Decision time: What Mac app to use for photo management and editing?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by MareLuce, Dec 18, 2016.

  1. MareLuce, Dec 18, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2016

    MareLuce macrumors 6502a

    Sep 26, 2010
    I need your advice on a decision I need to make sooner than I thought. A dear friend was recently diagnosed with bladder cancer and is having surgery next week. He said the 5 year survival rate is 15%. I’d like to do a photo project for him.

    So I need to find a Mac app to use for Photo mgmt and editing.

    I’m trying to move to a new MacBook Pro from a Thinkpad/Windows where I have a lifetime of family, friends, and work images and pictures. 60,000.

    Things I’ve done in the past 2 years:
    - Batch edits of groups of images
    - Basic photo editing (borders, filters, light corrections)
    - Organizing into themes. (By Geo, by Family member in the picture, etc) Most of the time is probably spent here.

    What should I use for this on the Mac?

    The Windows app I’ve been using, ACDsee, does have a Mac version. But it is so buggy it’s not usable. So I need to switch to something.

    I still need to use my Thinkpad so ideally there would be a Windows version as well.

    2 questions:
    What would you do if you were me?
    What are the top 2-3 apps for the job?
  2. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Dec 20, 2013
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    it would help if you could explain what your goal is. website? photo album? hard drive full of photos? you have already processed 60,000 photos with your current setup? how many more left to go? maybe now isn't the time to switch platforms and ecosystems. was it your plan to start over?

    likely the most universal editor/library combo, cross platform package is from Adobe. $10 a month for Lightroom and Photoshop. another option, Aftershot from Corel.
  3. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    For a browser I'd suggest "Lyn". You can use it without registering in limited capacity, but even that limited capacity still works well enough "just to browse".

    For editing, well, Apple's "Photos" (included with the OS) can do basic editing, but it's severely limited insofar as photo management seems to be concerned. Still quite usable.

    I've only used Adobe's "Lightroom" a little. Seems ok, did a nice job on a few sample photos. I'm not sure about how well it handles file organization and management.

    I also like Google's "Picasa" photo editing/viewing app. I believe it's no longer being developed, but the last release still works fine with the latest Mac OS releases. There's nothing particularly fancy here. But it might be all you need.

    I would advise you NOT to subscribe to Adobe's "Creative Cloud", unless you want to be locked into paying a monthly subscription fee forever. Stop paying, and the software stops working (at least from what I've heard).

    You're aware that there's a subforum here at MacRumors for Digital Photography?
  4. MareLuce thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 26, 2010
    My goal is a photo project resulting in a gift, not a website, for my friend who was diagnosed with cancer. Creating this will require me to do the 3 things I already described:
    1. Batch edits of groups of images
    2. Basic photo editing (borders, filters, light corrections)
    3. Organizing into themes. (By Geo, by Family member in the picture, etc) Most of the time is probably spent here.

    This project has nothing to do with why I'm moving platforms. However, how to fulfill those 3 needs is something I need to figure out before I can start using the MBP as my full time machine.

    This project will be a good tangible thing that will help me through the learning curve while doing something fun; not under the stress of a work deadline.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 18, 2016 ---
    Thank you for your suggestions, @Fishrrman. What is the advantage of using Lyn over using Apple’s Photo’s for browsing?

    No, I wasn’t! Thank you! I’ll check it out… I can see I’m going to be spending more time in this forum!

    I’d love to find 1 app that does all 3 things really well. I think I have fairly basic needs, though I’d love to improve my skills. But when I think about what I’ve actually done with photos in the past 5 years or so, it’s been those 3 things.
  5. kenoh macrumors demi-god


    Jul 18, 2008
    Glasgow, UK

    I would go Lightroom. I migrated from Aperture on the mac a few years ago and never looked back. It will manage your images for you and you can edit them in app. For £102 a year for the subscription, you get to use it on 2 machines so you can use it on both your thinkpad and the mac.

    If you decide to stop paying the subscription, I think the library function still works but the editing stops working.

    Lyn looks good but is still new.

    The full version (not download) of photoshop express has some good organisation features but it is just as expensive as the subscription.

    I do hope your friend is in the 15%... good luck!
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    If you stop paying, only the edit module is disabled.
  7. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    LOOK AT On1's Photo RAW app It will be formally released today. You can use it as a standalone, as host for other plugns, or as a plugin to Lightroom and Photoshop. IMHO it is a real alternative to an Adobe CC subscription.

    Another package to consider is Capture 1 Pro. lots of folks shooting Fuji have started using it.

    I would not bother with Apple's Aperture (now dead) or Photos.
  8. Moakesy macrumors regular


    Mar 1, 2013
    Another vote for Lightroom. Although I don't like the subscription model, it gives you both full Lightroom and Photoshop.

