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The Future of—The Question

PhotoJoseph's picture
July 3, 2014 - 9:00pm

Greetings faithful readers,

As you of course know by now, Aperture will see no further development, clearing the way for Apple's next big thing, the universal Photos app. If you've been following along here, you know I'm very optimistic about what's coming. Unfortunately, that's at best 9 months away.

Unsurprisingly, sales dropped to near zero on this site the moment the announcement was made. I've even had requests for refunds. That's bad news :-)

As you have probably noticed, this site has NO outside advertising. Every “ad” is a house-ad, promoting content either on this site, or on where I have additional training. Personally, I hate non-relevant ads popping up on sites I visit regularly. (Especially since they are usually advertising something I already bought!) Since I have designed this site to be one that I personally want to use, I made the decision long ago to fund the site solely by sales of content. It's a good model that's proven very effective…

  1. Give away lots of free information — very specific, very targeted information on Aperture and it's supporting systems.
  2. Provide a free platform for users to seek support from one another.
  3. Provide advanced training (and presets, add-ons, etc.) for sale to fund one and two.

I have no intention of changing this model.

However, given that Aperture will be developed no longer, needless to say we can't just talk about Aperture anymore. We will continue to discuss Aperture for as long as Apple is supporting it, which means at minimum through the end of Mac OS X Yosemite's lifespan, but with no new features coming, and with third party development for Aperture add-ons undoubtedly also coming to a halt, what we do have to say is minimal.

So, I need a new topic

The obvious choice is to start supporting That is a given. However Photos won't be shipping until “early 2015”, which is at least nine months away. This site can't survive for nine months with no sales. Plus, if Photos is a really simple product when it comes out of the gate, there may not be much training needed. 

Another option is to start discussing other related products and topics. However I'm not a Lightroom expert, Capture One expert, or an expert on any other keystone app. And frankly, competing with Kelby and the likes for Adobe training market share doesn't seem like a clever idea. I know I could do well enough in it, as alternate perspectives and training styles are always appreciated, however I wouldn't be entering the market with guns blazing.

Two Paths

I see two viable paths. Neither one is easy, and this is where you come in. I'm not saying I'll go with popular consensus here, but I definitely would appreciate your opinions and input in guiding me towards the right decision.

Option 1:

This is the more obvious choice. I don't need to change much in the site other than the name (eventually), and once Photos is shipping, I can pick up essentially where I left off. There are of course advantages and disadvantages of this model.


  • The site maintains focus on a single product/ecosystem. I believe that focus is important on a website where revenue is driven by product sales. (If revenue was driven by ads, then all that would matter is page views). People buy from because they trust that the information provided is of high quality, and they trust this because they see plenty of free high quality content on the exact same topic.
  • As the user base grows, this site stands to be the #1 site on the web for Photos users, as it currently is the #1 site on the web for Aperture users. And the user base will grow, because every iPhoto user will become a Photos user. That's potentially a lot of new people.


  • It'll be nine months minimum before we see That's a long time to sit idly waiting for a new product to talk about. And there's no guarantee that we'll see it in nine months, either.
  • We already know that version 1.0 will have fewer features than Aperture does today. So that's fewer things to talk about and make sellable training for.
  • The ramp-up of third party apps that tie into Photos (i.e. plug-ins) could be slow as well. We have no idea when we'll see all the additional software that I could also provide training and support on.
  • Photos could be so easy to use that no one feels they need paid training.

Option 2:

This is a much, much bigger option. Instead of focusing on a single product/ecosystem, I take the site in the other direction and open it to all photo-related software. Not just Lightroom, but every other solution out there. Everything a photographer needs. The site could at first focus on the main alternate apps, grow into covering all supporting actors, and eventually even expand to anything photo related. Cameras. Bags. Photography training. Workshops. 


  • The sky is the limit. I can immediately jump into Lightroom training, and rapidly add other topics, including when it ships.
  • There's no waiting period. The market is there today. And it's a huge, growing market.
  • I could “bring along” the current Aperture users who decide to make the move to Lightroom. Teach them as I learn the app myself. 


  • I'm not an expert on Lightroom or any other keystone app. So, I need to get up to speed, and hire people who already are.
  • The site would be competing with folks like Kelby, who have direct relationships with Adobe and a massive built-in audience, undoubtedly much larger than mine.
  • The market is over saturated with Lightroom and Photoshop training (not sure about the other apps, but there's at least one easy reason that ApertureExpert is #1 — virtually no competition). I'd be the little fish, at least to start.
  • I can't imagine quality staying as high as it is today. The site would have to become an information factory. That isn't inherently a bad thing, but finding quality trainers isn't trivial. And I'd need a lot of them.

What am I personally going to do?

As you all know I'm a working professional photographer as well. I shoot mostly commercial and portrait work in my studio in Ashland, Oregon, and use Aperture every day. I need a professional solution, too. So what am I going to do?

My intention is to continue using Aperture, and eventually migrate to when the time is right. I seriously doubt that'll be 1.0, but I also expect that I'll start a second library, perhaps for personal or casual work, in Photos, and keep all my client work in Aperture until ready.

I will however be learning Lightroom in the interim. Why? See below…

The interim

One thing is for certain — a lot of Aperture users are going to transition to Lightroom. And for many that will be the right choice to make. I'm not going to try to convince people to stay or to switch, but instead will provide information and assistance in the quality and style that you've come to know from this site to help people decide, and then potentially make the transition.

I expect to have a solid announcement and plan to share by next week. It is my intention to develop a complete and very detailed “Aperture to Lightroom Transition Guide” for those who want to take that route. I will not be creating this in a vacuum, and I am already making business alignments to ensure it's the best guide it can possibly be. I will sell it, because it will be robust and complete and expensive to produce. And I will not promise that it'll be easy, or fun, to do. This is going to be a pain in the ass. 

Support the site today

What can you do in the interim? Firstly, let me know your thoughts on options one and two above (or offer a third and fourth!). I do want to hear from you, and again I don't promise I'll go with the majority decision, but all views are helpful and valid. I feel like I need to spend a weekend in the dessert staring at lizards or something to clear my head and make the right choice. :-)

Second, if you have gained from this site, and want to see it still online a year from now, you can make a financial contribution. With sales approaching $zero the site won't even pay for itself soon. And I'd like to make a buck or two myself, ya'know? So if you're feeling inclined, feeling generous, or just want to say thanks with the hope that we'll stay online, I would certainly appreciate it.

