Is Aperture the right program for me?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jazzer15, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. jazzer15 macrumors 6502

    Oct 8, 2010
    I enjoy taking pictures, but digital photography is very much a light hobby for me. I recently replaced my PC with my first iMac and have been fooling around a little with iPhoto. I had considered Photoshop Elements as a supplement, but then I saw that Aperture is available in the Mac App store for a great price. So I downloaded the trial version. It seems pretty nice and I like some of the added editing control and other features, but there is probably a lot more there than I would use -- certainly for some time as I don't really even know iPhoto well yet.

    I also downloaded a trial of Pixelmator, but I don't see myself getting into the kind of heavy image editing that that program seems to be suited for.

    So, I guess my question is whether it makes any sense for me as a relative novice to start with Aperture as essentially my first management/editing program, or if sticking with iPhoto for now would be a wiser course of action.

    My inclination is that since I was planning to upgrade to iPhoto '11 anyway, I should just put the money toward Aperture and spend my learning time with it, but I wonder if I might be better off staying with something simpler to start.
  2. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    Aperture is a great program, especially for organizing pictures. it's not a complete photo editor, though it's growing in that directly slowly.

    Personally at the new app store price, I don't think you can go wrong with aperture, but let me ask you a question: what is it you WANT to do with your pictures? Think about your goal and choose a tool that will fit, rather than the other way around.
  3. jabbott macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2009
    I had the same first impression, but I switched to Aperture when I bought a Canon Rebel T2i DSLR and started shooting with multiple lenses using only RAW mode. The feature set and the amount of control that Aperture provides for that scenario is quite a bit better than iPhoto. I would say if you shoot with a DSLR with multiple lenses then definitely consider Aperture, but if you shoot with a Point-and-Shoot camera you can get by nicely with iPhoto. Aperture offers things like advanced RAW processing (black point, advanced highlight/shadows, vibrancy, better white balance handling, etc.), better crop functionality, much better smart albums that can include any EXIF category, a side-by-side photo comparison view and a loupe for quickly viewing photos at 100% zoom and other zoom levels. I also like to know which lens I used to take a photo with, and Aperture shows this under each photo and allows me to search and make smart albums based on lens. iPhoto is lacking in these areas, but for a Point-and-Shoot it is perfectly adequate.

    Keep in mind that you can always import your iPhoto photo library into Aperture, so you can use iPhoto for now and then easily switch over to Aperture if and when you want.
  4. jazzer15 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 8, 2010
    Thanks for your replies.

    I don't currently shoot with a DSLR and, although my point and shoot cameras have RAW functionality, I have rarely used it. Things can always change, but that's where I am for now.

    pprior, at the moment what I want to do is to organize my photos and do some light editing. I'm sure Aperture's editing capability would be plenty for me. I'm not sure if I will find myself wanting more than iPhoto has to offer, but I suppose I can upgrade at any point assuming Apple has no intention of changing the new lower price for Aperture.

    So far (I've only had the trial for 2 days), the few things I have seen that I like about Aperture are: the ability to see an example of the quick fix editing changes before they take place; the ability to see easily different edited versions of the same picture (and the fact that the edits don't take up any significant space -- although I have plenty of storeage space; the cloning functionality in Aperture; and the ability to export slideshows (not sure if this is also available in iPhoto).

    I guess only I can tell whether these differences are sufficient to warrant the extra money (and probably more importantly, extra time) investment for Aperture.
  5. jabbott macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2009
    Good point - I don't know if Apple intends to keep the online pricing for Aperture at $79.99. Does anyone else know?
  6. EarthDawn macrumors 6502a


    Feb 18, 2008
    Long-eye Land, NY
    Great question... and I think many are worried that it is a temp. price and thats why soooo many people are jumping on it.

    $79.99 is a steal for that program !
  7. InfiniteLoopy macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2010

    Aperture is great for organising your photos and for some editing. You can actually do quite a lot in Aperture. Less than in Photoshop, but more than in iPhoto. It's at a GREAT price at the moment and I really hope that Apple keep it at this price for future releases.

    But, perhaps before spending further money, look at what you can do with iPhoto and learn that. As jabbott mentioned, you can always migrate your iPhoto library to Aperture.

    Perhaps before making the jump, you could explore your camera more and switch to RAW and such.
    Also, don't forget to backup your photos.
  8. johnfkitchen macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2010
    Aperture is a marvelous program, with so much more scope than iPhoto. At the price mentioned above, it's a steal.

    That said, maybe it is more than you will ever need. But I doubt it.

    Take a look at the tutorials for Aperture at

    These may give you ideas which can help you decide.

    On the subject of shooting RAW, I recommend that you immediately start using RAW for all photos. In cases of high contrast subjects or simply in cases where your camera has done a less-than-perfect job of choosing the exposure, Aperture can take a RAW photo and turn it from junk to a useful photo.

    Try this. Choose a high contrast subject and shoot it in RAW and JPEG. Make sure you UNDEREXPOSE some shots. Import into Aperture. Select an underexposed photo. Go to Adjustments. Under Presets, experiment with the items under Quick Fixes and observe the differences in the result on the RAW image and the JPEG image.

    If you have images with lost detail in the shadows, try the Shadows slider under Highlights and Shadows.

    You will probably be amazed.

    The cost of RAW is more storage used, but storage is cheap and always getting cheaper.

Share This Page