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Popular Post Production Software

Last week’s reader question was Which Post Production Software do you use?

The discussion that happened as a result of asking it was fascinating with all manner of post production products mentioned by close to 200 readers. The software mentioned ranged from professional grade photo editing packages, through to free online photo sharing and organizational tools.

With DPS readers using such an array of tools it was difficult to make any big trend observations (not made any easier by the spread of operating systems and software versions. However I did pull together a Top 13 from the responses. I’ve listed them below (and graphed it here):

Post-Production-Software

  1. Lightroom
  2. Photoshop CS2
  3. Photoshop CS3
  4. The Gimp
  5. Picasa
  6. Apple’s Aperture
  7. Photoshop Elements
  8. Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo
  9. iPhoto
  10. Adobe Photoshop 7.0
  11. Noise Ninja
  12. Bibble Pro
  13. ACDSee

By no means is this a full list. Around 40 different tools were mentioned in the comments of the previous post – but the above were those that featured more often than others.

It would be also unfair to compare all in the list above as they are not all products aiming to fullfill the same tasks – however these (and others suggested) would make a good starting place for those looking into choosing a photo editing and organization software tool/s.

Read more from our Post Production category.

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • http://usr-bin-mom.com Michelle Potter

    Very interesting. I missed the original discussion, but I myself use three of the above: PhotoShop CS2, GIMP, and Picasa. (I also use a cheesey scrapbooking program.)

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/graeme_smith/ Graeme Smith

    As an avid Aperture user I’m a bit disappoint/surprised that is is so far behind Lightroom. Looks like LR has about twice the market share among users of this site. I sure hope Aperture doesn’t die and Apple stop developing it.

    Also, may I suggest adding another bar to the graph for all the different versions of Photoshop? Combined CS2/3, 7 and Elements are by far the most used program.

  • Roland Dobbins

    Have you tried LightRoom? It’s streets ahead of Aperture in both performance and in functionality. With LightRoom, apart from the totally broken sharpening tool (it’s been announced that 1.1 is supposed to fix this), LightRoom allows one to perform very useful processing which previously required Photoshop. As soon as the sharpener is fixed, I’d guess that about 80% of pro-am photographers won’t need Photoshop at all.

    The performance delta, even on high-end hardware, is also amazing. As someone who started out with Aperture 1.0 and persevered through the various upgrades until finally giving up, I can tell you that if you haven’t tried LightRoom, you’re really missing out.

  • Koh Jun Lin

    Wow, I did not expect so many to become CS3 converts so quickly.

    @Graeme:
    Maybe its because Aperture is Mac only?

  • Damian Robertson

    It’s a dud link for Picassa; why show an Amazon page for the no longer released boxed version when you can download it for free at http://picasa.google.com/

  • towsonu2003

    It’s wonderful to see an open source application (GIMP) on the 4th place.

  • http://www.keito.nl Peter

    In response to Graeme Smith; I really like Aperture as well, but as Koh Jun Lin said – I’m not using it because I’m limited due to the platform I use.

    I’m not on the biggest budget hardware-wise and can’t justify buying a mac when I can get a PC that packs more processing power for the same price – however, that’s not really the point here.

    Lightroom is the closest to Aperture I could find and therefore I use it, and as I also stated in the previous comments; whenever I have to chance to use Aperture at a friends place, I do so, because I fell the product is more polished and improves my workflow.

  • http://latinforo.net mike

    Aperture ahs a long life ahead of it, the problem is the platform, and I agree with Peter, the extra price is just not worth the money for amateurs, this is why we stick to other software (I used CS3, would like to try lightroom)

  • http://www.artisthideout.com William Lehman

    I am also surprised to see Gimp up there with the big boys. I use a mixture of PaintShop Pro (came with my laptop), Gimp and Picasa here. Better on the wallet overall is my policy… lol

  • http://digital-photography-school.com/blog Darren

    keep in mind with Aperture and Lightroom that Lightroom is something that is available for both Mac and PC whereas Aperture is just a Mac product.

  • http://weekeat.com Wee Keat

    Maybe you should also have a graph to show the distribution of operating systems. Mac vs Win vs Linux, etc.

  • http://edsphotoblog.com Ed O’Keeffe

    I would have thought that Photoshop CS2 would have been more popular than Lightroom, nice to see Lightroom at the top thought.

    I moved from Aperture to Lightroom due database problems in Aperture. Lightroom is brilliant and all the photographers I know love using it, glad to read that your readers agree.

