Last week we featured a tutorial explaining a foolproof way to install, organize, and manage image-editing plugins so they work most efficiently for your specific needs. We’re following that up today with what one pro says are “the five best plugins for Lightroom and Photoshop.”
Some of these powerful add-ons are free, while other can be purchased at nominal cost, Instructor Michael Breitung is a freelance German landscape photographer who considers this handful of plugins essential and explains his picks like this: “I’ve been using most of them for years and they’ve become an integral part of my photo-editing workflow.”
So what are these gems that Breitung “can’t live without”? He begins with Web Sharpener, a free plugin he’s been using for several years. He says, “whenever I work on an image, at the end I want to prepare it for the web.” He regularly relies upon this freebie for sharpening and conversion to sSRG. Breitung explains how it works and, like for the other plugins he mentions, there’s a link beneath the video where you can read more and download the tool.
Next on the list is the Nik Collection, a complete set of plugin for accomplishing various important tasks. Breitung notes that this download also comes in a free version and can be confusing to install—so he walks you through the process of getting it set up properly. He also explains the various components that include everything from color adjustments, noise reduction, sharpening, and much more.
Another top pick is Lumenzia that you can purchase for $39, and free updates are part of the cost—giving you access to frequent new features as soon as they’re introduced. Breitung says he typically uses Lumenzia to make selections of various brightness levels in an image, and the workspace is well organized and intuitive to use.
Breitung also sings the praises of Helicon Focus, a plugin that automates the time-consuming focus-stacking process and provides retouching tools as well. He calls Helicon Focus “awesome software”—particularly for stacking woodland and complex landscape images. He adds that it delivers great results and enables fine-tuning your edits with ease.
Luminar Neo is the last item on the list, and it’s one we’ve discussed in the past. So we’ll let Breitung provide his take on why this is a great choice for elevating your post-processing skills. His bottom line is that, compared to the others, this one provides more power and very modern tools including AI.
After you’re done watching be sure to pay a visit to Breitung’s popular YouTube channel where there’s much more to learn. And don’t miss the tutorial we mentioned at the onset, so you’ll know what to do if you run into any installation or organizational issues.