DSLR + Raw + Apple Photos + Mac + iCloud... what is the workflow?

erpetao

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I have been using Aperture until now, and I'm thinking of moving to Apple Photos + iCloud for my new galleries. But I don't understand really well how to do it, when googling raw + apple photos + iCloud there doesn't seem to be much info out there.

So my question is, what is the "right" workflow for using Apple Photos (Mac) with raw files in iCloud (just raw, not raw+jpg). Let's say I plug the CF card to by MBP, Apple Photos opens and imports the photos. I can add them to an album etc.

1. My photos are in Photos, right, now what? So I guess I needed to first tick "iCloud photo library" in the options. What's the difference with "My Photo stream"? Is this one needed too?

2. After the import, are the raw files uploaded to iCloud straight away? As raw or as jpg?

3. After I edit one photo, adjust exposure etc. are the changes uploaded to iCloud? How? As a jpeg or leaving the raw photo intact and uploading the edit settings? (Sort of like what aperture would do, leaving the "masters" folder untouched and storing the edits somewhere else separately).

4. If I open that edited photo in another device (i.e. my iPhone), what do I get? The original raw? The raw + the edits displaying the final image, or the jpeg?

5. If I edit then that photo in my phone, are those changes transferred back to the Mac? In which way? (raw + edits, or jpeg), etc.

6. After I'm happy with all the edits in my new album, do I export all the files to jpeg to a different folder to keep a copy of the "end product" or not? Do I upload these jpegs to iCloud as well?

7. Backups? Do you also do backups of your Apple Photos albums to an external drive? Again, what do you backup, the raw files, the raw + edits, or the final jpegs?

8. What happens when I edit a photo using an external plugin from within Photos (i.e. Luminar). I made some changes with Luminar to a photo launching it from within Photos, then saved the changes. Then later, I edited the photo again in Photos, launched Luminar 3 again but I couldn't see the old Luminar 3 changes (the picture did look like it included the latest changes, but I couldn't see them in the panel). How are the plugins and Photos passing the photo back and forth? As a raw file or as a jpg? How are the changes stored internally? A common format?
 

Darmok N Jalad

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Probably can’t answer all your questions, but yes, Photos stores RAW, but I believe once you edit a RAW, it converts it to JPG. You’d probably have to make a copy of the original and edit your copy. My guess would be to import your RAW files to a RAW camera folder, and then file your edits into the folders of your choice. To be honest, I think you might be pushing Photos a little too hard. A better option would be to copy your RAWs to an iCloud folder and then import to photos to make your edits. I go a step outside that and edit in LR and put my final edits in Photos for management and sharing.
 
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erpetao

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My plan was to just use Photos without worrying about folders or separate copies, etc. Just import, edit, done (if this is feasible). I believe that this is how Photos is designed. But also trying to understand how this works internally when using raw.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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Looks like iCloud manages your RAW files in Photos, and I guess is non-destructive after all:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204977

About RAW files on your Mac
The availability of RAW files on your Mac depends on a few conditions:

  • If you have the Download Originals to this Mac option turned on in Photos (Photos > Preferences > iCloud > Download Originals to this Mac), then your RAW files are always present in Photos on your Mac.
  • If you have the Optimize Mac Storage option turned on, then your RAW files are stored in iCloud Photos. The Photos app saves disk space on your Mac by displaying optimized JPEG versions of your RAW images. If you edit an optimized image on your Mac, Photos downloads the RAW file for that image.
  • When Photos downloads a RAW image from iCloud Photos, it creates a new full-sized JPEG for optimal viewing on your Mac. It won't replace the RAW and embedded JPEG file already stored in iCloud. iOS devices will view the embedded JPEG.
  • RAW files that you store outside the Photos app library (for example, in your Pictures folder) are always present on your Mac, but aren't stored in iCloud and won't stay up to date in the Photos app on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
 

erpetao

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Thanks Darmok, I've seen that page while I was investigating, it doesn't go as much detail as I'm looking for, but I guess the key concept there is that JPEGs are embedded within the raw files and edits on the raw file update the embedded jpeg non-destructively. Question is, further edits (on a different device), are they done on the jpeg or on the raw with the re-applied changes?
 

robgendreau

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As you can see, lots of what Photos and especially Photos with iCloud do is kind of out of your control. Which might cause one to pause before embarking on a workflow that puts all your raw files online. But generally, all edits would propagate across all your devices. And you'd only have raws downloaded as necessary, and since they're all up there they are by definition backed up. But of course if you had to download them again that could be a pain, even for a subset, and of course any big snafus in the synching connection would be a headache.