  • Chandamama

    My guess is right. Picasa is in top 5. It is so easy to use and get excellent results

  • http://www.oyen.de/profil.html Joerg Oyen

    Usabilty, pricing, platform choice – typical questions. Summarized the chart – an really good starting point. Well keep an eye on it.

  • Nick Thompson

    I’ve just swapped from a PC to a Mac. One of the things I miss is Picasa. I can’t understand why they haven’t brought it out for the Mac yet.

  • http://illuminesque.com Char

    This was definitely an interesting graph, I was a little disappointed for Paint Shop Pro as well, I personally use a mixture of PSP XI, Photoshop CS2 and Nikon NX. Graeme stated PS should have separate version categories that would also go for PSP as well.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/shroti-n-shroti shroticg

    i use photoshop 7 and picasa besides sometimes ACDsee and kodak too. but the fastness is provided by picasa is unmatched.

  • http://www.sc-photos.co.uk Soph

    Was it just me that has never heard of Lightroom?
    Will be something I will be looking into. CS2 user here.

  • http://blog.rrdphoto.com Ryan Dlugosz

    Interesting results – I’m surprised that the Gimp ranked so high, esp relative to Picasa. Nothing against Gimp; just not what I would have expected.

  • fall

    Very informative! I’m a mac user who as been strugling with the Lightroom vs Aperture debate for a while now. I own Aperture, but have been really impressed with the functionality of Lightroom of late. I kept thinking that I just wasn’t seeing all that there was to see in Aperture, but this poll helps to validate my findings.

  • mainfr4me

    Gimp FTW! Well, almost…

  • http://www.am-3.org Dave

    I’m in the process of buying a new mac. The price of Adobe’s Creative Suites that I want is priced higher than the computers purchase price. I’ll likely try out GIMP mostly due to Adobe prices.

  • http://www.jozefnagy.com/ Joe

    As for OSs, I run Ubuntu 6.10 Linux and use GIMP for all my editing. It’s powerful, modular, expandable, and FREE. It’s not a Photoshop replacement (there goes the main criticism of it by people who don’t know better), but for a free alternative, it sure does a lot of what Photoshop does. For those of us that aren’t designers or pro photographers, GIMP does everything we could want.

    GIMP is available for all OSs: Windows, Mac, and Linux. There is even a portable version that runs off a USB flashdrive so it can store all its settings and add-ons.

  • George Fragos

    It would have been interesting to see which OS was used. A lot of Linux users gravitate to Gimp because that’s what’s easily available on their systems. Apple users and Windows users may show different results.

  • http://www.susandennisphotography.com Susan

    After wrestling with the choice between Aperture and Lightroom for about a month, I have to say after seeing the results, that I feel validated about ultimately choosing Lightroom…although as I said before, I am very interested to see what Aperture 2.0 has in store. Both are excellent applications.

  • Harry Briels

    Before LR came to the market I tried very hard to use IDmager, but eventually came away kind of frustrated because IDmager is not very user friendly and requires a lot of software experience, which I am lacking.
    I then considered purchasing Peter Krogh’s DAM book to first of all learn more about DAM, but then LR was made available and there was on my part no need any more for digging in DAM theories. LR is very user friendly and requires no wrestling with software applications. I am very pleased with LR!

  • http://perity.com Nathaniel Brown

    Any chance we can see the full list? Even if they are the minority, I still believe they are just as important if not more so.

    I recently heard of an app called Capture One by Phase One for a RAW workflow. Tried it out, and wasn’t thoroughly impressed, but did appreciate its sharpening tool as well as a couple other features.

    Would be great to see any other tools like that one out there that the selected few in the big houses may use and us small guys may not have heard of.

  • Andrea Kirkby

    I use GIMP and CS3 – GIMP when it’s simple stuff like cropping and resizing, particularly for web, and Photoshop for more advanced operations as I find GIMP doesn’t go as far there. I tried Picasa, but found the software introduced a few conflicts on my system (possibly with the firewall – not sure) and was buggy.

    After the discussion here I might take a look at Lightroom.

  • Gary W. Fesperman

    I currently use Photoshop, CS2, CS, and 7. I also use Picasa,
    and Photoshop Elements once in awhile.
    I plan to start using CS3 this Fall.
    I’M a PRO photographer, and a part time teacher at the local college.

  • Joe

    I use Picasa, Capture NX and Photoshop 7, in that order.

    I like that Picasa will do non destructive edits and will give me an instant result of changes which is quite extensive for a free program. You can go back and cancil the edits and try other ones. Some of the edit are cumulative.

