Yes boys and girls – it’s that time of year when the kids at Adobe, ON1, Lumnar and others start to tease us photographers with “what’s next”.

Over the past couple of years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has improved in areas such as subject, person and background selection. Add in – Auto AI can quickly figure out the best basic adjustments to improve an image, adaptive presets that use AI to target subject/person/etc. with specific adjustments. You can bet your sweet bippy that AI will play even more of a part in “what’s new”.

Here’s what we know is coming in the next month or so.


Adobe MAX is set for October 10th through the 12th. That means all of the Creattive Cloud app’s – including Lightroom Classic and Photoshop will have updates released on October 10th. Adobe’s Sensei technology has helped making masking, selections, filling blank areas easier and more accurate. Enter Adobe Firefly – Adobe’s image and text effects generative AI.Adobe has already given a huge sneak peak with Generative AI in the latest Photoshop beta. Simply select the area, type what you want, and voila! You have Adobe’s idea of what you want.

But….what about Lightroom Classic? RumorHazIt that something related to bouquet…..or is that bokeh?…..might be coming. 😉. ‘course, this will all come into focus at Adobe MAX.

Capture One

Capture One Pro originally started out as the editing software for Phase One’s medium format digital backs. Capture One’ s strength is the color it produces, It’s geared more towards fashion and commercial photography. It does support plug-ins such as ON1 and others. Capture One hasn’t given any indications of utilizing AI the way Adobe, ON1 and other software developers have.


ON1 is already teasing ON1 Photo RAW MAX 2024 with features like an updated interface, “Intelligent Color and Tone”, recommended presets just to name a few. Beyond that – it appears that ON1 Photo RAW MAX 2024 will go back to being both a stand-alone program and plug-in all-in-one.

Luminar Neo

Skylum has finally settled in and committed to one product and continuously adding features and extensions to it. Skylum has teased that generate AI will be coming to Luminar Neo. This includes what they call GenErase (better removal of ‘stuff’ you don’t want), SceneExpand (add more sky or expand a landscapes), SceneSwap, StudioLight (lighting effects), Neon & Glow and Water Enhancer.

Exposure Software

Exposure Software hasn’t updated their flagship program – Exposure X7 – in almost two years (except for bug fixes and camera support) – which is highly unusual. If you haven’t heard of Exposure, their stand-alone and plug-in program that is based on numerous film stocks. It was originally designed in the early days of digital cameras to mimic the properties of film.

Random Thoughts

Over the past year, Adobe seemed to focus more on content creators and influences – especially with their Adobe Express. For photographers, Lightroom Classic and Photoshop remain the most used photo editing programs – mostly because of the available training, preset and plug-in support. That said, Adobe’s Achilles heel tends to be its size and sometimes refusal to quickly fix bugs….or take end users suggestions seriously (they kind of remind me of Microsoft). Earlier this year, Adobe released a dot update to Photoshop that created problems for Apple Silicon Mac users. In order to get the dot update to work, you and to install Rosetta 2 (which can cause system slowdowns and other issues).  In spite of numerous complaints on their forums, Adobe remained silent.

Just my personal view – the closest competition to Lightroom/Photoshop is ON1 Photo RAW. ON1’s RAW editing is almost as good an LrC/Photoshop…..almost….but not quite as good If ON1 Photo RAW MAX 20241s improved color and tone adjustments come close to what LrC does, ON1’s layered non-destructive workflow will have distinct advantages over LrC.

Lumiar Neo continues to be one of my favorite plugins – for either LrC/Photoshop or ON1 Photo RAW. It does stuff that no other plugin does.  

Even though Exposure X7 hasn’t been updated, it is still very usable as a plugin for those images that benefit from a filmic look.

If you’re looking at a new computer (laptop or desktop), follow the Grail Knight’s advice – “Choose Wisely” (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). “Adobe-proof” your purchase and get MORE than 16GB of RAM (I.e. 24GB or more). It’s no secret I think Apple’s Silicon based Macs do a better job at allocating resources, and that their laptop displays tend to be more color accurate. Don’t skimp on system or video RAM, processor capabilities, etc.

Got questions? Feel free to contact one of the Houston Photowalk leaders, including myself.

Charles Putnam
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