In my previous article I covered my photo workflow needs and some of the features of Apple’s Aperture application and the current Photos app. Now I would like to show you a few apps that I have been working with that have more advanced photo editing features similar to Aperture.
Corel Aftershot Pro 2
Aftershot Pro 2 is a good program. It has some great photo editing capabilities. Here is a sample of the editing window (click for larger images):
As most of these programs go, the navigation stuff is in the left sidebar and the editing stuff is in the right sidebar. Notice the bottom right corner of the window. Here you can create all the “Presets” you wish for various editing conditions. That is what I use most with this app. Like I said, the editing is great, very sophisticated, but Aftershot Pro 2 does not do well in photo management, at least in comparison to Aperture and iPhoto.
You can access original photos on your hard drive if you wish using the Filesystem (left sidebar), but if you want to manage your photos you have to use their “Catalog” system. It has taken a while to figure this out, it is not very intuitive, not very Mac like. However, I have established a workflow using their “Catalog” and various Metadata like Keywords and Locations. Using this method I can make a photo system of various events inside one of their catalogs. Once you get the hang of it, it works pretty well. Keep in mind that when I import photos into the Photos app off my SD Card I still have to import them into one of these third party programs. Sort of a double import, a little more work, but manageable. Aftershot Pro 2 is a nice app. I am still learning what it can do.
One more observation is in order here. Aftershot Pro 2 is very fast! Keep in mind that I am primarily editing photos in RAW format. They are huge, 22-23 MB each in size. But Aftershot Pro 2 handles editing, importing and exporting of these photos very nicely.
Aftershot Pro 2 normally costs $79 but is on sale right now for $54. I think it is worth the money for what it can do.
ACDsee is another photo editing and management app I am trying out. It has good editing features, not quite as robust as Aftershot Pro 2, but still very good. That includes “Presets” of course. Here is the main window:
It is setup about the same as other higher end programs, file system on the left, editing tools on the right, photos in the middle. In my opinion, ACDsee is more Mac like in it’s structure, especially in how it allows you to catalog folders of photos. It has a fairly decent system there, it just uses folders on your hard drive. Not as good as Aperture or iPhoto, ofcourse, but still pretty decent.
The main problem I have had with ACDsee is it is excruciatingly slow! It takes forever to consumate the edit of a photo and lately it has been crashing with various errors. I like the program, but there are just too many problems with it at this time.
ACDsee normally costs $99 but is on sale right now for $29.95, a very good price if you can get it to work for you..
Just a few general comments on all of this. Both Aftershot PRo 2 and ACDsee have trial versions. They are full trials of the apps. They both have a plugin architecture for added features.
I have tried a couple of other apps along the way like CaptureOne and Lightroom. But, they are both way more than I need and they are very pricey. Also, I do not wish to go to a subscription based system and I do not trust Adobe to not go there with Lightroom. They are good apps, just not for me.
At this point in time I have decided to go with Aftershot Pro 2. I have learned some of it’s organizational quirks and the editing suite is full featured and fast.
YMMV on all of this, but if you have been using Aperture to do more advanced editing, eventually you will have to go somewhere. Of course Apple could beef up the Photos app along the way, but I am not very confident they intend to do that. Just have to wait and see.