    I’ll use Capture NX if I shoot RAW and want to change white balance masked levels etc..

    I’ll use Photshop if I need some creative changes like cloning.

    Joe

  • http://sankaranand.com/blog/ sankaranand

    i am using adobe photoshop cs3

  • http://watchtheworld.org Angad

    Lightroom for every picture almost, Photoshop for occasional major surgery.

  • Favera

    I have a question about Picasa. I tried it a bit and found that when I manipulate images in it the size of the image drops about 5 times. For example, an image of 5MB got to 1MB. Can someone comment on why this is happening?

  • http://www.dmitrimarkine.com Dmitri Markine

    I am not using Lightroom yet,but planning on getting it. For now it’s photoshop CS2. I am a wedding photographer,here in Toronto and Photoshop and Bridge lacking in terms of organizational benefits. Can’t wait to switch!

  • http://angpilipinogimp.wordpress.com andotyjazz

    I am quite surprised. I do use GIMP all through out: for Web, Photography, and Print. Yes its true, GIMP is not Photoshop, but it’s surely has it’s own way of making things possible. Check out the bleeding edge of GIMP 2.4, it’s promising and would be more capable than ever. Thanks for the post really.

  • http://www.tophostingcenter.com Czar

    Lightroom has the most number of users??? I can’t believe this information. I thought the #1 production software is Adobe Photoshop…whatever. Still, Lightroom is an Adobe product.

    I guess PhotoShop is better than Lightroom. Do you agree with me?

  • Bill Powers

    Lightroom 2 for its superb Library’as Organizer function, and Elements 7 for its great Editing modes–all three of them.

  • http://www.engagingimages.ca Matt

    Lightroom is often the program I use, although I occasionally use Photoshop CS3

  • http://digital-photography Rohit Sharma

    What is a post production?
    Pls give a complete details in post production.
    How many software in post productions,

  • http://www.phiz.in N!rneet

    i use cs4 its a great package of all utilities and give instant results check dis out !!!!!!!!

  • http://www.imagepro.biz Orlando

    Hi Everyone, I really need some help with a project I am working on. what I need is a way to identify each print that i do on the printed photo. What I am really looking for is a way of embedding the file name on the lower right hand corner of the printed Photo, so that my customers can refer to this number on a web page and order additional prints.

    can anyone help me on this? It needs to be automated sine I am taking 600 photos a day six days a week, printing them and giving them to the customer.

Some older comments

  • Orlando

    January 18, 2011 05:46 am

    Hi Everyone, I really need some help with a project I am working on. what I need is a way to identify each print that i do on the printed photo. What I am really looking for is a way of embedding the file name on the lower right hand corner of the printed Photo, so that my customers can refer to this number on a web page and order additional prints.

    can anyone help me on this? It needs to be automated sine I am taking 600 photos a day six days a week, printing them and giving them to the customer.

  • N!rneet

    March 4, 2010 09:02 pm

    i use cs4 its a great package of all utilities and give instant results check dis out !!!!!!!!

  • Rohit Sharma

    September 16, 2009 11:22 pm

    What is a post production?
    Pls give a complete details in post production.
    How many software in post productions,

  • Matt

    September 5, 2009 06:36 am

    Lightroom is often the program I use, although I occasionally use Photoshop CS3

  • Bill Powers

    April 28, 2009 01:12 am

    Lightroom 2 for its superb Library'as Organizer function, and Elements 7 for its great Editing modes--all three of them.

  • Czar

    July 5, 2008 12:48 am

    Lightroom has the most number of users??? I can't believe this information. I thought the #1 production software is Adobe Photoshop...whatever. Still, Lightroom is an Adobe product.

    I guess PhotoShop is better than Lightroom. Do you agree with me?

  • andotyjazz

    October 3, 2007 03:48 pm

    I am quite surprised. I do use GIMP all through out: for Web, Photography, and Print. Yes its true, GIMP is not Photoshop, but it's surely has it's own way of making things possible. Check out the bleeding edge of GIMP 2.4, it's promising and would be more capable than ever. Thanks for the post really.

  • Dmitri Markine

    July 13, 2007 03:50 pm

    I am not using Lightroom yet,but planning on getting it. For now it's photoshop CS2. I am a wedding photographer,here in Toronto and Photoshop and Bridge lacking in terms of organizational benefits. Can't wait to switch!

