FREE EDITING SOFTWARE! And guys, get this… holy freaking crap, it’s actually good.
Okay, now before I put my foot to far into my mouth, the reason I use the word “actually” is because the internet is littered with free software to process raw images, but often times it will do only an adequate job or leave you with a gross watermark until you purchase. No me gusta.
In Google’s press release they say, “As we continue to focus our long-term investments in building incredible photo editing tools for mobile, including Google Photos and Snapseed, we’ve decided to make the Nik Collection desktop suite available for free, so that now anyone can use it.” And everyone should AT THE VERY LEAST try it.
So what does all this mean? How do I use this fancy new 100% free tool?
Step one: Download it. <– Super duper easy. There is even a button on the top right of the page that says, “Download now”
Step two: Install by double clicking Nik Collection
Step three: Open the image in lightroom, right click, and scroll to “Edit In” and there you go!
Step three and a half: if you don’t have lightroom you can still edit the image! You’ll just need to import it directly into the program.
Okay so important question you may be asking, “Oh my good lord, there are 7 choices of different applications to use! Why goodness gracious me oh my, where ever shall I start?” Well, you probably won’t be asking yourself with those exact words (who talks like that?) that but the question remains. What do these do?
I’ll show you!
Here’s the original image straight out of camera for comparison.
Analog Efex Pro 2
“Explore the look and feel of classic cameras, films, and lenses.”
Color Efex Pro 4
“A comprehensive set of filters for color correction, retouching, and creative effects.”
“Improve your images with noise reduction tailored to your camera.”
“Bring out hidden details consistently with the professional’s choice for image sharpening.”
Silver Efex Pro 2
“Master the art of black-and-white photography with darkroom-inspired controls.”
HDR Efex Pro 2
“From natural to artistic, explore the full potential of HDR photography.”
“Selectively adjust the color and tonality of your images without complicated masks or selections.”
Keep in mind, each of these programs has many different presets to pick from and I just slapped one on at random. Now go out there and experiment! Go nuts and share it with the world!
To see how a professional uses Nik Software, watch Renee Robyn utilize Color Efex Pro in her class Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography.