Photo Editing Software

Discussion in 'Mac Applications and Mac App Store' started by William7, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2012
    For starters I am an amateur photographer who has never really done photo editing before. So my question is, what is the recommended editing software for mac? i was looking at aperture because its apples native software but i know that many people use photoshop. is there a different software thats even better? also id like to start shooting in RAW formats is one of the softwares better for handling RAW formats? Thanks
  2. macrumors 68000


    Dec 30, 2001
    The SimCity Deli
    Try Photoshop Elements. It's not as capable as pure Photoshop, but you will get a feel for what the "industry standard" is all about. And nearly everyone professional is knowlegeable about Photoshop.

    Otherwise, you can have Aperture substitute for iPhoto, if you prefer. Apple gives you that option during installation, so that all content from your camera, when connected, streams into Aperture. Lightroom is the Adobe equivalent of Aperture, and uses the same keyboard-controls as Photoshop.
  3. macrumors P6


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    I would also recommend you give Pixelmator a try along with Elements
  4. macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2010
    Use Aperture to manage and organize your photos, and to do simple-er editing of your photos. Then, for the few photos that you may want to do advanced editing, open them with photoshop ( or photoshop elements, or pixelmator) and edit there.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2006
    I'd recommend either Aperture or Adobe Lightroom. Both are excellent products and you should try them both out to see which one will suite you.

    For me Aperture has some advantages, but I prefer Lightroom overall. Aperture is half the price though so that's something to take into consideration.

    Also, I trust Lightroom to be around for quite some time given that it's one of Adobes most popular apps these days, not so sure about Aperture on the other hand. Something to think about as well.
  6. macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Aperture hands down.
  7. macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2012
    IA, USA
    Just to be a devil's advocate, I'll throw out Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. It's another good alternative to Aperture.
  8. macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Something to clarify is that iPhoto, Aperture and Lightroom are not editing applications... they are designed to organize your images, and they also do some editing. They are also RAW converters.

    That said, Aperture and Lightroom can do about 85% to 95% of the editing tasks that most photographers need, and they do it well. But there are some fundamental differences between Ap and Lr and editing applications like Photoshop (full, or the lite version Elements).

    iP, Ap and Lr edit non-destructively. When you import an image these applications make a note of where of the image is. From then on all the edits are simply recorded as notes in a database record. The original file is never touched. The edited image is not created until you either export or print it. This means you can go back to the original file at any time.

    The downside to iP, Ap, and Lr is that you can't work in layers, nor can you edit at the pixel level.

    Ps (full and Elements) plus other editing suites are not "non-destructive"... that is, the default behaviour is to replace pixels in the image as you edit (you need to do a "save as" to preserve the original pixels. Ps (et al) also let you work with layers, and to get down to the individual pixels. Most photographers with iP, Ap, or Lr will also have an external editor for those images that need serious editing.

    Hope that helps. Welcome to world of pixel pushing.
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2006
    Actually, for many photographers they can do 100% of what they need and more. It depends a lot on what kind of photography you are into.
  10. macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Yes, agreed. Most photographers will need to pop into their external editor only to clean up something they missed in the shot, or to straighten perspective, etc. But for some photographers, they may never need to get into an external editor. But I think the number of photographers who are good enough :) to never need an external editor are still a minority.
  11. M87
    macrumors 65816

    Jul 18, 2009
    I say get Aperture and definitely shoot RAW.
  12. macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Fact is, Aperture is good at some things, but not so good at others...I had a major dispute over licensing with Adobe a few years back, and have not purchased any of their products since, but LR is the way to go for edits IMO. Aperture is half the price, but it really only has half the features too. It's RAW capability has been improved, but it's not perfect.
  13. macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Definitely go with either A3 or LR4. I own both, but for me, A3 seems better. I also like the fact that it fully integrates into iLife and iWork products... much the same as iPhoto. Once you start using A3... you probably will never touch iPhoto again.

    Personally, I think that A3 is such a great program it is enough reason by itself to switch to a Mac. At $80, it is a total bargain.

    Once you have become really good at using A3... my next recommendation would be Nik Software. They have a suite of six products that are extremely popular with pro photographers... but mostly because they are so easy to use, yet make a dramatic improvement to your photos. They sell two versions... one for $300 and the other for $500. The $300 version works from within A3 and LR. The $500 version can additionally be called from within PhotoShop. They are otherwise identical.

    Finally... if you are still interested in going further, get photoshop. It is very expensive, and furthermore... it seems to be used less and less once photographers use A3 (or LR)... along with Nik. Depending on how far you get into the Adobe Suite... it can cost from $700 - $2500. You can alternately subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud which gives you up to date access to the entire suite for a rental price of $50/month (more if you do not sign a contract). Personally... I do not see a lot of consumers using Photoshop except students who get a discounted, (but non-upgradable) pricing. However, for graphic artists etc... it is the industry standard.

  14. thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2012
    Thanks for the replies. i have another question and that is what is the advantage of Aperture over iPhoto other than more editing capabilities. from what im reading i feel like i should let iphoto organize my photos and use lr and/or photoshop to do editing. also why is it that photoshop ISNT non-destructive i feel like it should be because i like that idea a lot....
  15. macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    My advice is - don't mix and match iPhoto/Aperture with Lightroom. Use one, and deal with it's way of working. To mix them up invites confusion, and potentially corrupting the database that holds the information.