And you usually can't go back to Photos and re-edit an image edited in a third party app; you'd start over. You'd want to access Luminar or RAW Power or whatever to start from where you left off in that app. Photos doesn't do virtual images and hence that avenue, and having a history of edits, isn't available either, unlike in Aperture.

You might wanna try something else; some of us use Photos just for display and maybe passing around our snapshots from iPhones. Essentially you edit and manage raws elsewhere, and just export JPEGs for Photos to show. That's especially true for those of us that relied on the much more expansive feature set and controls in Aperture.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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Every single time that I read threads on here about alternatives to Photoshop/Lightroom, I come away thinking "Just give Adobe its $10 this month". Where I live, it's the equivalent of two or three cups of coffee :)
The problem with Adobe is the same as with Office365. For a heavy user, the subscription is a great deal. For the casual user, it may not be worth it. I can go months without needing LR, which makes a one-time purchase more appealing (I have LR6).
 
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F-Train

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The problem with Adobe is the same as with Office365. For a heavy user, the subscription is a great deal. For the casual user, it may not be worth it. I can go months without needing LR, which makes a one-time purchase more appealing (I have LR6).
I'm not a heavy user myself. I would never have thought that I'd say this, but I've come around to the view that the subscription format, and in particular the resulting updates, are worth the cost of two or three cups of coffee a month.
 
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robgendreau

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The problem with Adobe is the same as with Office365. For a heavy user, the subscription is a great deal. For the casual user, it may not be worth it. I can go months without needing LR, which makes a one-time purchase more appealing (I have LR6).
I'm not a heavy user myself. I would never have thought that I'd say this, but I've come around to the view that the subscription format, and in particular the resulting updates, are worth the cost of two or three cups of coffee a month.
The OP was an Aperture user, and anyone that thought Aperture was worth the considerable expense would probably say Lr and the subscription, or it's equivalent, is also worth the price. For free Photos isn't too bad, although it can be frustrating, especially if you're used to Aperture or use raw.
 

MacNut

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The OP was an Aperture user, and anyone that thought Aperture was worth the considerable expense would probably say Lr and the subscription, or it's equivalent, is also worth the price. For free Photos isn't too bad, although it can be frustrating, especially if you're used to Aperture or use raw.
To me Photos is just a storage app. It has no usefulness doing editing.
 
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BJMRamage

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I feel your pain. I am still "stuck" within Aperture.
I was a bit impressed with how far Photos has come (especially considering the limits it has within the iOS version of Photos editing)

I actually bought Luminar and On1 PhotoRAW but have yet to take the full plunge there. (neither has everything and though they are non-subscription, perhaps it is more like an annual subscription method)


and with Aperture only costing, $80 from what I remember, and bing able to use that for much longer than an 8-month Adobe subscription, I find that not bad.
 

erpetao

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Well, I've taken the plunge.

First I tried a first few RAW photos in Photos, bought Luminar 3 to have extra edit capabilities. Enabled iCloud photo library and tested how it worked.

After that I merged everything pre-Aperture and post-aperture into Aperture so everything was there.

Then I dropped the Aperture library into the Photos icon and let it convert the whole gallery.

Now I'm waiting for 40,000+ photos to upload...
 

Darmok N Jalad

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I feel your pain. I am still "stuck" within Aperture.
I was a bit impressed with how far Photos has come (especially considering the limits it has within the iOS version of Photos editing)

I actually bought Luminar and On1 PhotoRAW but have yet to take the full plunge there. (neither has everything and though they are non-subscription, perhaps it is more like an annual subscription method)


and with Aperture only costing, $80 from what I remember, and bing able to use that for much longer than an 8-month Adobe subscription, I find that not bad.
I just hope that someday Apple adds more of the desktop features of Photos to the iOS version, at least on the iPad. Affinity on iPad is still very good and much more advanced in that regard.

