5 Photo Apps

To understand this article you need to understand my approach to photography, and what I am aiming to achieve. I have little doubt that everyone has different objectives, priorities, reasons and more importantly outputs for their photography, and depending on what they are will determine which applications that you use most regularly.

I take photographs to satisfy two objectives:

  • To support the blogs that I publish
  • To satisfy a personal desire to get better

I would say that at the moment 80% of the photos are to support one blog or another, and 20% are for personal desire. I need to increase this %, but as I also need to increase the amount of photos I produce for the blogs I either have to find a way of taking a lot more photos or of combining the two objectives – or in reality both!

Truth be told I feel that I have put myself under pressure with the purchase of all the equipment recently as now whenever I look on the shelf and see it all I feel really guilty that am not out using it. I never felt that way with the old Sony.

One other thing before I actually start this article properly. Distribution. Probably a topic for a whole different post but I currently use so many different means to show the photos that I can’t really justify including just one in this list. To give you an example of how complicated this is at the moment:

Flickr: I have three Pro accounts! One associated to this blog, one to the Almerimar Life blog, and a personal one. Since I moved this blog from MyAppleStuff to Chris Marshall I have combined the personal and the account for this blog, so going forwward I will only have two Pro accounts. I use Flickr for bulk distribution. Basically everything and anything is the plan with this – they get very little editing, and get dumped into sets and tagged but that is about it.

iPhoto: I put every picture that I take into iPhoto, but without any Watermarks. I actually have the means to show these on a couple of the TV’s in the apartment, through the AppleTv etc, but the main use is to transfer them to my iPhone. Sad I know but showing photos to friends is just not something that we do – basically because we hardly ever have anybody round socially. I use iPhoto to show pictures to potential clients, sponsors etc basically because it is so easy. I love the Web Gallery in iPhoto when used with .mac and use that as another means of sharing certain favourites from certain smart albums.

Blogs: Both blogs have a Photo Gallery that I need to use more, and the plan remains to use these for the ‘special’ photos. The ones that I have gone out to take specifically, or that I have edited in a certain way. Longer term my goal is to offer people Christmas Cards, Birthday Cards, Downloads from the Almerimar Life site as part of the ongoing process of earning money through blogging.

SmugMug: I love this and had great hopes for 4framesofmind, but it has sort of drifted and been replaced by the above (especially the Gallery on the blogs). I wont be renewing this in March, but maybe one day will return to it.

As you can see complicated and confusing! Hopefully will be able to streamline in the future, but for now necessary and useful for you in the context of my Top 5.

Top of the list, easily at Number 1 is Adobe Lightroom. I have reviewed the application, books and even presets on the site before so this will be no surprise.

Without exception every photograph that I take starts off imported into Lightroom. From here I determine what is going to happen to it, where it will end up, what I want to do with it etc. Where possible I do some tidying up and maybe add a preset or two, before exporting. I keep a back up on hard drive and DVD of every photograph that gets imported into Lightroom. I don’t use it to show photos (except maybe when doing some ‘client’ work), and although I could add a watermark I don’t (see below). I use it very much as my production management application, and spend hours in front of it each week, often with Sands going through stuff for Almerimar Life.

Second position goes to iWatermark which may be a surprise but as every picture that goes up on Flickr or a Blog has (or should have!) a Watermark I find this so unbelievably easy and useful. As I said above I could use Lightroom but that is tougher and provides slightly boring and more formal options, where as iWatermark spans the professional to fun spectrum really well.

Third up is Automator, which isn’t an application as such, but it the third most frequent thing that I use in my photography and image management. Blog pictures need to be a certain size dependent on blog. When I am posting on other blogs that I work for their sizes vary as well. Sometimes I want a full size picture, other times a smaller size in an article. I use the Scale Image option as a ‘right click’ option all the time. If you factored in the paid blogging that I do this must be one of the most frequently used ‘things’ that I do on the Mac.

Fourth up, just, is Picturesque, which I don’t use as much as I used to (the novelty of curves, shadows and reflections has warn off), but from time to time Automator wont resize an image, or I want a ‘quick fix’ to bring some life to a picture. To be honest this is a bit of a cheat – it makes it look like you have done more work than you actually have but it is useful and easy to use.

And in Fifth place ………………….. well that has to be Photoshop, although it very nearly wasn’t! Without doubt it is the ultimate in photo managemnt applications, that is without question in my opinion, but do I use it all the time? No. I know I should, and I wish I could but the reality is that too often it is too time consuming (and distracting) to open it up. On the special project photos I use it for sure, and can spend hours on one picture, but that is and always will be for the forseeable future the minority of my photography, so for me it isn’t something that I use that much.

Anyway as ever – let me know what you use and why.

Where To View My Photos

Almerimar Life Flickr
Chris Marshall Flickr

Almerimar Gallery
Personal Gallery
Places Gallery
Moreno Gallery
Technology Gallery

Chris Marshall Blog Gallery
Almerimar Life Blog Gallery

Please feel free to leave links to your photos below.

16 thoughts on “5 Photo Apps

  1. Mac Sokulski

    Ah a topic that lets me shamelessly plug my pictures. Bonus!
    Well from all the apps that you mentioned I use 3… Lightroom, Photoshop, and iPhoto. iPhoto is used the least. It’s only for storing photos that then end up on Apple TV. That’s the only use for it. Lightroom/Photoshop combo is used everyday, on one task or another or to learn. I tried iWatermark, and found it easy to use, but after a while I found it’s watermarks to be too simple. Thanks to your tip, Chris, I created a brush in Photoshop that I use for watermarking. I do not process a lot of photos, so it’s not a big pain.
    It is too bad that 4Framesofmind.com sort of fell apart. It was a great idea, but it didn’t go anywhere. I have only 1 Flickr account, and 1 blog, this makes it is easy to maintain and update.

