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Aperture is Dead. Long Live Photos!

PhotoJoseph's picture
June 27, 2014 - 9:00pm

I received an official call from Apple PR this morning about the future of Aperture. My phone, twitter and Messages have been ringing off the hook since the announcement was publicly made. But I wanted to take some time to really think this through before shouting from the rooftops. So here we go.

On the surface, it doesn't seem like good news, but there's a lot more to this than a few lines of text. First, the official words.

“With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture. When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS X.” — Apple, Inc.

In short, Aperture as we know it is dead. So let's take a step back and figure out what this really means, because obviously photography is far from unimportant to Apple. There are more questions than answers now than ever before, and I'll try to come up with all the right questions and all my best answers. Call this interpretation, speculation, or clairvoyance — but here's how I'm reading into this.

Why? Why Photos 1 and not Aperture 4?

Before we can look to the future, let's look at the past. Aperture itself has been around since 2005; nearly a decade. And of course it started being written well before that, so we are talking about 10+ year old code. The cloud, the iPhone, and pocket sized digital cameras that surpass the quality of film not only didn't exist, but were barely a twinkle in Steve Jobs' or any technologist's eye. Aperture is a photo editing and management tool written for users used to an old school workflow. Go on a shoot. Sit down to edit. Share when you're done. But that's not the world we live in anymore. Today we want to shoot, share immediately with a cool effect, edit on an iPad, sit down at your 4k display and get serious, pick up the iPad and show off what you've done, mix, repeat. We want our devices, our libraries, our experience integrated and seamless. This simply can not happen with Aperture as it is today.

This is a case of evolution vs revolution. Apple could continue to evolve Aperture, and to be honest I wish they had—in 2011, 2012, 2013. But now it's too late. Now it's time to focus on the future. The next generation of photos architecture. The revolution. We saw this in the WWDC 2014 keynote. We saw Photos in iCloud. We saw seamless integration between an iOS device and the desktop. We saw a glimpse of features that clearly couldn't exist in Aperture. We saw the future.

Everything could be based on PhotoKit. It is now for iOS, but that same thing could happen in OS X. That would mean seamless integration between iOS and OS X, and unheard of third party developer access. We saw the new raw processing engine with lens correction and phenomenal noise reduction, for example, in WWDC sessions. All the groundwork is in place for an amazing experience.

For those of you who edit video, you'll remember the transition from Final Cut Pro to Final Cut Pro X. It sucked. Big time. And frankly, Apple handled the PR of that poorly. Major features were missing, the software was buggy as hell, and yet Apple told the Pro market that it was time to move. After some serious backlash they relented, and re-relesed Final Cut Pro 7 for the existing users, so they could wait for FCP X to mature. And mature it has. Today, Final Cut Pro X is an amazing piece of software. Apple isn't making that mistake with Aperture. But it doesn't change the fact that it's time to move on.

For a happier look at the migration path, look at iWork — Pages, Keynote and Numbers. Great apps that were developed long before iOS, and once iOS came out, new versions of those apps showed up there. Lots of feature parity, lots of feature disparity. The more the iOS versions advanced, the more inferior the OS X versions felt. Until finally, Apple threw away the old apps, and released all new versions that were based on the same new code. At first, all the features of the old iWork weren't there. But Apple worked relentlessly and continued to update the software (free updates, by the way) and today those apps are fantastic. And more to the point, they are virtually identical across platforms (except for font support. Don't get me started on font support). 

Now, it's the third time for this to happen. To your photos. And it has begun.

Will version 1 have all the features of Aperture 3?

Very unlikely. Apple has stated that users will be able to migrate their existing libraries. They have also stated that there will be at least one maintenance release to ensure that Aperture is fully compatible with OS X Yosemite. Put those together, and it tell us that just because you can migrate, doesn't necessarily mean that you should. Since they say that you can however, that has to mean that any existing effects and metadata will be intact. I just wouldn't necessarily expect to be able to edit them in version 1. As evolves however, at some point you should have all the same features — and of course a ton of new ones.

When should I migrate to Photos?