Well, I've taken the plunge.

First I tried a first few RAW photos in Photos, bought Luminar 3 to have extra edit capabilities. Enabled iCloud photo library and tested how it worked.

After that I merged everything pre-Aperture and post-aperture into Aperture so everything was there.

Then I dropped the Aperture library into the Photos icon and let it convert the whole gallery.

Now I'm waiting for 40,000+ photos to upload...
I probably would have done it in batches, but I guess everything went ok?
 

erpetao

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I probably would have done it in batches, but I guess everything went ok?
Actually I had a few issues. My Aperture was migrated years ago from iPhoto. So now when migrating to Photos it was complaining about some of the iPhoto masters and asking me to select the Master folder, I kept selecting it and kept asking again. Sometimes also the iPhoto library icon was greyed out. I should have consolidated in Aperture before the migration.

Now I have around 5,000 photos in the library under "Unable to Upload" on the left panel just under Places and Imports in Photos. I followed some instructions online and created a new smart album for referenced photos and then selected them all and click on "consolidate". They have gone from the referenced smart folder (except 9) but they are still in "unable to upload". I'll let Photos finish uploading the rest (still 20,000 to go) to see if it retries those again. If not, is there a way to force re-upload to iCloud the photos in "Unable to upload"?
 

MacNut

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Actually I had a few issues. My Aperture was migrated years ago from iPhoto. So now when migrating to Photos it was complaining about some of the iPhoto masters and asking me to select the Master folder, I kept selecting it and kept asking again. Sometimes also the iPhoto library icon was greyed out. I should have consolidated in Aperture before the migration.

Now I have around 5,000 photos in the library under "Unable to Upload" on the left panel just under Places and Imports in Photos. I followed some instructions online and created a new smart album for referenced photos and then selected them all and click on "consolidate". They have gone from the referenced smart folder (except 9) but they are still in "unable to upload". I'll let Photos finish uploading the rest (still 20,000 to go) to see if it retries those again. If not, is there a way to force re-upload to iCloud the photos in "Unable to upload"?
Do you have untouched backups?
 

entropyfl

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Oct 12, 2009
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I might be paranoid but one think I don’t like about apps like photos or final cut is that they store the files as package files within the app. So you right click, show package files to see your actual files.

I always wonder what happens if it corrupts and show package files is unavailable.. not sure if that’s possible?

I keep a back ups of my photos and video in the traditional finder folders on a external drive as well managing the photos library.

Probably highly paranoid but I’d be devastated if I lost all our photos
 

F-Train

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I might be paranoid but one think I don’t like about apps like photos or final cut is that they store the files as package files within the app. So you right click, show package files to see your actual files.

I always wonder what happens if it corrupts and show package files is unavailable.. not sure if that’s possible?

I keep a back ups of my photos and video in the traditional finder folders on a external drive as well managing the photos library.

Probably highly paranoid but I’d be devastated if I lost all our photos
I don't know about the Photo app, which I have never used, but this is not true of Final Cut.

In Final Cut, whether you keep your footage in your Final Cut Library or outside the Library, including on an external drive, is entirely up to you.

Even if you put your footage in the Library, what's in the Library is a copy, which is one reason why many people don't put footage in their Final Cut Libraries and instead keep it elsewhere and reference it.

In some cases, it is convenient to copy footage to a Library (such as if the project is being moved between computers/editors), but it doubles the amount of disk space taken up by your footage.

The problem here isn't a matter of being "highly paranoid", but of not understanding Final Cut's basic architecture. People are using Final Cut for major film projects, including feature films. They aren't doing so thinking that their entire project can suddenly go "poof" :)
 
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erpetao

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Jun 19, 2011
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Finished the upload, over 30,000+ uploaded, but I have over 700+ in a "Unable to upload to iCloud" on the sidebar. I tried to export originals and reimport them as a solution I found online, but I can't even export the originals. Looks like the masters are missing.

I have time machine backups, I guess there's a way to search for a filename in all backups when you are not remembering when was the last time the file was in the system?
 

