Photo processing with Photo Studio Ultimate 2018

Part of working on this blog is to share information. Here is some software that I suspect many of you would find really good. I started processing photos with Photo Studio Ultimate 2018 by ACD See last year. I was testing it out as a possible alternative to the Adobe programs, and their subscriptions.

It works in a similar way to Lightroom and Photoshop, but it is combined into one program.

Looking around

There are quite a few different components to the program and you use them for various things. You can view your photos, do minor adjustments or work with lots of layers. The choice is yours. At the end of this post there is a video that will take you on an tour.


Unlike Lightroom you don’t have to import your photos to this. As soon as you open it they are all there.  In Manage mode you can see your photos as thumbnails. You will see your folders and there is the ability to go through them to find images you want to work on.


This will give you a look at every photo on your computer. It is like a list and you can see them from the most recent to the first one that were put on there, if they are still there. If you are stuck finding a photo because you can’t remember what folder they are in, then you can search for them in Photo Mode.


In View you can do a little basic processing, but not a lot. The advantage of this mode is that you get to see a bigger image so you can see if it is the one you want to work on.


This is similar to Lightroom. You can do quite a bit to your images in Develop Mode. You are working on one layer. You can’t add extra layers in this mode.


Edit mode is where the fun starts. If you ask me, the best mode. You can add layers, combine images and do just anything you want to your image here. In many ways it is like Photoshop.

It doesn’t work the same way, and you do have to think a little differently, but generally you can do nearly everything that you can in Photoshop. I only found one thing that didn’t work.

One aspect that is disappointing is the feathering. It doesn’t do it enough. I found doing the same thing a few times and changing the area each time helped to overcome that. As I said, there are always ways around, you just need to think outside the box.

Overall impression

It is probably one of the best programs available. If you don’t want to do the subscription that Adobe now require, then this is a good way to go. You won’t get Photoshop and Lightroom, but for the most part you won’t notice.

Buying it

I do have an affiliation with ACD Systems, so if you purchase it I will get a bit of a kickback. It isn’t a lot, but every bit helps right? This doesn’t affect the price to you. If you want to buy it, please use this link.

Photo Studio Ultimate 2018

I will add the link on other places too.

Here is a video that I did when I was attempting to do the editing group. So you might need to ignore some of the information in it. It should let you see around the program and the various modes. I may do some editing in it at some stage as well. Show you how it works.

Please note: I am not going to recommend anything just to get money. So if I do tell you about something it will always be because I like it. If I don’t like something it will not be mentioned on this blog.

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    1. Hi Mary, I do love processing my images, but I don’t use presets, I prefer to work without them, but thank you for thinking of me.

  1. Leanne – I am so glad you did a post on an alternative to Lightroom and Photoshop; I can’t afford their subscription, and hate being locked in permanently if I want to be able to access and work on my images. I checked out the link you posted – and perhaps you could clarify: What are the differences between Photo Studio Ultimate 2018 (US$ 89.95), Photo Studio Professional 2018 (US$ 64.95) and Photo Studio Standard 2018 (US$ 39.95), apart from the cost?

    1. I don’t think you are alone Reggie. I don’t actually know what they are, but I suspect the one I told you about is the latest version and has all the bells and whistles and is the one I would recommend.

    2. Hi Leanne – I did some digging on the site and found this product comparison of the different versions, which may make it clearer: Ultimate, as you say, has all the bells and whistles and is probably the closest to a combination of Photoshop and Lightroom. Professional seems to differ primarily in that you can’t work with layers. And Standard is the most watered-down version.

  2. Perfect timing for the post Leanne 😉 (I just decided to replace Adobe with some other photo editing program mainly because of the subscription arm twisting – I got a new camera which is not supported by my old version of LR and they leave me no other possibility but a subscription). Were you able to import your LR catalogue into this program? Or is your past work ‘gone’? (saved with edits as jpeg). Is there a possibility to save presets once you edit at your liking? Is there image tagging possibility and filtering with key words (that is very important to me)? Are all the edits actual or virtual? I presume it offers RAW processing? Thanks.

    1. That’s good news Klara. Every step you go in this software it tells you to save your image. so it is, you don’t have to export them to save what you have done. I believe there is the possibility of tagging images, but I would need to check. The edits are actual. Yes, you can process your RAW images. I will see if I can try some of these and do a video Klara, Marilyn would like to see some things as well, so maybe I can get all the questions together and see.

  3. I downloaded the trial version but it has the same problem I have with Topaz Studio: the complexity of doing simple things. There are a few things I do to pretty much every photo I take. Leveling. Cropping. Resizing. I need these to be very easy to do. I don’t mine fiddling with the filters or patiently redesigning a filter, but I really don’t want to spend the time to spend half and hour reshaping a picture when all I want to do it level it. Why do they make it so complicated? I don’t understand. Aren’t these routine adjustments that pretty much everyone makes? But I will give it more of a try. I know that the app will use external filters, but I haven’t figured out how yet. Thanks for the tip!

    1. It isn’t that hard when you know how it works Marilyn, give me a few days and I will see if I can do a video on those things for you Marilyn, would that work for you?

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