The end of Aperture…

Aperture main

Apple have announced that they are no longer developing Aperture.

The software is still for sale, but it does mean that it will slowly seem to become a poor relation to Adobe’s Lightroom (assuming that Adobe continues to improve Lightroom). It also means that the writing is on the wall for Aperture – eventually Apple will release an update to the operating system that will leave Aperture non-functional (but that’s in the future – apparantly Aperture will work on the new Yosemite system which is soon to be released). Apple does say that the new Photos app coming next year will make Aperture redundant, but that does seem to be a consumer oriented app, rather than the professional approach you have in Aperture.

If you are an Aperture user, you’d be best advised to wait and see what the forthcoming Photos app is really like and whether it will fulfil the functions you need of it. Apple does say it will have sophisticated raw image editing functions, but we can only wait and see.

There is an unconfirmed report that Apple will offer some sort of migration software to Lightroom. If this can be made to work it will probably convert your keywords and colour labels, but I think you’ll be lucky if it converts your raw files the same way.

It’s sad to see Lightroom’s rival disappear. I hope Adobe will have the same enthusiasm for updating Lightroom, now that they are practically the only game in town for affordable professional photo management software.

When Adobe changed most of it’s creative software to a cloud/rental price scheme I almost switched to recommending Aperture. I have both packages on my computer since I teach the use of both packages, and each one has advantages over the other. I generally use Lightroom, but I think the cloud/renting model is not appropriate for photo managing software. Renting Photoshop is not such a bad idea – if you finally decide to stop renting you can buy one of the competing packages or go back to CS6. But if you are using Lightroom, and you decide to stop using it, well, all the adjustments and edits you’ve made to your images are gone. It’s almost as if you lose access to your own images. Well, perhaps you don’t loose access to your images, but your images become a sea of unedited raw files. I have 10,000 images in my Lightroom catalogues – I really don’t want to face having 10,000 images all unsorted and unedited.

But fortunately Adobe has allowed Lightroom to be purchased, even though you can use the software if you sign up to Creative Cloud. I’d strongly recommend paying the small fee to own Lightroom outright so that you are not locked into Adobe’s rental system for ever.

There are some features in Aperture that Lightroom can’t compare with. In Aperture you can brush any adjustment on or off, while in Lightroom you are limited to the controls in the adjustment brush tool. The portrait retouching tools in Aperture are far superior to those in Lightroom. The ability to customise the order of adjustments (and even apply multiple iterations of the same adjustments) is something fundamental to Aperture that I can’t see Lightroom being able to implement. Those features will be sadly missed.

Of course Lightroom has other advantages over Aperture, such as the Lens Correction tools.

Photo managing software makes your life easier. It simplifies everything, enables you to make the most important adjustments easily, and allows you to find your photos far more efficiently than you could using Bridge alone. So where I used to tell people that that really should be using either Lightroom or Aperture, now there is only one player in town, and I can only hope that Adobe does not abuse their monopoly.


About Phil Davison

Photographer, musician and filmmaker.

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