Aperture and iPhoto: Time is Running Out

Apple announced last year in a long anticipated move that it would cease development of Aperture, its pro photo editing application, and iPhoto, and replace both with Photos for OS X. While Apple has only said that Photos for OS X will be released this spring, it is becoming clear that day is quickly coming.

First, Apple sent an e-mail today reminding Aperture users that Aperture support is ending and that, with the release of Photos for OS X, Aperture will no longer be available for purchase. Moreover, Apple is running a public beta of Yosemite 10.10.3, which includes Photos for OS X. Public betas generally come close to final release. You can participate in the beta but be aware installing this beta will overwrite your current operating system and you do this at your own risk.

Based on my experience so far, Photos for OS X is not Aperture. See MacWorld’s First Look: Photos for OS X Brings Easier Navigation and More Powerful Editing. Photos for OS X incorporates many features of Photos for iOS. Its interface is simpler than Aperture and available adjustments, while powerful and more numerous than iPhoto, are fewer and not as sophisticated. It also includes some new features allowing you to create books, cards, and slideshows and your photos can be synchronized between different devices using iCloud (although you may need to pay for increased storage on iCloud if your library is larger than five gigabytes)..

If you are using Aperture or iPhoto to manage and edit your images, it’s time to start thinking about what your are going to do and how you are going to make the transition from Aperture or iPhoto to Aperture.

Editor’s Note: If you need to make the switch from iPhoto or Aperture to Lightroom, the School of Creative Photography can help you. Our Lightroom class is scheduled for April 25 and 26, 2015, in Sterling, VA, and will get you up to speed quickly on managing and editing your images in Lightroom. If you are already using Lightroom and want to learn more about its advanced features, the School of Creative Photography is offering an advanced Lightroom class on May 2, 2015, in Sterling, VA.

The Relentless March of Technology and Image Editing Software

Editor’s Note: This post appeared verbatim in the July 15, 2014, newsletter. It is being posted here by request.

One thing is certain when it comes to image editing software: Change is inevitable. Most changes are incremental. Photoshop CC 2014 added a couple of new features for photographers but Photoshop CC 2014 isn’t “all new.” This means I don’t have to learn a whole new program, just a few new features. However, if a company decides that their technology is old or not profitable, they may decide to simply cease development and that leaves you with some pretty serious issues.

Many photographers are currently being forced to create new workflows because the authors of their favorite image editing applications, Nikon Capture NX 2 and Apple’s Aperture and iPhoto, have decided to cease development. NX 2, Aperture, and iPhoto are still available but support and development will soon end. NX 2 will be replaced by Nikon Capture NX-D and Aperture and iPhoto with Photos for Mac OS X and the iCloud Photo Library. However, these applications and services are not the equivalent of the applications they are replacing except for the replacement of iPhoto with Photos.

While you may use neither, there are or were many Nikonians that love Capture NX-2. There is also a legion of faithful Aperture users. While the currently available versions of these applications will continue to work on current operating systems, there is no guarantee that they will in future operating systems or that any bugs will be fixed in the future. So, you have some decisions to make and it is better to make them now rather than later and to get started implementing them now as well.

Depending on your current workflow, switching image editing applications poses some serious compatibility and other issues. (I am not going to address the change from iPhoto to Photos for Mac here because, if you are reading this newsletter, you are probably using something other than iPhoto.) Here are just a few…

  • Edits in NX 2 and Aperture will not translate into Lightroom or other programs
  • Keywords and other metadata may or may not transfer to Lightroom or other programs
  • Lightroom or any other image editing program will require you to learn another application and that takes time
  • Your workflow may need to change to reflect the different capabilities of the new application
  • There will be a cost to the transfer, e.g., buying a license or subscription to a new application
  • If you are a Mac user, do you upgrade your operating system this fall and risk breaking something (I suggest you wait and check the online forums. The early adopters will tell you whether NX 2 (possibly but maybe not) or Aperture (very doubtful) break.

There is also another downside if you are a professional or enthusiast with a large number of images. You really only have, in my opinion, a couple of options: Lightroom or Capture One with Media Pro. Of those two, the only real option for most will be Lightroom. I know that some will disagree with my conclusion but for simplicity of workflow, you can’t beat Lightroom. Also, it is only $149 for a perpetual license, which is much cheaper than the $299 for Capture One, and an extensive number of plugins are available for expanding Lightroom that simply aren’t there for Capture One.

So, if you are a NX 2 or Aperture user, now is the time to start thinking about the transition to a new workflow. You have some work to do before the end of the year.

Editor’s Note: The School of Creative Photography will hold a two-day class on September 20 and 21, 2014, on Lightroom. The class cover organizing, editing, and printing your images from Lightroom.