iOS & Mac reviews Reviews

mac stuff for photographers

macphotography.jpgIf you’re a photographer and you use a Mac, chances are you’ve probably already heard of the vast majority of these, but it’s still a pretty good list so I really ought to link to it before I lose too many readers.

The Ultimate Mac Setup for Photographers is a nice collection of apps that you’re bound yo find handy when it comes to your digital workflow on your Mac. (and I nicked the image on the left from their site – credit where it’s due!)

There’s a couple of things I use that aren’t on there at all, surprisingly. First of all, in ‘Organizing and Editing’ (damn their American spellings!) they’ve tragically forgotten Photo Mechanic which to my mind is by far the best organisational tool for professional photographers. Of course, I’m biased because I don’t use Bridge, Aperture, Lightroom or iPhoto.

I’m not a fan of what iPhoto does to my filing system. I think Aperture does the same thing, I might be wrong. iPhoto’s default system is to take your photos off your memory card and store them where it wants to see them, in a folder within a folder within a folder within iPhoto’s own folder in your Pictures folder. Then if you make edits to the image it stores another copy and keeps the original untouched (good move). I don’t like this because it ties me into using iPhoto exclusively so that at least all my photos are in one place – but that’s iPhoto’s place, and if I want to use other apps, it becomes messy. Which one do I edit? Where do I save it?

And what if I have other shoots in different places but I want to start using them in iPhoto? It copies them from where they are to it’s own folder again, creating more duplicates. No, I vastly prefer to have complete control over my photos. I use iPhoto only for the occasional calendar or photobook from Apple, or to create albums of images to put on my iPhone. That’s it. I realise I can now set iPhoto to not move/copy photos to it’s own location, but that’s by the by as it’s simply a consumer tool – it might be great for you, but it’s not for me.

Photo Mechanic, which I use, doesn’t have any editing capabilities, focussing just on organisation and tagging. I ingest a whole shoot into my computer from a card using the app – it adds my IPTC info to each photo as it arrives. Then I can tag using stars (1-5) or colours; view or edit EXIF and IPTC metadata; preview full screen; move photos around the computer; batch rename; all the usual organisational stuff. It can show me previews of my RAW files almost instantly, rendering a preview JPG from the RAW data without any latent interpretation of the data by the app – the settings I shot at are what it shows me so I can make a judgement call. I can also export images to a web-gallery automatically, with a choice of several different packages – I use the SimpleViewer package almost exclusively as it’s so simple and classic. Finally, the colour or rating tags I apply can be set to be recognised by Nikon Capture NX2, my RAW developer of choice.

Which is the second big omission in my eyes. They list Lightroom, Capture One Pro and Aperture, but no Capture NX2. I know Lightroom, Capture and Aperture are the big boys with the big marketing bucks, but Capture NX2 is the only software that can do proper justice to a Nikon RAW file, in my opinion. It’s the only RAW converter I’ve used where the image I saw on the LCD is exactly what I get on the screen when I open the RAW file up. Other converters apply their own baseline values to the RAW files which necessitates setting up your own defaults that match what you thought you were shooting at the time. NX2 also gives you all the controls you’re used to on your Nikon camera, such as the Picture Control and Active D-Lighting settings. It’s also up to a useable speed on my aluminium iMac (the first of the new line of iMacs that came out a couple of years ago).

Other than that, it’s a great list with a lot of great apps in there. Have a look and see if there’s something you’re missing out on.

By myglasseye

I'm a Glasgow-born stills photographer and camera operator living and working in London, UK. As well as cameras I'm into writing, gaming, general geekery and beers by Brew Dog.

3 replies on “mac stuff for photographers”

It’s strange to see how many different blogs there are about this subject. It’s awesome to stumbled upon the one that provides a lot of valuable stuff if this ever comes up for me another time.

So my friend I am indeed curious about NX2 and its affect on RAW files in general. You mentioned that it is the “Only” tool that does justice to Nikon Raw files. What about Canon Raw Files? I am using “Camera Raw” currently to work with my Canon raw files but it is quite basic and of course part of photoshop. As a big mac user of course I have aperature but well I find it a pain in the arse to use and so I basically use it only to import my images and I select custom locations and folders etc. I never NEVER use IPHOTO as I don’t find it to be a professional tool.

I had lightroom for PC but never used it and don’t know whether it is a good option and worth getting it for make.

What other photo editing tools do you use?

Regards from Playa Del Carmen Mexico

Hi Jaime,

I’m a Nikon user so I kow literally nothing whatsoever about processing Canon files, I’m afraid. CaptureNX2 is made by Nikon and so it understands exactly what Nikon RAW files should look like in terms of the colour and shooting settings on the camera used to take the image. With other RAW processing software they have no idea what the image is supposed to look like and so they apply their own interpretation of RAW image settings, making it nigh on pointless making any colour settings on the camera in the first place. I prefer to know that what I see on the back of my camera is pretty much exactly what I’ll see when I open it at home, and so NX2 is my processor of choice.

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