Sparks Lake, Oregon—because at times like this, you need something pretty to look at

Hi Joseph,

I don't envy your position… never easy to make a decision with incomplete information.

Personally, I think the route of “ThePhotographersExpert” will over time become a me-too site. Like you said, the market is saturated with sites that cover “all” aspects of photography. To cover a wide gamut, stay current, and pump out content (it's gonna be a race with other sites) means a more cursory look and higher level article (or a larger staff). The reason I come to AE is for in-depth material on a key app I use. Similarly, I turn to other sources for in-depth info on onOne, Nik, etc.

“ThePhotosExpert” is a more natural progression. Something to consider… don't limit yourself to Photos OS X. iOS 8 will be out in September or so (educated conjecture on my part) and there will be a large user base of Photos users. Anyone who's using an iPhone or iPad. You don't have to wait until 2015 to start generating new, meaningful content. 

Whether or not the professional crowd and the serious hobbyist comes with Photos remains to be seen. It all depends on what Photos is and grows into. I suppose that's the long term risk with “ThePhotosExpert”. 

I love Scott's idea to include iOS 8 and second it.

One noteworthy item that came out of WWDC was that iOS 8 will include more manual controls for taking photos (, which opens up an entire new market as well.

Whereas I learned photography on an old Pentax, for the first time, every person with an iPhone will be able to learn the basics of shutter speed, ISO, depth of field, aperture, etc. all while using their smart phone – a lot of people will want to do this and it'll be a completely different learning process from what we old timers followed. :)

That's not to say that the site should cater away from professionals and “prosumers” in favor of entry-level beginners… There's always been a place for beginners on the site any way IMO, and this presents a way to fund the site's more advanced content through trainings [at least in some part] targeted at a wider, entry-level audience that'll eventually be tomorrow's advanced photographers.

FWIW, I'm also not opposed to one or two external ads, tastefully placed, but it sounds like that's been ruled out.

“ThePhotographersExpert” is a tough road with a lot of competition. Even “TheLightroomExpert” road has many players. A key to your site’s strength is, as you’ve said, the specific, deep and high-quality content.

“ThePhotosExpert” is a huge risk. There’s nothing to say that it will be much more that iPhotos+ and may not be intended for, or appeal to, serious photographers.

What about “TheCaptureOneProExpert?” C1 is a pro’s app and there is little, besides PhaseOne’s own material for training or discussion. If you could create a niche, as you did the “TheApertureExpert,” you may have a window of opportunity.

Maybe it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond rather than a little fish in a big pond.

Best of luck!

Bob Rockefeller
Midway, GA

Joseph has integrity in spades. I hope is a runaway success.

Hello Joseph.  

You have made some great points and very detailed descriptions of your options.  I have been following your site now for years and I am sure I will continue no matter the form it takes.  Your idea of transitioning to LR from Aperture is what excites me the most right now.  Your teaching style and how you set up your organizational flow is how I have set mine and I would assume many others too.  In that, hearing you struggle with and finding the answers on how to migrate make for a much easier learning path in my opinion.  I am somewhat on the fence to change everything and will certainly be giving Photos a chance when it appears.  For now though, I want to learn LR and I want to understand it from an Aperture person’s point of view.  I have reached out to all the photographers I know who consider themselves experts at LR and it has been frustrating to say the least when I pose questions to them such as mobile workflow from being on the road and then bringing back images to your home base, things like that.  I have told myself a couple times this past week, I need Joseph to understand this LR thing and he can explain it better:)

I will await your Aperture to Lightroom Transition Guide and look forward to seeing how you move in a different direction with your site.  Be careful out in the desert though of those scorpions, they could sneak up on you making a photo problem and even bigger one for you down the road.

Thank you for all your help.


I tend to agree with some of the other posters: we don’t need another all-things-to-all-people photography site. I follow ApertureExpert because I want in-depth articles on the tool I use (I’m not a pro, but it’s a good site for a good tool).

Coming up with a new name and focus is tough, for sure. Think of all the “Mac-something” sites like Macworld, MacRumours, and so on – the names were good until iOS came along and became more popular. Now they seem a little dated.

So, what about Just a thought. You could cover iPhoto and Aperture for now, pre-release info and tutorials on Photos (because nobody else will be doing that :), iPhonography, and other iOS- and Mac-related stuff. And of course, other apps and plug-ins that work on the Mac or the iPhone, with or without Photos. Anyway, like I said, just a thought. Broader than just one product, but still with focus, and plenty of leeway for a variety of articles and training. (side note: I have no idea if Apple would have a problem with that name, but I do think they owe you one :)

By the way, thank you for your recent posts. It’s probably hitting you harder than the rest of us, and I admire your professionalism.

I have been using Aperture since A2 (dropping LR for it) and have benefitted massively from Joseph’s training videos.  I agree with a site concentrating on photography in the Apple environment (it’s an extension of what this site covers with Aperture, but bringing increased emphasis on mobile workflow and iOS apps.  Looking to the future concentrate on joining the bits together rather than on the detail of the tools themselves.  There are other resources for that.  It also naturally positions the site for what will probably do in the future.

I also second thanks to Joseph for his very measured and considered responses since the news broke.

Andrew Macnaughton

Option 1 for me.
I have worked in and out of Aperture for a while now and have gone more to editing my pics on my iPad.
Sure I can’t do RAW pics in my iPad, but I am finding the results if JPEG editing on my iPad to be good enough for me.
Why not include all sort if mobile editing along with More and more people are doing it.
I work at an Apple store here in Wisconsin, and see people everyday wanting to do editing on their iPhones and iPads.
Not only would you be the top site for the new photo app, but one of the fee sites out there that could be a killer source for editing apps and tricks/tips for anything iOS.

I don’t have much to add except to say I am a new to this site and Aperture as of April 2014. Even though Aperture will not be supported, there is still so much to learn as far as editing goes. I am enjoying the Live Training videos and will continue to buy them. Unfortunately, my $2.00 every couple of weeks isn’t going to help much.