NaimNut

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Oct 28, 2017
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Every single time that I read threads on here about alternatives to Photoshop/Lightroom, I come away thinking "Just give Adobe its $10 this month". Where I live, it's the equivalent of two or three cups of coffee :)
I'm there right now. Been using LR and trying Photos
I find LR is so much faster (syncing) and streamlined compared to Photos.

If you are sticking with shooting RAW and want access to images over various devices I think LR is the way to go.

Another plus is if you decide to buy devices other than Apple......
 

am2am

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Oct 15, 2011
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Using photos as my main library and edit tools for last few years. Currently library of 60k photos. RAWs only. Have 2T iCloud plan for it.
It is manageable after you accept few limitations (migrated from Aperture).
Photos editing capabilities are becoming really good, better each new version - missing brushes from Aperture but you can use plugins to fill gaps in editing.
In Apple environment this is the best DAM hands down.
See my old post about migration from Aperture to Photos here:
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/aperture-to-photos-–-success-story-long.2090153/#post-25532099
 
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am2am

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Oct 15, 2011
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See my responses to your questions below:


1. My photos are in Photos, right, now what? So I guess I needed to first tick "iCloud photo library" in the options. What's the difference with "My Photo stream"? Is this one needed too?

you don’t need photo stream if you use iCloud Photo Library. Apple depreciated photo stream

2. After the import, are the raw files uploaded to iCloud straight away? As raw or as jpg?

all imported as originals - if you shoot RAWs - you will get RAWs in the cloud (it will take space and will be growing - watch your iCloud available size)

3. After I edit one photo, adjust exposure etc. are the changes uploaded to iCloud? How? As a jpeg or leaving the raw photo intact and uploading the edit settings? (Sort of like what aperture would do, leaving the "masters" folder untouched and storing the edits somewhere else separately).

after you edit all your changes are saved as jpg - original RAW stays intact. Once you came back you can continue editing (in Mac OSX). If you start editing on IPad and try to continue on Mac OS you will need to start from the beginning (or accept further edits on jpg). Once you edit on OSX you can come back and re-edit your RAWs. Maybe it has change with recent iOS and OSX - don’t know (still didn’t upgraded to Catalina - waiting for stable version)

4. If I open that edited photo in another device (i.e. my iPhone), what do I get? The original raw? The raw + the edits displaying the final image, or the jpeg?

you will get edited jpg, you can always revert to original raw if you want


5. If I edit then that photo in my phone, are those changes transferred back to the Mac? In which way? (raw + edits, or jpeg), etc.

RAWs are always available. After you edit on iPhone you have jpg Edited version on your Mac. See limitation I’ve described in point 3.


6. After I'm happy with all the edits in my new album, do I export all the files to jpeg to a different folder to keep a copy of the "end product" or not? Do I upload these jpegs to iCloud as well?

you don’t need to do anything. Your last edit is your current version of the photo synced across all your devices. This is the beauty of photos in apple environment.

7. Backups? Do you also do backups of your Apple Photos albums to an external drive? Again, what do you backup, the raw files, the raw + edits, or the final jpegs?

icloud alone can be considered as a backup. I keep my local copy of photos with all originals + backup on separate drive, but I’m bit paranoid in this area :)

8. What happens when I edit a photo using an external plugin from within Photos (i.e. Luminar). I made some changes with Luminar to a photo launching it from within Photos, then saved the changes. Then later, I edited the photo again in Photos, launched Luminar 3 again but I couldn't see the old Luminar 3 changes (the picture did look like it included the latest changes, but I couldn't see them in the panel). How are the plugins and Photos passing the photo back and forth? As a raw file or as a jpg? How are the changes stored internally? A common format?

it demepnds on the apps/plugin you use.
general rule - once you edit in plunging it is saved as jpg and you cannot continue editing in another tool (you can but you will be editing this jpg, not raw)
if you go back to your plugin used for editing you are able to continue your edits in some cases (eg gentlemen’s raw editor) or you will have to roll back to originals to edit raw.

---------------
EDIT
---------------
Just realized I was responding to an old thread ..
 
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