What are some software post-processing apps that can help you now? I’ll list a few of the ones I find the most useful. Hopefully they can help you too!
DxO’s Perspective Efex is part of the fantastic Nik Collection. The collection includes very useful items like Detail, Super Contrast, Tonal Contrast, Viveza, and the gold standard of black and white conversion, Silver Efex Pro.
This program also allows you to correct geometric distortion easily. It does so either automatically or manually in an intuitive, powerful, and quick manner.
Furthermore, it has a very compelling tilt-shift miniaturization effect that I absolutely love. It is capable of producing a very shallow depth of field and beautiful bokeh. Read about Perspective Efex in more detail here.
Topaz Labs DeNoise AI
I cannot say enough nice things about this magical noise reduction software. Night photographers often have to contend with low-noise high-ISO images. Topaz Labs DeNoise AI tackles this admirably almost all of the time via machine learning. And it always seems to get even more capable with each new version.
DeNoise AI differentiates between noise and stars or other details well almost all the time. It also has sharpening features that keep details and sharpness intact. This is my go-to plugin for denoising. Read more about Topaz Labs DeNoise AI here.
You can choose Select Subject or Select Sky. These do exactly what you think they do, selecting the subject or sky for you. These are extremely quick and useful, saving you quite a bit of time. You may read more about using these selection features in Lightroom Classic here.
Lumenzia allow you to work with luminosity masks. This gives you selective control quickly and easily, customizing different areas of your image. You may do selective dodging and burning of particular tones or colors.
But you can do much more. You may sharpen, apply noise reduction, or many other things to specific parts of the photo. I sometimes target denoising the sky or shadow areas with Lumenzia.
The interface is easy. Greg Benz also provides a lot of free video tutorials, making it so anyone can use this. He also seems to issue quite a few updates that offer additional functionality while still keeping the interface simple. I use Lumenzia on almost every single photo.
I use Luminar Neo or sometimes Luminar 4, and, well, I am not sure how to explain why I love it so much. Luminar can add quite a bit of detail with this, and I like the way it handles color. The program also provides the ability to gently adjust skin tone, eyes, and such easily.
It has several other filters that I find useful. I like the Glow feature, where I can apply a slight Orton effect. The Mystical filter is also useful. This provides a dreamy look by softening luminescence while increasing the contrast and saturation while adding a slight glow. I use this very gently with some photos. I wrote about Luminar Neo, comparing it to LuminarAI.
Imagen, formerly known as ImagenAI, is another software that I will describe as magical. They describe themselves as “AI-powered batch photo editing desktop app for Adobe Lightroom Classic workflows” for both Mac and PC. And they’re not using “one size fits all” presets either, but true processing. And this is exactly what it is, quickly, efficiently, and easily. The quality is phenomenal.
And yes, you can tweak them more in Lightroom and beyond if you wish. But the results are already extremely professional looking. They saved me many hours of time when I photographed a high-profile event, editing 100 photos in five minutes. What’s more, the first 1,000 edits are free (1,500 free edits if you use this link).
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BOOKS AND PRINTS:
Head on over to the Ken Lee Photography website to purchase books or look at night photography and long exposure prints and more. My books are available there and Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, Booktopia, Books A Million, IBS, and Aladin. If you enjoy the book, please leave a nice review, thanks!
NIGHTAXIANS VIDEO YOUTUBE PODCAST:
Night photographers Tim Little, Mike Cooper and I all use Pentax gear. We discuss this, gear, adventures, light painting, lenses, night photography, creativity, and more in this ongoing YouTube podcast. Subscribe and watch to the Nightaxians today!
Behind the Shot video podcast – interview February 2020
A Photographer Captures Haunting Nighttime Images of Abandoned Buildings, Planes, and Cars in the American Southwest – Business Insider by Erin McDowell
A Photographer Explores Southern California’s Desert Ruins – Los Angeles Magazine article by Chris Nichols