Verdict: 3 stars Sharpener Pro’s output sharpening tools are a reminder that images need to be optimised to look their best on different printers, and at different sizes. However, its ‘capture sharpening’ tools feel like they’re just a little too late in the workflow, when most of us would apply sharpening during RAW processing, or in the ‘host’ application used to launch Sharpener Pro.
DxO Nik Collection
Now up to Nik Collection 6, the Nik Collection consists of eight different plug-ins, including four of the best creative tools for photographers you can buy today. Silver Efex is still unrivalled for its black and white photography effects, Color Efex has a dazzling array of photographic effects, Analog Efex is superb at evoking classic analog film and darkroom effects and HDR Efex makes HDR merging and editing easy enough for anyone to get great results straight out of the box. The latest plug in, Perspective, corrects perspective distortion and more.
Verdict: 2.5 stars Dfine feels like an old-fashioned solution to a problem that has changed. There are now many ways of controlling noise in-camera or in RAW software, and the real issue these days is not just finding a tool that can do it well, but doing it at the right point in your workflow.
Verdict: 4 stars HDR Efex Pro 2 manages to make HDR relatively easy, and it produces ‘good’ HDR which is dynamic, rich and exciting. It still wraps it up in a bit too much jargon, but it does produce a good variety of ready-made HDR presets so that you don’t have to get caught up in the manual adjustments if you don’t want to.
It does seem a bit perverse, adding colour to a black and white image which used to be colour in the first place, but hand-coloured (or digitally-coloured) black and white has a very particular ‘look’ that colour images just don’t have. So this image (below) is one I originally shot in colour but then reworked […]
Zoom blur is a popular bit tricky little technique where you zoom the lens during the exposure so that you get a kind of radial blur from the centre of the picture. This means using a shutter speed long enough to capture this rapid zoom movement, which usually means you get plenty of regular blur […]
You normally associate soft focus effects with portraits, but they can work on all kinds of images, adding a romantic, dreamy feel to an everyday scene. Landscapes, for example, are often given a dramatic, brooding look when sometimes the emotion we feel is much lighter. Here’s an example. This tree-lined avenue felt bright, airy and […]
Infra red photography creates an unusual and surreal view of the world that can also be very beautiful. You can do it in black and white or colour, but the techniques used today with digital cameras are rather different to those used with film. Infra red film photography is relatively straightforward – you simply use […]
The Lightroom HDR tools built in are good in their way, but will only get you so far. Yes, you can boost the shadows, reduce the highlights, add some Clarity and Dehaze and maybe a graduated filter for the sky, but you can end up doing a lot of work only getting half way to the […]
Modern cameras can reproduce the world with utter, clinical accuracy. The trouble is, it turns out that’s not what we wanted after all. A lot of the time, what we actually want is the faded, distressed, imperfect look of analog photography. So here are six top tips for getting that analog film effect ‘look’ with […]
It’s that time of year when autumn leaves produce a riot of colour, and you’ve only got a short window of time to get out there and get pictures. But the results don’t always match your expectations, and this shot is a prime example. The reds and yellows of the leaves were striking, but they […]