Choosing Software, A Personal Choice

By Katelyn Umholtz

Picking software for photo and video editing can be a lot like picking camera equipment. Everyone has a different preference, and each software has something a little different from the rest, making it difficult to decide which is right for the workflow part of the job.

In some news organizations, there are preferences over which software is used. For those on their own and have a tougher choice to make, it’s all about finding the perfect fit.

What the pros are saying

Craig Hartley, a freelance photojournalist in Houston, Texas, uses Photo Mechanic and Photoshop. He said Photo Mechanic is best when you need to organize a lot of photos in a short amount of time. It’s where he does his captioning and photo selection.

“[Photo Mechanic is] especially handy when you’re shooting sports assignments and when you’re really on a tight deadline,” Hartley said. “Once you go back and figure out which pictures you’re interested in, you can tag them and narrow them down even further.”

Ever since he was a photo editor back in college, Matt Weigand, intern photographer for the Ann Arbor News, has preferred using the combination of Photo Mechanic and Lightroom. While he uses Photo Mechanic for sorting and captioning, he chooses Lightroom over Photoshop for edits because of its convenience.

“I like that I can have specific import settings in Light Room that are tailored to exactly what I want,” Weigand said. “If it’s a lot of photos with the exact same lighting, I like that I’m able to copy and paste and quickly tweak each photo just to make the workflow that much faster.”

Though Amanda Voisard, a freelance visual journalist in Washington, D.C., does her video editing in Premiere, she has an alternative preference when it comes to video compression. With Pavtube, video compression comes quick and easy. Voisard said she doesn’t know too many people that use it, but it was something that she caught onto after a co-worker introduced it to her. “If I’m going to compress quickly, I use Pavtube,” Voisard said. “It’s an unusual one, but a boss at one of my former positions found it because it compressed files very quickly. It could compress four at a time rather than waiting for individual compression.”

With deadlines always an issue, Nick Serrata, a freelance photographer for the Batavia Daily News and Livingston County News, said iMovie comes fast and easy to him when editing videos. Though the free OS-user application may not be an industry standard, Serrata said he can shorten clips, tweak audio and add title slides just as one would be able to in Premiere, but at a much quicker pace. “Believe it or not, I pretty much use iMovie,” Serrata said. “I have external mics and things like that to make sure the audio is good, but I use iMovie because it’s quick and easy. You just get right to the point and then export it.”