It's too soon to tell that now, but I'd wager that iPhoto and beginner Aperture users will be able to migrate immediately, while more advanced Aperture users may want to wait for another version or two. Since Aperture will continue to be supported at minimum for OS X Yosemite, personally I think version 1 will be fun to play with, and probably start a new library with. Maybe not for pro work, but I'll use it where I can. The integration between iOS and OS X will be too sweet to ignore. And as long as it has the “open in editor” feature, I can always use Photoshop and plug-ins for anything Photos can't do. Then as progresses, once the legacy Aperture is no longer needed, I'd migrate my entire library. It'll take time, but it won't stop me from doing my job. And I think it'll be worth the wait.

I'm a pro—I don't need iOS iCloud iPad iShare

No? That's OK, I still enjoy shooting film, too. But for the rest of the world that has gone digital, this is happening. You may not be posting your client shoots to Instagram, but your clients are getting more demanding. Wanting on-site reviews. Remote reviews! Fast turnaround to their never-ending change requests. High resolution images delivered to prepress and small ones for their Facebook page. All these iFeatures will come in handy. 

What if OS X was more like iOS from a developer standpoint?

OK, now let's have some fun. Think about your iPhone or iPad for a minute. You shoot or import or download a photo, and where does it go? To the Photos app. That' a super simple app today, but we already know that's changing. OK.

Now, think about all the other third party photo apps on your iPhone. Where do they get their photos from? Photos app. Where do they put them when you're done editing them? Photos app. Some have their own storage as well, but thats only for one reason — to maintain non-destructive edit-ability. Even iPhoto for iOS works that way.

Now, look at iOS 8. We already know that iOS 8 elevates third party apps to the same level as Apple apps. They can access the same library in the same way that native apps can. So that whole “store it in your own app” issue should go away.

What does that mean? Simply put, that Photos is a single storage location for all your pictures, regardless of what app you choose to edit them with. Pretty cool, right?

Now for the big reveal.

Consider the possibilities

Extrapolate that to OS X. What if OS X worked the same way? What if Photos for OS X was built on PhotoKit, and what if PhotoKit was integrated into the OS itself. What if third party apps on OS X could access your photo library the same way that iOS apps can (and will be able to in iOS 8)?

Suddenly you have an ecosystem where the library is the hub. No more one-time, stuck-with-it-forever decision if you should use Aperture or Lightroom or Bridge or anything else. stores your photos and allows some level of editing. Future Nik plugins apps access that same library. Future Lightroom accesses the same Library (!!). Future Photo Mechanic. MacPhun, onOne, Alien Skin… name your app, name your plugin. In this utopian future, all apps have the same access to all photos. PhotoKit could make that possible.

Now that's cool. All this on a photo library based in the cloud.

1TB isn't enough for me

We saw in WWDC that Apple will have pricing plans for iCloud up to 1TB, which we've already observed isn't enough. But that's an easy problem to solve. So don't worry about that. I think by the time you're ready to move your entire 5TB Aperture library to Photos, there will be an iCloud option available to you.

Sounds great, but eff this, I'm outta here!

Undoubtedly Apple will lose some users to Lightroom. That's inevitable, and I'm not going to say “they'll be back!”. But they probably will :-) As before, for most of us diehard Aperture users, we've added plugins or other apps to enhance the Aperture experience to do everything Lightroom does, and more. There's no reason for that to change. At least now, finally, we can see the future, and we don't need a crystal ball to do it. 

What does this mean for

Well, a name change at minimum :-) Any suggestions? I'm serious… I looked at but it's owned and is being held anonymously. I'm open to suggestions, because the future of this site will be awesome. I will be able to write about not only a single app and it's plugins, but any OS X or iOS app that connects to the Photos architecture. I smell growth.

Now, go make some photos

We can chat and comment and speculate and pontificate endlessly about this, but at the end of the day, if you're not out shooting, none of this matters. So stop reading, and go make some pretty pictures. And dream big about the future. Because it's coming, and it'll be awesome.


I've responded to the many comments here in a new post, “Comment Follow-up on the Demise of Aperture”. Please read that before commenting here. Thanks!

Official Apple image of Photos on OS X YosemiteOfficial Apple image of Photos on OS X Yosemite
Apple Aperture Apple Photos for macOS

I’m hoping that the Photos app will be flexible enough to allow a similar workflow using the facilities of OS/X (plugins, scripting) and further that someone smarter than me will develop those workflow tools. 



