Large folder system... just moved from Windows. Which software?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by putty, Mar 7, 2009.

  1. putty macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2003
    Orange County, CA
    After years of envy I finally made "the switch" to mac. I have a fairly large photo library (25 GB) with many folders and subfolders for organization. I tried out Aperture but I'm confused just trying to import the pictures. My main needs are photo organization with minor editing.

    What is the best way to go here? As a former Windows user, I'm thoroughly confused by Aperture for some reason. How could I import my existing folder structure? Is LR just a better choice for what I need?
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    As a Mac user from 1984-1995 and 2002-now, I'm confused by Aperture and iPhoto as well. The need for duplicate copies irritates me. The software seems non-intuitive, at least in terms of how things are stored. I understand the decision to copy into projects in many cases, but it shouldn't be required.

    I can't imagine that Lightroom 2 is worse than Aperture.
  3. Wingnut330 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 16, 2008
    Central Ohio - USA
    I use iPhoto exclusively. My library is just over 20,000 images. I was recently looking to make the switch to Aperture but I think it might be a little much for me. I was considering it because I was running out of hard drive space and Aperture does a better job managing libraries from external drives (at least that's what I read).

    Long story short, I decided to upgrade my MBP HDD from 160GB to 500GB so now I have 350GB free and can delay my decision for a while. I like this option because I have a 1TB TC that backs everything up for me. The simpler the better for us.

    I think iPhoto works up to 100,000 photos, so I should be ok for a while.
  4. shady825 macrumors 68000


    Oct 8, 2008
    Area 51
    I dont think Aperture makes the "duplicate" photos like iPhoto does...
    (correct me if I'm wrong)
  5. Clootie macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2008
    The duplicate issue in aperture was and is the only reason I switched to using Lightroom. My folders and sub-folders hold all my RAW images and those are what Lightroom uses, so much easier...
  6. Shotglass macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2006
    If you don't mind spending money, Lightroom 2 is the most awesomest software on the market, and not just for photography.
    If not, pull yourself together and just use iPhoto. You can't control how it stores the pictures, but it's still a great application.
  7. putty thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2003
    Orange County, CA
    OP here...

    I downloaded trials of both Aperture and LR but both now confuse me.

    I'm a doc and I have a catalog of procedures in a hierarchy of Patient:procedure:post-op or something similar with some going 4-5 levels deep. I've used ACDSEE in Windows and it served 95% of what I needed (cropping, flipping, levelling, lighting, etc). Having the more advanced tools in LR and Aperture would be nice so I will get one, I just want to learn which suits my structure better.

    In Aperture, I tried importing a folder and it looks like it set it up as a Project and only imported the pics within the folder, ignoring the subfolders completely.

    I imported the same folder int LR and it seems to have duplicated the existing folder structure that's on the disk. This is good.

    I think that I figured out how to adjust photos in both programs well enough. This folder structure is my only differentiating factor and while it may be the reason I choose LR, I don't want to use this as the deciding factor if I'm just not accurately seeing how Aperture does things.

    Have I got it right?
  8. dimme macrumors 65816

    Feb 14, 2007
    SF, CA
    I have a similar folder setup with my images. My collection is 80 GB. I tried aperture and iphoto and do not like the proprietary way they store files. Lightroom2 with a bit of work is starting to work for me. But I m still waiting for a reason to switch from bridge to Lightroom. For me bridge seems to be the best solution if managing my already existing system. If I was just starting out Lightroom may be the answer.
  9. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    iPhoto and Aperture (and even LR to some extent) are data-base driven photo managers, and they require you to shift your thinking. I think, though, the LR is likely to be easier for you to understand, though Ap has benefits. Though both have a pretty significant learn curve. LR has more on-line helps, like this web-page:

    Here's a different page on the "philosophy" behind Aperture: It's a bit old, but still mostly relevant.

    I'd say try and move forward with LR first, and if it doesn't do what you want, then try Ap.

    Also, have you tried Picasa? If you really only need truly basic kinds of adjustments, Picasa might work for you.
  10. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    It's a normal side-effect of switching: you're used to folder (= directories) as your primary means to sort stuff. And you have a large existing directory structure.

    Before you do anything with a new app you don't yet fully understand: back up all your photos and don't touch the backup while playing with the app you're trying.

    Apps like Aperture and Lightroom work differently from Acdsee: they don't just `folders of images' or so. You have to import them. The three apps are pro apps, so they are more complicated at the expense of being more complex. Depending on the app, this happens in different ways:
    (1) Traditional app à la iView Media Pro just catalog stuff. You can drag in top-level directories and the whole directory structure is loaded.
    (2) You can tell Lightroom to copy the photos or leave them where they are (referenced), to import them into a single folder or keep the directory structure.
    (3) Aperture expects you to import one project at a time. Subfolders subfolders of that project until -- at the last level -- you get albums that contain the actual pictures. I would create the lowest-level directories in Aperture myself (they are written into a separate library file), in my case [year] > [year.month] and then choose `import from folder' to import your folders from there. The directory structure is then maintained within that particular project. For instance, I would create a folder 2009, a subfolder 2009.03 for March this year and then import all subfolders of your March 2009 folder within your directory structure.

    You should import in smaller bits anyway, not only because this makes it easier to maintain your old structure, but also because in most cases, apps will choke or crash if you try to import 20,000 photos in one go!

    Aperture- and Lightroom-like apps are inherently more powerful (read: a lot more powerful) than Acdsee. If you don't learn the basics, you will not be able to use them properly. The more modern apps will require you to abstract from the file-folder structure only (albums, smart albums, web pages, etc. etc.).

    However, there is no use trying to use an app when you do not want to learn how this new app works. Just keep in mind that simpler apps (e. g. Picasa) will not give you the same options pro apps do.
  11. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    Lightroom is also based on a SQLite database, just like Aperture.
  12. putty thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2003
    Orange County, CA
    Thanks for all the great info in the thread. I'm experimenting with LR and slowly getting the hang of it.

    This page is an absolute godsend. Thanks!

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