As a fairly well versed amateur, I would love to see you stick with PhotosExpert. I think we may be surprised once the app is launched.  There are many more folks out there using only their iPhones these days. We can all use a helping hand!! 

Thanks for all your info. Change is always good but sometimes really difficult to deal with. 




Hi Joseph firstly thank you for all the work you’ve put in to this site. Like many I’m mainly a stills photographer but would like to do more with the other creative Apple apps, but often get frustrated through lack of experience. I would line to find a really good specialist site that just dealt with the creative apps individually or working together. I certainly intend to stay the distance and give the new App a chance, the other mans grass always looks greener until you get there.

David’s suggestion is pretty keen (when was the last time you heard that word?).  Or as an alternative…

KelbyOne provided a 50,000 foot view of moving from Aperture to Lr.  Personally, I think you would be able to do a lot better in digging into the minutia.  

Since Adobe announced they’re holding from on the $10 a month price for the Creative Cloud Photography plan, if you opt in now, and find out when Photos actually ships that it’s actually a viable replacement for Aperture, you can cancel your plan after a year and go with Photos.

I know there are a lot of people who don’t want a subscription plan, and there are still a lot of unknowns with Adobe (i.e. will they have the incentive to continue to add new features to Lr and PS CC).  For the interim anyway, I think its a viable alternative until Photos arrives.

Hi Joseph,

What a though time for a great guy like you! For me the choice should be driven by your business model and competitiveness on the market.

What makes your site being so great?

  • High quality training
  • A deep knowledge of your product
  • Niche positionning on a market that is over saturated by photography website, lightroom tricks etc

So for me the choice is easy: keep your brand, keep your signature, keep your uniqueness: will be yours!

If Photos is crap, you can stil move to the other road. Or you can even prepare it in background to be ready. But dont make it public! Keep your brand clean! and switch when you are just that you cannot benefit anymore of your niche!

Joseph said, “As you have probably noticed, this site has NO outside advertising. Every ‘ad’ is a house-ad, promoting content [on this site] … “

I did notice that, and was rather impressed. I’m relatively new here (although I did purchase your Adjustment Effects bundle a few years ago), and have to admit that I rarely visited the site prior to the recent Aperture news. So, I’ve yet to take advantage of 99% of what the site has to offer. I still have a lot to learn in Aperture (and, in post-processing in general), so there’s much learn by continuing to visit AE more often, despite Aperture’s EOL status.

As far as the site’s mission goes, I would lean toward option #1, and wouldn’t mind at all if you also profited from outside ad sales. This has to be one of the best sites on the internet. Both in content, tone, and “community.” For whatever reason, I never felt the need to participate in Lynda, or purchase Kelby materials. After getting my first shrink-wrapped copy of Aperture 2.0 back in 2008, I also bought every decent Aperture-specific book (I like books) I could find on Amazon (all three of ‘em). Though, I’m not sure why I haven’t invested more time here, since there’s a wealth of information I’ve yet to discover. Even though Aperture is EOL, I can certainly continue to buy AE’s “obsolete” teaching materials as a way to contribute. Anyhow, keep up the great work!

I think option 2 but with a twist.

Specialise on and focus on option 2 to Apple platform users. A small fish in a medium pond.

Just a thought.

The best of luck, whatever you decide.

I signed up for your site for the today to post this. I personally have lightroom, I much prefer Aperture. This is a surprise to me Apple is dropping it with out a plan communicated to advanced users.
All the best

Yes, I think Joe has it right–I think niche-positioning is the key. The closer you can identify the site with Photos, the better (however, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to exclude the coverage of ancillary topics or products). With this lead time, perhaps you can corner the market on a major segment of “advanced” Photos users.

This is all very disappointing.
My vote: Have two sites. One for people converting to Lightroom. This site could be focused solely on people converting. This could be a busy site. The other site for “Photos” when it’s available.


Hello Joseph.

I’ve been following your site for already several years but just today I decided to registerme in the comments section.

I fully understand your position, personally I think that the ”“ option is the best. As others already say, there is a world of forums and pages talking about products of Abobe and Photo applications in general, I think that talking about a new program it’s a new niche with great potential. I understand 9 months is a long time but the version for iOS is next (September) and is an essential part of the integration with the for OSX. I think it will have much to talk mostly of the new way in which Apple will manage the images and the way that the developers will be able to integrate their ideas into the program (…)

We have been asking for the last few years a new version of Aperture and now is presented this new ”revolution” I think that to take advantage of it. I’m going to continue using Aperture and eventually migrare I think is going to be a intuitive application but, with the option to choose the form in which one prefer to work amateur or professional, there is the revolution, I think it was the logical step for Apple iOS, OSX, and therefore Aperture.

I am sure that you will take the best decision. Best regards!

P.D. I put the version in Spanish since I’m not very good writing English and I think losing some ideas in translation.

Hola Joseph.
He estado siguiendo tu sitio desde hace ya varios años pero apenas hoy decidí darme de alta en la sección de comentarios.
Entiendo perfectamente tu posición, en lo personal pienso que la opción de “” es la mejor. Como ya otros lo comentan hay todo un mundo de foros y páginas que hablan sobre los productos de Abobe y la fotografía en general, pienso que hablar sobre un nuevo programa es un nicho con mucho potencial. Entiendo  9 meses es mucho tiempo pero la version iOS esta próxima (septiembre) y es parte fundamental de la integración con la aplicación para OSX. Creo que va a haber mucho de que hablar sobre todo con la nueva forma en que Apple va a gestionar las imágenes y la forma en que los desarolladores van a poder integrar sus ideas en el programa para Mac OSX (…

Hemos estado pidiendo estos últimos años una nueva versión de Aperture y ahora que se presenta esta nueva “revolución” hay que aprovecharla. Al igual que varios voy a seguir usando Aperture y eventualmente migraré a Creo que va a ser una aplicación fácil e intuitiva pero no por eso sencilla o del todo de “consumo masivo”, creo que ahí esta el potencial de esta nueva aplicación, tener la opción de escoger la forma en que uno prefiera trabajar como amateur o profesional, ahi esta la revolución, creo que era el paso lógico para Apple, iOS, OSX, y por lo tanto Aperture.

