I’ve had a lot of people email and ask different questions about editing, processing, stylizing, and photography techniques, so instead of responding to individual emails I thought I would start a new section of the blog devoted to answering some of those questions so that everyone benefits! So from time to time you’ll see posts titled “Tips & Tricks” with all the wisdom of a Jedi Master (which I must honestly say I most likely learned from close friends and other “yoda” type photography mentors. So thank you to you guys in advance, I’m just sharing the love).
That being said, I wanted to share an invaluable program with all of our photographer readers. The question about which programs to use, and how to use them in a work-flow is always being passed around, so let me start with this; a good image “selection” or “cutting” program is a must regardless of your work-flow. Some people use Adobe’s CS2 or CS3 Bridge, or the selection software built into Lightroom. These are all great, and their inherent benefit is that you’re not using multiple programs, so you can organize and centralize a work flow pretty easily, however it seems that their biggest drawback is their speed. They are heavy, multi task programs that don’t really perform when it comes to viewing and moving through thousands of images quickly. Bridge does considerably better on the new Intel based computers, but it still doesn’t hold a candle to the speed of a program called Photo Mechanic from Camerabits, and this is where the benefit comes from adding it into your work-flow. For a long time I heard a lot about iView Media Pro, and its strength for cataloging and speed, however after finding Photo Mechanic, I quickly left iView for other projects (iView is a very strong program, I just use it differently now).
Now, let me say this; Photo Mechanic is not meant to replace image production software such as Bridge or Lightroom, but rather to supplement it, and here’s how. You let Photo Mechanic deal with the bulk of the work up front in Raw speed, and then leave the final selections for the production software to handle in all their organizational skill and work-flow prowess. For example: You drop a wedding with 4000 images (which you use Photo Mechanic to ingest) and you quickly browse through tagging the images to keep, narrowing down the selection to your final set of, let’s say 1000. These are the images that you will then bring into your normal work-flow software. Now you’re using your normal production software that it is not bogged down by image quantity, and you’re simply starting production on images that are already intended to be in the catalog.
The reason Photo Mechanic is so much faster is that it uses the small thumbnails already attached to RAW files to give you previews, so it doesn’t actually have to render a RAW image in order for you to view it. This shaves off some serious time when you’re skimming through images quickly.
Visit the Photo Mechanic website to download a demo and see if it might fit into your work-flow. I promise you, as of right now, you won’t find a faster program out there!
Have comments or thoughts… let’s hear them!