    I haven't tried Lyn yet, if there is free trial version it could be worth checking out. I'm a bit too invested in LR at the moment to consider moving just yet.
  9. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2010
    +1 Lightroom,

    I'd also get scot kelby's book on can take a bit of learning but very powerful once you understand it
  10. pol0001 macrumors 6502


    Apr 15, 2008
    +1 Lightroom

    No matter what program you choose for tasks 1 and 2, I would recommend taking look at Adobe Bridge (it is free even without the monthly subscription) for organising your photos.
  11. sos47 macrumors regular


    Jul 13, 2016
    Photo Management, Editing, Sharing and Presentation need a good workflow.
    If you have only one cam and an "all in wonder app" perhaps you don't need a workflow.
    If you have different cams and/or different apps you need a good workflow.
    I would recommend as a first step to google for a "good" photo workflow.
    When you found one, use the mentioned app(s).
  12. davybe macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2015
    Hi MareLuce,

    Previous responses point to various software ranging from unheard-of freebee online photoviewing (Lyn), to brand new hardcore RAW editor with no library management (ON1), to pro level with a learning curve and a cost to match (LightRoom, Capture 1). There is also the ocean of the likes ACDSee, Corel, Google Picasa etc. Confused?

    I'm afraid people are quick to post what they use but may or may not examine YOUR needs or know enough about alternatives.

    If I understand, you use a MacBook Pro and want good control over your many photos (moving from PC) for management, and editing. I suspect you're not a pro photographer and use JPG pictures (the "normal photos"), not RAW (that high end cameras can deliver), and that you may not want a steep learning curve. I suppose you could use neat features geared towards finding & utilizing your photos into projects (as you stated), and easy sharing (always nice).

    The obvious, totally overlooked answer is Apple Photos. A poster above dismissed it as "not to bother with" and I beg to differ, for your use case as for many. Apple's Photos is surprisingly capable, already on your Mac, and upgraded every year, for free (you'll need iCloud storage so it's not entirely free). Above all it gives you key advantages, see list at the end. It's an absolute no brainer.

    Because I know the question/dismissal will come from other posters, yes I'm a RAW shooter with a large library, an Aperture user and pissed at Apple. I now use Capture 1 and have tested all the rest, but hear me out for the use case of the OP. I will add were it necessary, that Photos doesn't cover all my needs and cannot be my primary RAW manager & editor (Capture One is). BUT Photos can be a great storage for all outputs (and iOS pictures, I know it's dirty to mix them but a smart album can easily hide iOS stuff) and provides EXCELLENT photo retrieval and consumption features, including creative projects and sharing. As of MacOS Sierra and iOS 10 you also have improved Faces (no they do not synch for now), automatic keywording with computer vision, and "Moments", which lets you re-discover your photos in ready-to-watch videos!




    Apple Photos advantages for us all:

    - One stop shop with Apple ease of use and great performance
    - You don't need to do anything to manage the files once handed over to Photos, but you DO have the option to geek out and have multilple libraries, reference files, etc. Only the Main Library and Managed Files synch via iCloud.
    - Can be expanded via 'photos extensions' of which there is an increasing number including advanced but easy to use such as McPhun's Luminar
    - Cloud storage and sync with your other Apple devices (there is nothing to do). Apple even added storage optimization in case your Mac runs low on HDD or SSD space. You will need to rent iCloud storage to accomodate your volume, but it's not very expensive and serves as backup too
    - You can access your library, and upload, from any web browser (if on the go for example)
    - Photo management features to sort and retrieve your photos
    • image recognition so you can search for 'beach' or 'dog' without ever having done a thing
    • Dates, Faces & Places all of which you have control over. You can even fix dates of photos (inlcuding in bulk) so they fall correctly, manage Faces (they do NOT synch via iCloud for now) and add Location information if desired
    • folders, keywording, albums & smart albums to get organized
    • all these benefits travel via iCloud to your synched iOS devices so you can "consume" your photos with ease (consult, search, share etc.)
    - Photo editing
    • including basic stuff but also some proper control (histogram, highlights/shadows...)
    • inlcuding Photos Extensions which is extremely powerful, as there are more, inlcuding high quality ones, and they unlock features such as localized editing (you brush adjustments to jut portions of the image), layers handling or HDR just to name a few
    • transparent and proper RAW handling if you were so inclined (and it's updated by Apple to support new cameras)
    - Photos has very easy to use and beautifully themed slideshows (to create videos), PhotoBooks you can edit then order, etc. Even straight photo print. They are competitively priced and very high quality.
    - Photos also has very easy to use sharing options.
    - You can import (even RAW files) on iPhone or iPad when on location or on the go, and everything synchs back to iCloud and your Mac
    - etc.
  13. Moakesy macrumors regular


    Mar 1, 2013
    So, given the three needs are stated as:

    Can you expand on how Apple Photos can do Batch Edits? I can only get it to do one image at a time.