Hi. I’m an oldie, and an Aperture pro and personal user since it debuted. I remember wet darkrooms. I remember scanning negatives (still do set scanning). I remember ‘workflow’ meant file cabinets and slide inserts, and all that. More recently, I remember the fiasco with the ‘surprise’ announcement when Final Cut Pro Suite became Final Cut Pro X. So, I’m actually quite happy that Apple, the King of Secrecy, decided that it was wiser to let us know their intention with Aperture well in advance and it’s not unlike the pre-announcement of the iPhone. Do any of you remember that and the amount of ‘discussion’ for and against generated during the six months between the announcement in January and the roll out in June 29, 2007?

I’ve used Photoshop since version 2 (still have those little plastic installer disks for some reason) and really like Photoshop. I’ve used Lightroom since it debuted and really appreciate it, especially now, but think Aperture still has features Lightroom needs. I’ve used Capture One Pro since version 2 through current, in high end tethering situations and it’s a fine system, though I think it’s best for a particular style of photography, but that’s me. Aperture was the only software I ever recommended to Mac users who were very serious hobbyists (well Photoshop, sure, but less so - serious hobbyists needing asset management - Aperture is best. Even Lightroom experts know this.)

Back to Final Cut Pro… prior to that announcement, FCP was really the 800lb gorilla in non-linear editing in the movie industry. That gorilla died when Apple mishandled that single announcement. They did re-release FCP Suite 7 a few months later, but it was too late. FCPX is my favorite NLE, but it’s now in second or probably third place in the industry. Even the Indie users, most of whom are Mac users, are using Adobe Premier. Why? Dependability. In the financially driven pro world, it’s more about dependability than almost anything else.

So…. I’ve read through this thread a few times and I think there are a number of very good observations being noted and discussed. Two truths stand out: 1) we all liked using Aperture to anchor our photography workflow. 2) We comprise a VERY wide range of digital asset needs, feature wants, and photographic workflow purposes. We’re all in the same boat, but we don’t all swim at the same level and aren’t going to the same destination. Some feel it’s better now to jump ship and swim over, however difficult the journey, to another ship. Some trust that the ship Apple is sending to replace this one will be just as good for their needs, if not immediately, in time enough to make the switch before Aperture sinks slowly into the sunset. Apple has assured us that it’s not going to blow up and break in two like the Titanic.

Recently there’s been some news from various tech gurus that work with Adobe and Apple that they are, indeed, working on a way to migrate an Aperture library over to Lightroom. For those that wonder about the details, mainly this has to do with protecting meta data. There’s never been a huge issue with moving files physically from one app to the other. I’ve used Lightroom 4 and 5 for some time in my Aperture managed workflow. The issue was moving masters from one to the other while preserving metadata. For someone like me with several 1TB libraries, that’s an issue worth waiting to check out.

Okay, so what, if anything, can I add to the discussion that hasn’t already been said? Just some perspective from an older photographer and a Mac user since 1987 and one-time Mac/Wintel  I.T. manager:

1. Apple was right to let the users know about this. It’s best for the users; it’s best for the competition, in this case, because they can be less reactive and more proactive in how they welcome and support Aperture users that don’t choose to rely on Photos, and it’s much better for the many 3rd party developers that create plug-ins and add-ons to be aware of the change well in advance. In addition to Jochen Schmidt’s very excellent post above, this proves again that Apple has really grown up and is thinking of the developers and treating them as important citizens in the Apple ecosystem. It wasn’t always so.

2. Pros that make a living from their photography have already decided what to do. They know their business and they will know whether it’s best to wait a few months to test Photos or start transitioning to a pro-supported system from Adobe, Phase One, DxO, etc.

3. The budding photographer, newly serious amateur, or new Mac users with a bunch of Picassa photos (for example’s sake) looking for a better application in which to manage AND edit their photos needs to consider whether the $80 for Aperture for six months to a year until they can transition to Photos, which I expect will be relatively painless, including their precious metadata, is a good deal or not. They can compare it to $10/month to use Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5, and if they already use iPhoto, I think they;ll be up to speed more quickly in Aperture, but they will have to decide based on knowing their current needs as well as their future needs and hopes as best as they can know. It might be better to wait it out. How quickly one adapts to new software and how large one’s existing library of photos is should play a part in that decision.

3.The most angst-ridden decision maker will be the serious amateur who has relied on Aperture with 3rd party beloved plug-ins, custom presets created laboriously, and worry-free backups to be their all-in-all for image editing and management and who really hates the thought of spending time simply migrating thousands of images to something else, knowing the risks involved if something goes haywire. 

