Seeking simple RAW workflow on MacOS Sierra/Photos

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by redman042, Feb 24, 2017.

  1. redman042 macrumors 68030


    Jun 13, 2008
    My wife and I are getting semi-serious about photography again but would like a workflow that takes advantage of iCloud and avoids too many tedious/time-consuming steps. We are hobbyist shooters and have busy lives and don't really want to mess with Lightroom or Photoshop. For the occasional special photo that will be framed, I would like a good option for developing the RAW image, but I would like to keep the files in the Photos library. For most other shots we will sometimes shoot in RAW+JPEG and sometimes just JPEG depending on how special the shots are. I want to manage how many RAW images we upload into iCloud, to avoid consuming massive amounts of space. We are shooting with a Canon 80D DSLR.

    I'm looking for feedback from other hobby photographers that periodically shoot in RAW+JPEG and import their shots into iCloud Photos to store, manage, and edit them. Here are my questions:

    What's your workflow?

    What third-party apps/add-ons do you use to adjust the more special images?

    Have you found a good way to remove RAW images from RAW+JPEG files in Photos?

    Do you edit RAW images in Photos on the Mac, or do you use a third party add-ons like Affinity or Luminar? How well do those work? Have you compared them?

    Can you edit imported RAW images (the RAW file in a RAW+JPEG) directly on the iPad? I have not found a way. On the Mac you can pick the RAW or the JPEG, but on the iPad I don't see that option, and it's not clear what I'm editing when I import into a third-party app.
  2. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    I'll be brief but also need to be blunt. Photos just doesn't cut it for those who have more than a casual interest in photography. However, its not a bad fit for someone who thinks that iPhones are the end all in taking photos.

    There are multiple software choices out there depending on what you want to do with images. I am unsure why you find Lightroom to not be an option as it is what was the "other software" to Apple's own Aperture.

    For raw images, I happen to like (for my camera) - Capture One Pro. I have friends who prefer Lightroom and some prefer DXO's software and others like Corel's offerings as there are several now out there.

    The challenges you might want to consider -
    Best software for your type of camera's raw file (they are not all the same nor are the results of various software)
    Best workflow - do you do a lot of editing or maybe just a slight edit. Sofware out there reflect what can be done.
    Best option to add 3rd party tools. Some software allow the use of another software to add features. As example, you may use Photoshop and add a 3rd party application such as OnOne filter effects. So finding as software that allows for the 3rd party additions may be something you want to consider.
    Cost - there are free software and then expensive. Somewhere inbetween may be the software that best serves your particular needs.

    As I said, I like Capture One Pro for personal. For work on other peoples' images, I use Lightroom and go into Photoshop often enough. A good pal of mine dropped Photoshop entirely and uses Pixelmator (and one other software instead) and is extremely happy.
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    What you are asking for is hard. Serious photography and the Photos app just don't work unless you only use Photos as a way to store your work on your phone after using smoother workflow.

    It is too bad but Aperture would have beed just what you wanted.

    Take a second look at Lightroom. You can use Adobe's cloud storage rather then Apple's. It works about the same way, you can see your photos on all your devices but you get very good tools for processing and editing your images. Nothing is really better.
  4. redman042 thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jun 13, 2008
    I appreciate the feedback and perspectives.

    The challenge for me is free time. I have very little of it. My wife and I enjoy photography quite a bit, and I think we are both pretty good at it. We squeeze it in when we can. But the number of times that we will actually spend a good chunk of time perfecting a RAW image in post is pretty low. But not zero. There will be times when we specifically shoot images for framing, and we will shoot in RAW and spend the time on it afterwards.

    But the bulk of our shooting is more casual. For example, last weekend I shot a bunch of photos of a friend's birthday party. The room was kind of dark and the kids were moving fast. The capabilities of the 80D allowed me for the first time to get the shutter speed and ISO high enough to freeze action while avoiding grainy results. The shots looked great right out of the camera. I shot in JPEG only, because that was plenty good enough for the intended uses of the shots. I made sure the white balance and exposure was just right before shooting. After we got home, I uploaded the SD Card to my iPad, which synced them in iCloud, then did some light manipulation (crop, bring up shadows a tad, tweak color cast, done). I was able to lean back on the couch and do this manipulation on my iPad (9.7" Pro) very quickly and seamlessly. Then I created an iCloud shared folder, shared with our friends, and we were done.

