Considering a switch to Lightroom

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by irishv, May 16, 2014.

  1. irishv macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2008
    I'd consider myself a photography prosumer. It's certainly a hobby for me, but one I enjoy learning about and am willing to spend money on. I moved from iPhoto to Aperture about 4 years ago and I have a 170 GB library that I'm trying to clean up. My library lives on a Mac Mini in my home office (which syncs to an ATV, 3 iPads, and 2 iPhones). To work on my backlog elsewhere in the house or on trips, I export portions as new libraries to maintain on my older MacBook. I travel significantly for work (work laptop is a PC), and usually import pictures to my ipad with a camera connection kit. I recently started using PhotosInfoPro to maintain some metadata (location, keywords, title, etc), which then exports to dropbox so I can pick them up in Aperture when I get home.

    Aperture's interface and editing capabilities are enough for my needs, so I wouldn't switch out of any desire for improvements there. I also don't need or want Photoshop (so the CC LR+PS bundle isn't of much interest).

    My issues are 1) not having an easy way to maintain metadata on my iPad, and 2) not being able to access my library from my work laptop.

    It seems like Lightroom could solve 1, maybe not 2. For 1, I could use either Lightroom Mobile or Photosmith to import new photos, maintain metadata, and sync directly back to LR. This would also let me work on my backlog remotely. For 2, can LR work on the same catalog on multiple machines? If not, can you export parts of a catalog (like export folder to new library) from a Mac and then work on it on a PC?

    As to cost, can you still get LR as a standalone app? I know that wouldn't work with LR Mobile, but Photosmith would likely fill my needs. Would you need separate licenses for a Mac vs. PC version?

    The funny thing is if Apple had included some way to maintain metadata from an iPad, I'd never consider switching. PhotoScope is promising, but not quite there yet.
  2. Bending Pixels macrumors 65816

    Jul 22, 2010
    You can still get Lightroom as a standalone app. The serial number is for either Mac or that other operating system. The EULA allows installs on two (2) computers).

    Photosmith will work, but it tends to sometimes be a bit buggy.
  3. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Wait for an Applle announcement at WWDC about Aperture. If nothing, consider LR. With luck we will have both an Aperture X and LR 6 by the end of the year.

    I have yet to understand iPad in a photo processing workflow. In the field I import to my rMBP, cull, and do initial edits with presets. When home I use the screen real estate of ATD to finalize the edits. The masters/originals are then moved to external storage.

    To me an iPad does not have the screen size, processing power, or storage for being part of the workflow. Besides, how do you invoke plugins like Nik, Topaz, Perfect Photo Suite, Pixelmator......etc on an iPad?
  4. nburwell macrumors 601


    May 6, 2008
  5. irishv thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2008
    Thanks, so you can install on 2 computers, but they must be the same OS?
  6. irishv thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2008
    I think you mean your workflow. Adding the iPad to my workflow is purely for maintaining my library. I don't edit my photos much to begin with, but when I do I'm happy to use a full monitor at home. An iPad+PhotoInfoPro actually works well for me, although it's a bit cumbersome and I end up with a spare version of the original in my Photostream (easy to remove from Aperture after I get home). I just wish there were an easy way to work through my backlog remotely.

    As I mentioned, I'm not a pro and won't carry two laptops while travelling (4 days a week most of the year). Dumping photos from my camera onto an iPad is perfect for quickly sorting through which ones are rejects, which I want to keep, which need edits. I don't have any plugins right now and frankly don't need them.

    Definitely waiting for WWDC, just starting to think if the move would make sense.
  7. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    You might need to verify, but I seem to recall LR was one of the Adobe apps that came with a license for BOTH Mac and PC, as long as it's two computers. And you can do essentially a similar export catalog from one machine import on the other as you mentioned for Aperture. That being said, it's important to note that like Aperture it's not a multiuser solution, and it has some of the same frustrations moving from computer to computer, and the same work-arounds. But at least it works on two platforms.

    I use Photosmith, and it is getting better and better for synching. Way better than LR Mobile, which I tried, but was rather useless. I especially like that I can export LR keywords into Photosmith, then use them there, assuring I have the proper hierarchies. I have used PhotosInfoPro as well; nice app.

    I tend to distrust synching, however, even though Photosmith has been faultless so far. I tend to only work on a small subset of photos. But Photosmith's documentation is great, and they even discuss it in terms of workflows to minimize risk, work around the iPad's limitations with raw files, etc.

    And one BIG reason I like LR over Aperture is that it is much easier to manage referenced photos in LR. You see the photo folders and you can move them around and manipulate them just as if they were in the Finder. So at times when I work on something on another computer that isn't LR, I can easily find and import the changes; LR has this cool sync button that lets you bring in metadata updates from the folder.

    Download the demo and check it out. You'll probably love it.
  8. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I agree to wait for WWDC.

