John Brandon
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Software & Computers
John Brandon Jul 05, 2012 Published: Jun 01, 2012 11 comments
With each successive release of ACDSee Pro, the photo management suite adds ever-more-powerful features. In this review I hope to help you decide whether or not its features match up with your own workflow, meet your needs, or even improve on existing features to enhance your photographic creations.

In my own workflow, the new version, ACDSee Pro 5, smoothed over a few rough edges in the editing process and made my management chores a bit less time-consuming. The release is not so groundbreaking that it might make you consider abandoning Adobe Lightroom or Apple Aperture altogether, but there are some pro-level additions that are definitely worth considering. The program never crashed and operated quickly for just about any task on a standard desktop PC. Note I said PC—there is no Mac version available or considered at this point.

Software & Computers
John Brandon Mar 12, 2012 Published: Feb 01, 2012 4 comments
Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 caters to the entry-level crowd, but is imbued with several professional-level tools. Even when a feature is not really intended for serious photographers, there is a goldmine of functionality that could save countless hours. The app is celebrating 10 years on the market. Adobe has slowly revised the workflow, and it’s getting much better.

In this version, you’ll first see a start-up screen with two buttons, one for organizing photos and one for editing. It makes more sense to click the button to organize images first, especially if you’re not even sure which images need editing.

When you do, one of the first prompts you’ll see asks how you normally import photos. That’s handy, because even the most experienced pro has to get photos off the camera somehow. You might typically load images onto a network drive, or prefer loading directly off the camera. (An option to scan images seems woefully dated these days.) Whatever option you choose, you can always go back and select a different import default. For now, it just means, when you start Elements 10, the app will automatically look for that specific source.

Software & Computers
John Brandon Jun 20, 2011 Published: May 01, 2011 3 comments
For serious photographers, the software you choose for a photographic workflow falls into good, better, and best buckets. The “good” bucket includes fairly mundane tools for basic image management, while “better” goes the extra step of providing image correction options and filters. The “best” tools provide tethered-shot features and robust metadata editing functions. At these upper ranks, the best software seems to predict your every move, mostly because the software developers are photo enthusiasts and understand real photographic needs.

Phase One’s Capture One Pro 6 falls into this “best” category. In many ways, it even beats out Adobe Photoshop CS5 in that there seems to be a professional-grade feature under every drop-down menu and in every dialog box. The editing functions pale in comparison to Photoshop, but as we’ve all learned, if you set up the shot perfectly on location you might not need to do a lot of editing later.

Software & Computers
John Brandon Jun 28, 2011 Published: May 01, 2011 2 comments
For years, anyone serious about photography has viewed Corel Paint Shop Pro (PSP) as the low cost alternative to Adobe Photoshop. Originally developed by a tiny company in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Paint Shop has grown up into a full-featured photo workflow tool with a built-in photo organizer that includes tagging options and fast previewing, an advanced image editor, and handy integration with Flickr and Facebook.

For $70, PaintShop Photo Pro X3 Ultimate is a smart addition to a virtual photo toolbox. A few performance problems and some slightly questionable editing capabilities puts PSP in the uncomfortable position of still being in the tall shadow of Adobe. That said, if you want to skip the $700 purchase price, PSP is on the right track.

Software & Computers
John Brandon Apr 01, 2011 1 comments

Exceptional photographic software reveals its true nature over time. In the case of Photo Mechanic—which is a pro-level image organizing tool from Camera Bits—there are seemingly insignificant features that provide a smooth workflow, especially for photo journalists working with IPTC data.

Software & Computers
John Brandon Dec 01, 2010 0 comments

A smooth workflow makes the job of photography feel more like a passion. You release the shutter button and next thing you know you’re holding a framed comp for a client.

Software & Computers
John Brandon Sep 01, 2010 0 comments

Aperture 3 is an amazingly powerful workflow aid for any photographer. An improved interface that promotes a “work the way you want” aesthetic makes it easy to learn and use.

Software & Computers
John Brandon Sep 01, 2010 0 comments

If a computer is part of your photographic workflow, then you’re probably already using Adobe’s Photoshop. The program has become standard for serious pros, erstwhile amateurs, and even those who just want to add some flair to their Facebook profile.

Software & Computers
John Brandon Mar 01, 2010 0 comments

For the pro photographer, there are two possible scenarios in managing a photographic workflow. One is the scattershot method, the second approach features a clear organizational method.

Software & Computers
John Brandon Jan 01, 2010 0 comments

With each new Microsoft Operating System (OS) release, a new question arises for photographers: should you upgrade? Or, should you wait?