    When we do set up for the perfect shot, whether it be a beautiful landscape shot, or my daughter posing, I will set the camera to RAW+JPEG. I still plan to import to Photos/iCloud afterwards, because it has become our one-stop shop for storing, viewing, backing up, and sharing our images. I know the RAW file imports with the JPEG. From there, I have a few options. I did briefly try editing the RAW in Photos on my Mac. I'm not yet sure how I feel about the image quality results of this approach compared to other software solutions. I've looked at some third party apps (like Affinity or Luminar) which I think will work as a Photos extension to edit the RAW image, but I need to test them. Or I can export from iCloud, and use Capture One Pro or other stand-alone package to do the editing, then re-import. I'm not opposed to the export/import workflow. I just want to keep it simple, while getting great quality images. I won't be doing this all that often.

    I do have experience with Lightroom. Several years ago I brought our entire library into Lightroom on a PC. It's amazingly capable software, but it is complex and takes dedication and patience to use. It also takes a powerful machine to run it smoothly. My machine at the time choked on it. It's pricey as well, and their cloud storage option was limited last time I checked, as is the ability to have my full library with me on the phone for viewing and sharing. So eventually I ditched it, once iCloud Photos matured enough to be viable for the use I have in mind. I know it still has a way to go, but I'm hoping to use a third party application in conjunction with it to strike the right balance for me.
  5. mollyc macrumors 68000

    Aug 18, 2016
    I am a hobby photographer and also use LR/Photoshop for editing. LR for me is for super quick edits/syncing. Anything more major goes into Photoshop for advanced cloning/image manipulation/etc.

    I personally don't store images in the cloud, other than backing up jpegs to Zenfolio every so often; that is also how I share galleries to friends/family.

    I have honestly never used Photos. I realize that none of this info actually helps you, other than to give you the perspective that hobbyist people can also use LR/PS (and maybe PSE would be better for you, or even just stay in LR completely).
  6. guzhogi macrumors 68030


    Aug 31, 2003
    Wherever my feet take me…
    I've gotten into photography recently, too. I kinda like Pixelmator since it has a Photos extension, iPad app & iCloud integration. Not as Pro as say Photoshop/Lightroom, but lower cost.
  7. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    What people are trying to tell you is that if want to save time use the right tool for the job.

    It might seem simple to shoot RAW and JPEG as you are, but that's too complex for Photos. And a waste of time. Why would you bother? The RAW is always better since Photos can make a very fine JPEG. No wasting time setting the WB in the camera, as you noted. Just shoot either RAW or JPEG, and much of your headache would go away, and in any case you haven't cited why you're shooting pairs. I expect that your camera can generate a JPEG from a RAW, if necessary.

    And look at some extensions for Photos if it isn't giving you enough adjustment leeway. Nothing can be done about it's organizational and metadata shortcomings, but DxO, Macphun, Graphic Converter, and many others make great extensions for cheap. There are again lots of limitations, but you have to decide whether fighting them is more effort than getting a more complete solution like C1P or Lr.

    As to the iPad, there are some apps coming on line to edit real raw (as opposed to the JPEG versions iOS generates). But I think some of them only work with DNGs generated by the device camera, so be careful. Snapseed will work on RAW, Lr Mobile works on RAW, and I think Photogene does too. And Mylio. But it's tricky, cuz you often have to use a copy of a RAW file taken from the Photos app. That means it may have to be exported again to get into sharing services.
  8. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2010
    LR can have a steep learning curve, I came from aperture and found LR very confusing initially.

    I bought Scott Kelby's book on it, its very good..yes this takes a little time (but not as much as you think) and I understand this to be an issue for you...but if you put the time in to learning at least the basics you will get that time back and more.

    A lot of pro photographers use something like LR (and I guess it's the number one by quite a way?) to process lots of pictures quickly. It will handle Jpegs if thats what you would like to do (although with lifting the shadows in high iso jpegs as you mention in your OP, you might want to consider RAW)

    It would be pretty straightforward to export your files to Icloud/Photos. Additionally if you keep the original in LR you could use a relatively low res version to store in the cloud safe in the knowledge you had a high res version on hand if you needed it.