  1. IF you are pretty good at learning new software and have some time, I recommend trying demos of Lightroom, DxO, and Capture One Pro 7. There are possibly some migration offers from C1 or DxO. Not sure. Before you download them, though, check out Youtube videos that show the migration from Aperture to Lightroom or Aperture to C1, for example, as they are really helpful to make your demo period productive.
  2. If you are really bummed your favorite plug-ins may not migrate to Photos and they already work in Lightroom, that’s something to consider. However, I will share my personal experience with Final Cut Pro’s transition. I was one of the serious video amateurs really bummed by the downgrade from FCP 7 to X, and yet, today, there are way more plug-ins for FCP-X then there ever were for the large suite. It’s easier for developers to create them and they are easier to use. What I imply here is that if Apple is creating an entirely new architecture for Photo management, editing, and sharing, there may likely be plug-ins because Apple stands to make serious money from their sale. My best guess is that MacPhun, the makers of some incredibly powerful plug-ins and standalone apps, both pro and non-pro versions, will be among the first to have plug-ins for Photos, if Apple has the capability imbedded. I don’t own the MacPhun pro plugins as I am fine with what I have used for years, but they are really cool and even as standalone products, they offer pretty much what anyone might need. They are getting a lot of buzz recently, and they deserve it, I think. I have no way of know, however, if Photos will have a plug-in architecture. But I would hope so, since any developers would likely gain access to a much wider audience of iOS users as well as Mac OS X users.
  3. Only time will tell if it was the best decision for Apple to discontinue Aperture and move in the present direction, so any of our opinions as to the wisdom of Apple’s decisions with regards to Aperture specifically, and photo management, generally, are going to be better debated in the future, once Photos has had some time to be experienced in the real world workflows of many users. Apple hasn’t always been right in their decisions, but they’ve had a remarkable batting average when it comes to moving technology and software in new directions. Remember the hubbub around Flash on iOS? The recent updates from Adobe to their creative cloud apps disabled all Flash add ons. They all have to be HTML5 now.

Even though I’m migrating my session photography to Lightroom 5 current projects, I still use Aperture every day and will look forward to seeing how Photos can enhance or augment my workflow in the future. And believe it or not, Lightroom does some things Aperture has never been able to do well or at all. Software choices are a compromise, as is any camera system when compared to another. Fortunately, there’s still choice out there with more to come.



Had some thoughts on the development of iPhoto and Aperture the last months, knowing that they will stop and some new Photos app shall be released.

Because Apple did their best to integrate those two (by making it possible to read and use each other’s libraries), I think the new PHOTOS app will just be an integration of these two with some new features (smashing new user interface and icloud integration). 

As a user, you can easily set the application to Normal use (i.e. iPhoto level, but easier with the new user interface) and Expert use (i.e. Aperture level).

Simple as that.

Ruud Hennequin

All the speculation will end with Yosemite’s imminent release. Fall 2014 is almost here..

There’s still plenty of time for speculation. for OS X won’t be out until 2015. Photos for iOS will be here with iOS 8 though, however we don’t really know what it’ll contain.

— Have you signed up for the mailing list?

It is wise to have modest expectations regarding Photos for iOS. As you said - Photos for OS X is still months away - which just means that it is actually in the internal development phase. Photos for iOS 8 will have some first features which make the base for what Photos for iOS and OS X will be within 2015 - there will be many features missing and it will be mostly those features which make sense or are needed for Mac OS X.

Due to backup data sets and systems as well as cloud integration photos on Apple products using Apple software will, going forward, be managed as a core media asset.


That means Photos will likely be a container with a basic set of editing and DAM functions but with substantial (think OpenDoc) extensibility. The core concept of non-destructive editing will be system-wide and will extend to the cloud.

In this framework I believe it is the Lightroom and related apps that are in trouble. The extended “fussiness” of their systesm loaded with hypertweaking control sets in a monolithic package actually goes against the digital flow where volume of photos is the major issue. That being the case,large libraries and everywhere cameras make it more and moer difficult for all users even up tot he pro level to manage their collections without substantial automation from the software.

The LR market almost by definition now cannot grow in sales, but the photo management issues will continue to grow. That’s not a good recipe for Adobe and CaptureOne in the long run, especially with so many pros and hobbyists and experimental amateurs also using smart devices as part of their photo toolkit and matrix (GoPro, for example).