    You can, just recently announced, use both iPhoto and Aperture on the same set of images since they can share a database.

    Aperture adds more editing abilities (lots more) and more organizational tools. My suggestion is to start with iPhoto and when you outgrow its abilities upgrade to Aperture.

    Because Photoshop and Lightroom are designed to do different things.
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2006
    If you have lightroom then there's really no need for iPhoto. One of the key features in LR is actually the library which is awesome for organizing photos in my opinion. There is a free trial of LR at the Adobe site, you should download it and check it out! Make sure to watch some tutorials as well so that you get a hang of it.

    As for PS being destructive. Since it can do a lot more complex editing with many layers it would most likely be very resource hungry if it was made non-destructive. Also, when PS was made no-one really thought of making non-destructive image editors, and changing it now would require A LOT of work.


    Actually, basic cleaning up such as removing spots as well as crop/rotate can be done in LR. You can even easily create masks to adjust certain portions of the image. There's even a graduated filter tool.
    So most of those basic things can be done inside of LR.

    Then there's also good plugins like those from Nik software that will let you do many of those effects that's usually done in Photoshop. So there's really not a huge need for PS unless you want to dig into advanced editing.

    I personally would not want to be without PS, but I can see that a lot of people would do just fine without it.
  17. macrumors 68040


    Jul 9, 2012
    Aperture....if Apple ever releases version 4 and starts to catch up with Lightroom 4 features.

    Especially if you are shooting in raw format (the camera save the maximum señor data and does not to post process it), I would suggest LR 4. If and when you need to do layers or pixel editing, they add on Elements as an editor. When you are ready to try HDR and other advanced post processing tools, look at the Nik Software Suite for Lightroom/Aperture. But start with LR 4.

    I wish Apple would release a killer Aperture 4 and give LR a run for the money!!
  18. macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Yep, absolutely... the operative words in my post were "... missed in the shot..." As in a tree growing out of a head, wires through the ears, etc. (I don't count dust as being part of the intended shot). Although with patience and creativity it is amazing how much content one can edit out of an image with the spot removal tool in Lr. :)
    As faculty at a photo school I get Ps at a really good discount, so I've never really looked at Nik's stuff. Plus the photography I do is often kinda, um, "alternative".
  19. Murgatroyd, Jul 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2012

    macrumors member


    Feb 26, 2010
    New York
    Graphic Converter is enough for me

    Back in early 2002 I bought Graphic Converter wanting only to change file formats (jpg to tiff or png) on a Blue Clamshell iBook. Over time I found GC to be a versatile piece of software that I rarely found the need to tap into all the features I saw it had for amateur and hobbyist and the more professional photographer.

    One of the last tasks I used GC for was to set up the placement of text and format the graphics to a CYMK tiff file that was sent to a printer for 1000 business cards I wanted. Graphic Converter is a pretty nifty piece of software. I was surprised how often I fired her up instead of iPhoto.

    You can try GC free of charge with no obligation. Peruse their website for more information.

    Follow up: I went and purchased the license from the Lemke website. All the features are there just as before but in the Cocoa framework. Someday soon I'll throw the four iPhoto libraries I have into GC, just to watch the batch processing of thousands of photos in 64-bit time :/

    I'd be interested in returning to this post a month from now and read what others think of GC in relation to the other photo apps mentioned in this thread. GC has some of the tools of the AppleWorks Draw program, 'ya know? Pretty cool.
  20. macrumors demi-god


    Jul 6, 2011
    CA Central Coast
    I have my own small graphics biz (design. layout, etc) and use Creative Suite 3 - an upgrade over the years from CS1. I use it on a PC. My photos/projects are filed on an external drive in a folder system I created by account. I'm having an AWFUL time getting my 2,000++ photos organized and accessible on my MBP (or iPad or iPhone - which really don't factor into what I do).

    It's been an extremely frustrating exercise trying to use Aperture (which at least seems to be easiest to organize in large "albums") but Lightroom and Photoshop Elements each have their own (as far as I can tell) method of organization. I'm finding I have to choose one (I have them all) and stay with it. Otherwise, I'm spinning wheels repeatedly organizing my files. PITA, but I don't know how to overcome this issue.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? Should I use one for organization and another for editing? The responses above are somewhat conflicting. As a result, I'm staying with my PC for my work-related projects. Seems so simple compared to any of the Mac-compatible apps. Wish I had an answer...
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2006
    Since you seem to be working with both Windows and Mac the best way to go is really with either Adobe Bridge or Lightroom.

    If you want to build a photo library, then I'd highly suggest Lightroom. If you are working with a library of mixed files like illustrator, indesign and photos then Bridge is the way to go.

    I personally keep my photo library in LR and then the design files in a simple folder structure on my HDD.
  22. macrumors demi-god


    Jul 6, 2011
    CA Central Coast
    THANK YOU!! Your advice is much appreciated!!
  23. macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2013
    I will suggest you to use Inkscape. Inkscape is an open source vector graphics editor much like Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, and Xara X. Its default file format is web standards compliant Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) under W3C’s specifications.
  24. macrumors G3

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the lens, UK
    I'd suggest giving OnOne a look to. There premium Suite 7 is good for various editing options. You can get a free 30 day trial (as you can with a lot of software) so worth a look.
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2006
    NC, USA
    Seven month old thread. I hope the OP decided something by now.

Share This Page