    LR is still available stand alone (i think)
  9. redman042 thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jun 13, 2008
    Have you tried it on RAW photos?
    --- Post Merged, Mar 1, 2017 ---
    I'll try some of those add-ons. Given that shooting in RAW will be occasional for me, I'm okay with the copy/export/import workflow if that's what I have to do. Thanks for the tip.

    I know what I'm suggesting is blasphemy to serious photographers, and that's fine. To each his own. As for Lightroom, I already do know how to use it. I just don't want to anymore, for a variety of reasons. I'm going down this other path and will see where it takes me. I'm hoping to connect with others that have tried this approach as well.
  10. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    I shot RAW + JPG for several years (using Aperture, iPhoto, and then Photos), finally gave up on the JPG altogether, and just shoot RAW - I was just wasting storage space.

    The thing is, RAW processing is integrated into both MacOS and iOS - what you see in Photos already has Apple's RAW profiles applied, so there's no need for a separate "down and dirty" JPG for export. "Developing" a RAW image, to me, is "image editing," using the same tools you'd use to edit a JPG, but from a better starting point. Sure, if you're sophisticated enough to over-rule Apple's RAW profiles on an across-the-board basis, then there is separate "developing" for RAW. I don't sense you're at that stage.

    I'm also not sure whether a "workflow" is required, beyond "Import images, organize images, edit images." Workflow can mean different things to different photographers. If you're pushing publication deadlines or need to push wedding albums out the door, developing a workflow is very much a matter of speed and efficiency. It may include steps like adding additional metadata, applying a house "look," etc. If you've developed a distinctive editing style, it can be worthwhile to formalize it as a workflow. But for those of us who are exploring... maybe workflow over-formalizes the process.

    The native editing tools that come with Photos don't include the kind of RAW processing features a serious RAW editor is looking for, but they still work - starting from RAW still gives you advantages over starting from a JPG.

    There are RAW processing apps in Mac App Store that include extensions for Photos (plus the ability to access photos from the Photos library for working independently of Photos). I haven't tried them, but one in particular, RAW Power, looks very intriguing and capable. (I do use other Photos extensions - it's a very nice capability to have.)

    I also don't have a lot of time in my day for fine editing. The whole "right tool/wrong tool" thing, while correct in principle, still has to take your own goals into account. Photos is hardly the most sophisticated editing tool on the market, but it's quite capable for quick work, it's built into the tool you're using for organizing your images, and there are extensions available that allow you to go much farther, when you have the need. "Limited" tools have a way of teaching you, too. When you reach a particular limitation, you learn just where your technique has been taking you, and you may better understand just what to look for in your next tool.

    While there's something to be said for starting out with the "best," most sophisticated tools, it can take a while before you have the vision, experience, and skill to use the advanced capabilities. If you can't see something (that's obvious to someone of greater skill/experience), you can't use some of those tools effectively (and even risk mis-using them), and unless you're disciplined enough to explore one particular capability at a time, you may be overwhelmed by all the controls presented by advanced tools. Folks here inevitably tell us what camera they're using, less frequently explain just how they're using all the controls the camera offers - how many functions are set to Auto, how many are they setting manually? Same thing with Photoshop. "I use Photoshop" doesn't necessarily tell us how they're using it. It's completely possible that they're doing no more in Photoshop than they could be doing in Photos.

    The key thing, as far as I'm concerned, is that you can always go back later and reprocess an image with other tools. And since we're always learning, we may end up going back and reprocessing using the same tool (like Photos). Shooting RAW preserves all your options in that regard.
  11. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
  12. redman042 thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jun 13, 2008
    Great post. I will have to try RAW-only shooting followed by importing/editing with Photos. If it's already creating a JPEG for me then I always have something to immediately share if I'm not inclined to develop the RAW. Basically I only want to take the time to do significant editing on maybe 10% of the shots we take. But on those 10%, I will spend quality time getting the image just right, and want more powerful tools without going to the extent of buying and using Lightroom. I'll check out Raw Power.
  13. Somepix macrumors member


