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For a newbie, starting fresh: Aperture or Lightroom? #1
KBr00ks's picture
by KBr00ks
July 23, 2014 - 7:48pm

Hello all,

I just bought a “real” camera for personal and professional use, and realized I needed a good photo organization and editing tool (beyond iPhoto). I purchased PSE12 with the camera, as I’m somewhat familiar with it and it was a bundle deal, but have since been reading up on options and realizing that I’d rather have the great organization capabilities of Aperture or Lightroom. I won’t need the heavy-duty editing tools of full-size Photoshop.

On further reading about options, Aperture sounds really appealing. But then I came to this site and found out it’s no longer being supported in favor of the forthcoming Photos app.

SO – should I go ahead and get Aperture, then wait to possibly migrate to Photos in 1.5-2 years? Or should I just start off with Lightroom?

(Have not opened the PSE box, so I can still return it!)

Thanks for the help!

Florian Cortese's picture
by Florian Cortese
July 24, 2014 - 6:17am

The vast majority of people visiting and commenting on this site have been deeply embedded in Aperture and have been using it’s photo organizing system for years.  Most would agree that when it comes to organizing and managing your photos, Aperture and the Apple ecosystem is far superior to Adobe’s Lightroom.  To get Lr you either have to use Adobe’s subscription route where you pay $9.99 monthly forever (unless at sometime in the future Adobe bumps the price tag) to get Lr and PSCC or you could buy Lr as a standalone.  Adobe has stated that if you opt out of the subscription sometime down the road, you will have the creative cloud version of Lr but with only the Library and Print options so your pictures would be saved and not lost in the cloud. Adobe just started their Lr Mobile program which I suppose is their attempt to compete with Apple’s plan with the new Photos app (replacing iPhoto and Aperture) to be seamless across all of Apple’s hardware (iPhone, iPad, Mac computers).  Either way you are going to have to learn a whole new software from the start.  So, IMO, you will need to decide whether to bet on Apple ramping up and advancing the initial version of Photos which more than likely will not be at the level of the present Aperture version and hope that they advance it beyond Aperture 3.5.1or just bite the bullet and go with Adobe’s system and either buy Lr as a standalone (no one knows how long Adobe will keep Lr and upgrade it w/o having to buy the newer version) or go with their subscription plan. Gamble on Apple or go with Adobe.  It depends upon what your needs are fir your type of photography.  If you do not plan on doing major PS-type post processing then getting started with Aperture and learning how to use it may be the way to go.I do about 90% of my post-processing right in Aperture. It is powerful enough for my needs and I am waiting to see what Apple does down the road.  BTW, this is the ONLY place you should go to really learn about how to use Aperture should you chose to go down that road.  Good luck in your decision.

Florian Cortese
www.fotosbyflorian.com

Florian Cortese's picture
by Florian Cortese
July 24, 2014 - 7:35am

Oh, one more thing, Lr standalone $149, Aperture $79.  Lr 6 if it comes out ???, Photos is free.  However, any plugins that 3rd parties attach to Photos will probably carry some cost, IMO.

Florian Cortese
www.fotosbyflorian.com

KBr00ks's picture
by KBr00ks
July 24, 2014 - 9:26am

Thanks!

Yeah, I’m not sure I like the subscription nature of LR, and I have a healthy suspicion of Adobe from watching former coworkers struggle with various software versions (and their puzzling incompatibility). The price might seal the deal – better to risk $80 software becoming obsolete soon rather than $150.

Most of what I’d be doing would be for the web – saving in different resolutions and adding watermarks. Possibly also tweaking color temperature and reducing noise. Any photos for print would be nature scenes that can have a bit of imprecision in them. I don’t yet know enough about photography to get into high-level stuff… that’s partly why Aperture is appealing, as it looks like the learning curve would be less steep. (And I can come here for tutorials!)

smb's picture
by smb
July 29, 2014 - 8:54pm

If you decide to go with Aperture, I would definitely set up a Referenced Library(s) as opposed to Managed. If you were not happy in the future with the direction of Photos you will be in a better position to move to LR etc.

I have been using Aperture seven years, but decided to see what Lr5 was all about and jumped in with both feet two weeks ago. Like most I find the file system a little clunky.  Lr does have a very easy to use and powerful processing module that I think does as well or better than Aperture (although the Aperture brush to me is superior). Because of the larger following there are a ton of on line videos and tutorials for Lr.

I am not giving up on Aperture, just putting it in mothballs until I see what happens, and at the same time making myself learn something new. 