To top it off, the emerging dominance of mobile Os’s like the iOS on larger screens such as the iPhone 6+ will come to dominate photo editing systems for all users. The whole concept of physically taking an SD card back to a mac or PC is in wholesale retreat, as is the digital darkroom on a desk. Much of that will still continue, but it is no longer a growing market, and, in fact, likely shrinking. Persistent, not archival photography is now the norm.


My 2 bits, not refundable nor in bitcoin.

“The LR market almost by definition now cannot grow in sales, , but the photo management issues will continue to grow…”

Very true. And no doubt a significant factor in why Adobe is switching to a subscription model. Don’t get me wrong, I hate the subscription service. But I recognise that if I want quality software that grows to meet the issues, I have to pay for it.

And where does that leave Apple? Apple now bundles its operating system and a lot of software with its hardware for free. Why? To increase the value, and therefore the sales, of its hardware. But that free software has, by and large, only basic functionality. Why? Because including richly featured software will not increase sales by much.

Having a good, consumer-focused, photos app will certainly help Apple sell more laptops. But ask yourself, how many extra laptops would Apple sell if that app is a great, professional app?

But it doesn’t matter what you and I think. All the signs are that Apple is moving to a “Pile it high, sell it cheap” model to benefit its shareholders.

Anaxagoras, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Good post !

Professionally speaking, “bingo!”

Photos will almost certainly be accepting of extensions. in this environment, it is LR that will be in trouble as the subscription model cannot hope to compete with the $1.99 for 95% functionality model.

There is no such thing as a “professional” photo editing app. That is just marketing speak. Photos in both the MacOS and iOS environments are going to be critical media assets for each Apple customer regardless of how one categorizes their photography.

The era of the large, monolithic app is dead. Far more “pro” photo will be edited on an iPhone 6 than on a desktop PC or Mac 5 years from now. The entire photography industry from Canon, Sony, Nikon, Pentax, etc. are going to have to bend to that new reality and bend fast. They are still over-reliant on their consumer base having access to a powerful home PC darkroom set=up. That, too, is going, going, gone.

Interesting. I just received an email from Apple notifying me of a price reduction to my iCloud subscription service by 75%. Here we go. :)

“The era of the large, monolithic app is dead.”

I agree.

I think we are going to see more change in the industry over the next five years than we experienced in the past five.

While, I too, am very disappointed with Apple’s decision to drop support for Aperture … I feel confident that they will eventually offer a solution that will surpass all expectations.

I remember all too well the gnashing of teeth that went on when they dropped the floppy drive, chose to add FireWire, adopted Intel processors and even dropping optical drives as standard issue.

All those decisions, which met with immediate outrage and very vocal fallout … have not harmed or caused irreparable damage to Apple.

I also gro weary about the discussion of what constitutes “professional” software. The adoption and use of a particular software title is no more assurance of professional results than dropping $6k on a DSLR would ensure. 

Tools are only as good as the craftsman using them.

Since none of us has actually used the new Photos app … it’s really difficult to ascertain if it is up to “professional” standards. It’s rather difficult to proclaim it a failure until we can properly evaluate it. 

While it may appear that Apple has focused their attention on the consumer market, those very same tools can become extremely valuable assets in the hands of professionals.

Prior to 2010, I never even considered the addition of a tablet to my toolset … now I don’t think I could be comfortable without at least one on hand. It wasn’t until I actually held an iPad for the first time and kicked the tires in a test drive did it occur to me how valuable it could be.

Sometimes it’s best to actually see what a tool actually offers before passing judgement on it’s value or the company’s intent to produce it.

“Sometimes it’s best to actually see what a tool actually offers before passing judgement on it’s value or the company’s intent to produce it.”

True. And at other times, it’s best to not wait until the last moment to decide if that tool is going to work for your critical workflow. We who read the tea leaves a different way will always have the option to go back to Photos. In the meantime, learning LR hedges the bet.

Also, with regard to Apple’s forward thinking about what Butch mentioned. Some are good, some not so much. I have at least 6 FW external drives. If I get a new MacPro, I need a lightning adapter to use them. I would miss the optical drive on a new Mac. Apple’s monitors still only show an sRGB color space. Apple hasn’t adopted 10-bit color, even for the new Mac Pro. Where is the update to the Mac Mini? What is the alternative to we Mac Pro users other than a $6,000 machine or an iMac, neither of which take multiple drives or PCI cards?