    Apr 7, 2008
    Beauce, Québec
    Hi !
    I'm à former Apertur/Photoshop user.
    After the disparition of Apertur and the necessity to subscribe to Adobe's software, I choose to walk the easy path :
    Photos as a DAM (which is not that bad if one takes time to explore it and uses multiple librarys)
    Affinity Photo for editing (which is excellent !)
    Conclusion: less time spent fiddling with complicated tools, more time creating
    Of course, I'm not a pro...
  14. redman042 thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jun 13, 2008
    So after a weekend outing testing out our new 80D by shooting some snowy landscape scenes, the perfect workflow (for our amateur needs) still eludes me.

    While out shooting, it's hard to know whether an image is "RAW-worthy", especially when shooting repeated frames of a horse which is moving around. So we ended up leaving the camera in RAW rather than toggling back and forth between RAW and JPEG. We shot about 100 images all in RAW only, of which maybe a dozen were worth keeping and maybe 2-3 were worth spending time adjusting.

    Given that, I didn't want to import the whole lot into Photos and end up with a ton of space consumed by RAW files plus the JPEGs generated by Photos. I really just wanted JPEGs for most, and to keep the RAWs for the few special shots.

    That rules out using the iPad or iPhone to download the SD card, since shots go right into Photos and you're stuck with the RAW files forever once they are in there.

    So I busted out the Macbook and tried a different approach. I grabbed Canon's EOS Utility and Digital Photo Professional software off their website to download the shots over wifi, review and mark the images as keepers or rejects, weed out the rejects, spend time tweaking the best images, then export the whole lot to JPEG. Once I completed that, I imported those JPEGS into Photos. I tossed most of the RAWs except for the few that were special and I might want to further tweak in the future.

    That worked out well, though it did involve more steps and require the use of the Mac instead of the iPad. Thankfully we have the 12" Macbook, so it's feasible to take it on the road, though it's another costly device we are lugging around.

    While Canon's software isn't the most elegant around, it was better than I expected (and it's free with the camera). It's optimized for their RAW formats, of course, and it has features very similar to Lightroom for marking and adjusting images. The UI is less complex than LR once you get used to it, and it doesn't work with a database file like LR, which is fine with me since I'm using Photos for that. If you choose not to adjust your RAW files, it will apply the camera settings that existed at the time of shooting (white balance, noise reduction, etc.) to the exported JPEGs. So you don't have to tweak the RAW files if you don't want to. It will also show you which camera focus points were activated in a shot, which is really nice.

    The only issue I had with Digital Photo Professional is that the JPEG export was pretty slow. Maybe it's because of the M processor in my Macbook. Not a deal-killer but a little annoying.

    One other nice option I discovered is that the 80D lets you develop a RAW file right in the camera, and even apply a few adjustments if you want to. So if we are out and about and want to quickly develop a RAW for posting on social media, that can be done. But this function only works on one photo at a time. I can't develop a batch then export it.
  15. mollyc, Mar 8, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017

    mollyc macrumors 68000

    Aug 18, 2016
    What would your perfect workflow be? Forget what exists or what programs you've tried....but what is it you want to do? And I mean this sincerely, not in a snarky manner. Perhaps if you stated your desired workflow we could help you figure it out?

    Reading through your posts I do get the feeling that you wish there was some magical way of changing a photo from jpeg to raw if you like it after seeing on the screen. There is no way of doing this, as you already know. I think you should just shoot all raw and find some program you are comfortable with that allows you to use basic presets to throw on "normal" images that you'd like SOOC. I suspect the Canon software can do this, but I've not used it. But I know you can build in-camera presets for images, so can't imagine that isn't in the Canon software. By shooting raw, then you reserve the ability to do a full edit on any and all images, and then images you don't want to spend time with just get a basic raw to jpeg development and you are done.

