While Lightroom is my application of choice for cataloguing and post-processing, I would prefer to have something more simple to use, like Photos on the iPad. It, unfortunately, falls short in some fairly basic ways, but it at least is intuitive to a large extent, which all other software, to my way of thinking, isn’t.
I’ve learned everything I need to know about the photographic process – from studying M J Langford’s Basic Photography in the 1970s, through a Diploma in Graphic Repro when my career changed direction in the 1980s, to working extensively in the print trade as a scanner operator and in desktop publishing, since.
The photographic process is not a mystery: the mystery to me is why, in 2017, image processing applications are so awkward at implementing centuries-old principles. To me, it seems the developers aren’t able to tie photographic expertise into the process of writing the software. It’s as if the right people haven’t been consulted. (Maybe they don’t even exist anymore. From the nonsense that you read on some of the internet blogs and forums, it sometimes seems so. Every newbie in the world seems to want to dish out ‘advice’, confusing matters even further with their lack of basic knowledge.)
In Lightroom, for instance, a histogram has been incorporated into the Curves pane, but it’s so small and indistinct that, particularly in the individual RGB channels, it’s almost impossible to set the end densities. Why is it not possible to set the end densities by keying in the values or even just with a single click? It was the first thing I did when scanning a transparency with a Crosfield scanner when I worked in the trade 20 years ago – and nothing could have been more straightforward.
As far as simplifying software is concerned, Apple Photos is going in the right direction and, with the platform now open for the development of extensions, perhaps the likes of Gentlemen Coders, with their sublime RAW Power app, can take it forward in ways that Apple perhaps can’t.