Best photo processing and editing software for an amateur

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by sstoy428, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. sstoy428 macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2014

    I am very much an amateur photographer who aspires to reach the ranks of an enthusiast some day :)

    I have little to no editing experience, but enjoy taking pictures and would like to learn to make the shots reflect the the actual image my eye saw (or to help set the mood).

    I shoot micro 4/3 in SF jpg+RAW. I have a lot of RAW files hanging around, quite a few shots I would like to process and edit.

    I use a macbook pro and a mac mini.

    In your opinion, what would be the best combination of user interface, navigable learning curve, usability and reliable impressive performance in regards to RAW processing and photo editing.

    I do own Pixelmator (used a tiny bit). I also have Aperture (never used). But are their other better processing or editing software for someone like me to use before I start diving into really learning those?

    Also, does anyone have an idea of how capable the upcoming OS X Photos app will be for amateur/enthusiasts?

  2. MCAsan, Nov 28, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2014

    MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Welcome fellow M43 shooter. The wife and I Olympus bodies and lenses.

    Since you have Aperture. Start to use it. It has a good digital asset manager (DAM) capability to help you import and organize your photos. That is a key thing lots of new photographers miss and regret it months later with they have photos still on memory cards and scattered in random folders all over a Mac file system.

    Apple has said that there will be no more development of iPhoto or Aperture. Apple will release the replacement named Photos sometime early next year. When it comes out, you can decide to migrate to it, move to the main competitor which is Adobe's Lightroom, or go elsewhere. In the meantime, your photos are organized, backed up, and you can do non-destructive edits.

    BTW, as a M43er you might want to check out these two sites:
  3. sstoy428 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2014
  4. Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    You got Apple Aperture..Use it for now until new Photo comes out next year. I hope Photo will be much like Aperture without have to learn new things. :apple:
  5. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    I'd add use the Aperture you have, there is also still a good "Learn Aperture" video App on the app store that will quickly show you the basics, it won't be all wasted as and when Photo's comes along either.

    Personally I see myself running Aperture for another 2-3yrs, I'll wait until Photo's beds in and demonstrates good library management before migrating.
  6. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    I disagree.

    I'd suggest trying a demo of Lightroom instead. I use and have Aperture, but it is significantly different in its user interface than Aperture, although both do the same things when all is said and done. I just don't see taking the time to learn Aperture when it will be no more, and you'd have to start over. While the new "Photos" app may have a similar interface, it might also be significantly different. We don't know.

    Also these days Lightroom comes in a very affordable subscription with Photoshop. Photoshop is the undisputed leader of the photo editing world, and every plugin works with it. Some find it difficult to use because of its many features, but you can ignore a lot of the more complicated bits, just like you might with MS Word. But like Word, it sets the standard, like it or not. So learning it is worth the investment in time and energy. And you can always use just your favorite plugins with it; my current favs come in MacPhun's pro series and they have been on sale recently.
  7. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I agree with the advice above. As much as I love Aperture, I would be hard pressed to advise someone starting fresh to invest in learning Aperture given that it will be replaced.

    Lightroom is the obvious best choice if you need to make a decision today. It is a solid product.

    Myself... given my extensive investment in Aperture... I am going to wait it out... and see what Apple's Photos brings. I suspect that V1.0 will be a disappointment for avid Aperture users. Maybe V2.0 will be better. Once I get to see what Apple's future holds, I'll make a decision to either move to Photos, or jump (IMHO backwards) to Lightroom.

    Having said that... depending on what you are looking for, LR can be better than Aperture. It is probably ahead particularly in the area of photo editing, although I do think it is close, especially for those who prefer using photo plug-ins such as NIK Software. I think that LR is a big step back from Aperture in terms of photo management... which is where most of my investment has been made.

    Photos has (IMHO) two areas where it MIGHT be groundbreaking:
    1. Multi-user/multi-device photo sharing
    2. Non-destructive round-trip editing through photography plug-ins
    Either of those could be huge... and probably something that only Apple could pull off.

    Hence, I shall wait until I know what Photos brings. I think success will likely be 50/50 at best... but still, no need to move now since waiting will not not increase the pain of moving to a new photo organization system.

    For someone with zero investment in Aperture... I think it would be irresponsible to advise starting that journey given the uncertainty of Apple's direction.

  8. bgd macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2005
    I'm no expert but I'd personally go with Lightroom. Adobe are committed to the photo market where Apple seem to be flip flopping.

    I moved from Aperture to LR and find LR a very nice and intuitive application. At the moment I'm using it mainly for cataloguing. I have played with some of the other functionality and it all seems pretty straight forward. Plenty of room to grow. There are some training videos on the Adobe site which help.

    You can download a trial version to play with.
  9. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    flynz4 makes a good point that I had overlooked.

    One thing I think we can be confident about is Apple's attempt to get image adjustment to be platform independent, at least over their devices. I.e. the abilit to make non-destructive changes on say a Mac and have them show on iPad. So if that kind of thing is important, maybe hang in there. But there are still tons of unknowns, and given my experience with iOS and RAW support (gag) and with Apple's cloud services (double gag) I'm skeptical.

    And most of the DAMs out there aren't even particularly good at sharing your own libraries/catalogs/photos from say laptop to desktop.

    So maybe use something free and super easy to use, but that works on a browser model (like Graphic Converter) rather than a DAM. Lower learning curve, plenty of organizational structure through just regular ol' Finder folders and keywording, and some editing. GC uses a different RAW converter than the system software (as do the open source options) so you'd have some variety over the system there as well.
  10. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Given the dead end Aperture is, count me in on those who advise the OP on learning and using Lightroom. While its true, he can still use Aperture, but why go through all the work and learning curve, have it killed off and then find the replacement a shell of what Aperture can do. I say get what's good now and supported now and in the future and don't wait on a promise that may not come for some time.
  11. erickj macrumors regular

    May 9, 2008
    I'm Curious What You Went With

    Hello, I'm kind of in the same boat and was going to ask the same question. I have a Fuji x-e1, shoot in jpeg+raw as well.

    I'm taking a digital photo class and have no experience with editing programs, but they want us to have Photoshop or Lightroom.

    I'm wondering what would be easiest for a novice, without any editing program experience. Sounds like a lot of people choose Lightroom. Thoughts?
  12. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    You've sort of answered your own question. The class wants you to use, so do so. LR and PS dominate business and education. If you learn both you will not have wasted your time. They are the eight hundred pound gorillas, and if you learn the concepts of how they work even if you move to some other product much of that will translate. And they still have a great perpetual license discount on LR. And the educational price for the whole Creative Cloud suite (much much more than LR and PS) is especially impressive; you might be eligible.

    Also, outside of your class the resources for learning PS and LR are the best by leaps and bounds.

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