    Unfortunately you often just don't know which images you will fall in love with until you see them on the computer. This is why most of us shoot raw - it allows us complete freedom for development when we want, but one or two clicks and then a sync allows us to deal with all the rest.
  16. redman042, Mar 9, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017

    redman042 thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jun 13, 2008
    Fair question. For context, I do have a solid understanding of image file formats and the limitations of each. I am not expecting some "magical" solution here. As I mentioned, I used Lightroom as my photo database and editing software for several years. But when I replaced our aging PC with a Mac, I decided for the sake of simplicity to ditch all that and use iCloud Photo Library to store all our photos going forward. My wife and I each have 200 GB iCloud accounts. We've been doing a lot of shooting with our iPhones (the best camera is the one you have with you, so they say), and it's working really well. iCloud Photos has matured a lot. The non-destructive adjustments and ability to have all your images with you wherever you are is terrific (great for sharing with family during a gathering).

    But we also like shooting with more professional equipment from time to time, and occasionally processing an image to blow up and frame. Hence the desire to occasionally shoot in RAW.

    The challenge for us is (1) We have limited time to spend sorting and processing images; (2) We take a lot of images in the quest to capture that "perfect moment" but do not want to retain large file size RAW images for all those images in iCloud.

    With that background, here would be my perfect workflow:
    1. Set DSLR to RAW+JPEG. Shoot freely without worrying about changing that setting or how many images we are building up on the card.
    2. Bring our 9.7" iPad Pro and SD card reader with us as a convenient portable upload, storage, and initial editing tool (and a nice big perfectly calibrated display to view them on!).
    3. After shooting, upload the entire card contents to the iPad.
    4. On the iPad, review the images, star the good ones, delete the bad ones.
    5. For the best images, keep both the RAW and the JPEG in iCloud. Fine-tune the RAW files either on the iPad or later at home on the Mac.
    6. For the "average" images (ones we want to keep but are completely happy with the JPEG and see no need to keep the RAW), somehow separate the JPEG from the RAW and either delete the RAW or archive it outside of iCloud Photo Library on a portable drive. Keep the JPEG in iCloud.
    Looking at the current state of Apple's Photos, iCloud, and various third-party apps we have been discussing in this thread, we are almost at the point where I can accomplish this. But not quite. The problem is Step 6. As many have pointed out, Photos does not allow you to drop the RAW file out of a RAW+JPEG bundle. The only option offered so far is to export the images back out of Photos, then re-import just the JPEGs. That process is a bit convoluted and, last I checked (I could be wrong about this with the current version), EXIF data is lost in that process. Even if that's not the case, I would need to export/import 100s of images after a vacation, and I worry about glitches during the process.

    What I'm finding right now is that I can modify the above steps by using our Mac instead of the iPad, then using Canon's software to develop the RAWs into JPEGs, select which RAWs I want to keep and ditch the rest, then import into Photos/iCloud. Which is mostly fine, but the Mac is a more expensive device to be hauling around and it doesn't have a touchscreen so it's a little less convenient to use.

    Hope that clears up what I'm aiming for. Now, perhaps with iOS 11 Apple will add the ability to separate the RAW images in Photos. Until then, I can get by with a work-around, but am wondering if there's another way I haven't considered.
  17. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    I'm confused again.

    I get that your subscription to iCloud Photo Library is driving your preference for saving JPEG over RAW, since it marginally saves space. But wouldn't more selective use of iCloud Photo Library be an even more efficient way of doing that? what are you using iPL for? It would just seem that not worrying about it and keeping RAW in there would work fine, and just cull a few more. Are you bumping up against storage limits?

    Why not shoot all RAW, then selectively import into the iPad images you think might be decent. As you go through to edit, you'd probably delete some more. You'd have both RAW and JPEG, and be able to share and do whatever. Meanwhile, when it's possible, just copy the whole SD card and all the raw to an archive in case you'd need 'em sometime. That would include the "average" ones, and there's no need to create a JPEG from them since that can be done any time with any photo program. And since they're not in the cloud or on an iPad there's no reason to worry about size.

    Or maybe I'm just missing the whole point of item 6. For items 1-5 there seems to be no reason to shoot JPEG and RAW, since on import into the iPad iOS will do that.
  18. redman042 thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jun 13, 2008
    If iOS let me delete the RAW part of a RAW+JPEG bundle after import, then sure I could import the RAW only and let iOS make the JPEG. That would be efficient. Though one question I have is whether iOS does as good a job rendering a JPEG from a RAW file as the camera does (or close enough for "average" photos that I would't bother to develop myself). Does iOS look at the camera's settings at the time of shooting (like Canon's PC/Mac software does), or does it somehow approximate?

