In search of Compact Photo Editing Software.

So for years now, I’ve done most of my photo editing via Adobe Photoshop which I simply adore. It has all the functionality I want and supports RAW formats. These days most of this happens on my desktop computer at home and recently I have started moving non-essential files off my powerbook and onto the desktop. With only 40 gigs of hard drive space on the powerbook, space is limited. So basically, I’m planning on removing my Creative Suites installation from the Powerbook.

The question which remains is what can I use on my Mac Powerbook to do some basic photo editing, supports RAW formats and won’t take up a lot of room on my hard drive?

Bonus points if it’s free or inexpensive. And I’m hoping to find a solution before the end of next week, so I can have it loaded on the Powerbook for my trip to SXSW in Austin.


  1. Silly me totally forgot about a simple app called iPhoto. DOH. Still open to other suggestions.

  2. Well…. iPhoto can manage RAW formats, at least the 08 (?) version can, although your editing options are a bit limited. Not sure about your specs but you could download a trial version of Aperture 2 (which is really great) it’s a full version for 30 days, so if you time it right there will be no trouble using great software at $0.

    If you are looking for more of a photoshop experience and will be online you could try they have an application at the moment called Phoenix which is an online photo editing / manipulation application in the style of photo shop.

    It’s in Beta at the moment but I got an invite the other day so if you would like to try a.viary just drop me a line or send me a nudge in twitter and I’ll send you an invite.

    All the best,

  3. Not free but have you tried Adobe Lightroom? Also has Free 30 day trial ;)

  4. Martin Kuplens-Ewart says:

    Alternatively… have you considered replacing your hard drive?

  5. Too bad you don’t have a PC… I can give you a copy of Lightroom to play with.

  6. It’s a 5 year old mac powerbook. I have no intentions of replacing the hard drive at this point in time… This is simply my travel computer. So I don’t need a lot of frills.

    Since I shoot RAW + JPG, being able to edit RAW isn’t that important. I just want to be able to include the odd photo to a blog post while I’m in Austin.

    I guess people don’t use anything barebones anymore.

    I do have an a.viary account now, but have yet to try it out.

    I don’t even want to get started on the whole aperature/lightroom debate.

  7. Adobe Lightroom just great, you should give it a try. :)

  8. I have got some great use out of Acorn and I’m just starting to figure out Pixelmator.
    Acorn: Review:

    I have them both. I use Acorn the most b/c is it simple. I’m getting more used to Pixelmator and I think it has many more capabilities w. a steeper learning curve.

  9. Unsharpmasque says:

    It depends on what you mean by “edit.” I think that DP professional (free from Canon) does a good job of very basic WB adjustment and color correction. It even does a decent job sharpening. Ditto to the iPhoto (latest version). I recently shot a bunch of portraits for a school function that needed fast turn around. I lightly corrected and even retouched in iPhoto and was pretty happy with the result.

    Ditto as well to pixelmator– I haven’t messed with it enough, but it seems to have potential.

    Also, what about photoshop elements? It is smaller and does most of what photoshop does and it is less than $100. You can even use most of your plug-ins if you have them. Problem- new version coming out in a few weeks!

    Good luck.

  10. You should definitely give GIMP a try –
    It has similar functionality to Photoshop but it’s free :)
    I recently installed it on my Mac and am having a lot of fun with it. It’s a bit tricky to set up and I and found this post very helpful:
    GIMP doesn’t have that fabulous “Mac” feel but you’ll find it’s a great editor and you do do more with your photos that you can with iPhoto.