Recently I was doing a bit of consulting with at a prominent photographer’s studio in Aspen and found that they were still using Photoshop CS6 for their retouching, which is not at all uncommon. I asked why not upgrade to the Creative Cloud version of Photoshop, and the answer was a bit predictable: We don’t want to “rent” the software.
Now, I’m not going to waste your time or mine getting into the semantics of software “ownership”, for the same reasons Adobe doesn’t get into it. But rather, now that the price is truly affordable—even for one-photographer shops and serious amateurs—I’d much rather talk about the benefits.
This particular studio has a large film archive, and regularly scan negatives and slides from the archive to fulfill stock agency requests. Those scans are high-res, but still pretty grainy. The studio tech had inherited a series of steps for image prep from his predecessors that included several sort of antiquated sharpening plug-ins, but without any consideration for noise reduction. So they were essentially sharpening the grain before sending out the files.
So I opened up my laptop, and showed the tech how he could use Camera Raw as a filter on RGB images in Photoshop CC. Sure, the noise reduction and sharpening in Photoshop has evolved over time, but I still find the Detail controls in ACR are much more effective because of the way sharpening and noise reduction are integrated now. I also think the HSL and B&W controls that ACR shares with Lightroom still have not been matched by any single feature in Photoshop. So basically having the entire LR control set available as a plug-in for Photoshop, makes work with hi-res RGB scans all that much easier. ACR is no longer just for raw files.
Then I showed him the Adaptive Wide Angle filter in Photoshop CC, which I used to correct this pano of the Duomo in Milan.
The 17,000 pixel-wide panorama was printed 33 feet long, and displayed at the European Hematology Congress in Milan last June. Correcting the curvature in this architectural panorama would have taken hours using Photoshop’s legacy distortion controls, but the Adaptive Wide Angle filter now makes this kind of work actually kinda fun.
After that we got onto new Photoshop CC support for embedded Smart Objects, and, well, the list just goes on and on. Photoshop and Lightroom just work well together. Anyway, those of you who have been reading my blog or watching my video tutorials know that I don’t accept any advertising on my site, and I simply do not write about “tools”. (I know, I know, it’s fun to read about toys. I do it too. But nothing is more irritating to me more than photographer’s blogs that showcase “My Top 10 Tech Toys” or whatever.)
I’ve always tried to keep the focus for this blog (and my videos) squarely on helping you make better pictures. And for the most part, I emphasize that “the tools” simply don’t matter very much. But when it comes to Photoshop and Lightroom, I just don’t see how any photographer would want to work without the best.
The Creative Cloud Plan for Photographers is $9.99 per month (in the US… I’m not sure about international pricing), which is less than what I give Starbucks roughly every two days. Here’s the link.
And if you’re migrating from Aperture, just send me an e-mail request, and I’ll gladly send you a discount code for the Library or Develop video series. Or both.