Yes, Apple has made some forward-thinking decisions. And also some that left a number of users pulling their hair out.


FW only with adapter, missing optical drive this really sounds to me like the common complaints which never did fit with Apples approach to cut off old stuff. Are this real problems in your daily work?

There are so many solutions to this problems which would make your life easier and may safe the last few hairs that are left ;)

You could pull out the drives from their enclosures and put them in new ones with e.g. Thunderbolt or USB3. Old drives often are not very big and will fail some day - so how about copying them over to newer bigger storage solutions?

Optical drives… seriously? If that really (!) would be important enough to you, you could just use an external one. Tough, I don't think relying on optical media is really a good idea nowadays.

The Monitors: Since when did good Eizos stop working on Macs?….. erh….. let me think about it…. I get it soon….. damn…erh….. never? There is a huge market of Mac compatible monitors - just choose it and use it.

The update to the Mac Mini: Of course - any new Mac is a nice thing, but whats so wrong with the current one?

Ok - multiple drives…. hm how about Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2 and the myriad of available storage solutions? PCI cards? I guess you know what Thunderbolt actually is and that you can buy enclosures to host PCI cards for it? Whats the problem if the box beside the iMac (“Monitor”) doesn't contain the computer but only some PCI cards? You could even stick a MacBook Air to that box if that would help. I really like this kind of loose modularity.

This are just suggestions - there are other ones. There are likely better ones for the particular problem domain. In my book - the real difference between a consumer and a professional is that only the first one is restricted to rely on ready-made, easy going solutions. ;-)

From the Loop web site this morning:

” Comments on Apple “newest” digital device ∞

Here are some comments on the announcement of Apple’s “newest” digital device:

“I was so hoping for something more.”

“Great just what the world needs.”

“Heres an idea Apple – rather than enter the world of gimmicks and toys, why dont you spend a little more time sorting out your pathetically expensive line up? Or are you really aiming to become a glorified consumer gimmicks firm?”

“I still can’t believe this! All this hype for something so ridiculous! Who cares? I want something new! I want them to think differently!”

“Why oh why would they do this?! It’s so wrong! It’s so stupid!”

“Come on everyone, y’all are saying it sucks before you have even held it in your hand.”

“The reason why everyone’s dissapointed is because we had our hopes up for this incredible device.”

Pretty typical commentary.

Except, all of the above is taken from the forums at Macrumors and all of the above, and more, are referring to the launch of the original iPod.

Some things never change.

I have been a full time professional photographer for over 40 years now. That’s four decades of earning a living with what I can do with a camera and the associated paraphernalia involved to go from capture to delivery.

I’ve had to work and survive through a lot of change in that span. Some good. Some bad. I’ve learned not to make hasty decisions or form an opinion until I have all the information. Reading tea leaves may be a popular pastime … it’s not a proven method for success in the business world. Considering the unknown value the alternatives. Hedging bets is gambling … I don’t gamble with my livelihood.

For those concerned about moving forward and have doubts in Apples contributions to the effort … it seems to me that hanging on to FW, mac minis, wide gamut displays and the absence of PCI cards would not be the most important building blocks to ensure one’s success.

Firewire is yesterday’s technology. Anyone truly concerned about the lack of multiple drives in a Mac Pro surely isn’t very concerned about the length of time since the mini was updated.

Apple is not perfect. There is nothing wrong with keeping options open. I own and use Lightroom … have used it since the very first public beta. Incorporating the “tea leaves” method of business planning … based upon popular internet opinion … I would have changed computer platforms and camera/lens maker brands several times over just the past decade. That practice would have driven me to bankruptcy due to the shear cost vs loss of prior investment … several times.

My point is … condemning an unknown option before you have actually seen it, learned its associated specifications or actually used it is completely pointless.


“Reading tea leaves may be a popular pastime … it’s not a proven method for success in the business world.”


I should have thought all businesses need to predict the future. Especially in the tech industry.

I’ve worked in the IT industry all my life. Everywhere I’ve been there were formal procedures to get subject experts together to (try to) predict where the industry was heading. And where to invest. On one occasion we invested in three, mutually exclusive, approaches knowing that the money invested in two of them would be wasted - we didn’t know which would be the winner but backing the looser would be disastrous. So we backed all three.

