The Most Popular Post Production Software [POLL RESULTS]

The Most Popular Post Production Software [POLL RESULTS]


In a recent dPS reader poll we asked our community about the post production software that they use most. The results are in (with over 22,000 responses) and here’s the state of play in the post production world of our readers.


Lightroom is way out in front with Photoshop CS and Photoshop Elements also maintaining Adobes dominance of the market. Picasa, Aperture, The Gimp, iPhoto and Paintshop Pro jostle for position behind Adobe’s powerhouses.

Adobe is dominating the results with 67% of the market – significantly higher than the next highest manufacturer (Apple with 12% share).

Update: I’ve just taken a look at the results from last time (in May 2009) we ran this survey and there has been an interesting shift.

Last time 18% of readers were using Lightroom most with 37% saying that they used Photoshop CS and 13% Photoshop Elements. So the main shift is from people moving from Photoshop to Lightroom with Adobe having 68% of the market back then. Other than that there wasn’t a lot of change. Here’s the breakdown from last time.


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+.

Some Older Comments

  • C van Dijk July 10, 2013 01:04 pm

    Lightroom is sufficient for OOC I use PS CC for HDR and leaving my watermark. A shame it is super powerful with 16 bit layers and it becomes too bloated with features. Sharpening I still do with the highpass filter,had a look at all the new features but see them as solutions to non existing problems. Nevertheless I put my money aside for a year subscription. Feel Lightroom should replace Bridge but that maybe controversial.

  • Chris Renton July 9, 2013 11:36 pm

    I've used Lightroom for years now as it makes for very fast workflow. I only use Photoshop for the odd retouching that's beyond Lightroom's capabilities, although will be using it evening less now with the release of Lightroom 5 as the advanced healing tool can do more now.

  • Wedding Photographer Perth February 14, 2012 09:17 pm

    LR4 is my prefered for its speed, although i have Photoshop and also Express Digital assembley ED

  • Joseph Gomez January 3, 2012 02:34 pm

    I use Great Photo its an app on the Mac App Store that has some feature just like Photoshop. I also use iPhoto but its not as amazing as Great Photo. I know this is an old poll and everything but just for the people that might read this there is another app that can fix your photos.

  • XposurePro Lightroom Presets December 8, 2011 12:38 am

    I'm not surprised to see Photoshop loosing hold. I've been a Photoshop user since 1993 and I use it less and less each year ... actually all I use it for now is the Liquify tool when a client needs a little trimming ... that and graphic design. However, when it comes to photography my preference is Aperture or Lightroom.

  • Bubba November 30, 2011 05:11 am

    i second the idea for a future poll on RAW processing software

  • ESZ November 29, 2011 03:27 am

    I have lightroom and am a bit lost. Is Photoshop C3S better for a post-production newbie? I see the polls say more people use lightroom. Anyone have a good idiot's guide to recommend for it?

  • Denis de Gannes November 28, 2011 12:19 pm

    It would be interesting to see how the info would be for "what software is used by photographers processing RAW files.

  • Wedding Photographer November 25, 2011 03:33 am

    I have almost all of them but still Picasa is one of my favorites. Simple, useful and FREE!!! :)

  • Jane November 24, 2011 11:16 am

    I've used Paintshop Photo Pro (Corel) for 5-6 years and it's great for what editing I do. Much cheaper than Photoshop. I'd be interested in hearing why more people don't use it.


  • dk November 23, 2011 09:08 pm

    i use PhotoScape

  • Elmo20 November 20, 2011 03:57 pm

    To guy poizat,
    After reading your positive comments about GIMP in your post dated November 11, I downloaded Gimp and must say I do find it to be quite challenging. I am encouraged by your information that it is not difficult to master and will continue to work with it. I have not heard of FastStone but I am always open to trying something new. Thanks for your input.

