Tools of the Trade - a few of my favorite tools

Now that I've completely revamped my primary website ( and this blog, it's time to start posting again.  For this post I thought I would share the software tools I used most often for all of my image post-processing.  

Here's the breakdown in priority order...

1. Adobe Photoshop CC

This is the granddaddy of them all and my most often used "tool" and my favorite.  It's the most powerful and allows for the most creativity.  And, if it doesn't have something I need, I can always add plug-ins, fonts, create my own brushes and just about anything else.  Since I have a photography business on the side, I have no issue spending the $9.99 per month for the Photography package since it comes with Lightroom.

2. Adobe Lightroom

All of my post-processing starts in Lightroom.  This is where I first import all of my raw images straight out of the camera.  All of my images are cataloged and tagged in Lightroom so that I can easily find old images to make the perfect composite.  I have a combination of downloaded presets as well as my own custom set.  For most of my images this is all I need to get a great image ready for printing or posting on social media.  For more elaborate layering or retouching, this is where I jump into Photoshop.

3. YouTube, Pinterest, DeviantArt

Yes, YouTube.  I get a lot of inspiration from other artists channels and video tutorials on YouTube.  I use Pinterest to get ideas for upcoming photoshoots (you can click on my Pinterest link on my website to see some of my pinboards).  I also go to DeviantArt from time to time for added inspiration or user-provided backgrounds, brushes, etc.

4. KelbyOne

While I don't use this site as much, I do have a subscription and its loaded with great beginner to advanced videos and tutorials.  Everything from photography to Lightroom to Photoshop and even some inspirational series.  If you're just starting out or wanting to take your photography to the next level, this is a great place to start.

5. Nik Color Efex Pro 4 and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2

When I want my images to really pop in color or black and white, I'll jump into one of these plug-ins from Photoshop.  They make it easy to find that perfect tweak or creative edit and fully customize the effect.

6. Topaz Impression and Simplify

When I want my images to have a more artistic feel, I'll pop in to one of these two plug-ins and try out many of the more "painterly" effects. 

In future posts, I'll show examples from a few of the above categories.

Did I miss something that you find a key tool in your toolbox?  Post a comment as I'm always interested in looking into new ways of adding to the toolbox.

Thanks for tuning in!

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