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Lightroom vs. other options (Aperture? what else?)

Rising Star
Rising Star

I'd hate to make just a really vague topic, but I'm curious what others are using for their stills workflow.  I use Lightroom, and so do most others I know, but I want to make sure I'm not in an echo chamber and not even aware of what I'm missing.


My workflow is entirely Lightroom-based: from import, sorting, basic editing, more advanced editing with Photoshop if necessary (but LR integrates this very seemlessly), and then jpg export (I currently don't do prints or web galleries, just delivery to clients via Dropbox).  


Thoughts? What are the advantages of other options out there?





Photo Ninja, UFRaw, RawTherapee, DPP, Silkypix, Darktable, Rawstudio, ACDSee, Capture one, Picasa.


I think Photo Ninja will make you happy.

Also consider Photoshop Elements 12. It includes an Organizer, RAW editor, and Elements Editor. Lots of features with an interface for the novice and another for the expert.


"My workflow is entirely Lightroom-based: from import, sorting, basic editing, more advanced editing with Photoshop ..."


This is the best that is currently available. 99% of pro, money making shops use that combo.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

I did not realize the poster was a pro. Thanks for pointing this our.


I offered the thought about Elements because in the right situation it is a value proposition because it is highly functional at significantly less cost than Lightroom plus Photoshop. It is less cost because is does not have some of the high end functions of Photoshop. Not everyone needs those. Pros (paid photographers) would certainly need those. Amateurs and prosumers might want to spend more on their hardware and less on software while still getting a capable software package. I offered up the suggestion only as an alternative to consider not knowing the posters Pro status.

"I offered up the suggestion only as an alternative to consider not knowing the posters Pro status."


And I offered up the suggestion simply to show what the "pros" are using. If you want the best that is it. Pro, prosumer, consumer, or whatever. The choices are numerous and everyone is free to decide where to put their coin.


The fact remains that an over whelming number of the great photographs in the world go through Photoshop.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!


Aperture is only available for the Mac -- since it's Apple software.


Some time back... in Apple's way of doing things, they recognized that Photoshop -- though quite powerful -- wasn't very practical for everyday use nor did it have any management capabilities.  They recognized that a typical photographer probably shoots a large number of images which are all related -- they belong to the same event or project, etc.  They also recognized that if you shoot enough, you fill up your hard drive and need a way to deal with offline storage so that you can archive the shots you aren't working with NOW and yet not lose track of the fact that you have them.  They also recognized that 98% of the time, you're "adjusting" images and not doing wholesale edits (you're not creating composite images, etc.)  Lastly... they realized that the Photoshop editing process is not protective of the original image and is also QUITE bulky (files really have a filespace "bloat" problem becasue of the nature of the "layer" system.)


So they created Aperture -- which deal with all of this.


Adobe... feeling threatened by this new product (and rightly so) responded by creating Lightroom -- more or less a shameless rip-off of Aperture.


The two are roughly equal in terms of what they can do.


I have long felt that Adobe is exceptionally proud of they software and thing it should be priced as if they were selling gold bars.  When Aperture debuted... it was $200.  When Lightroom debuted it was $300.  


Lightroom is available on both Windows and Mac.  Aperture is only available on Mac.  


Recently I've noticed Apple seems to be drastically lowering the cost of software -- if not giving it away for free.  And further... they seem to consider everything to be a "family pack" in that once you buy something from the App Store you are allowed to install it on every computer YOU legitimately own.  Adobe is still in the "one computer" world.


Aperture is now $79.  Lightroom is $149.  


I tried Lightroom in it's pre 1.0 beta days but even after release and watching several revisions, it was too much like Aperture (I suppose that's a good thing) so I saw little value in swtiching.  It doesn't work with Photoshop any better than Aperture does.  


I use a lot of tools on my Mac and I find that Aperture (not-surprisingly) has better integration with everything else on the Mac.


As such... I pretty much treat this like a Coke / Pepsi thing and don't feel that one of them is truly "better" than the other and it's more a matter of personal taste.


Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

"...  nor did it have any management capabilities."


Since CS2 to CS6, Photoshop has had Bridge. Bridge has nearly the same, if not exactly the same, file management features as Lightroom or Aperture. Plus it is nearly seamless with Photoshop. It is included free with Photoshop.

Unless there has been a recent release, Aperture is getting a little long in the tooth.

If you have not tried LR 5.3, I urge you to do so.


But I will say after working at Hallmark for so long, that Photoshop would be hard for me to abandon. So I must admit a certain bias toward Photoshop. And although there were several hundred Mac's, they all run Photoshop and Lightroom.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

Bridge works a bit more like a file browser -- but with some photography specific tagging and filtering capabilities.  It lets you search by rank & keywords but it's not as robust as what you find in a digital asset management system.


As an example, in Aperture, when I bring in images I can choose to have them "managed" or "referenced".  "managed" images live inside the Aperture library (and you can have more than one library if you want).  "referenced" leaves the files wherever you want them (more like Bridge).  


BUT... Aperture is designed for massive volume.  So you could have projects or events that live on external disks and aren't actually connected to your computer at all times.   But Aperture can manage the the offline images... it knows where they are even when the disk is gone.  It maintains a library entry, thumbnail, and if you want it can even maintain a lower-quality JPEG "preview" image.  This allows you to search for images that aren't even on your computer -- and when you find the one you want, it'll tell you it's on a disconnected drive and it'll tell you the name of the drive so you can go get it and connect it to the computer.


We can also tag en-masse (e.g. apply tags to everything shot at the same event) -- or even apply adjustments en-masse (apply, say, a white balance adjustment to every image shot in the same lighting setup.)  Bridge opens Photoshop to do any changes and in Photoshop you can copy an adjustment from one image to another, but it's a bit more cumbersome to do it.  


I haven't seen how Lightroom behaves, but I think I read that it had the same ability to manage disconnected images (images stored on drives that are not currently connected to the computer.)

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

Tim it must have been some time since you have used Bridge, Photoshop and Lightroom.

Except for the off-line drive thingy, which I would never use and have no intention of using, Bridge will do all that.

There are several "Tools" and the 'Image processor' is one. Yes, it uses Photoshop because that is the whole point of Bridge but it will batch process many photos all at the same time. Metadata, ratings, all that normal stuff.


I currently have five 2 TB hard drives and I prefer to use Lightroom but Bridge will do nearly exactly the same things. If you consider it is connected to Photoshop, it will do very much more. Plus it is a free ad-on.

I guess if you are comfortable with Aperture, I can see a reluctance to change and everyone must decide what is best for their needs. It's all good. Smiley Happy


EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!
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