It's a tough decision. I'm feeling by myself that the “ThePhotographersExpert” could lead to a watered-down result. There has to be some distinctive feature.

I think letting that distinctive feature be “Photos” alone is risky. We do not know enough about it to estimate the reach of such a platform.

But there actually is a route, that IS distinctive and can be directly related with “Photos” and other topics: The Mac & iOS ecosystem. Let me explain what I mean:

One thing that I - as a software developer - always found admirable about Mac OS X is the quality and flexibility of its core frameworks. There is a reason that Applications like:

1) Sketch (

2) Pixelmator (

3) Acorn (

4) iDraw (

could be built by very small development teams and are in many ways more accessible and therefore for many tasks just the better solution to the old and expensive battle horses from Adobe.

Adobe was always late in following the technological progress Apple made with its OS frameworks (think Carbon vs. Cocoa, Flash…). Those little competitors were often the first. The guys from Pixelmator already announced that they will “fully emprace the new photos app” ( They were always the first to embrace new core features. Its Cocoa and the very decent frameworks Apple provides that makes that possible.

If one looks at iOS there are plenty of rather cool apps which can make the life of a working photographer easier. I can control two of my cameras (Sony A7 & RX100II) directly from my iPhone and iPad (with LiveView). I'm using that e.g. to setup my on location flashes with me as a model and seeing what the camera sees at the same time (I'm working strobist style).

So … How about calling it ThePhotosExpert - fully embracing the overly generic naming scheme Apple adopted for their new OS level asset manager and offer topics about all those cool things we have and can do in this ecosystem of Mac OS X and iOS apps and devices. This should not mean that more cross platform apps like Capture One or Lightroom can not be a topic - but it should always have some connection to the Mac or iOS photography ecosystem. If all goes well, then the Photos.framework and the Photos apps on iOS and Mac OS X will spark an even bigger opportunity for photographers than OS X already was.

1) There is nothing that hinders third party developers to create “their own Photos”. The Photos.framework is nothing different than the Aperture DNA as a software library. It isn't even unthinkable that bridging programs like Lightroom or Capture One could be an option with this framework.

2) One doesn't have to have much phantasy to imagine that photo edit extensions could be a big market. There are so many small photo related apps that could benefit from such an integration

3) Apple is in competition with Google in this case - even more than they are with Adobe.

4) Even advanced cameras get things like Wifi and App controls nowadays.

I see “ThePhotosExpert” as a main hub for Mac / iOS based photographers with a professional standard.

– Jochen

I just read your column about the future of the site.  I like Aperture and I am sad that it will be gone.  I also do not have much faith in there replacement Photos.  I personally do not feel that it will be anywhere close to Aperture.  I feel that it will turn out as a glorified iPhoto.  I would at least see items about Aperture util Photos hits the market.  I feel that Aperture works better with plug -ins than Lightroom.  Especially if it is built for the Mac.  You may not be a pro with other photographic programs but you do work with a Mac!  Whats would you think of informing us on how to use the Mac with Apple pacific apps and photo apps on the iPad?  I just don’t want to lose you as a teacher.  I read ApertureExpert everyday.  We still have 9 months at least to learn about Aperture.  I may eventually have no support for Aperture, but that doesn’t mean I can’t use it!  There are to many features in Aperture that I like!


I only found your website last week when I decided to take charge of my photography. I subscribe to Creative Cloud and own Aperture. I wish to say thank you for the amazing site and even though Aperture is to see no further development, it remains an amazing piece of photography workflow software. I believe that Aperture in its current form can be re-purposed in a comprehensive workflow with Lightroom, in effect leveraging both applications strengths. This is something I am actively pursuing to amazing workflow effect.

Jochen’s comments above are exactly right. must evolve and I sincerely believe that Apple has shown you the way. Perhaps you know that the chinese character for crisis is the same as opportunity. Opportunity is what you face now, not defeat.

Your website would serve a far greater purpose if you can write articles and clarify the best way to use the entire Apple ecosystem for digital photography. iPhone, iPad, IPod Touch, iMacs, Mac Pro, Macbook Air, MacBook Pro, etc…The many software and hardware options Apple offers is ofter bewildering and this leads to photo library fragmentation and subpar photography on many levels. Where to store photos? The best way to edit photos? Metadata? Photos for the masses! You can raise up the everyday Apple user/photographer to higher quality records of our shared precious memories.

We need a voice to show us clarity, logic and reason in the coming brave new world. I believe yours is one of the finest. You can begin this weekend! Let your readers guide you to transforming ApertureExpert to ApplePhotosExpert! Focus on iOS, iCloud and the entire Apple ecosystem. Let’s move the discussion to how Aperture can be a valuable piece of the workflow puzzle. In fact you can teach workflow to the masses. Most people have no idea that the idea of workflow even exists. As Apple’s strategy evolves, so too can your new website for a great many years to come. Ten years from now, perhaps the digital photography will be different again. Re-purposing your website now keeps you at the wavefront of Apple hardware/software technology. This website is a window to your kindness, knowledge and wisdom. We want this more than you can know.

So do not wait nine months. Begin now to transition to full Apple coverage. In this regard, you do not much competition in this space. Remain focused! Give us new training on iOS devices, review Mac and iOS apps to help make our photography soar. Apple has send a clear message to Aperture users. It is time to leave the cradle. This uncertainty represents a tremendous opportunity to be the *goto* website for all things Apple/iOS/Mac OS X photography for anyone and everyone. Kelby and friends have done this with Adobe. ApertureExpert (or ApplePhotosExpert) can do this for the Apple ecosystem. Additionally, ApplePhotosExpert is a name than anyone can relate to. A benign and powerful name.

Lastly, I wish to say thank you for all you have done for the Aperture community. I will support you by purchasing the Kitchen sink. There is much to learn!

Warmest regards,

Sandip (sun-deep) Mehta


Sandip Mehta
Studio Xephon

First, kudos on keeping the discussion civil on this site. Unfortunately, that is a rarity. Now , what to do. 

Stay with the “niche” concept. Your niche has been Aperture - DAM, Apple, photography. So many of your correspondents have stated that the Aperture Digital Asset Management tools are the reason they use Aperture, even if they use others for photo editing.

