I’ve been relying on plugins to expedite my workflow since the first digital photograph that I took a long time ago. Back then, we called them “actions” and they were really things that we created to automate processes in Photoshop. The thing about actions is that they are really only as good as the author and so in my case that meant primitive to say the least! Now days there are a number of companies, yes entire companies of people writing very sophisticated “actions” that you can use to make your images even more amazing.

One of my favorite companies is Topaz Labs. Actually, they are really my very favorite at the moment and there are a couple of reasons for that. First, they can be used by almost everyone whether on a Mac or gasp a PC and they are available for use with almost any software editing program. Finally they are also very affordable…$29-$79 or $300 for the whole enchilada. You won’t find enchilada on the download page, they call it a bundle as in saving a bundle to get them all!

If you’ve not noticed it yet, my style can be called irreverent and please don’t confuse that with irrelevant, they are different. It is really a defense mechanism because I get so bored reading manuals that I try to write mine in a way that would keep my brain from wandering. I hope that it keeps you engaged if for no other reason than to see what I might say next. I teach my photography workshops the same way so caveat emptor or some other such fancy phrase.

This is the first in a series of a blog posts that will introduce you to the filters collection and provide some tips about how they can help you edit your images and improve your digital darkroom workflow.

Plug-in Basic Stuff

What the heck is a plugin and why do I need one?

The easiest answer to this is that plugins are tools that you can use within your editing software (Adobe Photoshop, Apple iPhoto) that can dramatically speed up your workflow and frankly manipulate your images in a way that you can’t! OK, if your name is Thomas Knoll, you can probably do this stuff without a plugin…the rest of us need the help.

Manipulate my Images?

You can improve their appearance, change their appearance, create a new appearance, and change their focus as well as other more mundane things like removing noise and sharpening.  The brilliance is that it is click simple to do it all!

AHHH, OK, but I am not very good with the computer stuff.

If you know how to click your mouse you can use these plugins. All you need is a modest computer and a host-editing program.

I’ve seen knife demos on TV and when I get them, I can never make them cut like TV guy did. Do you promise this works?

I don’t have to promise because you can download 30 day fully functioning trials from Topaz Labs. No credit cards, no commitment, no awful watermarks. The demo will die in 30 days so you’ll need to pay to save it…really you don’t want to kill software so, send in your money.

Also as gesture of my thanks for you reading my stories and looking at my images and such, I’m going to give you 15% off of your purchase at Topaz labs. Well technically Topaz is giving it to you on my behalf. All you have to do is use code Jeff15 and you will save 15% on your purchase.

What are you waiting for, head on over to the download page at Topaz Labs…HERE.

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I’d love to see your work with the filters, leave a link in the comments and I’ll be sure to check it out!

Questions, Comments, Concerns? Leave a comment, I answer them all!