight-six running Windows 95 for those who know what that means). Strangely enough, I don’t remember the image itself, not even vaguely. What I do remember is the software that was used to do it – it was ACDSee. I remember it from eighteen years ago – this lightweight, snappy, simple, functional image viewer with some mild editing capability.

Oh, how things have changed. ACDSee Pro 8 is not an image viewer, you see. And the editing capability is anything but mild, even by today’s standards. With a few caveats, the Pro 8 is a full-on Lightroom alternative, and that fact puts a lot of pressure on it. Let’s see if it can stand its ground, shall we?

[Read more…]

FastRawViewer Review: Best RAW Viewer for Your Workflow

No matter what software one uses for post-processing photographs, the process of selecting what images to keep and work on, also known as “culling”, can be quite painful when dealing with thousands of images. And this gets even more painful when working with RAW images, because operating systems usually have no built-in capabilities to view and properly render RAW files. Many photographers end up keeping all RAW images on their computers, because they do not want to go through the hassle of deleting bad images they will never use, only to realize overtime that their hard drives get filled up quickly and their post-processing time takes much longer. Those who try to cull images in Lightroom know that if a full size image preview is not generated at the time of import, it can take a long time to render each image. Sadly, Lightroom is quite weak at quickly previewing images, so working pros and enthusiasts usually end up complementing the culling part of their workflow with additional software like Photo Mechanic. At $150, however, Photo Mechanic costs as much as a retail version of Lightroom, becoming a cost barrier for many. Enter FastRawViewer, an amazingly fast and truly inexpensive RAW file viewer that has become my personal choice for culling images. It was developed by the same folks that created RawDigger – one of the best scientific tools for analyzing RAW images. In this review, I will take a closer look at FastRawViewer, go through some of its features and hopefully help you in simplifying both your workflow and your photo backup / storage needs.

[Read more…]

JPEGmini Pro Review

When providing high resolution images to our clients, or uploading images to this website, I often extract JPEG images between 70%-85% quality. Although some photographers often do extract their images at 100% quality, I rarely feel the need to do it, since file sizes get outrageously big, while the differences in quality are too small (and often impossible) to notice. I recently came across an interesting product by JPEGmini called “JPEGmini Pro“, which is specifically targeted at photographers like me that are looking for a good way to save space without losing image quality. By design, JPEG is a compressed image format that was designed for the web in mind. It applies lossy compression algorithms to reduce massive images from other formats like TIFF and offers the ability to use different compression levels. So when I first looked at JPEGmini Pro, I wondered how different it was compared to the JPEG engine used in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, the two programs I use the most to extract images. In this review, I will be exploring the Lightroom version of the JPEGmini Pro, which seamlessly integrates into my workflow without adding any complexity or unnecessary overhead.

[Read more…]

VSCO FILM 01 Review

You know how things sometimes just… click together? You hear a new soundtrack and, out of nowhere, it takes you away. You meet a new client or a friend and it feels as if you were meant to work together or help each other. Click. Just like that. You read a book, watch a movie, start a project, fall in love, get a job you never knew you wanted – click, click, click. It’s perfect. Nothing else feels quite like it – so bizarre and, at the same time, so obvious, you can’t help but smile as broadly as you possibly can. Ever since I made a switch from Photoshop to Lightroom, I’ve been looking back awestruck at how easy and quick my post-processing has become. All in one place with no permanent, destructive changes – it was a revelation. If previously, I considered using professional post-production services just to save time, Lightroom made the whole process hassle-free and I could do everything myself. Mind you, I am not Adobe’s spokesperson and would never promote their product like that without good reason. But Lightroom, despite all the frustrating bits…just clicked.

[Read more…]

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Review

Adobe’s recent change of license strategy for most of its Photoshop family software tools has introduced a lot of doubt among the previously happy customers. Because of Photoshop CC, many owners of Lightroom 3 and 4 have started looking for alternatives, fearing that despite Adobe’s claims, there is a possibility that Lightroom will also be moved to a subscription-based license in the future. Such fears are further complimented by the fact that the older versions of Lightroom will never gain support for the newest mirrorless and DSLR cameras, or new lens profiles. For this reason, Adobe had to make sure Lightroom 5 was so good, it would keep its customer base happy and tempted by the new features despite the recent changes in license strategy of its other products. The pressure is made worse by rivals always breathing down Lightroom’s neck.

[Read more…]

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Review

Adobe has finally released the latest and greatest Lightroom 4, which packs plenty of new features. What are those new features and how does Lightroom 4 stack up against the older version? If you are wondering whether it is worth upgrading or not, then this Ligthroom 4 vs Lightroom 3 Review is for you. I will go over the new features of Lightroom 4, their practical use and the potential advantages of using those tools for your personal work or business.

[Read more…]