Previously I spoke about giving up Adobe LightRoom, partly because it was vastly over complex (and overwhelming) for my needs, and partly due to the locked in yearly subscription plans I resented.
I tried to end it three months ago but they wanted something like four month’s subs to leave, so I tried their “special customer” offer of three months free, then bailed.
So now my LightRoom paid subscription is over, here’s what I’m using instead.
I mostly used LightRoom to give photographs made with digital cameras a little extra something I couldn’t do (or didn’t think I could do) in camera.
So I was shooting RAW, importing into LightRoom, applying a preset, then exporting again.
In terms of the final images, it worked well, and for my Pentax DSLRs especially it was giving me colour images I liked.
But my photography has evolved over the last six to eight months.
I haven’t used the DSLRs since maybe last October, when I bought a Ricoh GRD III. This camera was a complete gamechanger – more than excellent results (for my needs) with a fantastic user interface and in a pocket sized, superb handling package.
Another factor was reverting to black and white for the autumn, something the Ricoh was made for.
Currently I use the GRD, an older Ricoh GX100, a Pentax Q and my Sony Xperia smartphone.
With the Pentax I have now found a way to set up in camera to produce b/w images I really like. So there’s no need for LightRoom, or anything else anyway. It’s as close to irreversible photography as I’ve got.
With the Ricohs, I shoot in a b/w mode too (so I can see what it will look like on screen), upload the images of each shoot to my MacBook, which then uploads them to Google Photos automatically.
From there I use my Xperia with Snapseed to process any photos I want to keep, and delete the rest.
If I’m using my Xperia, this also automatically uploads to Google Photos, and again I use Snapseed on the phone to process.
With all of these cameras I just use JPEGs now too. RAW was an extra step/complexity I didn’t need.
I use the phone and not my MacBook for processing partly because I like Snapseed and have it set up so it gives me a look I want, and partly because every edited image automatically then uploads to Google Photos too.
After an initial editing of each batch of photos, I regularly revisit Google Photos, deleting any further images I don’t feel are good enough. And most days I download one or two I do like (post processed with the Xperia) back to my MacBook and upload them to Flickr.
I then use Flickr partly to display the photos in posts here on 35hunter.
In finding this new workflow, I’ve not thought twice about LightRoom, or indeed Hipstamatic which I was using previously on my old iPhone and my iPad.
In fact, though I bought the iPad last year as a potential replacement for my ageing MacBook, since restoring the latter, getting the Xperia phone and switching to Snapseed instead of the iOS only Hipstamatic, the iPad has become almost redundant.
I use the Xperia for processing, and the MacBook with its obviously much bigger screen for a final decision on photos before sharing on Flickr and here on 35hunter.
I also use the MacBook for writing blog posts, as although the iPad is just about usable, I find it so much easier using a proper physical keyboard and trackpad than the iPad.
And just things like multi finger gestures and keyboard shortcuts that I do so instinctively and without thinking on the MacBook aren’t possible on the iPad.
Something simple like highlighting a sentence and making it bold I find fiddly and tedious on the iPad. On the MacBook it’s three clicks to highlight, cmd-B to make bold, taking all of two seconds.
The apps on the iPad for things like WordPress and Flickr are frustrating in what they lack, so I end up just accessing everything through Chrome as I do on my MacBook. Again it’s so much quicker and easier with the latter.
I like that all I need on the MacBook is Chrome – all other stuff like WordPress, Flickr and Google Photos is through that. No need for multiple apps that don’t do enough anyway.
It’s a similar story using my wife’s ten year old HP notebook, recently reincarnated as a ChromeBook.
The only app I need is the Chromium browser. I still prefer the keyboard, trackpad and screen on my MacBook, but the HP is an easy second choice over the iPad, due to a decent enough screen, keyboard and trackpad. How I never thought I’d say that!
I don’t feel anything is lacking in this set up, so it’s what I’ll continue with for the foreseeable future.
Making photos with digital compacts, storing on Google Photos, processing with Snapseed on my Xperia, saving on my MacBook (plus Google Photos, plus a regular TimeMachine back up to an external HD).
Simple, efficient, and importantly, enjoyable.
What does your set up look like these days, and how happy are you with it?
We’d love to hear your thoughts and perspective below. (Remember to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
Thanks for looking. Please share this post with others you feel will enjoy it too. If you’re interested, this is what my photography life looks like right now.