    Anyway, for now, I can't do that post-import RAW file separation in iCloud (on the Mac or iPad). So my only choice is the intermediate step on my Mac (meaning I can't just bring my iPad to the field).

    Maybe it would help to give an example of how I categorize our images. Say we take a trip to the coast. We shoot 200 photos. Of those, we would typically end up deleting around half (100), because they are blurry, or multiple shots of the same thing at slightly different angles or settings, or just not interesting. Of the remaining 100, around 10 of them may be candidates for framing. For those, we'll want to keep the RAW, take the time to tweak the settings to perfection, and develop them. The remaining 90 photos aren't frame-able but do help to capture our trip and we want to keep those too, but just the JPEGs. At most they might need a crop or tweak of exposure, which can be done quickly to the JPEG in iCloud. RAWs are only beneficial if you need the extra bit depth or finer white balance control.

    We'd want to upload all 100 keeper images to iCloud and have them on all our devices to view, share and enjoy. That includes 10 with the RAW files and the 90 that are just JPEGs.

    If we did not work with the photos in the regular Mac file system, but instead did a direct import to the iPad, we'd end up with 100 RAW+JPEG files in iCloud, not 90 JPEGs and 10 combos. A RAW file is 3x the file size of a JPEG. So while we have plenty of iCloud storage today, a few big vacations worth of photos would eat that up fast. It just gets out of hand. I previously managed our photos on a hard drive before going to the cloud, and even then I made an effort to limit how many RAWs we kept.

    Hope that adds some clarity to my thinking.
  19. steve123 macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2007
    Remember Moore's Law for storage ... you have 200GB cloud storage today ... in three years you will have more than 1TB for the same price. Go RAW for everything. Storage is no longer a limitation.
  20. redman042 thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jun 13, 2008
    There are other issues to consider. We own a 12" MacBook with a 512GB SSD. We have 168 GB left as of today. We have Photos set to "download originals to HD" so that we can back up with Time Machine, which seems like a wise thing to do. Apple hasn't given us any other easy way to locally back up iCloud Photos. Maybe that will come in future revisions.

    But until it does, if I fill our remaining 168 GB with photos, then I have to start carrying a portable hard drive with our uber-thin MacBook, which kind of defeats the purpose. Or manage multiple libraries, which I really don't want to do. At 35 MB per RAW image plus 8 MB per JPEG, I can store 4,000 images in that remaining space. 4,000 may seem like a lot, but we're going to Europe for two weeks this summer and we will shoot at least 1,000 photos in that one trip.

    I look forward to the day where space doesn't matter. We are getting closer but not there yet.
  21. benoitgphoto macrumors 6502

    Jul 19, 2007
    Ok here is my suggestion. Please note that I haven't read every replies so I might have missed something :

    1. I understand you want to use the iPad as a bridge to download your photos from your SD card to Photos library and/or to iCloud Drive. Correct me if I am wrong.

    2. As others pointed out, Photos is not the best Raw converter out there and is very limited.

    3. You mainly shoot and use Jpeg but want the Raw in case you need it.

    Not sure it was suggested yet but you might want to have a look at Raw Power from Gentlemen Coders. The developer was part of the Aperture development team. Raw Power can be used as a standalone app but can also be used as a Photos extension. This costs between 10-15$.

    In my experience, using any Apple library based software turned out to be a bad thing at the long run for many reasons and lets list a few of them:
    1. Might get corrupted libraries
    2. People that were using managed libraries in Aperture got a mess when Apple announced they discontinued Aperture. If they wanted to switch to Lightroom or any other, they had to rely on a 3rd party migration tool if they did not want to lose edits among other things.
    3. You just switched from PC to Mac. What if you want to return PC in let say 5 years from now ? Reality is Apple is not putting too much development in Mac nowadays and more and more people are switching to Windows 10...

