In photography, when it comes to RAW processing and digital asset management, can one software application do it all? How much overhead is acceptable? Pros are finding that choosing best of breed applications over those that tout a we-do-it-all message can ultimately be most effective. Not to mention rewarding.
“It all comes down to a matter of choice,” said Drew Gardner, British fashion photographer who was recently nominated for the AOP awards, and whose work for the BBC primetime series Roman’s Empire has drawn critical attention.
We’re all looking for speed and quality. So of course you’re always hearing that applications have breakthrough speed and quality. But how do you analyse statements like that? It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of new tools and attractive promises, but every choice is going to lead you down a different path, and it’s going to take a certain amount of investment of your time, materials, and money.
“Another cliché you hear from marketing is that professional photographers would rather be working behind their cameras than on their computers,” Gardner said. “No duh. But again, you can’t just take these statements at face value.”
Top pro photographers are choosing to customize their workflow in a manner that best suits their work style and requirements. Just as there are no two photographers who shoot alike, so there appears to be no one-size-fits-all software solution. Photographers instead prefer to choose what works for them.
“In my experience, the all-in-one solution does not provide the in-depth toolset and breadth of features that a professional needs and that I’ve found by using the best available tools for a given job,” Gardner said. “It’s no different from choosing cameras or lenses; I’m not going to compromise on quality.”
Gardner’s choice for his digital workflow includes RAW capture and processing tool Capture One PRO, from Phase One, and MediaPro, the digital asset management software created by iView Multimedia.
“I load my RAW files directly into Capture One PRO and use the colour management system which is second to none. It’s not just the exceptional image quality/resolution, but unmatched accuracy of colours and the control you have over colours that I love about this application. Then for quickly viewing, selecting and managing volumes of photos on site, on a plane or in the studio, MediaPro is the fastest application I’ve ever used. It just does not require the overhead of other applications and for me this is critical.”
“In fact, both applications have very small footprints and take up a minimum of disk space so that they blaze through the work,” Gardner said, “Now that iView MediaPro is part of Microsoft, it’s changing its name to Expression Media. And if you download Microsoft Expression Media today at www.microsoft.com/expression , what is clear is that it’s still the same application. Still sleek, fast and smart, no additional overhead that can slow down other applications.”