Hedging bets is the exact opposite of gambling. By definition, hedging is to spread, and therefore reduce, risk. And there’s usually a cost associated with hedging. It’s a business judgement to balance that cost against the reduced risk.

He who hesitates is lost.

Anaxagoras, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

“On one occasion we invested in three, mutually exclusive, approaches knowing that the money invested in two of them would be wasted - we didn’t know which would be the winner but backing the looser would be disastrous. So we backed all three.”

You are confusing corporate/company procedure where the decision makers are playing with money that is not their own with sole proprietorships where the decision maker has everything to lose if they falter.

Hedging is of course gambling  as it never assures success it only guarantees at least double the cost … unlike horse racing, poker, craps or roulette … in the software world, their is never a guarantee that any option you invest in will be the future winner. There are no guarantees.

“He who hesitates is lost?”

How would one be lost waiting until the Photos app is released before making a decision?

Will Lightroom, C1, DXO or other options cease to be available by then? Will there be fewer or less information, widgets, plugins or apps to ease the transition for those who wait patiently?

Hey there, Butch. This is getting a little arcane, no? Just to clear the air (which is getting pretty foggy) here’s how I’m hedging my bet at no cost:

  • I already have the Adobe Photographer’s subscription for PS CC and LR at $10/month, which bothers me not the least. Apparently that’s a minority opinion, but I’m saving money on PS upgrades I bought in the past alone.
  • My old images, for the most part, still reside in a managed Aperture Library. I’m very, very slowly exporting the RAWs and better TIFFs, but leaving them in Aperture
  • I have an archive of my Aperture Library from before I began this and a Vault
  • If turns out to be great (and I truly hope it does), I’ll just point it to the Lightroom Photos folder I have now for my current stuff and have it make a referenced library

So, I wish no one here ill will. I hope for your sake and the “wait and see” crowd that I’m pleasantly surprised. And, as Steve has suggested, I’ll stop filling his inbox with new posts for awhile (although personally I find all of them interesting). Best wishes.

Actually, I doubt referenced libraries will be part of the new Photos app. Just my hunch but I think Apple is going on a simplification kick so all photos will be managed.

I predict Photos and the accompanying plugs-ins will decimate LR. It will be far, far cheaper than Adobe and do just as much or more in an integrated structure. The app store ecosystem will be re-created for extensions.

DAM is going OS and cloud with complementary and redundant backup structures. It will NOT be application driven. That’s why it is genericized in name.

Actually, I doubt referenced libraries will be part of the new Photos app. Just my hunch but I think Apple is going on a simplification kick so all photos will be managed.

I predict Photos and the accompanying plugs-ins will decimate LR. It will be far, far cheaper than Adobe and do just as much or more in an integrated structure. The app store ecosystem will be re-created for extensions.

DAM is going OS and cloud with complementary and redundant backup structures. It will NOT be application driven. That’s why it is genericized in name.

Hi Don,

this is a working approach - to some degree. In regard to costs:

1) Is cost neutral if you would have CC anyway (which is the case for many)

2) Is expensive in time and effort - What is the purpose?

3) Is potentially very expensive if you _really_ have only if this is all you have and depending on what you do to ensure data integrity. This point doesn't have to do with Apples plans though - I guess it was the same before?

4) We don't know yet if “referenced library” will be an Option in the future. I think your best option is that you will have to reimport all new “stray” photos into “Photos”. This is an effort and it has some cost, but I don't see any problems besides of losing the edits and organization you did in LR.

Here is my point from what you call the “wait and see crowd”.

Even before Apple announced its plans with Aperture and Photos - I had Lightroom through my CC subscription. I have it installed and use it for something like two years now. Before that, I regularily checked trials to get a feeling of what I may miss by not adopting it. So I have a very clear model of how Lightroom compares to Aperture for my (!) needs.

I did check DxO too and in the last months even C1.

While I did this - I did nothing different (!) with my archive of photos and the backups. I handled that like nothing ever happened.

New photos from running projects or those that have strict workflows are still handled through Aperture and my - unchanged - workflow.

For some projects - mostly personal ones - I started to work on them in LR and C1 - to check if this is a viable option to me. I import the photos in Aperture as referenced images.

Now three things can happen:

1) I could really like what I find in LR and C1

If that would be the case, I would work to switch over all new work to the new solution. Actually it isn't the case - C1 is a big step back in organization - its already out of the game. LR is actually like I know it the last 2 years. It didn't stick for two years now - why should it now? So this point - up to now - doesn't apply to me. I'm still by far more productive in Aperture.