We know that if we want to  reproduce an Ansel Adams landscape, we need to get the negative and process it, but what about my latest gem, shot with a digital SLR and “pro” lens … will anyone have a clue how to access it in ten years? These are the questions that guys like you can help us answer. Some photogs state that if one does not physically print an image, there is limited value. That means that several hundreds of millions if images each year have minimal value. One of your goals, Joseph, is to help more of these images to survive and be remembered and accessible. Digital is great, but you can not, even with the help of a good index, “Touch” a digital file like you can a physical negative. (Nothing like a climate controlled shoe box)

The photographic world has changed. We are not going back to silver and chemicals. It is important that guys like you, who can understand and can communicate the choices we need to make and the consequences of our decisions going forward, are there to guide us. Apple is showing its interpretation of the direction of photography. Your web site can be a great asset in fine tuning it for our professional and personal use. 

What will bring? None of us really knows, yet. To assume that it will be a huge step backwards just does not make sense. To suggest that the app will only work if you are connected to the cloud, again, makes no sense. To offer the choice/ability of synching your  desktop/laptop/ipad/iphone with little extra work, yeah! 

Finally, we all need to assess what is working for us, and what we really require to achieve our goals. Number one is getting it right in camera! After that, you can bet that developers of apps are going to jump all over the new photos interface and access to enable us to be really creative and really productive in our photographic projects.

Joseph. Thanks for your stuff-to-date. I for one will keep watching, and am confident that we will be hearing and seeing more really useful “stuff” from your end.

Bill Booth

It may be premature to decide. I think you should concentrate on current Aperture users and customers of your web site. As the future clarifies, help them go in the directions that they choose and that you think are best. Let’s see what Apple says in the coming months. Start learning Lightroom, with the intention of formulating “Lightroom for Aperture Users”. Although there is a lot of Lightroom training around, you are best qualified to teach experienced Aperture users.


I am very comfortable using Aperture.  It gets the job done for me.  Joseph’s training is what got me to where I can be very effective post processing.  Thanks much, Joseph.

I have tried to migrate to Lightroom twice.  If I had never used Aperture, I would likely be a happy LR user today.  But Aperture continues to be my preferred application. 

I Intend to use Aperture until it no longer serves my needs.  I will test out when it arrives and will likely migrate to it when is essentially in feature parity with Aperture.

Joseph is a very good trainer.  Your background with Apple and insight on how they do things is especially valuable.  I hope you stay focused on all-things Apple rather than branching out into photography in general or Adobe.  (But, Aperture to LR transition training make sense.) Branching out would not be near as valuable to me, the user base or you.

My recommendations are:

1. Keep the site Apple centric.  Expand to include aspects that will likely be synergistic with the Apple ecosystem.  Since binds OSX and IOS, then include IOS applications that are photo related.  Companies that are supporting the new framework (like Pixelmator) should be supported.  Live Training, message board support or whatever for these applications can be included. Plugins that likely will migrate to the new framework (NIK?) could be supported.  I am always interested in more plugin training.


2. will enable a lot of developers to tap into the framework and develop novel apps.  This could be really good.  But, I think there is often a chasm between the perspective of a developer and the end-user photographer. There is value in being a conduit between these two worlds.  For example, a developer could use The to:

  • Get feedback on user requirements
  • Sign up beta users and get feedback
  • Use Joseph to provide training on the application

3. What I have got from has been a bargain. I get it that the site and you need to be supported during the transition.  Nine to 12 months is a long dry spell to weather.  The one-time donations and purchases to support the site will die off in a month or so.  I’m willing to pay $X/month subscription for the next 12 months for some type of sustaining support. Maybe you could offer some premium content for the sustaining supporters.  Maybe a monthly webinar that addresses q&a about what we know about the transition, what the site is pursuing or whatever. Maybe some other training could be supported.  A trend seems to be for pros to sign up people for mentoring (for example, See what Photo Forté is all about. )

4. Consider two parallel tracks – training for the neophyte and training for power users. Charge $2/session for the neophytes and, say, $10/session for the power users.  A lot of $2/session neophytes can be a significant revenue.

Joseph, good luck sorting this out.  You have my support. Hopefully we can continue a mutually beneficial long-term relationship.



No easy decision here… First, let me say “Thanks!” For this terrific site. It really is something special.

You’ve done a good job highlighting the risks and rewards of the two choices here. I am confident that when the time comes, you will make a great decision. It’s obvious you can take the formula that makes your site such a joy and apply it to any new site you decide to create. But in some ways - both big and small - I think you have already made the decision as this site has developed.

You chose to avoid outside advertising in order to keep a singular focus on Aperture and it’s users. You have provided specific low cost high quality materials and a learning community where users help each other. Most importantly - you have stayed with Aperture when many other site owners have already “cut and run.” The title says it all - Aperture Experts.

My vote? Avoid trying to be all things to all people. There are plenty of understaffed watered down sites out there. The result is too few articles covering only the most obvious software features because the site operators are stretched too thin. If you stay with an Apple/Photos focus - you will not only be able to cover “Apple” - you will also be able to focus on all the plug-ins that start showing up.

As for me - I think it’s time to support this site. I hope others will do the same.

Firstly, thank you for your great works and books. I learned a lot from both of them.

I am using Aperture which stored all my some 20,000 photos (nothing business but family, travel and friends). I really worry about moving to Photos cause it should be something in between Aperture and iPhoto.  I also very worry about moving to Lightroom cause there must be something missing from what I am using everyday.

However, I know I have to go one way or the other, and at this moment, I am more to the Lightroom path. Good to hear that you are going to provide the “Aperture to Lightroom Transition Guide” which I will definitely buy it. Then, decide the way forward.

Regarding your question, I would say Option 2, but more in the view of an existing Aperture user.  After all, Photos may just be an advanced iPhoto + iCloud.

Thanks and regards,


Definitely option #1 … the main reason is if you become a Jack (or Joseph) of All Trades … you will become a Master of None.

Please! For all that is good an decent … NOT another Lightroom site … Don’t you think Adobe has enough help already?