  • Favera

    June 18, 2007 12:55 pm

    I have a question about Picasa. I tried it a bit and found that when I manipulate images in it the size of the image drops about 5 times. For example, an image of 5MB got to 1MB. Can someone comment on why this is happening?

  • Angad

    June 15, 2007 11:50 pm

    Lightroom for every picture almost, Photoshop for occasional major surgery.

  • sankaranand

    June 15, 2007 12:47 am

    i am using adobe photoshop cs3

  • Joe

    June 7, 2007 02:10 am

    I use Picasa, Capture NX and Photoshop 7, in that order.

    I like that Picasa will do non destructive edits and will give me an instant result of changes which is quite extensive for a free program. You can go back and cancil the edits and try other ones. Some of the edit are cumulative.

    I'll use Capture NX if I shoot RAW and want to change white balance masked levels etc..

    I'll use Photshop if I need some creative changes like cloning.

    Joe

  • Gary W. Fesperman

    June 4, 2007 07:45 am

    I currently use Photoshop, CS2, CS, and 7. I also use Picasa,
    and Photoshop Elements once in awhile.
    I plan to start using CS3 this Fall.
    I'M a PRO photographer, and a part time teacher at the local college.

  • Andrea Kirkby

    June 3, 2007 01:31 am

    I use GIMP and CS3 - GIMP when it's simple stuff like cropping and resizing, particularly for web, and Photoshop for more advanced operations as I find GIMP doesn't go as far there. I tried Picasa, but found the software introduced a few conflicts on my system (possibly with the firewall - not sure) and was buggy.

    After the discussion here I might take a look at Lightroom.

  • Nathaniel Brown

    June 2, 2007 02:55 am

    Any chance we can see the full list? Even if they are the minority, I still believe they are just as important if not more so.

    I recently heard of an app called Capture One by Phase One for a RAW workflow. Tried it out, and wasn't thoroughly impressed, but did appreciate its sharpening tool as well as a couple other features.

    Would be great to see any other tools like that one out there that the selected few in the big houses may use and us small guys may not have heard of.

  • Harry Briels

    June 1, 2007 04:07 pm

    Before LR came to the market I tried very hard to use IDmager, but eventually came away kind of frustrated because IDmager is not very user friendly and requires a lot of software experience, which I am lacking.
    I then considered purchasing Peter Krogh's DAM book to first of all learn more about DAM, but then LR was made available and there was on my part no need any more for digging in DAM theories. LR is very user friendly and requires no wrestling with software applications. I am very pleased with LR!

  • Susan

    June 1, 2007 01:00 pm

    After wrestling with the choice between Aperture and Lightroom for about a month, I have to say after seeing the results, that I feel validated about ultimately choosing Lightroom...although as I said before, I am very interested to see what Aperture 2.0 has in store. Both are excellent applications.

  • George Fragos

    June 1, 2007 12:47 pm

    It would have been interesting to see which OS was used. A lot of Linux users gravitate to Gimp because that's what's easily available on their systems. Apple users and Windows users may show different results.

  • Joe

    June 1, 2007 06:03 am

    As for OSs, I run Ubuntu 6.10 Linux and use GIMP for all my editing. It's powerful, modular, expandable, and FREE. It's not a Photoshop replacement (there goes the main criticism of it by people who don't know better), but for a free alternative, it sure does a lot of what Photoshop does. For those of us that aren't designers or pro photographers, GIMP does everything we could want.

    GIMP is available for all OSs: Windows, Mac, and Linux. There is even a portable version that runs off a USB flashdrive so it can store all its settings and add-ons.

  • Dave

    June 1, 2007 04:33 am

    I'm in the process of buying a new mac. The price of Adobe's Creative Suites that I want is priced higher than the computers purchase price. I'll likely try out GIMP mostly due to Adobe prices.

  • mainfr4me

    May 31, 2007 02:38 am

    Gimp FTW! Well, almost...

  • fall

    May 30, 2007 05:42 am

    Very informative! I'm a mac user who as been strugling with the Lightroom vs Aperture debate for a while now. I own Aperture, but have been really impressed with the functionality of Lightroom of late. I kept thinking that I just wasn't seeing all that there was to see in Aperture, but this poll helps to validate my findings.

  • Ryan Dlugosz

    May 30, 2007 03:38 am

    Interesting results - I'm surprised that the Gimp ranked so high, esp relative to Picasa. Nothing against Gimp; just not what I would have expected.

  • Soph

    May 30, 2007 01:42 am

    Was it just me that has never heard of Lightroom?
    Will be something I will be looking into. CS2 user here.

