Photo Management (iPhoto vs Aperture vs Picasa)

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by wngraham, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. wngraham macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    I have a large collection of photos, roughly 4000, with about half being my own photos and the other half being various random pics I've saved over the years.

    I've always just cataloged them in iPhoto, being meticulous in tagging and organization. However, now that I've gotten more into photography I don't really like having my own pics mixed in with the thousands of other photos I've accumulated.

    What should I do? I've thought about buying Aperture and moving my photos to it and keeping the rest in iPhoto. I've also considered moving the random pictures into Picasa and keeping my photos in iPhoto. I've even thought about setting up 2 seperate iPhoto libraries.

    What would you do? The Aperture route may be overkill, but I've never been a big fan of the way Picasa handles folders and seperating everything by year. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Mar 7, 2008
    I always found that like almost all other Apple practices, Aperture demands too much control on my library with there being next to no easily available action of fetching photos manually from the library... you always must only use the Export option!
    I prefer Lightroom to this... it's really good at cataloguing and managing files and its Editing is also considerably superior to that of Aperture.. The camera Raw engine being ACR 4 is of course... one of the best out there.. The only hitch... missing iLife/Mac OS integration meaning you dont get the photos right in the left pane whenever.. wherever..
  3. TXBDan macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2008
    Boston, MA
    Are you shooting RAW files with a DSLR or jpegs?

    Lightroom and Aperture are designed as RAW processing workflows. They have great photo management and organization tools, but they're also pretty powerful raw processors/developers. This is why you must export out of Aperture, because the raw file itself doesnt mean anything until tis exported as a jpg, etc.

    Of the two, Aperture's plus is its iLife integration. Lightroom is a bit faster and its more mainstream. Both do a great job and have similar feature sets (comparing version 2 of each). Both actually store photos in a browsable folder heiarchy (You have to navigate into the Aperture Library, but its really just folders). I do a lot of DSLR raw work and went with Lightroom primarily because its more mainstream adn the last thing i want is thousands and thousands of pics to be locked away ina proprietary database somewhere. Plus who knows if i'll always be on a Mac, etc.

    iPhoto is out of its league here, but it still pretty slick at organizing with basic editing. I'd try iPhoto since you have it already and then see what brick walls you hit. it might be fine. As for the OP's original problem, why not use the rating system or tags to separate your good pics from your snapshots?
  4. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Mar 7, 2008
    Forget iPhoto and RAW.... I believe iPhoto actually converts the RAW flies to JPEGs before editing them...

    As for flexibility is concerned.... go for LightRoom... the DNG is going nowhere in the next decade. And believe me... this is really important! Before storing my photos I convert them to DNG and write them out on an xHDD or/and a DVD.... the thought alone of choosing a typical format unsupported years down the lane and having to re convert these terribly hefty files sends shivers down my spine....

    As mentioned above.. LR is fast but this comes at the cost of resource huger.... Aperture rarely ever takes up more than 1/2 a GB of RAM where as I've seen LR cross 2GB of RAM on occasions you are using a Graduated Fliter or other intensive tool especially on TIFF or HDR files....
  5. KettyKrueger macrumors 6502a


    Feb 17, 2007
    You can change the 'view' in Picasa to show by folder, so it shows your folders as they appear in Picasa!! Makes perfect sense to have 2 folders - yours and saved the nas many sub-folders as you need.

    Have a play with the view settings in Picasa, could save you a bit of money!
  6. Zisa macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2009
    my main grip with iPhoto is that it stores the photos in one database. I feel nervous, in case that single file get's corupt.

    Light Room, at least, manages the files in it's own database, but still stores the individual images as single files, in folders.
  7. yardie macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2008
    I think you are mistaken. iPhoto and Aperture store photos in a container which is just a folder treated differently by Finder. Double clicking on a folder opens the folder, double clicking on an iPhoto Library opens iPhoto. You can open iPhoto libraries by right-clicking and selecting show contents. You'll see a folder with lots of other folders inside.
  8. mrkgoo macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2005
    iPhoto does not store them in one file. It keeps them in a package that is only one file by appearance, but is actually just a folder. Inside that folder it has all the images in separate folders, organised by year and previously events, but now by date.

    The database file may get corrupt, breaking links in the iPhoto app, but the photos always remain. There's no way to corrupt the iPhoto Library folder anymore than any other folder.

    No. iPhoto allows edits using the RAW engine. The adjust panel even reflects different options than when editing JPEGS. It DOES convert the RAW to a JPEG on import, and this is what it shows, but when you edit, you edit the RAW, and it reprocesses. There are obviously some limitations to RAW workflow in iPhoto - for example, I believe the default, and possibly ONLY option is to embed AdobeRGB in the resulting JPEG.
  9. Jason Edwards macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2007
    To add to what vardie and mrkgoo said. You do not have to store your files in the iPhoto library. Copy your photos from your camera into a directory on your HD instead of importing them directly into iPhoto when you connect your camera. Then open iPhoto and import your photos from the directory you just copied them to. Also uncheck the "Copy file to iPhoto Library" in the preferences to keep the iPhoto from making copies of the files taking up double the space.

  10. jmpage2 macrumors 68040


    Sep 14, 2007
    I thought I'd resurrect this old thread as I've been facing these conundrums myself after making the switch from Windows to Mac OS X.

    I love a few things about iPhoto. I like that it makes it so painless to integrate with other OS X features and I really like the quality and ease of use of the quick edit features.

    On the other hand, I simply hate the way iPhoto wants to treat all of your photos as if they are in one single bucket and has no way to "watch" photos that you've added to a folder. This is especially a big deal for households that have all the photos on a network drive and photos might be added by other members of the family.

    I'm really hopeful that Apple will address this at some point and at least add this option for users that don't want all of their photos centrally located on a network share.

    Picasa addresses a lot of these shortcomings. It doesn't mess with or move ANY of your photos, and the folders the photos reside in can be spread all over your Mac. Additionally it has the prized feature of watching folders for new photos which is fantastic as I can copy photos I scanned, etc, right into the folder on my network and Picasa will pick them up.

    Sadly, Picasa has no full screen browsing mode (unless you start a slide show) and can't do full screen edits. Additionally the editing tools in Picasa seem sub-par compared to the editing tools in iPhotos.

    Now it's time for me to select a more advanced amateur program for editing and manipulating my RAW photos shot with my Canon 40D camera. I used to use Photoshop CS2 on my PC for this but it's serious overkill for my needs. I need the ability to do very fine sharpening, adjust the DOF of a photo, the color, blur, etc.

    It seems as though Lightroom will fit me better but would love any more input on this. Both packages have been out for some time and I would expect an update to one or both very soon.

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