Google Nik Collection Software is Now Free, What is the Long Term Impact?

April 06, 2016  •  2 Comments

11-19-14_Jeffco-Tree-Winter15 3211-19-14_Jeffco-Tree-Winter15 32 I will cut right to the chase; I don't see any measurable long-term impact to photographers of any medium regarding Google making their Nik Collection software free. For photographers that choose to work in a digital workflow, Nik will be replaced by more free software.  Now, I will share more of my biased thoughts as a traditional darkroom photographer.  If you are a reader of my blog, then you already know that I am going to take that view.  

Google recently announced their photo editing software, Nik Collection, is now free and available to anyone that wants it.  After I had thought about that a little while, I decided that I wanted to share some of my thoughts with my readers.  

UPDATE: 2017, as with many other "Google Projects" they abandoned the Nik Collection and I have to say I am not surprised.  They have a long track record of abandoning projects.  At this time DXO is working on updating the software and turning it back into a fee-based commercial software.  

First, Google has a long history of acquiring software and then abandoning it. This appears to be what is happening with the Nik Collection.  There has not been any real updates in a long while and then Google, a profit-seeking company makes the software "free".  Red flags go up in my mind when I connect both of these pieces of information.  This smells like abandonment to me, but maybe I am wrong.  

Either way, I don't care, and it reinforces my commitment to classic analog darkroom photography.  I don't want or need software to imitate what I do in the darkroom.  I make prints, real prints that you can touch and enjoy without needing a computer or technology device to view them.  I don't need a computer, a phone, a tablet or the latest gadget to enjoy and experience my photos.  Just a quite place to sit and enjoy them is all I need.  The concept of experiencing photographs is quickly fleeting. 

I worry that people are no longer "experiencing" photographs in the new digitized world.  The world of social media is a visual avalanche 24 hours per day, and I think it is desensitizing people's ability to experience meaningful photos.  Scroll, swipe, and keep moving.  

As time passes, photography continues to be redefined and evolve.  I don't have to accept or acknowledge the changes and that makes me happy. I can be a cranky old man that makes his own emulsion and contact prints with my large format negatives.  I can store them in my archival box, enjoy them on a rainy day and then when it is my time to exit this world, people can discover who I really am and what I cared about.  

I create my photographs with basic materials.  I like it that way.  I could be the last person on the planet that feels this way, and I still wouldn't change my views.  

What is the long term impact of Google making their photo editing software free?  For analog darkroom photographers that continue to create real prints with their hands, there is absolutely no impact.  Digital photographers and everyone else shouldn't care because they can get more free software when Google discontinues their software.  

Independent of the medium, photography never has been, nor will it ever be about the tools.

Join my Free Newsletter and never miss an update again. 

Check Out My Latest Books, Video Workshops, and Quick Start Guides For Darkroom and Large Format Photographers. 


Tim Layton Fine Art
Hi Tracy, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it. I disagree that darkroom printing is not a possibility for most people. All it takes is a simple light bulb and a temporary dark space no larger than a closet. If a photographer really wants to create darkroom prints, then he or she will find a way to do it. I also don't agree with your comment that my article doesn't address the title. I thought I answered that very clearly. The world will be just fine without Nik software, when and if it goes away. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and views. We don't have to agree and share the same views. This is what makes the world an interesting place. Take care and stay in touch.

Tracy Wadey(non-registered)
It's all well and good to bang-on about darkroom printing but for most people it's not a possibility ...
I used a darkroom for decades but that's in the past.
I shoot digital and film.
The film is scanned.
It's then worked up.. In the same manner as I would in a dark room before printing or publishing online. This includes using NIK software .

The article does not address the title.

To many of us the issue is about the long term viability of the NIK software.
No comments posted.

B&H Logo 300x206B&H Logo 300x206

Media & News Updates



Popular Articles