  • shroticg

    May 30, 2007 12:56 am

    i use photoshop 7 and picasa besides sometimes ACDsee and kodak too. but the fastness is provided by picasa is unmatched.

  • Char

    May 29, 2007 11:49 pm

    This was definitely an interesting graph, I was a little disappointed for Paint Shop Pro as well, I personally use a mixture of PSP XI, Photoshop CS2 and Nikon NX. Graeme stated PS should have separate version categories that would also go for PSP as well.

  • Nick Thompson

    May 29, 2007 11:16 pm

    I've just swapped from a PC to a Mac. One of the things I miss is Picasa. I can't understand why they haven't brought it out for the Mac yet.

  • Joerg Oyen

    May 29, 2007 04:45 pm

    Usabilty, pricing, platform choice - typical questions. Summarized the chart - an really good starting point. Well keep an eye on it.

  • Chandamama

    May 29, 2007 04:09 pm

    My guess is right. Picasa is in top 5. It is so easy to use and get excellent results

  • Ed O'Keeffe

    May 29, 2007 09:49 am

    I would have thought that Photoshop CS2 would have been more popular than Lightroom, nice to see Lightroom at the top thought.

    I moved from Aperture to Lightroom due database problems in Aperture. Lightroom is brilliant and all the photographers I know love using it, glad to read that your readers agree.

  • Wee Keat

    May 29, 2007 09:42 am

    Maybe you should also have a graph to show the distribution of operating systems. Mac vs Win vs Linux, etc.

  • Darren

    May 29, 2007 09:35 am

    keep in mind with Aperture and Lightroom that Lightroom is something that is available for both Mac and PC whereas Aperture is just a Mac product.

  • William Lehman

    May 29, 2007 08:13 am

    I am also surprised to see Gimp up there with the big boys. I use a mixture of PaintShop Pro (came with my laptop), Gimp and Picasa here. Better on the wallet overall is my policy... lol

  • mike

    May 29, 2007 05:43 am

    Aperture ahs a long life ahead of it, the problem is the platform, and I agree with Peter, the extra price is just not worth the money for amateurs, this is why we stick to other software (I used CS3, would like to try lightroom)

  • Peter

    May 29, 2007 04:05 am

    In response to Graeme Smith; I really like Aperture as well, but as Koh Jun Lin said - I'm not using it because I'm limited due to the platform I use.

    I'm not on the biggest budget hardware-wise and can't justify buying a mac when I can get a PC that packs more processing power for the same price - however, that's not really the point here.

    Lightroom is the closest to Aperture I could find and therefore I use it, and as I also stated in the previous comments; whenever I have to chance to use Aperture at a friends place, I do so, because I fell the product is more polished and improves my workflow.

  • towsonu2003

    May 29, 2007 03:15 am

    It's wonderful to see an open source application (GIMP) on the 4th place.

  • Damian Robertson

    May 29, 2007 03:01 am

    It's a dud link for Picassa; why show an Amazon page for the no longer released boxed version when you can download it for free at http://picasa.google.com/

  • Koh Jun Lin

    May 29, 2007 02:57 am

    Wow, I did not expect so many to become CS3 converts so quickly.

    @Graeme:
    Maybe its because Aperture is Mac only?

  • Roland Dobbins

    May 29, 2007 02:44 am

    Have you tried LightRoom? It's streets ahead of Aperture in both performance and in functionality. With LightRoom, apart from the totally broken sharpening tool (it's been announced that 1.1 is supposed to fix this), LightRoom allows one to perform very useful processing which previously required Photoshop. As soon as the sharpener is fixed, I'd guess that about 80% of pro-am photographers won't need Photoshop at all.

    The performance delta, even on high-end hardware, is also amazing. As someone who started out with Aperture 1.0 and persevered through the various upgrades until finally giving up, I can tell you that if you haven't tried LightRoom, you're really missing out.

  • Graeme Smith

    May 29, 2007 02:14 am

    As an avid Aperture user I'm a bit disappoint/surprised that is is so far behind Lightroom. Looks like LR has about twice the market share among users of this site. I sure hope Aperture doesn't die and Apple stop developing it.

    Also, may I suggest adding another bar to the graph for all the different versions of Photoshop? Combined CS2/3, 7 and Elements are by far the most used program.

  • Michelle Potter

    May 29, 2007 01:19 am

    Very interesting. I missed the original discussion, but I myself use three of the above: PhotoShop CS2, GIMP, and Picasa. (I also use a cheesey scrapbooking program.)

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