    Personally... I think the dissatisfaction of Aperture is very shallow. I see the approximate progression as follows:

    • Aperture 2 come out... and LR 2 follows suit. Aperture leaves LR in the dust
    • Aperture 3 released
    • LR 3 released
    • LR 4 released
    • LR 5 released
    • Apterture still leaves LR in the dust... and probably still will when we have LR99

    Seriously... Aperture is still the worlds best DAM... and IMHO... enough reason all by itself to move from a PC to a Mac. Throw in NIK.. and the world is great. I also use Adobe CS6... for about 0.01% of my images (that is 1 in 10,000). I'll never buy it again... I'll just switch to Pixelmator if CS6 ever stops working.

    BTW: I own both LR and Aperture 3. LR goes pretty much unused. I cannot even imagine wanting to switch to having LR being my primary DAM.

  9. The Bad Guy macrumors 65816

    The Bad Guy

    Oct 2, 2007
    Hahahahahahaaaaa, er...what?
  10. nitromac macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2012
    Lightroom is cross platform -- I use the same key on both Windows and OSX on multiple PCs and it works fine.
  11. whiteonline macrumors 6502


    Aug 19, 2011
    California, USA
    There is still an activation limit (two concurrent).

    In my opinion, the bigger benefit is the LR library is accessible cross-platform.
    I don't pledge my allegiance to any corporation.
  12. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Do you get commission from Aperture? I agree both have their merits, but LR has a lot more editing options. Unless Apple bring something out soon, I think they will continue to lose customers to LR. Especially as adobe develop their iPad version.
  13. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Those that say LR can do more post processing internal are correct. My point is that LR is not enough anyway. If it were we would not have DXO Optics, the Nik Collection, Topaz Labs, Perfect Photo Suite, Helicon Focus......etc.

    As a retiree I was able to drop all the Windows machines and apps. So I like the way Aperture better fits into other Mac apps like iTunes for putting projects on my iPad for sharing. I don't need/want/care about the app being on Windows.

    The good news is we have choices. You can do either Aperture or LR or both (with a shared referenced library of master files). Hopefully we will all benefit from both an Aperture X and LR 6 arriving this year!
  14. d.steve macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2012
    You're both right.

    If you want built-in editing options, LR is the way to go.
    If you want the better DAM, Aperture is the way to go.

    Fwiw, I'm firmly with the Aperture crowd.
  15. Kebabselector macrumors 68030


    May 25, 2007
    Birmingham, UK
    In your opinion, if Aperture works for you then fine - personally I couldn't stand it.
  16. jacg macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2003
    I use photoscope to view photos already imported into aperture, remotely on the same wifi network. I can rate photos but not crop them. For my first pass on a batch given my needs (getting web content ready for the next person fast) this is all I need a companion app to do. Maybe hit the auto enhance (and undo the auto enhance).

    There are certainly times when I would like to do this horizontally or in the bath.

    Agreed, I'm not a pro, but I bet there are lots of users out there who have the same beyond-iPhoto requirements. Perhaps the makers of photoscope will step up if apple do nothing.
  17. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    No commission.

    First and foremost... both Aperture and LR are DAMs. After using both... LR is just plain kludgy... and Aperture is fluid. It is hard for me to even imagine that for anyone who really learned how to use both... how they could prefer LR as a DAM. Robert Boyer's ebooks are inexpensive and will quickly ground people in how to really use Aperture as a great DAM.

    Neither Aperture nor LR are great editors for the untrained.. However... after I really learned how to use Aperture fully, the editing functions are an absolute joy to use. Watching 50 hours of Aperture Expert videos really helped a lot. Still, both LR and Aperture really do need plug-ins... once you use plug-ins for either... they become nearly equivalent. I almost never use Adobe CS6 anymore.

    Aperture is probably the best written application that I have ever used... and use lots of them (mostly higher end applications). That does not mean that I would not appreciate some upgrades... because nothing is perfect.

  18. irishv thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2008
    Thanks all. Wasn't trying to start another Aperture vs Lightroom war, just curious to see if LR could address a couple of my issues. If Aperture either was cross-platform or provided a means to edit metadata on an ipad, it would still be ideal for me. I'm perfectly happy with editing capabilities and the UI.

    Think I'll give the trial version a shot and see how well it works moving between machines (sounds like it's similar to Aperture in that regards). Hopefully we'll hear something at WWDC, but if not, I'll know if LR would be a better fit.
  19. Argelius macrumors 6502


    Jun 16, 2005
    WWDC came and went....and no new Aperture

    In Apple's keynote, they mentioned about a new Photos app "coming next year." I suppose it's possible there will be a new Aperture to with it at that time...or Apple may just merge it with their standard consumer-level product.

    I like Aperture, but it's feeling more and more like Apple has abandoned it...

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