  • traceykinohio November 20, 2011 08:57 am

    I use Lightroom. And sometimes Picnik & the Kodak Gallery. I tried PhotoShop &Gimp, P.Shop was too complicated for me, Gimp was easier, but still too much. At work on the MAC, I use iPhoto which I don't really care for because it's too limited. :-)

  • Tristan Jud November 17, 2011 01:02 pm

    WOW I find it amazing that Picasa is above Aperture. I'm road testing and reviewing the new Photosuite 6 from OnOne. I've had it for about a week and coupling that with Aperture and a few other plugins I haven't found the need to open Photoshop for anything any more. The review will be up on RAW fairly soon.

  • Guy Poizat November 14, 2011 04:03 am

    To ELMO20,
    Glad to see that I'm not the only one to live on a small income ! I agree with you on the choice of IrfanView - although in my opinion FastStone does a better job - but, on the other hand, I consider Photoscape is a bit too "basic". Why don't you give a try to GIMP ? It's a bit more challenging at the start but not that difficult to master, believe me !

  • tim November 12, 2011 01:03 pm

    i find that bridge is a far understated program - if you've gone down the CS route like me and unwilling to shell out more cash for LR then i've found combining bridge and PS into a workflow works a charm.
    start in bridge organising and rating photos, then use ACR (raw IS a religion), and finally into PS if you've a need for filters and plugins.
    i've found bridge to be way more intuitive to LR, not to mention synchonised/stand alone additional windows across multi-monitor for comparisons.

  • Shawn November 12, 2011 04:06 am

    For those wanting a free alternative to Adobe Lightroom, you really need to take a look at Google's Picasa. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with its features. There is also a plugin for uploading to Flickr. Picasa doesn't include all the features of Lightroom but it does add a few of its own unique features, such as face recognition (more accurate than iPhoto).

  • Rob Fielding November 11, 2011 07:15 pm

    I can not believe TOPAZ adjust (and other Topaz products) didn't appear.
    For me it's one of the best...& cheapest.
    I do have both Lightroom & Photoshop too!

  • Beatkat November 11, 2011 03:31 pm

    I find that most of the time I use of the few freebies that offers RAW image editing, batch resizing/renaming, and the usual host of quicker fixer uppers...(sharpness, contrast, gamma, saturation, brightness, cropping,rotation by degree, red eye, etc..) as well as a good functional organizing platform with many nice functions, Exif data, slide show functionality, etc.....while it isn't as "deep" as some...I find it quick, well laid out, and with a fairly shallow learning curve.....and Free for non-commercial use!

    PC only though.......

  • Elmo20 November 11, 2011 01:35 pm

    I've been doing digital photography since 2003. I am in a similar situation as guy poizat. Retired with a low income. I found a couple of free software programs that do a great job editing and/or enhancing my photos. Those programs are IrfanView and PhotoScape. Plug-ins for increased features are available for IrfanView

  • Chromatic Dramatic November 11, 2011 10:50 am

    And the cost of Lightroom just got a WHOLE lot cheaper. Especially here in Oz. Down from $400 to $150 in the last year.


  • Guy Poizat November 11, 2011 08:55 am

    I turned to digital after some 50 years of "classical" photography as an "advanced" amateur (mainly landscape using kodachrome then ektachrome). Being a retiree aged 68 at the time, with a low income, I had no choice but turn to some free software for post treatment: I tried some of them,then decided to use GIMP. As I shoot in Raw, I first use DPP and then apply GIMP, which gives me excellent results (not according to me only). I am convinced, after some 4 years of practice, that GIMP was an excellent choice. I have downloaded quite a few scripts and plug-ins and am looking forward to the arrival of the 2.8 version and all its improvements. I have completed the scanning of some 13,000 landscape slides- some dating back to the fifties- and I am amazed at the results after their treatment with GIMP. No doubt other post treatments can perform as well and maybe a little better(16 bits and CYMG for instance), but we'll see in a few months when 2.8 arrives!
    Please forgive my english: french is my native language !
    Guy Poizat, 66330 Cabestany, France.

  • AJ Borromeo November 11, 2011 08:54 am

    I agree with Bjrichus: the reason for the increase in Lightroom users has to do with the cost of Lightroom as opposed to Photoshop.