The be all things photographic type site is so overdone. I would prefer a focused effort to a narrower more specific subject line. Though that doesn’t do much for either preparing for the new Photos App since we don’t really know (nor does Apple at this point) what it will be and offer on release … or earning income via the site in the interim.

For now, maybe focus on general details/tutorials/lessons that carry over regardless which software option is used. For example keywording, rating, labels, flags, etc. apply to almost every DAM option out there.

Either way, I will do my best to support you, whatever that decision may be.

I recently registered with your site and have purchased all the updated training videos to-date.  Your website is a breath of fresh air.  What kept me coming back was your relaxed and clear teaching style, your excellent use of technology, and of course your expertise and passion for photography.  Also that not everything on your site had a price tag or advertising attached.  Also whatever was advertised felt relevant.  It is a difficult balance, but you nailed it.

I personally subscribe to the Apple Ecosystem and have had no regrets.  I believe Apple has a long term vision for photography.  Apple prides itself in blending technology with creativity and so I just can’t see them abandoning the enthusiast or pro photography community. I would like to think that they are trying to develop an ecosystem that is more of a continuum between the casual and pro, rather than two divergent paths.  That is the evolutionary shift and yes we are feeling the pain as this realignment happens.

Ideally I would like your site to remain Apple centric but completely open to teaching us about all possible transition plans so we can make our own informed decision.  I would pay to learn about the challenges (and benefits) of including LR in a transition plan … especially since we have time.  Aperture 3 will still be supported while we inform ourselves.  It would be great to have you be the guide and access the wisdom and support of your user community.  As others have said … I really appreciate the candour with which you have expressed your own concerns and desires.  

Whatever option you decide I wish you the best possible outcome and will also do my best to support you.

Now, at the end we still need  We need it, or it’s successor, to help us move into the next phase.  In my humble opinion I think you should first offer guidance on choosing a transition from Aperture to the next great thing.  How did you arrive at your decision to move to Lightroom?  How do other contenders fair in comparison to Aperture?  Who beside you could do a better job in informing your readers about the issues and considerations in choosing an alternate photo managing and editing tool.  I, for one, would find such guidance very valuable.  Many beside myself must face the same confusing decision: wait for Photos, switch to Capture One,  switch to AfterShot Pro. Lots of choices, not much reliable information available.

Just for the record, out of house advertisements don’t bother me.

Best wishes as you go forward.

Go for Photos on Apple instead of only Photos, Photographer etc. Your specialty is needed in the future of handling Photos on Apple devices. It includes Lightroom, Aperture, iPhoto, DxO etc. at the moment and Photos and its iOS companion in the future too. I guess the upcoming capabilities in the new imaging and RAW framework of Apple are great and many, many developers will rush in. We are here at a new start, similar to the start of Aperture in 2005.

I use aperture from the beginning with 250.000 images of my professional work in its library and hopefully I can use Aperture until the new photos app will be mature. A switch to Lightroom is in my focus, but I want to avoid it, because of its painful and in my eyes ugly interface. But maybe you will bring me to another decision, if you review lightroom from the sight of an Aperture Expert.

Thank you for your great work, I followed for a long time as a passive user.

I would say go with photosexpert. I have tried lightroom multiple times and really don’t like it. I shall be moving to photos when it comes out.

As an interim what doing iOS related photo guides? I remember you talking on an episode of TWIP before how you did a shoot with just your m43 cameras and an ipad.
As we move to a portable world people will be looking for tips and guides on how to optimise workflows for that.

Plus that would also carry across to photos when that is released as it will be on both platforms and utilise the iCloud photo library.

Hi Joe, There’s a big difference in focus between being niche (narrow, small audience) and finding a niche (specific, quality first, quality based growth)  I’ve always loved as the advice is specific and tailored to how I use Aperture as a photographer. I thought your idea was the better of the two. If the site tried to be a one-stop-shop with advice for all kinds of tools it could become too broad and generic and the effort to engage would be much higher. Won’t all the plug-ins for Aperture still work on the new Photos app? Will we be able to cop on iPhone and have that edit adjustment apply to all devices? There will be lots of reasons to stay with you for a photos specific site, fewer if you try and make it too broad.  Best of luck with whatever you decide and thanks for being an amazing resource over the last few years..


I agree that there is a difference - but one important thing to notice is that Photos will by itself have a much broader range. It’s not just some App - It will be the default photo asset management feature on any new Apple device. The Photos.framework will likely be used by a lot of tools that integrate into that ecosystem. This is why I suggested to focus on such an ecosystem of well integrated tools. One strong case of MacOSX is the very good integration between apps. There is a reason why choosing a native and “good citizen” OS X app over a crude cross platform thing can have a significant benefit.

Hi Joseph,

first of all I want to say, that you did great job with Aperture lessons. Thank you for that.

One of my reason that I switch from Windows to Apple was Aperture 3, so these days I am quite dissapointed that Apple has decided to end with it. Instead I was really waiting for upgrade to Aperture 4 with new tools like correction lenses, panorama and so on. It is a big pity. I dont know what to do next, because in last year I have tried learn and to do all my photography work with Aperture, I moved all my photos to Aperture library…:(

It will be quite long time as Photos app is out and when they solve all the problems with new versions(new software). There will be another time than third party software join this Photos app, I count at least one year..

On the other hand, just one tool for all? I am little bit afraid that it be more for everyday users than for professional photographers:(

So my advice is, try to go possibilities for Apple users and advance photograpy users.

For all Apple users, continuing with Photos app and “libraring” photos is in my opinion neccessary, but for us advance users who don´t want use and pay monthly for Lightroom (Photoshop), will be great to help us how to use:

- Capture One

- DxO

- Pixelmator

- and other good software app different then robust Adobe Photoshop

-it wil be great to find here tutorial videos like you did with Aperture 3

I will definitely keep my eyes on your site whatever name;-)


The Czech Republic


I completely agree on focusing on more than just LightRoom; Although I will probably stay with Aperture for the time being (let’s see what Photos will have to offer before jumping ship because of all the panic).

I did download a trial of LightRoom to see if it improved since the last time I tried it but, to be honest, wasn’t very impressed. Sure, it does offer some advanced image-processing than Aperture, but the GUI just is clunky.

