Adobe Lightroom 3.0 is key to all my work. To be honest, I’d attribute my re-ignited interest in photography to Lightroom. Lightroom allows me to catalogue and manage all of my images – without it I’d still be fighting my frustration copying and losing files.
While Lightroom is key to my workflow, I perform all my pixel retouching using Photoshop CS5. The retail version is supplied as either Mac or Windows, but the volume licensed version available from the Adobe business store is supplied with dual keys.
Other than Lightroom (which I couldn’t live without), Imagenomic Portraiture has been my most beneficial software investment. There are lots of alternative techniques and tools to improve skin, but Portraiture just hits the mark for me. Generally, I like skin to look like skin (that’s not saying that processed porcelain skin can’t look stunning in the right image) and Portraiture just makes that easy for me (generally with close to default/minimal settings).
Adding presets to Lightroom (or Adobe Camera Raw or Aperture) can be a good way to style images. Of course, applying a preset doesn’t make a bad image good. Consistency (at least within a set of images) is a great strength – different styles just jar and give the appearance of lack of confidence in the choice of treatment (been there, done that).
Dropbox is a great application to share files – they give you 2GB for free (with bonuses for referrals and of course you can buy extra space). I use it to share image files to clients and my Lightroom configuration (presets, etc.) between my laptop and desktop machines. Even if you don’t need to share files with other people or between machines, it’s great way to maintain a backup copy of your most important documents.
Backups are critical – losing all your images to a disk failure just isn’t acceptable. I’m using Crashplan+ as my offsite backup solution. Other than price, Crashplan+ met my criteria of supporting Mac, Windows, Linux and Solaris systems.