  • Thorstein K. Berg November 11, 2011 07:05 am

    Can this picture be right? I know from my own workflow that I use both Lightroom and Photoshop in connection with each other. I use lightroom for organizing, RAW-file prossess, web-galleries and printing, and Photoshop for my post-prossessing of images.

  • Susan Black November 11, 2011 05:44 am

    I'm a MAC user and the only thing I use is Aperture. I do some some editing when I think it is needed, but I choose to leave most of my photos as natural as possible. I have no desire to create art on the computer.

  • Allie MIller November 10, 2011 02:43 pm

    Love CS 5.1 and Lightroom 3! Dynamic and versatile...

  • steve nealy November 10, 2011 01:37 pm

    It would be nice to see what is used with just MAC people. I bet aperture's share would be higher.

  • cyndi November 10, 2011 12:52 pm

    I am one of those people who use "clunky old" CS5. I have invested the money in it and use it for far more than photo editing, so I see no reason to invest in additional software. When the next version comes out, I will be right there upgrading.

  • Normand Desjardins November 10, 2011 12:48 pm

    GIMP and Rawstudio for me. Both open source. I can see in the comments that I am not alone! :)

  • Chris November 10, 2011 11:44 am

    In certain images the selection tools in Photoshop are way easier than trying to use the adjustment brush in Lightroom.

  • hansi trompka November 10, 2011 05:13 am

    I love photoshop, and sometimes bibble...

  • Mike R November 10, 2011 03:41 am

    @ Nathan

    I've heard this "Lightroom can't do individual pixel editing" line before, but frankly I don't know what it means. Don't know about Lightroom, but in Aperture you have curves; you have levels; you have the ability to brush in adjustments to parts of an image, such as blur, sharpen, NR, etc.; you have individual color channel adjustments; and - with the appropriate plug-ins such as the OnOne suite - you can even do layers, blending modes, some compositing, etc. So what "pixel level" editing does CS have above all this - other than the previously mentioned panorama stitching?

    I think one of the big reasons people don't switch from CS as an editor is that they've invested hours and hours learning the unwieldily interface and find it easier to stick with what they know. Outside of specialty graphics and image houses, its hard to know why most photographers would need CS.

  • Russ Frisinger November 10, 2011 03:38 am

    @Nathan - I do blur background in Lightroom with the Adjustment Brush. Not sure why ya'd need CS for that.

  • Mark L November 10, 2011 02:21 am

    Where is Capture One in all this? It's pretty much the standard in the professional world.

  • Torben November 10, 2011 02:12 am

    To repeat what user dok just said: Nobody voted for RawTherapee (or at least in very low numbers)?! That's a shame! It is a great tool, indeed!

  • Nathan November 10, 2011 01:01 am

    @ Ajit again
    Lightroom does your basic edits AND organization. Cropping, exposure control, selective color (if that's your thing), some filters (sepia, duotone, etc). It's also a photo database management system. What LR doesn't do is individual pixel editing. If you need to clone something out, or blur a background, you won't be able to do that in LR. You'll need something like Photoshop or Gimp.

  • Bjrichus November 9, 2011 11:26 pm


    Adobe Lightroom is way CHEAPER than anything Photoshop and *THAT* is why it is used way more than the rest.

  • dok November 9, 2011 10:40 pm

    really too bad RawTherapee is not more widely known : impressive software and open-source. i can only highly recommend.

  • Mike Woodhouse November 9, 2011 08:49 pm

    A breakdown by operating system would have been interesting: not only to see the Win/Mac/*nix/other split itself, but to (a) see single-platform application penetration (e.g. Aperture) and (b) determine if the experience is significantly different for particular applications across platforms.

    But interesting nonetheless.

  • Costalfy November 9, 2011 08:41 pm

    What about Bibble 5 from

  • Keivan Zavari November 9, 2011 08:17 pm

    I am among the minorities of picasa and GIMP then...
    I like the open-source power...and for engineers its more interesting I guess...:-)

  • Dewan Demmer November 9, 2011 07:30 pm

    We all have our methods of cleaning and correcting images, photoshop is just as valid as lightroom. Personally GIMP is my choice, I believe in Open Source ... now if only someone could brainchild an Open Source version of Lightroom ...

