What are your favourite filters?

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Sea and cloud scape. Shot with an Olympus EM5 and processed using Nik Silver Efex
Sea and cloud scape. Shot with an Olympus EM5 and processed using Nik Silver Efex

I’m really interested in something and need your help. I love photography software and in particular filters and editing tools. I’m always on the lookout for new software that’s good and want to know what recommendations people have. Here are a few of the filters I already use in my workflow:

  • Nik Collection
  • Topaz (B&W Effects, Star Effects, Adjust, Detail)
  • On One Software Perfect Photo Suite
  • Photomatix (HDR)
  • Photo Wiz (B&W Styler, Contrast Master, Focal Blade)
  • Neat Image Noise Reduction
  • Qimage Ultimate (printing)
  • Akvis Magnifier (resizing)
  • Helicon Focus (image stacking)
  • Hugin (panoramic stitching)

Now I don’t want just names of filters and adjustment tools you have heard about, I want recommendations of tools you use and think are great. What do you recommend I look at?

24 thoughts on “What are your favourite filters?

    Wayne Fenton (@DukeSilas) said:
    June 4, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    I can recommend LRTimelapse (for the obvious function!). This works in conjunction with Lightroom for editing and creating time-lapse video up to 4k resolution. If you ever would like to try this they have a ‘free’ version that is limited but is still pretty good.

    I also use Hugin but sometimes use Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor). This can sometimes produce better results that Hugin and is easy to use.

    When I read the tweet for filters, I thought of something entirely different! I have a new 10-stop to try out 🙂

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      June 5, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      Thanks. I have never done any Timelapse work but have been thinking of giving it a try. I have also just downloaded the Microsoft ICE. I want’s aware of this and will take a good look as I love creating panoramics.

    Jeff Grant said:
    June 4, 2014 at 11:18 pm
      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      June 5, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      This guy seems to have some good tools available. I’m going to try some of these. Thanks for the link.

    Alison said:
    June 5, 2014 at 12:16 am

    I have had a bit of a fiddle with PhotoNinja, which is a RAW converter and photo processing app. It buckles onto Lightroom and Photoshop or can be used as a stand-alone. It delivers a very different “look” than ACR. I have yet to decide whether or not to actually buy, but it is a distinct possibility. (http://www.picturecode.com/index.php)

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      June 5, 2014 at 5:09 pm

      Thanks. I do actually use PhotoNinja as well as RAW Therapee. I tend to use them for Infrared photography or where I want to squeeze every last bit of detail from a RAW file. It’s a good tool but not all that intuitive.

    www.christopherfidoephotography.co.nz said:
    June 5, 2014 at 12:19 am

    Pretty Presets 🙂

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      June 5, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      Thanks. I tend not to like using lightroom presets but these look quite interesting. I have bookmarked and will return to them.

    pjs28jack said:
    June 5, 2014 at 5:29 am

    Unable to add to the list as you already have listed all that I use.

    David Aldridge said:
    June 5, 2014 at 6:44 am

    H Robin,
    I use Authentech’s “Perfectly Clear” filter in Photoshop most of the time.

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      June 5, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      Thanks David. I have tried Perfectly clear and whilst it does some great things it seems highly automated. I couldn’t find much that allowed me to take control. Have I missed somethng?

    mattephotography said:
    June 5, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Photoninja. Agreed.

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      June 5, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      It’s a great RAW converter. It seems to pull out more detail from RAW files than most others I have tried.

    Alan Craig Barnard said:
    June 5, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    After playing around with a variety of plugins and free-standing applications over the past couple of years, I’ve gone back to using primarily Lightroom (and occasionally Photoshop for stacking, stitching, etc.). I’m now getting cleaner, more consistent results. Of course, YMMV… 🙂

    Thanks for your excellent site!
    Alan

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      June 6, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      There is something to be said for a natural look and both Lightroom and Photoshop are great toos. They are at the heart of my workflow but I do find myself still turning to filters with almost all images. I think I probably need to become a bit more ambitious with my Lightroom work. Thanks for commenting and for saying you like the site.

    FoToEdge said:
    June 5, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    I use Snapseed for Desktop on 2 PC’s especially for Ambiance Adjustment and Structure and often Grunge, Vintage and Drama Effects. Since Google bought it, they stopped supporting the Desktop and have a more complete with HDR version APP for IOS and Android Platforms. I reduce my pictures and bring them into my Note 10.1 or my iPad and when done, I send them back to my laptop and Photoshop CC to do some Shadow and Highlight Adjustment, and then I re-enlarge them in Perfect Photo Suite 8.1’s “Resize” Module (formerly Genuine Fractals). I always rely on Alien Skin Exposure 5 for Film Simulations and Frames and Textures. Also I have found my RAD LAB plug in for Photoshop sometimes just perfect. I do not know how I could get where I want to go without these and most of your list of filters.

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      June 6, 2014 at 7:49 pm

      I didn’t know snapseed was ever available on the desktop, I thought is was only a mobile tool. RAD LAB is something new on me but they seem to have a few interesting products. It’s now on my investigate list. Thanks

    benrowef64 said:
    June 6, 2014 at 4:19 am

    I quite like Alien Skin Exposure, has a great collection of old film tones which are customizable, although with the presets in Lightroom I suppose the price point may put a strain on a decision.

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      June 6, 2014 at 7:45 pm

      Thanks. I have just been looking at the examples because I haven’t been on their site for a long time. The effects are very good. I will try out the free download when I have some time.

    Stephen Almond said:
    June 6, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Nik Collection
    Topaz (B&W Effects, Star Effects, Adjust, Detail)
    On One Software Perfect Photo Suite
    Photomatix (HDR)
    Photo Wiz (B&W Styler, Contrast Master, Focal Blade)
    Neat Image Noise Reduction
    Qimage Ultimate (printing)
    Akvis Magnifier (resizing)
    Helicon Focus (image stacking)
    Hugin (panoramic stitching)

    Wow! I thought your pictures were all jpegs, straight from the camera! 😉

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      June 7, 2014 at 7:08 am

      Of course they are 😉 I only use the filters to stop me getting bored of using a perfect camera.

    John. said:
    June 8, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    My collection is.
    Photoshop CC and Lightroom
    Capture One Pro
    DXO Pro
    Imagenomic noise reduction
    Perfect Resize 7
    Nik Collection
    Nikon Capture NX2
    I use Photoshop the most with Nik Filter’s. Recently I have been doing some tests to try and get the best image quality. My own personal view is that I get the best from a Neff raw file with Nikon Capture NX2 then opened up into Photoshop as a smart object.

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      June 8, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      Thanks for sharing you filter list. I have heard a few very good pros make similar comments about getting the best out of the nikon raw files. I must also look up the noise reduction software as its not one I am familiar with.

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