Photos management + apps like Lightroom / Capture One

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by wiffle, Jul 27, 2017.

  1. wiffle macrumors regular

    Apr 5, 2017
    Just a quick question about catalogue management with Mac... Just getting into the photography/photo editing game and am a bit confused about how catalogues and photo library management works.

    From what I can tell, Photos creates its own libraries on import from various devices. Is it true that I cannot access these photos with third-party software such as LR/C1?

    For example, I import iPhone photos onto my MBP through Photos. If I want to then organize and/or edit these photos using LR or C1 I have to then export out of the Photos library into another folder on my HDD then import into the LR/C1 catalogue from there? Isn't that excessive and/or a waste of space by duplicating images in both the Photos library as well as on the HDD in another folder?

    I have a feeling I am going about this entirely incorrectly.. please feel free to educate me on the best way to go about photo management
  2. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Welcome to the thought once you bought a camera the controversy was over, but now it's the Post Processor Wars. :eek:

    Actually, that's just a way to say "many choices for the consumer."

    You've bopped up against what many see as a problem in Photos. Image managers like it, C1P, Lightroom, etc are parametric image editors, and store the instructions for making adjustments to images in a database. So they have catalogs/libraries for that database and sometimes other files like previews and such.

    Photos is a bit different, in that it can also actually store the original images in that library as well. That's called a "managed" library, and it's what Photos does by default unless you turn off the "copy into" option in its prefs. So images get put inside the library, which is really just a glorified folder called a "package." Use control-click and you can "open package" and see what's inside. But yeah, that means a lot of other applications can't access those originals. Only stuff that works closely with Photos and the OS media manager can.

    But Photos has another option: referencing images. That's what Lr and some other applications do—they store "references" or basically the relative path to the images, which just sit out in the Finder folders wherever you put them. That makes them more accessible if say you wanna upload one here. In Photos you get there by unchecking the "copy into" option.

    But there's a problem with that, cuz then you won't be able to sync those images (or maybe even any images) with your iPhone via iCloud. Also, note that Lr and C1P also store the adjustments in the database, so with all three applications the original isn't changed, so accessing it in its folder doesn't reflect adjustments, crops, etc that you've done. Lr can, however, write metadata to the image file that other apps can access (keywords, captions, location, etc) and in some cases also Lr adjustments, which then say Photoshop could see and accept.

    So many of us have different strategies to deal with that. I use Lr to organize most everything, and Photos only for really two purposes: JPEGs I've exported from Lr, which I put into Photos as sort of a gallery front end. And then miscellaneous random shots that I take on my iPhone that I'm unlikely to use anywhere else. If I do find I wanna use one of those, I copy it out of the iPhone separately (often with Image Capture) and then import into Lr. Also, I use Lr Mobile for all my more serious shots on the iPhone, since unlike Photos it can do RAW on the iPhone and send it to Lr on my macOS machine.

    You could also have a separate Photos library (not what Apple calls the system library) and use it to reference images, and also reference those same images with say Lr or C1P. Each would only really see the original. It can work, as long as your workflow doesn't confuse things even more. And as long as you aren't using iCloud Photo Library with those.
  3. dwig macrumors 6502a

    Jan 4, 2015
    Key West FL
    That's pretty much how it works when you use 2 DAMs. Also, if your DAM (e.g. Photos) isn't elegant enough to allow for passing an image to an external editor without you having to export the image out of the DAM's managed environment then you'll be stuck with the duplications.

    With Lr, you can send a file to an external editor and when that editor saves the file it is still in Lr's database and still managed by Lr. If you move to Lr you should consider using Adobe's Lr Moble on your phone and avoiding Apple's utilities. Otherwise, move the files from the phone to your computer, placing them where you want to keep them, without using Photos and then "Adding" them to Lr, which will leave the photos where they are and Lr will merely enter them into its database and create thumbnails.
  4. wiffle thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 5, 2017
    Ah. What a gongshow. And here I am thinking that I am just completely out of the loop! Thanks for the very thorough explanations.

    Side question while we're at it then... Any preference between C1P and Lr?
  5. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    Can't speak for C1P but I have Lr and I'm very happy with it. I like the way it manages files (especially that I can organise photos based on keywords), it has a broad range of editing options and good documentation available online. I never use Photos anymore.
  6. lexvo macrumors 65816

    Nov 11, 2009
    The Netherlands
    I think that's a personal thing, but I like Lightroom for the following reasons:
    - it has great photo catalogue management (more advanced than C1P)
    - I find its interface very intuitive and I can quickly edit photos in a logical way
    - it allow for plugins: add-ons of third parties for specific editing

    I think C1P has more options for color control (but the options in LR are more than enough for me).

    I think both apps offer a trial period, that's the best way to see which you like.
  7. wiffle thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 5, 2017
    Thanks for the feedback. So when you import photos from your various devices, do you just plop them onto a folder into your HDD? If I'm understanding this correctly, you cannot 'host' photos within Lr like you can in Photos - Lr simply makes a reference to the images from within the app?
  8. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    Yes, that's right. I have a separate folder on my hard drive for photos. When I import photos from my camera I import via Lr (which means I can do some light bulk editing on import if required). In Lr I have specified which folder on my hard drive Lr should place the photos in.
  9. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Lr is much better for image organization than C1P, especially with some excellent plugins like those from Friedl, Beardsworth, Ellis, etc. Many more features. But OTOH if all you need is what's in C1P than you're fine. I also like the Lr Mobile app: it allows a way to easily shoot and process RAW from my iPhone. I can't even do that with Photos. And of course if you get the CC Plan you get Ps, and C1P has nothing like that. You might not use Ps for much, but if you need some specialized work with layers, great selection tools, content aware fill, stacking and blending stuff, etc it's well worth having.

    C1P does have some color tools that are better some say than what's in Lr. Dunno how they compare to Ps though. Some like the interface better. It costs about as much as the CC plan if you regularly update, but you get Lr Mobile and Ps with the CC Plan. Some like C1P for its sessions and work with say tethered shooting. Or obviously with Phase One hardware.

    I've seen lots of comparsions of their RAW work and frankly none of the comparisons drew any conclusions I thought were very convincing since at the end of the day with some more adjusting you end up with very very equal images. I'm sure there might be some marginal differences with particular images, but those aren't usually reasons to go with one or the other. Lr has a bias towards making RAW previews that are very neutral and as alike as possible across different cameras. Some like that; some feel C1P does particular well with certain cameras. Personal choice that.

    Try 'em both. One BIG way Lr excels over C1P is the learning materials available for it, from your local schools to the web. Try for example, and the Lightroom Queen's excellent material. But Adobe has tons of good stuff, and there is a YouTube tutorial on pretty much ANY feature of Lr and Ps out there.

    And yes, Lr ALWAYS references images. It can copy them off a SD card for you, and put them into generated folders (most of us use date-based), but they are just there out in the file system like any ol' files and folders.
  10. johandup macrumors newbie

    Nov 16, 2014
    iPad and iPhone IOL does not process RAW files. It wastes space only.
    Process jpeg from IOL.

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