Photo Management Applications
Photoshop is often the first, and sometimes the only, photo application that photog-
raphers investigate to help them manage their work. But at its heart, Photoshop is es-
sentially an image editor primarily designed to adjust pixels. True, over the years it has
expanded its scope beyond curves and levels into a program that lets you merge ele-
ments to create entirely new pictures. Photographers need the types of tools Photoshop
has to offer, for sure. But they also need to organize their work, mark the best images,
add bits of metadata to them, and output to a variety of media, including slide shows
and web pages.
e current generation of photo management applications addresses these tasks. And
depending on the ones you choose, they can handle the bulk of your photography
work—including image editing.
is section provides you with an overview of the photo software that I consider among
the best. Take a look at what’s offered here, and consider fine-tuning your workflow so
that you’re spending the bulk of your time on things you want to do, instead of combing
your hard drive for that portrait you took a year ago while traveling abroad.
are actually quite different. Image editing is the act of adjusting pixels to improve
contrast, fine-tune color balance, sharpen, and perform a host of other tasks. Photo
editing is the art of sifting through your pictures to find the best shots. In the past,
photo editing was often done on a light table with a magnifying glass. Today most
photographers use their computer monitor as a virtual light table.
Apple iPhoto
Apple iPhoto ships on every Mac sold, and for many hobbyist photographers, its the
only photo management tool they will ever need.
Over the years, iPhoto has matured nicely. It supports sophisticated importing options
that aren’t quite as powerful as those included with Aperture and Lightroom, but are
certainly as feature-rich as most amateurs will want. Once the pictures are tucked away
in the iPhoto Library, you can rate pictures, add keywords, type descriptions, adjust
picture appearance, and output to an incredible array of media.
In fact, output is where iPhoto really shines. Its slide show authoring tools are top-
notch and are integrated with iDVD so that you can create your own discs playable
on virtually any DVD player. Photographers who also have Apple’s .Mac service enjoy
streamlined web authoring that requires just a few clicks to create professional-looking
online galleries.
anks to direct connection with Kodak’s online services, you can also order prints,
calendars, hard-bound books, and greeting cards all from within iPhotos friendly user
Apples iPhoto is a great example of a photo application that
combines ease of use with lots of features.
If you need to make a few image adjustments before ordering your custom note cards,
iPhoto provides the essential global tools including levels, shadow and highlight recov-
ery, sharpening, and color correction.
Even though iPhoto is a nondestructive environment (your originals are always safe
from degradation), it isn’t quite as metadata-savvy as Aperture and Lightroom. You
don’t have versions or virtual copies. And even though iPhoto does an admirable job
with raw files, if you’re a heavy RAW shooter, you’ll probably want to look at Aperture
before too long.
e good news is that Aperture and iPhoto play nice together. If Aperture becomes your
primary image bank, you can access that library through iPhoto and still enjoy all of its
wonderful output options.

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