Color me as one photographer wannabe who does not appreciate Adobe’s subscription software plan. Yes, I admit that I used and faithfully upgraded Adobe’s Creative Suite every few years. Why not more often? Hello? Money doesn’t grow on trees.
Even as a longtime Adobe customer I just couldn’t justify upgrading to every new Creative Suite package every year or so and would skip a version to save some money. Remember, I said ‘photographer wannabe’ so I didn’t need every new bell and every improved whistle. The new Adobe Creative Cloud subscription plan is worse. $50 a month. For life.
Even Adobe’s Photoshop and Lightroom bundle, seemingly a bargain at $10 a month… for life… starts to add up. $120 a year. $240 for two years. $360 for three years. You get the idea.
Since I used Photoshop mostly for photo enhancements I started to look around for alternatives. There are plenty. Here’s the real bargain suite of Mac apps for photographers and wannabes who can’t afford Adobe’s subscription nonsense. This package is called Creative Kit 2016, six Mac apps in a suite, or each available individually. Sorry for the gushing, but compared to the learning curve in Photoshop and Lightroom, and the ongoing pay-by-the-month forever price tag, this is bargain.
Intensify – This might be worth the price all by its lonesome. Just use the presets to add color, detail, and sharpness to photos.
Tonality – Think black and white, sepia tone, and all the tricks that strip color but add artistic tones to an image. Stunningly peasy with presets, layers, grain, and everything a monochrome artist needs.
Snapheal – This is a favorite and the app that got me started with MacPhun’s photo utilities. It erases unwanted objects from a photo and fills in the erased whole with matching background.
FX Photo Studio – This is the app that makes quick work of what could take hours in Photoshop. Think filters and effects. Over 200, all of which can be combined and adjusted with ease. Plenty of presets, too.
That’s four of the six apps in the Creative Kit package. The other two are Focus, which brings you pro lens effects without the lenses, and Noiseless, which removes digital noise from photos, a common problem among iPhone camera users who take shots in low light.
Overall, the entire package is a bargain when compared to Photoshop with the caveat that Adobe’s photographer package has a number of features– particularly with Lightroom– that are not addressed in Creative Kit.
Still, you get more than 400 one-click filters and presets, automatic noise recognition and repair, contrast controls, detail enhancements, and apps that have native support for all popular image and photo formats available for Mac users.
The only real issue with this suite is that it’s photo and photographer centric, while Photoshop has tools that are mainstream for graphic designers, too. Also, each of the Creative Kit apps work as standalone apps. There are plugins that can be used within other apps, though.
Also, I didn’t mention Aurora HDR, another standalone app, but not available in the Kit; this one is a recent purchase and I haven’t tried it out much yet. And, for the Mac bargain minded, there’s a package of Filters for Photos for free. The Kit’s whole is greater than the sum of the parts, but makes a good alternative to Photoshop’s ongoing monthly subscription plans.