Living without Photoshop

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Siobhan_K Regular Member • Posts: 225
Most Do.

Fragonard wrote:

Can a photographer live without Photoshop, as other options are here now!

I promise you this:

More photographers don't use photoshop than do.

Remember, most photographers don't do any post on their work at all.

Of the minority that does, "post" popularly consists of a phone app filter, all of which are getting better and "computationally smarter" every day.

"Oh, that doesn't apply to serious photographers," you may be thinking. Except that it does. Honestly, the more serious, the busier, the more successful the photographer, the less likely that photographer is to spend time in post, themselves. Post takes time; the skillset doesn't always perfectly dovetail with a working photographer's best traits; and they're too busy. So they hire it done.

The number of photographers who do their own post work is actually somewhat small. It's a particular slice of hobbyists and freelancers. Small- and mid-market wedding photographers, etc. (though even many of them hire out their post). Most photographers live very happily without it, live very happily with letting their phones do it for them, or live very happily hiring it out.

And for those (few) who do perform post work, for the even smaller segment who requires a general purpose raster editor to do so: available Photoshop alternatives have never been broader, never better. Affinity is fantastic and only costs $25. It's broader than Photoshop in some ways, including a bigger filter set and interesting tools like frequency separation setups right out of the box. Pixelmator and Pixelmator "pro" are great, too. And all the RAW workflow software out there does much of what many photographers used to do in Photoshop--so Lightroom, Capture One, DxO, Luminar, AlienSkin, Irridient, ON1, Photoninja, Silkypix . . . the list gets longer every day.

Even shareware is strong, now. GIMP is solid, capable of delivering on most of the same basic techniques one would use in Photoshop for all kinds of retouch and post work--from color grading to frequency separation to luminosity masking and beyond. Of course, shareware RAW workflowers are pretty capable too--Darktable and RAW Therapee come to mind--so a photographer may not even need to go to GIMP.

Plus: there are entirely new paradigms of stills editing emerging, too--I'm thinking of video-influenced workflows, like color lookup tables (LUTs) applied as RAW profiles, or at any stage of post. You just don't need Photoshop to grade your photographs with LUT-shaping tools (I'm thinking of apps like 3D Lut Creator, Color Cone, or Photon 3D) and you can do a lot.

Adobe charges $10 / month for its Photoshop photography plan because, honestly, they couldn't get away with charging more. That's your sign of where Photoshop sits in the photographer's universe: yes, it's the "industry standard," but competition is so fierce and so capable that the "industry standard" isn't worth more than a dressed-up Starbucks latte.


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