  • Shotslot November 9, 2011 07:20 pm

    Maybe this reflects the fact that Lightroom is what you do if you want to edit your photos, CS is what you do it you want to craft images. CS (in my opinion) takes a good deal more knowledge to effectively get started with it (once you have the library down in Lightroom you can hit a few presets and wowee!). Oh hey, and CS is damn ugly...

  • Chromatic Dramatic November 9, 2011 03:29 pm

    @ Ajit

    Lightroom is both...

    It will do a lot of the things that Photoshop can do (sharpening / contrast / colours / noise reduction / minor touch ups etc etc), which is probably fine for the vast majority of people / photos. You then just export the file to Photoshop to use all the bells and whistles it has.

  • SM November 9, 2011 02:47 pm

    @Chuck - You reckon photoshop is not art??

  • altamar November 9, 2011 02:08 pm

    I'm as well Lightroom addicted. Completely enough to enhance light or color a little bit, cause photography should be as natural as possible.

  • Rick November 9, 2011 02:01 pm

    It's not "The GIMP." It's simply, "GIMP": GNU Image Manipulation Program.

  • Mike R November 9, 2011 12:38 pm

    Lightroom and Aperture are “workflow applications” that combine exceptional image organizing capabilities with equally exceptional raw (and jpeg) image processing tools. For me, 95-98% of my images never see or need Photoshop – the few exceptions being where I want to composite images or create stitched panoramas. Quite a change in my workflow from 5 years ago when I used Photoshop exclusively. Photoshop, a program whose roots are in Graphics Arts not large batch photo processing, is a better fit for working on a few images and image compositions.
    It will be interesting to see what the use profile looks like in another 3-5 years. I would expect to see Lightroom, Aperture, and Elements continuing to gain market share with Photoshop becoming more and more of a high end niche product for specific users and uses.

  • Mike R November 9, 2011 12:37 pm

    Lightroom and Aperture "workflow applications" that combine exceptional image organizing capabilities with equally exceptional raw (and jpeg) image processing tools. For me, 95-98% of my images never see or need Photoshop - the few exceptions being where I want to composite images or create stitched panoramas. Quite a change in my workflow from 5 years ago when I used Photoshop exclusively. Photoshop, a program whose roots are in Graphics Arts not large batch photo processing, is a better fit for working on a few images and image compositions.

    It will be interesting to see what the use profile looks like in another 3-5 years. I would expect to see Lightroom, Aperture, and Elements continuing to gain market share with Photoshop becoming more and more of a high end niche product for specific users and uses.

  • Marisa November 9, 2011 12:30 pm

    Dude. It's Gimp, not THE Gimp. Don't make it sound dirty. It's a fantastic tool for the price!

  • Chuck November 9, 2011 11:09 am

    A picture which has been "photoshopped" are losing their acceptance as being reputable by many organisations. apart from the pricetag. Light room together with elements are sufficient for my needs.

  • Rob Ellis November 9, 2011 10:48 am

    Well my workflow is basically batch process all my images in lightroom, making colour, exposure, sharpness, noise reduction adjustments and the like, set which images are the best with ratings from 1-5*'s, then individually process nearly all the 5*'s and some 4*'s and normally thats job well done :)
    I also use windows ICE for panoramas, which is probably one of the most underused and underrated free panorama tools out there, its awesome!
    Then photomatix for HDR's

  • Ajit November 9, 2011 10:45 am

    I'd always heard that lightroom is more of a photoorganizing tool than a post production tool. Does it have the same capabilities as photoshop? In what way is it better than photoshop?

  • Chromatic Dramatic November 9, 2011 10:41 am

    Shifting to Lightroom from Photoshop or just more people going straight to Lightroom?

  • Mark November 9, 2011 10:38 am

    I use Lightroom, Photoshop when I'm not at my Mac, but what about PhaseOne?