It would be hard to do much as a digital photographer without Photoshop. But you can do so much more when your PS is loaded up with plugins. Some are free, some cost the earth. Some are useful, some… well, less so. And some might not push your photography career too far forward, but they’re so much fun, we just couldn’t resist.
Here our favorite five plugins.
5. Filter Factory — A Bargain Basket Of Strange Tools
Filters are probably the most unreliable of PS plugins. There might be some you’ll find yourself coming back to time and time again, but there are plenty of others that will have you wondering what the creator was thinking when he made it. Fortunately, lots of filters floating around on the Web are free. You’ll just pay in time sorting the freaky from the fun and the helpful from the hopeless. Filter Factory is a good place to search.
4. Extensis Portfolio — Functional, Effective… and Fairly Expensive
Photoshop isn’t cheap and it would be nice to think that once your credit card has recovered, you’re done with the big software purchases. You will be… at least for a while. But once your image library has built up, once you start selling licenses and begin owning photos that are worth serious money, you’ll need to start organizing your assets. At around $200, Extensis’ Portfolio is pricey. But for the professional photographer, it’s an invaluable tool for storing and organizing your work.
3. Alien Skin’s Exposure — Bringing Back Film
Portfolio is useful; Exposure is fun. Alien Skin produces a whole bunch of different PS plugins, but this one is very cool. The ability to make your digital images look like different film stocks gives photos different moods… and for photographers who remember what life in the darkroom was like, a sense of nostalgia too.
2. AKVIS Sketch — Turn Your Pictures Into Drawings
It’s true, the only decent commercial use we could think of for AKVIS Sketch was creating images for computer games. If you’re doing that, we’re jealous and you probably have this plugin already. Otherwise, it’s just a huge amount of fun. Turn your images into pencil drawings, print them out and make your friends think you have talent.
1. Noiseware — Lower Your Image Noise, Raise Your Image Value
Tackling noise on photos isn’t fun, but when you’re selling pictures — and especially when you’re selling through microstock sites — it’s pretty essential. Imagenomic’s Noiseware does the job. It’s easy to use, it’s effective and it fills in the gaps.