Lets find out what plugins the community is using to enhance their photo's and why that plugin matters to them.

It would be great to get a list of the most readily used plugins so please comment by adding the following:

  • What is your favourite plugin for digital photography?
  • What are its strengths & weaknesses?
  • How does it fit into your workflow?
  • What application is it designed to work in?

Please make all posts community wiki to allow updates and editing as required.

Current List (Alphabetical Order)

  • Needs to be CW but cannot enable that myself. Hope an OP can do that on my behalf? – Wayne Nov 20 '10 at 5:21
  • 1
    Plugins to a specific software or any? – t3mujin Nov 27 '10 at 16:46
  • @t3mujin - I was thinking this could be for any software and any platform. Just to get a list of what the community uses and why they use it – Wayne Nov 28 '10 at 0:47
  • This question does not appear to be about photography within the scope defined in the help center. – TFuto Feb 17 '15 at 15:27
  • Interesting, I posed this question 4 years ago and it's only being marked as off topic in 2015? – Wayne Feb 21 '15 at 20:32

I've become hooked on the Topaz Labs collection over the last little while. The two biggest I've put to substantial use are:

Topaz DeNoise

Strengths are that it's an excellent noise reduction package, especially if you follow their instructions in their tutorial videos. There are a number of reviews for this utility out there, so a quick Google search will easily find them. The Luminous Landscape folks did a review on the previous version that convinced me to try it. I tried it and I stopped using Noise Ninja (which is also excellent).

I got to admit, I'm not finding a huge amount of weakness in it. It does precisely what it claims to do and it does it very well, hard to beat, though it doesn't have the brush feature of Noise Ninja for undoing noise reduction in spots. I'm using it a little less now, and lot lighter when I do, since I moved the Pentax K-5, but I'm still using it. Here's the outcome of an ISO 20000 (not a typo) shot of mine:

ISO 20000

Visit my website (linked in my profile) to get a larger version of that if you want. Still shrunk for the web, but about twice the size.

In terms of software, it's a Photoshop plugin and covers from PS7 and up, 32 and 64 bit. It is compatible with other software that supports the Adobe plugin model.

Topaz Detail

The plugin is primarily designed around bringing out image detail, but it does a whole bunch of stuff that I generally end up using it for more artistic outcomes.

Strengths would be in the control, it ships with some nifty presets, but then you can tweak and fiddle with the outcome as much as you like. Weaknesses, well, again not a huge amount since it does what it claims to do. Basically, same requirements and limitations as Denoise.

I just bought Topaz InFocus (today) and so I haven't had it long enough to make comments. Preliminary reviews and some sample I saw convinced me to give a go and as they're offering an introductory price of $29.99 right now and really like the other two plugins, I figured what the heck.

  • @john - When I was deciding which plugin would be my first, my searches led me to the crossroads of Topaz or Nik Software or OnOne. Good reviews for this plugin as well. Maybe my next purchase when I have some budget – Wayne Nov 21 '10 at 1:18
  • @John, What a lovely image. – labnut Dec 15 '10 at 10:01
  • Downloaded and got trial keys after seeing this -- you cost me money, you $#^@!! (The trial, by the way, is 30 days of feature-complete, no-restrictions use if anybody wants to check these out.) InFocus is great, as is DeNoise. I'm still coming to grips with ReMask, but it seems to be better at some things than my old standby (Knockout). I'm not nearly so keen on Detail, but it does do a couple of things well enough to justify installing it as part of the bundle (at essentially no cost). – user2719 Dec 19 '10 at 16:02
  • @Stan - LOL, well it's not the first time this image has resulted in somebody spending money. It was cited by "The Online Photographer" as a reason for buying the K-5. So, you got off easy! ;) – John Cavan Dec 19 '10 at 16:24
  • Marking as excepted answer at it's the highest count that is not my own comment – Wayne Jan 12 '11 at 9:05
  • Plugin: Nik Software Complete Bundle
  • Applications: Lightroom / Photoshop (I purchased Lightroom version)
  • Workflow: Allows complete integration into my workflow as covers noise reduction, colour enhancement, effects, b&w conversion and HDR processing
  • Strengths: It receives lots of praise from a lot of photographers in the commercial and prosumer world
  • Weaknesses: Does not integrate into Lightroom like you would expect when using DNG/RAW processing as creates a new TIF file

The bundle is a fantastic one-stop-shop for most of your digital photo requirements. If you have the money to spend, the photoshop version may allow better integration into your workflow for non-destructive editing.


My fav used to be Noise Ninja, but the new noise reduction engine in LR3 rendered it obsolete.


I'm a Bibble Pro user and I installed a handful of plugins, but there are three that I use recurrently:

  • GradFilter - similar to the Gradient filter of Lightroom, very useful to correct lighting in some photos
  • zPerspector - perspective correction (a huge flaw of Bibble of not having this by default)
  • Black and White - simple but very configurable B&W convertion

PS - Also use NoiseNinja a lot, but it comes bundled with Bibble


Probably the best noise reduction software I've used is NeatImage. This may or may not be a plugin, I used the standalone version but there are plugins for PS and Aperture. Nowadays I have less need of this kind of software, but this one is top quality: it uses noise profiles, specific each camera, that you can create or download from the site


In Gimp my favourite plugins are Ufraw and wavelet denoise. I have written (and published) my own plugin to do batch processing of raw images and this is certainly the plugin I use the most.


Even with pixel counts climbing to the skies, I still find a use for onOne Genuine Fractals Print Pro. It'll give you great enlargements -- a lot better than any of the native photo editor resize options I've used.


For GIMP there is Resynthesizer which basically does the same thing as Photoshop's content-aware fill. Only for free :-)


I use Wow! Tonal Equalizer.

It is like an Equalizer to different scales (Frequency Separation) of details in the image.
Something similar to Wavelet Decompose to those who know it.

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