Stan
sbysshe.smugmug.com

Jochen H. Schmidt's picture
by Jochen H. Schmidt
July 30, 2014 - 7:52am

It is not that difficult though to create a referenced library out of a managed one.

smb's picture
by smb
July 30, 2014 - 8:33am

“It is not that difficult though to create a referenced library out of a managed one.”

Agreed, but Lr5 for instance is a referenced system so it is easier to understand Lr if one decides to switch. And, if you have a Referenced Library in Aperture, one less step, plus your filing system is set up.

BTW, Apps are starting to show up to aid in moving Aperture-> Lr if one were so inclined:

http://www.ct-digiphoto.com/aperture-exporter-move-library-lightroom/

Stan
sbysshe.smugmug.com

Jochen H. Schmidt's picture
by Jochen H. Schmidt
July 30, 2014 - 9:15am

@Stan

This actually may confuse a newbie even more, because referenced in Aperture is not really the same thing as in LR. In Aperture you have a virtual abstraction to hold your originals: The project. A referenced library just stores the originals out of the library file, but it isn't the same as LR which completely lacks any virtual abstraction like the project. You only have the equivalent of Albums and Folders - so a “Reference” in Lightroom is much more like an Album-Reference in Aperture and not so much a referenced Original in a referenced library. Lightroom tracks the “Album-References” automatically when managing the Originals through its inbuilt file manager. Lightroom by far more exposes the file structure on the filesystem. With Aperture - there is not much difference if the files are referenced or managed. You have to take more responsibility to backup your files in the referenced case and you gain the possibility to have your originals directly accessible through other programs. Reordering the referenced files individually on the disk is easier to do in LR - which really is made that way.

Short: Lightroom is a Filemanager with the possibility to create some virtual collections from the files and Aperture is much more like an asset database where the location in or out of the library is more or less an implementation detail.

Mike's picture
by Mike
August 2, 2014 - 7:53am

My two cents is that I much prefer Aperture, and at the least, we know it will be fully working with the next release of OS X Yosemite (I am using it here).

Mike.

KBr00ks's picture
by KBr00ks
August 2, 2014 - 8:40pm

So I went ahead and got Aperture. Thanks for the help!

The last few posts speak to one question I had – is it easy enough to switch files between referenced and managed? What I mean is – if I begin by importing photos just through Aperture, then later decide I want to store them in an external disk or in a different file system, can I move the files fairly easily and still have Aperture know where to find them?

It sounds like the answer is yes, from the application’s own explanation in Help and from Jochen’s posts.

Joe's picture
by Joe
August 3, 2014 - 2:11am

Exact - You can switch later. So my personal advise if you don’t have major disk limitation already:
1-start manage
2-learn aperture :)
3-when require start to look if you want to switch to reference or split library etc - there is multiple way forward
Enjoy,
J

Thomas Emmerich's picture
by Thomas Emmerich
August 8, 2014 - 4:25pm

Unfortunately the two things you mentioned you want to do, watermarking and noise reduction, are not Aperture’s strong points. LR has it beat for that. These are two of the features that people have been wishing for improvement in Aperture since version 1.0.

Thomas

Jochen H. Schmidt's picture
by Jochen H. Schmidt
August 8, 2014 - 6:38pm
Hi Thomas, have you seen my Tip “Photos in Moments of a Time and Place” ?(https://www.apertureexpert.com/tips/2014/7/28/photos-moments-time-and-pl…) I show in a direct example the huge (!) progress Apple made with noise reduction.
KBr00ks's picture
by KBr00ks
August 10, 2014 - 6:55am

Just figured out the lack of in-app watermarking…bummer. First step in Aperture’s Help: “Save your watermark as a Photoshop (.psd) file with a transparent background.” Ack!

But it seems that there are a number of plug-ins available to do this. Anyone have experience with any? iWatermark Pro is one I was looking at.

It’s funny, Olympus Viewer 3 – the free software that came with the camera – does watermarks… 

Jochen H. Schmidt's picture
by Jochen H. Schmidt
August 10, 2014 - 7:25am

Watermarking… - the best tip is perhaps not to do it ;)

You can use the BorderFX plugin too.

KBr00ks's picture
by KBr00ks
August 10, 2014 - 7:40am

I wish I could skip it! Unfortunately many of my images will end up online in a context that is ripe for stealing.

I’d like the watermarks to be subtle, though – as non-obnoxious as possible.

smb's picture
by smb
August 10, 2014 - 8:24am

I have iWatermark, and still use it. A simple app for adding a Watermark to any number of images and also downsizing if need be (without going back into Aperture). A handy click and drag tool to have in the tool bar.

Stan
sbysshe.smugmug.com

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