Post processing

One of the advantages of digital photography is the ease of image manipulation. The standard tool that photographers have been using for ages is Adobe's Photoshop. It's a good tool. It was a good tool back in the 1990s when I was selling high-performance Windows NT 3.51 workstations to the prepress business in NYC.  But I never found Photoshop very intuitive. Worse, Adobe only rents their software, which is okay for a pro who edits hundreds of photos each month, but it's a little ridiculous value-wise for the amateur who might only edit a handful of images in the same period of time.

When I saw Serif present the Affinity Photo's beta program, I jumped into the beta. Affinity Photo is good. It's not simply good, but Photo is very good. Then when one considers that the program is available for a one-time license fee of only $50, it's an exceptionally good tool. The program does everything that I need and much more. 

Affinity Photo - develop mode
Affinity Photo - develop mode

This was a very nice photo as processed by Canon's Digic engine. But using Affinity Photo, I was able to improve the photo by adjusting the various exposure and enhancement settings. 

Nota: They show zero percent adjustments because I already saved the changes.

But Photo is more than fixing and enhancing image exposures. Here Photo is stitching together multiple images taken in the US Capitol building to create a single panoramic view.

Starting with these six images.

​​US Capitol - image #1​​US Capitol - image #2​​US Capitol - image #3​​US Capitol - image #4​​US Capitol - image #5​​US Capitol - image #6

Affinity photo creates this panorama. I still should apply a warp to get the tops of the columns to line up correctly. I did warp where it says "Library of Congress" but I left the rest alone to show how perspective distortion is corrected.

This is a great feature! Don't have a wide enough wide angle lens? That's not a problem because by taking several overlapping images, the full view can be captured. Even better, since it is multiple images, it's captured in exquisite detail. The original photos are 3648 × 5472 pixels, which are too big for the web. Therefore I compressed them and used smaller images for this demonstration.

The stitched together photos are each 853 × 1280 pixels. After processing them together into a single image, the image is 2756 x 1019; I cropped a little height from the completed image. If I used the originals from the EOS 6D, the final photo would have been 11,787 x 4,358 pixels, which is in excess of 50 megapixels. So even if I had a really wide angle lens, I wouldn't have had as many pixels to create as finely detailed an image.

US Capitol panorama
Panorama stitched together from the six photos shown above this one.

There's much more that can be done. I have not mentioned High Dynamic Range stacking or Focus stacking. Both are extremely useful techniques, which I hope to address soon. There are many capabilities in Affinity Photo that I have only barely addressed, but for $50 for a license, it's a great value that I recommend without reservations to all photographers.

See their website for more information.