    Another solution could be to use a software that supports Cloud based drive like iCloud Drive, OneDrive, Google Drive, etc). So you Transfert your photos from the card to iCloud Drive and use that non Apple Software to edit them without using Photos library. I recently settle down on a software that is doing just that : Alien Skin Exposure X2.

    From the browser window, you can cull the photos and get rid of the Raw ones if you want from anywhere (your local HDDS or cloud based drives). The most surprising part is the Raw conversion that is extremely nice with nice colors and details rendering right at the beginning. This really cut my processing time. They have different brushes too with the possibility to create your custom ones starting from a neutral adjustment. Also, they have more than 500 presets with excellent films simulations (I love their Fuji Neopan ACROS BW preset among others). There is a limited layering feature but full layering is coming in a few weeks from now around end of March or early April. I am really pleased with the results I am getting out of it. To say the least, I haven't got as good results as easily in any other software before. Very simple and easy to use, fluid and fast performance and very stable. They have tutorials on the site and a blog section where they talk about their upcoming advanced layers update.

    I might have missed some of your needs so please forgive me if I misunderstood your point.
  22. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Aargh. You seem caught in kind of an Apple Photo hell. I would have thought that iCloud Photo Library's vaunted storage optimization isn't helping you save space. And needing backup of cloud storage locally seems kinda cart-before-horse-like. But I can understand why you need to do that.

    I just shoot tons of RAWs, way more than you do. I cull just as I import onto a Mac, then import those into Lr. Then I just publish out JPEGs I wanna share or keep on our iOS devices; those get sent to a folder that auto-imports them to Photos, which then shares stuff. Meanwhile, all the RAWs are there, but I keep moving the ones I'm not working on currently to an external drive.

    I almost never import from a camera into an iOS device; just too painful except for maybe an immediate share (and I'm more likely to use say a camera's wifi for that). I sync some stuff from Lr Mobile (which is RAW, but uses smaller smart previews) to iOS. I also take a lot of iOS RAW DNGs with the iPhone camera that get synced back to the Mac via Lr Mobile.

    And even with limited SSD storage on a laptop, we just copy over to a thumbdrive or SD cards for backup on the road. It's all pretty easy and we never run short of space.

    RAWs are beneficial for far more than just bit depth and WB; in just the area of bringing detail out of seemingly blown out areas they've saved a shot for me innumerable times. But I guess if one doesn't shoot with raw's benefits in mind, that might not matter. But maybe as pointed out above, your choice of software is making things difficult for you.
  23. redman042 thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jun 13, 2008
    Thanks for the input. I do have confidence Apple will continue to update Photos with more pro-like features over time, at least the key ones I am looking for. Photos and iCloud have already come a long way since they were introduced - the RAW functionality is already much better than it once was (pretty much non-existent). iCloud Photo Library handles large libraries much better than before too.

    I know Apple can fall into a mode of neglecting some software, but picture-taking is one of their top priorities in iPhone design (for example the dual cameras on the Plus) so I expect iOS 11 or 12 at the latest (and the corresponding updates of MacOS) will see further improvements to RAW handling.

    Remember too that my choices are driven by the desire to squeeze some enthusiast photography into my very busy life. I don't have the time or desire to spend hours in post-processing and library management. I wish I did, and if I did it would be Lightroom all the way (though I will point out that some of Adobe's software design and pricing choices have annoyed me greatly in the past).

    But in the meantime, looks like my best bet is to bring my Macbook into the field and pre-process before importing into Photos. Which is fine. It's working and will hold me over until hopefully iOS 11.
  24. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Funny how the same priorities, like saving time, lead some of us further into Photos, and some of us to other products, like Lr or the equivalent.

    I wish I could be as optimistic about Apple's priorities on images. It's bizarre IMHO: eg they got RAW DNG on iPhones finally (yay!), but Photos won't do them nor will the camera app (boo!). But Lr Mobile does take them and process them. Go figure.
  25. richardbrooks, Mar 16, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017

    richardbrooks macrumors newbie


    Mar 16, 2017
    I wish I was rich enough and had enough time to buy both and compare. Unaffordable for poor students) But the Internet is full of articles/reviews of these apps. Here you have a comparison of Luminar and Affinity Hope you'll find it helpful!

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