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Disclaimer: I've seen several similar questions here, but they all ask for a free / open source solutions. I don't mind paying for the software that would make my experience more enjoyable.

I'm an advanced amateur looking for a good piece of software to make the process of photo sorting / editing faster. What I need from the application:

  • Good browsing and cataloging capabilities
  • Fast to use basic editing tools (curves adjustment, straightening, center focus)
  • RAW denoising and development
  • Ideally, an option to quickly save current settings and apply them to another images
  • Available for OSX

I don't require for the software to be free nor cheap, though I'd prefer a standalone price, not monthly subscription. What I need is to make the sorting / editing process as pleasant as taking photos themselves.

So far I've listed four contenders:

  • Adobe Photoshop Elements
  • Adobe Lightroom
  • Corel AfterShot Pro
  • CyberLink PhotoDirector

What are the advantages / disadvantages of those? What other options could I consider? Which of them will allow me to browse through my photos and apply similar enhancements fast?

closed as primarily opinion-based by mattdm, inkista, John Cavan Apr 15 '15 at 22:49

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • I like that you've done some research and aren't just asking for an open question. I've sure you've seen the number that have been flagged as a result of that. – SailorCire Apr 12 '15 at 12:29
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    The answer is.... Lightroom! Why? Personal preference! Want more? Just download some trials, and give them a try for yourself. – dpollitt Apr 12 '15 at 12:50
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    You might have better luck with this over at softwarerecs.stackexchange.com – mattdm Apr 12 '15 at 14:51
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    @dpollitt I always call the free trial download of Lightroom the Adobe gateway drug. :D Problem will be when the OP enjoys it so much he wants Photoshop CC--but doesn't like the subscription model... – inkista Apr 12 '15 at 18:13
  • Highly personal I think. I'd suggest downloading the free trials and giving each a spin. – MikeW Apr 12 '15 at 19:57
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I use Capture One Pro from Phase One. Opinions differ on this versus Lightroom, but I find that overall Capture One works more like I do. Here's the rub. If you have experience with a different RAW converter, you will need to start unlearning that workflow. Fortunately, Phase One has great instructional videos online.

On the minus side for C1, using it as a digital asset manager is not as effective (in my experience) as using Lightroom for the same.

I feel the process of editing a shoot, which you marked as important, is very effective in C1. Searching a 50K+ image portfolio, not so much. They have a limited time full-featured demo version so you can see how well you mesh with their software.

G'Luck

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