Happy Great Spring Clean-a-thon Day 5 everyone! Today’s post is perhaps a bit too specific for the Clean-a-thon being that it’s both Mac-specific and highly based on my own personal experience, but because one of my goals for this week was to organize my photos in Aperture, this seemed like a good time to write this much overdue post about why I decided to make the switch from Adobe Lightroom to Apple Aperture.
A few things to note before we get started:
1) Aperture is designed by Apple which means it’s Mac only. My apologies in advance to any of you PC users since this post will probably not be quite as useful for you as I would like.
2) My experience is based off Lightroom 2 and Aperture 3. But other than lens correction, I haven’t seen any features in Lightroom 3 or 4 that have made me regret my decision.
3) I am not a professional photographer. I have no desire to be a professional photographer. So if you are one or hope to be one, your needs are likely different than mine. This is just my opinion based off my needs as a tech-lovin’ digital scrapbooker.
Ok, so with that in mind, here we go…
Why I Decided To Switch To Aperture
Last summer, I decided it was high time I get my photos in order. At the time I was planning to start Project Life as one of my 29th birthday goals and I knew in order to keep up with it, I would need an easy way to manage my photos. Up to that point I had been using Lightroom for organizing and editing all of my photos in tandem with Photoshop and while I liked it, there was something about it that never felt quite right to me.
Yes, I understood how it worked. Yes, I could organize and edit my photos and get good results. But I didn’t enjoy using it.
For one, I found the module design to be overly clunky. While I’m sure it’s fantastic when you’re editing 100s of photos from a shoot in a linear fashion, I never do and so even with shortcut keys, I found it annoying to switch between modules all the time. I especially found the separation between folders, collections, smart collections and tags made it difficult to organize everything easily in a way that made sense to me.
So when Apple announced they were lowering the price of Aperture to less than what it would cost me to upgrade to Lightroom 3, I decided to download the 30-day trial and give it a shot.
And I have to tell you, I was sold from day 1.
- I LOVED the simplicity of the interface. In fact, it was almost one of those, that’s really all I need to do? kind of moments. It seemed overly easy compared to Lightroom.
- I could organize, tag and edit my photos all in the same window. It was quick and easy to switch from a slideshow to a folder to a smart collection and I could group them all together in one spot.
- I was getting better edits out of my photos with less work and the colors in the photos popped in a way I could never get them to do in Lightroom.
- Even though it’s not an Adobe product, I was still able to easily open my photos in Adobe Photoshop for more editing.
- I love the integration it has with my Mac. Auto-downloading of iPhone photos? Yes please.
It all just felt so much less complicated and better suited to my needs as a scrapbooker.
No, Aperture is not perfect. I find it runs slower than Lightroom 2 on my almost 4 year-old MacBookPro (although I suspect the same would be true for LR 3 & 4. Poor compy is just getting to that age.). I find the import options, especially when it comes to renaming files and not importing duplicates, to be more robust in Lightroom. And I think having built-in lens correction for lens distortion, etc., would be really handy to have.
But ultimately, I’m willing to deal those issues in exchange for the overall experience of using Aperture. Because I enjoy using it in a way I never enjoyed using Lightroom. Much like how I felt when I originally switched from a PC to a Mac.
Which ultimately is what I think this debate boils down to. In much the same way as the never-ending Mac vs PC debate, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Both Lightroom and Aperture are amazing programs. They’ll get you where you need to go.
But which one works best with the way your brain works? For me, that’s Aperture.
Anyway, I realize this is a highly untechnical review of a largely technical program, but I realized when I sat down to write about why I switched, it wasn’t because of any tech specs or specific features. It was the overall experience and flow of the program that sold me.
So if you’re a Mac user, check it out or download the trial and give it a try! If you like it great, if not, Lightroom is a pretty awesome program too. And if you’re an iPhoto user, Aperture is kind of like iPhoto advanced but you can read more about the differences here.
Well I hoped you enjoyed this little insight into why I made the switch from Lightroom to Aperture! As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments.