From Travel Snap Shot to Wall Art

Arches National Park Arches National Park Stulaine Studios

SomedayTrips is now offering free photo critiques and photo processing for their readers to take those travel photos from nice to great.  Although we can't guarantee that we can improve upon a photo, we are always happy to take a look and put our years of experience to work for our readers.  Not sure what software you should use to process your photos?  In this article we share what we use and some reasons why.  You can see some examples of the before and after photos we have processed in the gallery below.

Ready to submit your photo for a free makeover?  Click here to learn about the submission process.

Best Travel Photo Software

Many have asked us what travel software do you use to process your photos?  The answer is not as simple as it might seem.  We have a lot of photo software packages that we have tried and used over the years.  There are also many plugins we use with our photo software to help us get certain looks.  In recent years the explosion of photos captured by mobile phones has also brought a lot of great software that you can use instantly on your phone.  

1.  Adobe Lightroom

This is a very popular product that helps you organize your vacation photos and get them to the point of looking better than they may have been from your phone or travel camera.  It is our main organizer of pictures and provides us most of the features we need. It also is sold with Adobe Photoshop as a subcription package that provides another level of photo improvement possibilites. There are numerous plugins available to both.  We can often get 50% of our photos to where we want just with this product.  If we didn't have other software it would probably be a higher percentage.

Positives:  Very popular and lots of videos and support materials to get you started. Relatively easy to use.  Has most of the features you need and camera lens profiles to correct for distortion, etc.  

Negatives: There are many that don't like the fact that this product is now a subscription-based model. Lacks a good library of point and click filters for fast processing.  Some available by third parties.

2. On One Software

We have used this product for about 4 years now for one main reason - it is really fast to apply some filters and improve a photo without a lot of sliders.  For those that are Lightroom and Photoshop users you can use these together.  This product is an important part of our workflow here at Stulaine Studios and SomedayTrips.  Once we process a photo in Lightroom, we then decide if filters out of the box or what we have created in On One would improve it.  We often jump into it and try it as it is fast and simple to apply filters and see what you can do.  This is very similar to what people experience using mobile app photo processing software today.

They have recently launched there new On One Photo Raw which is a ground up overall of the previous software.  It is very fast and has significant improvements in performance. The name RAW does imply that it is for those that shoot in Raw format but it is actually for all users.  This includes a new layers feature and non-destructive processing.

If you are not interested in a subcription model, this might be the product for you.  You can subscribe to get updates after the first year, but if you are an infrequent user, you will be hard pressed to find a better product at this price point for processing your photos without a subscription.

We could only use this product but we found that our workflow was going to require too much effort.  If we were not an Adobe Creative Suite user for other products, we might have made the effort.

Positives: Easy to apply filters for improving photos in one-click. Works with the folder structure on your computer. Full features with all the fine tuning enhancements available.  

Negatives: While they do provide a lot of supporting documentation, the lightroom community is much larger.  You can opt for the PLUS package for more features and coaching.

Our Top Travel Photography Plugins

1. Google Nik Software

This has been one of our favorite software plugins for photoshop and lightroom for years.  It provides a large suite of options and the best thing is it is now free.  You can read more about in in our previous article

2. Topaz Software

We have had this product for years and loved it for many reasons but primarily as an alternative to some of the Nik products when we were looking for a certain style.  Topaz Adjust, Black and White, ReMask, and Simplify were probably the most common we use. ReMask was extremely powerful for removing backgrounds to get creative with shots.  They have added others like Impression and Clean recently.  We bought the original suite years ago and use it when we know it can deliver the look we are looking for faster than with Lightroom or Photoshop.  However, we did find that once we started using On One Software we did not use it as often.  It is definitely worth taking a look, and they offer a  30-day trial so what do you have to lose.

3.  Snap Art

There are times that we look at a photo and want to have a painted look to it.  Snap Art to the rescue for making that look easy with many options to get you an artistic look.  There are also times when you have a great composition and some gorgeous colors but it was out of focus.  This is a great candidate for a Snap Art makeover.  Those looking for something with more features can use Photoshop or our favorite advanced painting program Corel Painter.