There is no argument from me that Lightroom Classic is a terrific tool for editing and collating your photos, but I also love the fact that you can export from Lightroom into various other third-party plugins.
Outside of the obvious Photoshop, LuminarAI and Topaz, there are two plugins I use that are my very favorite for showing my creativity.
Nik Collection 4
The Nik Collection features several different programs within it, and there are three I use regularly. Its U-Point editing technology makes adjusting each preset, recipe and filter even more customizable, as it lets you edit from the point you choose.
The creative photo editing software designed by photographers, for photographers. The ideal solution for addressing every aspect of creative photography — from color and white-and-black photography to analog simulation.DxO
Silver Efex Pro
Silver Efex Pro is simply beautiful for converting any image into a black and white. But not only that — there are so many signature looks, film stock types, vintage and modern camera types, color filters and adjustments from brightness and contrast to adding dust, scratches and borders.
The control points can elevate the basic presets as far as you wish, to create your own unique look and save your own recipes for future use.
Analog Efex Pro
Analog Efex Pro offers a variety of vintage camera types, as well as custom settings. Think vintage analog camera looks and you will probably find it here. Analog Efex Pro’s Wet Plate, Multi-Lens, Double Exposure, Toy Camera and other presets can really elevate your image into another world.
Add to this the ability to dial in light leaks, corrosive elements, dust and scratches and so much more. There are even different film types which you can use, plus toning and so much more.
Nik Color Efex
A fully comprehensive range of color editing with filters, presets for color grading, retouching for stunning photographic and creative effects. Play with the amazing array of filters (which are fully adjustable), and add multiple filters to create your own unique looks. Plus, use and create recipes for your own personal creations.
I am using a slightly older version of Exposure, but I still love it to simulate film photography looks, especially if you are looking for Polaroid, Ilford, Pan and Kodak vintage film looks. There are black and white film looks too, but it is an entire editing software as well.
With Exposure, you can adjust brightness, contrast and the rest, but also add additional elements like light leaks, borders, dust and scratches. When I am looking for a particular film look without going overboard I often use Exposure.
There is a new version, Exposure 7, that’s about to hit the shelves. It looks very interesting with LUTs, automatic adjustments, non-destructive layers, portrait retouching and more.
Here the same image is given a slightly different treatment in each of the programs listed above.
I still use Photoshop and a range of Topaz Labs products, but for creative edits I just can’t get past Nik Collection and Exposure. They provide simply beautiful results, they’re easy to use and give so many creative options right at your fingertips.
Model: Nicola Paige; HMUA: Teighan Felton.