    With the OP having 60,000 images, I would think this is a key requirement

  14. Padaung macrumors 6502


    Jan 22, 2007
    Affinity Photo as a Photoshop alternative, no subscription, £30 one off purchase. It can do batch processing.

    It isn't a digital asset manager like Lightroom though.
  15. Gabrielanicolao macrumors member


    Dec 13, 2016
    I'm using Unbound Photo Management Apps which is wonderful.
  16. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009

    Batch editing is simple in Apple Photo and in Adobe Lightroom. It basically planning. In Photo you highlight those you want to edit and edit them. Same in Lightroom. In LR you can have the module edit (adjust) the photos when you download them into LR. I usually will increase the exposure. For some reason my camera shoots a little darker. Could be the user lol

    @OP I like the idea of using a Mac with an iPad. You can edit and share between both a lot easier. Using Lightroom takes more planning but it doable. That's my go to App
  17. whg macrumors regular


    Aug 2, 2012
    Lightroom 6 is still available as a paid (no monthly fee) application. Adobe gave me a really hard time to find the right link for upgrading my previous version 5, but if you start new you can easily find it at retail or web shops.
  18. Moakesy macrumors regular


    Mar 1, 2013
    I know how to batch edit in LR, but can't be done in Photo as far as I know. I shoot around 400 pics a week at local sports events, and couldn't live without batch editing. From what I know of Photo, you cannot apply the same edits to multiple shots concurrently.
  19. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    The unanswered question is will there be a standalone Lr 7, 8, 9? Personally, I would doubt it.
  20. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    davy wrote above:
    "(you'll need iCloud storage so it's not entirely free)."

    Why would one "need" iCloud?

    I'm a long-time Mac user (30 years) and have NEVER used any of Apple's online or "cloud-based" services. (I do keep a few photos posted on Microsoft's "", but not for editing purposes).

    Photos will work just fine with files stored locally.

    In fact, I chose not to keep many (next-to-none) photos in either iPhoto's or Photos' own libraries. I don't want any photo editing app to control where my originals are located.

    Instead (on a separate volume from the one my OS, accounts and apps are on), I have created my own "originals archives", a finder-based archive with folders with names and dates that are recognizable to me. ALL my originals go into it, and I can use any editing app I wish without moving the originals "into the app".

    Yes, it's more work, but I've seen posts from users who are wishing how to migrate their photo libraries from one app to another, and having problems doing so.
  21. davybe, Dec 26, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016

    davybe macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2015
    Hi Monkeys, you're right, Apple's Photos is weak in this area. You can copy and paste adjustments but only one photo at a time, and only for built-in Adjustments (the little knob icon).

    --- Post Merged, Dec 26, 2016 ---
    Hi Mofunk,

    That is not correct, you cannot edit more than one photo at a time in Photos.

    --- Post Merged, Dec 26, 2016 ---
    Hi Fishrrman,

    You're totally correct: Photos can be used without the Cloud by checking the option off "iCloud Photo Library". Also, not sure you're aware: Photos is also able to work with "referenced" originals as you describe if you want it to, by unchecking "Importing / Copy photo to Photos library" and then importing. Your originals will be left untouched and your Photos library will therefore be lighter; it will still have "Previews" though, so you can even browse with your originals offline if desired. Another possibility is to go hybrid: you can activate the Cloud and then choose before Import which Photos are "copied to Photos library" (those will sync with the Cloud) and those you keep referenced (they will stay local and not sync). Lastly, Photos can have multiple libraries, but only one syncs with the Cloud (if at all) at a time.

    Now in terms of "need" the Cloud no. It simply gives you interesting features, but you have the choice.

  22. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009
    Oh wow I haven't used iPhoto in awhile. I do remember editing multiple images in there. I will check my other Macs and see on a older version. Maybe Apple will bring it back. :(
  23. Gabrielanicolao macrumors member


    Dec 13, 2016
    I'm using Unbound and satisfied with its service.
  24. niewiesznic macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2009
  25. AnnaCody macrumors regular


    Aug 21, 2010
    I totally agree with everything you say about Photos. I love it. However, for over a year now I've had trouble with it crashing. A minute, maybe 5 minutes and it crashes. I've tried all the fixes I can find online, nothing works. I even considered putting it on an external drive but someone did that too but it would still crash.

    Having said all that, if I upload it to iCloud and gladly pay for extra storage, will it crash there too. Does it work on iCloud the way it does on my Macbook Pro?

    Thanks for your help!

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29 December 18, 2016