Processing Tools I Use
Just as in the past the magic happened in the developing lab, now we are able to bring out the best in our images at home on our personal PC’s. I know that while I use a great camera, I still need to learn the techniques to take the information that the camera has captured and turn it into the image my mind captured. Sometimes it is just a couple of tweaks, other times a little more. Regardless of what is done, it is most definitely a part of the process of being a photographer.
Before I go any further I need to address the issue of backups. I always have at least two copies of all of my images. One of those copies is in a cloud facility in the US. It is all very well backing up to another drive, be it portable or whatever, but if you house burns down then your backups burn with it. I have had computers fail and I have been thankful that I have been able to restore a full set of my images with no losses.
I have detailed my full workflow in another article that can be found here [insert link]. So here I will just talk about the tools I use, have used, and why I stopped using.
Topaz Photo AI
Last year I purchased a copy of Topaz Photo AI, which while I enjoyed it for a time, it started giving me purple and blue artifacts at the top of my images if they were too noisy. Topaz Support suggested a work around for me but basically said that the issue was only with Panasonic cameras and even after giving them some images to try and resolve the problem, it still remains. To give Topaz some credit, they bent over backwards trying to resolve the issue for me and their communication was excellent.
DXO PureRAW 3
I did use the two previous versions of this program with some success, however since upgrading to PureRAW3 I wouldn’t be without it. It now works as a plugin for Lightroom making it much easier to add it into my regular workflow. Almost all of the images I put through this process will not require any more de-noising. It was recommended to me by other bird photographers and I am thankful that I followed up on their recommendations.
Lightroom and Photoshop – Photographers Subscription Plan
The basis of all my processing tools start with this software set. I like that my software is always up to date, I can use it on both my main PC, and also my travel laptop. As you will read in my workflow article, everything starts and finishes with Lightroom and Photoshop for me.
There are always going to be some images that need a little more de-noise tweaking even after going through PureRAW. This is where I use the Topaz Labs De-Noise AI plugin for Photoshop. I love how this product makes what used to be a hard job, very easy. It gives my image such a clean finish and allows me to push my camera to really high ISO levels knowing that it won’t be an issue. Topaz products come as standalone as well as plugins for both Photoshop and Lightroom, making the whole process very easy. I highly recommend Topaz De-Noise!
Below is an example of before and after using Topaz plugins. This image was taken using ISO 3200.