    Now for the plugs:
    http://www.miksmedia.com – blog
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cptpoland/ – pictures.

  2. Gary

    > 5 Photo Apps

    With a hidden bonus app! You give a nod to iPhoto in your introduction, but don’t feature it later on… 🙂

    Since you ask, my work flow (such as it is) is roughly as follows:

    1) Import images from the camera using Canon’s ImageBrowser. It automatically creates the folder structure such as this example:
    /Users/gary/Pictures/Canon EOS 350D/2007/10/2007_10_21

    I then manually rename the deepest level folder with a few keywords to give it context – retaining the date and appending the keywords at the end.

    That then gives me my archive of the original images.

    2) Images from my DSLR are then run the images through DxO Optics Pro to do an initial RAW conversion. Further decisions will mostly be based on the results of the conversions. Images from the Ixus proceed straight to step 3.

    3) Photoshop is then used for any image processing.

    4) If I want to use a set of images as a screensaver, they’re then imported into iPhoto and an album created for grouping purposes. I can see me perhaps trying to produce an iPhoto calendar next year.

    I’m interested in getting Lightroom – I did play with the 30-demo last year and was quite impressed, but never bought. I’m now wary of buying and finding version 2 released a few weeks later. Lightroom would be inserted at position 2 of the workflow, with the current #2 and each subsequent step being bumped up one. Lightroom seems to integrate adequately with DxO Optics Pro v4. DxO v5 is not yet released for the Mac, so I don’t know if the integration is improved or not.

    I think that about sums it up…

  3. Gary

    Is anyone using LightZone? I looked at it a couple of years ago when it was still in the v1 release. I was impressed with the idea but didn’t go with it at the time. It has now matured(?) to v3.2 and I’m thinking I might look at it instead of (or perhaps in addition to) upgrading my DxO Optics Pro v4 to v5 when it’s eventually released

  4. Mac Sokulski

    I did look at it in version 2.3. It was impressive, but somehow never got pass the point of review. I might have to have a look at it again at some point.

  5. Chris Marshall Post author

    I did review Lightzone when it first came out, and now you mention it I was contacted by their PR a while ago to see if I wanted to discuss the current version with their CEO, and I eventually liked it and if I didn’t have Lightroom and Photoshop it would be a good single application to have.

    But as you have Photoshop it would be pretty redundant for you. I would go with Lightroom and Photoshop as a great combination.

    And that workflow seems pretty intensive, is that a personal thing or do Canon make you do that?

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  8. Gary

    That’s not Canon – it’s me. And probably part of the reason that I don’t shoot as often as some other people. 🙂

    I’m inclined to agree about using Lightroom as the hub. It might be that Photoshop CS3 has caught up in terms of the RAW conversion – I’ve really not got into using it yet. I was never comfortable with RAW conversion in CS1 when I was using my PowerShot G2. And Adobe never released a RAW converter for my EOS 350 for CS1 – it appeared in one of the first updates for CS2 which I never bought. So I needed a decent RAW converter before I finally recently bought CS3. That’s where the DxO app came in.

  9. Wayne LeFevre

    Wow, that is quite a workflow, Gary! I basically use Aperture for everything. So that would be my number 1. I also use iPhoto for anything related to sharing. I import, reference only(!), pictures from Aperture that I want to share via the .mac gallery or wherever.

    Beyond that, I don’t have much. I suppose I use EasyCrop from Yellow Mug a lot. Easiest cropping app that I have. Haven’t used Picturesque. Any pixel pushing I do I use GIMP. Haven’t ever had the need to try Acorn or Pixelmator. In fact, for little repairs I find that iPhoto does an even better job than Aperture. Aperture just has a spot remover, whereas iPhoto has the complete repair, which comes in very handy when teenagers want to remove zits!

    Interesting about Automator. To tell the truth, I haven’t even opened Leopard’s Automator yet! (Though I do hear that it has a lot of new features.)

  10. jeremy

    Being a film photographer I have to take more care when shooting, to get it right in the camera. I tend not to use much in the way of software to make any adjustments. I do have iphoto for organization of my scans. I bought Pixelmater on the basis of several reviews and the demo. I’ve also used Photoshop Elements which was quite good, though Photoshop itself is fantastic though complicated. The Gimp is also an excellent freeware alternative

    This week I helped a friend of mine who is a professional commercial photographer do a shoot for a brochure. We used Phase One’s Capture software to take images directly from the Phase One back on his Mamiya 67 pro camera (medium format) and adjust the light balance where necessary. Photoshop was to clean up any blemishes caused by surface imperfections on the objects we photographed.

  11. Gary

    I always fancied trying medium format when I was younger. “when I was younger” – eek!! 😳

    Leaving aside practical issues – like, for example, money – I could never make my mind up whether I wanted to go for the square format, 645 or, as mentioned by jeremy, 6 by 7.

  12. jeremy

    Having now had a go with a 6×7 SLR I can assure you that it is not a camera to hand-hold, as it is too heavy. The 6×7 rangefinder, Mamiya 7 would be a better bet. I’d say either the 6×6 or smaller 645 format would be more practical. Though the 6×6 being square would usually need image cropping to make the more pleasing rectangular aspect ratios, hence negating the extra size of the image. The 645 will produce more images per film obviously.

  13. Chris Marshall Post author

    @Wayne – excellent, I could add that to iWeb (Moreno) BlipTV (Almerimar Laife and this site) and You Tube (Almerimar Life) that I upload video to 🙂

    Damn I spend way too much time uploading stuff!!!!!!

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