Tried CaptureOne and was hugely impressed by the initial RAW handling/conversion. Some pictures that both Aperture and LightRoom were unable to handle (live performances, tough lighting conditions with LED stage-lights). CaptureOne was able to restore details that I didn’t expect. The GUI does feel more ‘at home’ for Aperture users, certainly more than LightRoom.

Unfortunately, that’s not the end; Although the GUI of CaptureOne is nicer, it’s not very responsive at times (on my 2009 iMac). Panning an image pixelates the image and requires re-processing the RAW data. Sliders sometime react ‘jerky’, causing me to ‘overshoot’ my desired value. Most importantly, it seems harder to get the same results as in Aperture. For example, raising exposure quickly results in a washed-out image that is sometimes hard to compensate (which may just need some learning). Maybe aperture does it wrong, but in most cases, adjustments work predictable and gives pleasing results without must hassle. 

Many people complain about Aperture being slow – and yes, it could use a speed-up. But in most cases working with Aperture doesn’t  feel slow; sliders remain responsive, it may just need a short wait to see the results. Panning an image doesn’t require re-calculation etc.

So. I’ll keep my fingers crossed, hoping that Photos does offer a worthy replacement for Aperture. Hoping RAW processing improves, or that Apple allows third-party RAW-processors as plug-in (THAT would be awesome). In the mean-time, I’ll keep trying CaptureOne as it seems the most appropriate candidate for me.

I think that you should stay with option #1. In a while Lightroom is going the same way as the rest of Adobe CS or CC suite. There is a lot of plug-in (Perfect and Nik (Google) for Aperture, try to find out if the will be available for Photos. For me and my wife both amateur photographers are using Aperture and will properly use Photos if Apple will make Photos so you can use a local library on your own hard drive as well as iCloud, we don’t know yet. There are so many questions !! but stay with Aperture is a given. I can only say keep up the good work you are doing, I go into your site every day to see what I can learn.

       Frans Lichtenberg…….

I think that you should stay with option #1. In a while Lightroom is going the same way as the rest of Adobe CS or CC suite. There is a lot of plug-in (Perfect and Nik (Google) for Aperture, try to find out if the will be available for Photos. For me and my wife both amateur photographers are using Aperture and will properly use Photos if Apple will make Photos so you can use a local library on your own hard drive as well as iCloud, we don’t know yet. There are so many questions !! but stay with Aperture is a given. I can only say keep up the good work you are doing, I go into your site every day to see what I can learn.

       Frans Lichtenberg…….


Yes you’re in a tough spot. The big problem is the unknown and the timing. Eight-nine months is a long time for people to wait and see what the new Photos application will be like and in the meantime many will be migrating away from this site since as you mentioned there isn’t going to be a lot to talk about. 

It’s only natural I suppose for panic to set in. In your case the business of running a web site like this is problematic. The biggest problem as I mentioned is the time between now and the release of Photos 1.0.

I would agree with most of the posters who have commented that there are just too many catch all websites, whether a full blown website or a photography forum, with catch all topics. It would be very difficult to develop a strong following at this point especially with people going off the deep end and moving to Lr without even having an idea what will come with the new Photos application. The niche approach of ApertureExpert is what makes this thing go. 

I really wish I or anybody had the answer but looks to me like it’s better to sit tight and see what information comes out in the next three-four months before jumping into something prematurely. You already have the URLs locked up so there is no real urgency to make a decision after a couple of weeks after the EOL news of Aperture. 

In the meantime your idea of developing a migration road map and methodology from Aperture to Lr and charging for it is a very good one. People who are in panic mode and aren’t willing to wait should/will pay a nice price to have an expert research and come up with the right solution for migration. That should help you weather the storm with the expenses of this website in the short term.

Just my 2¢ but bottom line is wait it out for a while and see what materializes. With your contacts at Apple you may be able to get a better sense of the right direction as the Photo application continues to be worked on in the coming months. Your sources hopefully will bring some level of clarity and direction to your problem.

For me…I’m just waiting it out and I’ll cross that bridge when the time comes. What if Photos is the answer? The problem is solved. If Photos is a disaster the same options that exist today will still be available.

Thanks for all that you do. I wish you luck. Stay calm. 

This is a unique site and had been one of the few sources for understanding Apple Aperture.  The training and discussions have mostly been very helpful.  So I am trying in my own mind to understand what I would want for a continuing source of knowledge.   Your option 2 fits closer to my needs.  With LR being the dominate player there are many sites where you can get instructions on the use, but not often do you get the “why” of doing something with the technology.  Sure, I can understand what slider x does to the image, but not very often do I learn why I need to slide the slider.  Mating the artistic with the technology is to me a somewhat open field.  And there are many new and emerging technologies out there,  where ever there is.  Comparison of the capabilities and qualities of the various technologies would be useful.  Rod Lawton’s Life After Photoshop is an example of my thoughts, but unfortunately is appears to have gone dead.  There are many  cross artistic/technology issue you can explore.  eg.  non distructive editing, how much photo processing is too much, which software renders the best raw images, and so forth.  Hey! This is free advice … what did you expect.


Joseph,  Saying thank you for all you have done with this site to help us all can not be said often enough.  My whole system and set up is thanks to you, from  the naming of my files, to my external HDs, to off site back up, etc, etc.  My heart is yelling at me for Option 1.  My brain is having a civil war trying to decided which is the best from a business standpoint.  After all, at the end of the day you have to put food on the table for your family like the rest of us.  My brain likes the idea put forth by several posters  of expanding to include more aspects of the Apple ecosystem with iOS 8 while also helping those who may want to switch to Lr now or in the future.  The problem I see with Lr is that it’s DAM is clunky and if one could set it up as close as possible to Aperture that would make life a lot easier for those who choose to move over now or those who are eventually forced to move from Aperture in the future should Apple swing and miss with Photos.  Finally, I wouldn’t be opposed to paying a monthly subscription to bridge this site over until Photos is officially released.  As I wrote in a message with my donation, I plan on staying along for the ride! Cheers.

Florian Cortese

I agree with everyone who supports option #1 ( It can cover iOS and OS X, and you can partner with developers of raw filters, filters and extensions to provide a single portal into training and a knowledge base on all of these items. I think the ecosystem Apple is bringing will have plenty of opportunity.

