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macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 20, 2008

For many years my wife and I have been sorting all our photos into folders (like an album name). So when I go to my Photos folder in finder, you will see lots and lots of different folders for all our photo albums.

Now, I have tried to use Photos or even Aperture, but they both want to import all my photos into their own library, which then doesn't do the best job at times of keeping all my albums (or at the very least some photos just show a blank placeholder).

Is it worth persisting with either Photos or Aperture for managing my photos? I don't like the idea of all my photos being stored in Photos own Library. I know I can easily open a single photo in either app, and then edit it.

Or is there another app where I can simply specify where all my photos are, and it just allows direct access to those folders within the app for browsing without going through some crazy import and rearranging process? (hope that makes sense)

I know Photos uses the iCloud photo library, but we don't really care about it that much - I don't necessarily want 32GB of photos being put on the cloud and then pushed to all our iDevices. At the moment we only use iCloud for photos taken on our phones, which are then pushed to other iDevices and iPhones.

Anyway, looking for your thoughts. What have you done?

Chris :)

mic j

macrumors 68030
Mar 15, 2012
Aperture has the ability to do either "referenced" or "managed" photos. Some googling around will get you the info you need to work with your photos as referenced. Personally, I gave up a long time ago trying to personally manage my images and now let Aperture (and iTunes for music) do the heavy lifting for me. I know it's hard to give up that control but there is really not enough advantage, for me anyway, to put in the time to keep them all straight. Both Aperture and iTunes databases searches are so good that, if you tag, use keyword, and titles systematically, you can virtually pull up a group of images, that you would have put into a specifically named and located folder, by using search and/or filters.

You might want to consider setting up a "test" managed library with a nice size bunch of images, tagging, titling and assigning key words and then using search and filtering to get used to a different method. Believe me, from one that was in your shoes a few years ago, it's really easier do managed than referenced if you have a lot of photos (or music).

It's a brave new world out there.:)


macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2015
Key West FL
Is it worth persisting with either Photos or Aperture for managing my photos? I don't like the idea of all my photos being stored in Photos own Library. ...

In my opinion, it is not worth the effort to continue trying to use Aperture. Aperture is "dead", abandoned by Apple, and should only be used by those already invested in managing their images with it. No one should start using it now.

If you don't like your photos being stored in Photos' own library structure then my suggestion is to look at Adobe Lightroom. Lr can easily use your existing folder structure. You select "Add" at the import type when you import into Lr and it will simple reference the images where they are. The only thing the Lr will then keep in its own "library" is the database data and the screen previews. The image files and their associated edit data will stay in your existing folders. The edit data will either be embedded in the original or saved as an XML "sidecar" file, based on the Preferences options set and the original's format.

For management convenience, Lr also has "Collections" which function as virtual "albums" and allows you to place any one image in any combination of Collections. My personal Lr setup is centered on human readable folders and a number of project specific Collections, generally a portfolio or book on a specific theme (e.g "My Beautiful Wife", "Details"a Portfolio of closeups, ...).
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macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
Definitely move to Lightroom. It is available in two flavors. The first is LR 6. You purchase if via perpetual license as we all have done with software in the past.

The other flavor is to do the monthly Adobe Creative Cloud for Photography. That includes Lightroom, Photoshop, and Mobile Lightroom for $9.99 a month. You can pay on a monthly basis or pay once a year. The CC subscription will provide updates and new features that will not be available to those who purchase the perpetual license. Personally I have gone with the CC subscription paid once per year.

There are many books, videos, and sites that provide training and support on Lightroom. Adobe has good videos on their own site.


macrumors 6502
Aug 29, 2013
Lightroom is Overkill for a private Photo Collection. 2 Suggestions to the OT.
1. Use Photos App with references library, like someone suggested for Aperture. Photos offers this too. I Do It Myself this way.
2. just keep your photos in your Folders and Use Finder to manage and search for them. Works well, too, if you Do Not Need Many functions. For photo correction Use Preview.
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