What to do in the interim with and lack of revenue? Reach out to current plugin folks like onOne, Nik, Topaz, etc, to see if you can learn their plans for the Photos app, and whether there is any synergy you could create with them. Could you produce training material that could be ready on day one? They might pay you to produce their training material. If that could start sooner vs later, you might find an alternate revenue source to keep ApertureExpert up and running until Photos and 3rd party s/w is launched. Personal friends of mine produce all of Oracle’s Java training. Oracle pays them well. See what you might be able to work out there.

I would keep the focus and specialization on ThePhotoExpert, with a twist in the interim.  The natural move for many would be Lightroom and Photoshop, but I am happy with Aperture in the meantime and willing to wait until Photo exists to see what I really need.  I currently use a number of add-ons along with OnOne’s Perfect Photo that seems to allow me to do everything I need without committing to pay Adobe a monthly fee for the rest of my life.  There are probably a lot of people like me out there.  I think your interim focus should be software other than Lightroom/Photoshop that allows Aperture and Photo users to do everything they may need without needing to get Lightroom/Photoshop.  I would suggest you actually take advertising from those other alternatives, who are probably also trying to reach all of us Aperture users.  I would love to have someone educate me on how they compare and how to best use them to do what others do in Lightroom/Photoshop.

Add me to the folks who have suggested focusing on Apple + Photography. It is sufficiently well focused that you do not have to compete directly with others, and it plays well with your history and expertise. Also, I think there are many folks like myself who are committed to the Apple eco-system and are interested in best utilizing tools that are available to do this. It allows you to cover things like Lightroom, but to do so focusing on how best to integrate Lightroom into one’s Apple eco-system - not how best to make adjustments or edit portraits.

Please stay around - I have found your site invaluable over the years !!!

First, thanks for all the info about Aperture. Your intimate understanding of the app was both reassuring and provided wonderful access to nuances of the software.

Don’t go Lightroom or anything Adobe. Getting users trapped in the Adobe web offers no benefit in the longrun.

Bob Decker, and I believe his name was Walter, had the most useful advice. Expand to include iOS and the support plugins for Photos (they’re icumen). Explore workflow in depth. E.g., I photograph paintings and hearing advice about equipment, processing, lighting, and general advice would be most useful. Pull in experts in different sorts of workflows for in depth interviews. Photographers come up with darndest things ;-)

Your intelligence and clarity in communicating will more than make up for the fact that you aren’t hitting the ground running as you did with Aperture. You’ll be great in transitioning users, not to Adobe products, but rather to an ever evolving Photos app and its ecosystem.

So, iOS integration and workflow would be my two cents. As far as naming conventions, I can see the problem in what to call a new domain. PhotosExpert may be descriptive, but, well, not catchy. Maybe Those are real catchy, right? :D

Good luck. You have a generous spirit and it shows in your teaching, Joseph; it is much appreciated.

I actually think there’s an opportunity here where you could reinvent yourself as the mac photographer expert. Since mac and ios will be moving forward with a whole new photo management system there will be many seeking to understand how it will all work and come together especially as 3rd parties build apps on top of it. I’d be looking beyond just the new photos app but include the while ecosystem of these 3rd party apps that will come and people will need a reliable source for reviews and how-to’s with articles aimed at experts and articles aimed at consumers. Niche enough to be specific but broad enough that you’ll never run out of opportunities to write.

Hi Joseph

Firstly I’d like to add my thanks to all the others posted here for all your hard work in getting AE to what it is.  It has been a pleasure hitching a ride one the AE express.


As to the options I feel, again like others, that is the way to go.  Keeping focus on the Apple OSX/iOS system and photography but not excluding other avenues outside of Photos app.


Good luck.  With you all the way.

Hi Joseph.   Like other’s I want to thank you for being available as my first port of call for all things Aperture.


Others have made excellent and well reasoned suggestions as to your next direction and I would just like to add the following:

1. My plan is to continue to use Aperture and continue to learn from your video’s how to get the most from it in the belief that all knowledge is valuable and useful forever.  I plan to wait and see what Photos is like before making any decisions about jumping ship.  I’m not a pro but an enthusiast so anticipate Photos will be just fine for me.
I’ll look forward to your help with training on Photos.

2. If I should have to jump ship I’d like to know what my alternatives to LR are as somewhere to move to?  I am averse to Adobe products in general and would love to know what my options are - Capture One? Perfect Photo? Aftershot? Something else?

3. Can you enter into an NDA with Apple?  (Didn’t you work for them once?).
Clearly you wouldn’t be able to tell us anything but, like software developers who have an NDA to help them plan their futures, you will then be armed with information to help you make informed decisions about your future?

4.  How can I make a donation?  I run a business and often say the best service you can provide for customers is to survive and be available for them in the future when they need you.  I have a vested interest in your site surviving and would contribute to helping this be so.

Thanks again and here’s to a new,  exciting future! 

KRs Frank


Thanks Frank. I’ll be looking at all viable alternatives to Aperture for those who need to migrate. It will be an arduous task so will take some time but there’s no rush so hopefully folks can be patient. I recently placed a contribute item in the store and will make an obvious link to it this week. Thank you, I certainly appreciate it. -Joseph

— Have you signed up for the mailing list?


I too find your site very helpful. But instead of making a donation I ordered your recent training videos. I will benefit for at least a year and a half, and probably a lot will be helpful with Photo’s as well.

Thanks, Peter


As a couple of others have said, there’s no reason not to have both sites running. You’ve got the existing CMS at - why not launch two further sites?

Definitely cover photos on OS-X and iOS and you can gain many new members who are interested in the new photos management solutions Apple is offering.

Launch the second site to keep the audience who are moving to LR or other software.

Give it 6 months and you’ll see which solution is generating more revenue.


As for ads, I buy a lot from Amazon (UK), so if you have an affiliate link we can use?


What if, instead of teaching about a specific product (e.g., Lightroom), you instead taught photo editing, library management, color correcting, etc. best practices. You could still call the site, and it would have a double meaning. 

Open it up to answering questions regarding photo editing in general. Someone asks you a question - you research and answer it. That could be your way to learn a wider breadth of knowledge about all the other photo editing products out there.

Jim Van Cura


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