2) Photos could be a desaster

If - some time next year - I'll see that Photos has gone in a direction that just doesn't fit with me - I can still decide to switch over two e.g. LR or perhaps even another solution. Maybe C1 8 will be a Killer update, maybe some other company brings the perfect substitute to Aperture.

3) Photos would be cool

I will even not decide this on its 1.0 release. If it at least goes clearly into the right direction - I'll give it a try. Since it is a direct (!) successor with direct (!) support for migration from Aperture; I don't see problems with using it for some while besides of Aperture.

This is a very clear plan without any panic or “I'm grumbled with Apple” actions. I still work the way I did the last years; because it did work; because it even did work better than the alternatives. I had and I have the time to actively check for alternatives and if I find one - I will do the switch. I will then know that this will be my way for the coming years and not only for the coming months.

Thats my personal plan. Anyone has to look at this in regard to their own needs.

I see mainly 3 archetypes of Aperture users here - This can never be an exhaustive enumeration of possibilities and I do deliberatly hyperbole the next to get the argument clear. Please take it with humor. In reality, we all are a mixture of all of those:

1) The working professional

You are actively working on projects which directly or indirectly bring the money in. You have alot of photos organized and access to them is not only of personal value. If you grab into the archive to work on something, this is actually a new project, because the old ones are already finished and delivered/used.

2) The amateur

You love your hobby and you spend alot of time with it. You have a big personal collection of photos. You find good feeling in digging your archive and working on old photos. You have a tendency to be a perfectionist, which means that you never find an end.

3) The family guy

You do alot of photos of family, vacation, events and so on. You don't have the time to work on all those photos. They need to be organized in a good way though.

The Options:

The working professional is like a driver on the fast lane: You do never pull the steering wheel quickly because such a move can quickly lead to a critical accident. Changing a years old workflow is nothing you change out of a mood. He will ensure that his archives stay accessible and he will continuously optimze his future workflow.

The amateur has all options. Working time is no cost but pleasure. He can today switch to LR and tomorrow to C1 and after that to the next thing en vogue.

The family guy has no time. He doesn't want to try out all options. He wants to know now what to use and stick with that. If it doesn't work it will cost him time he actually doesn't have.

My personal tips:

The working professional should stick to Aperture with his archive as long as this is technically possible. He should always have an open eye to alternatives, which would optimize his workflow. New options need to be evaluated - which is not possible in some days or weeks.

The amateur can do what he wants. There are no strict rules. There is no “wrong”. Actually - there is only one wrong: Not having good backups.

The family guy should not change a running system in panic. He should stick with Aperture until more is known about Photos.

Jochen, I am very tech-savvy. I know all of the above solutions. My short answer is that I don’t care to have an iMac with a separate NEC AdobeRGB monitor (my next purchase) and a rat’s nest of cables and Lightning adapters on my desktop. Same goes for the new Mac Pro, only add in the 6K price tag.

“In my book - the real difference between a consumer and a professional is that only the first one is restricted to rely on ready-made, easy going solutions. ;-)” I find that comment to be less than helpful at best and insulting at worst. There are a lot of other professionals longing for another choice between the new Mac Pro and an iMac. Check out MacRumors sometime. Lots of us like the ability to RAID hard drives internally, add PCI cards, swap out video cards, all in the same enclosure. Doesn’t mean we can’t do otherwise. Just means we don’t like the alternatives as much. And you’re not addressing Apple’s monitors (the company you’re defending) limiting their color space and the OS not accommodating 10-bit color.



It was not my intent to insult you. Sorry if that came over that way.

You also misread that I “defend” Apple. I didn't address Apples Monitors because I never had one besides of the one in my iMac. To me Apple wouldn't even have to offer ANY dedicated Monitor - in reality they easily can by reusing stuff from the iMac line. I have no problem with that.

There always were commenters in internet boards who demanded a desktop between the Pro and the Mini. There is nothing wrong expressing such demands - I just find it questionable to get angry about that. The biggest problem of the Mac line always were the “Gaps” - Apple never did offer any variation of product features. They never offered cheap Jumbo-Notebooks e.g. If a computer manufacturer like Apple never did offer the wide range of product variations to fit anyone - why would anyone think that would change now? I'm an Apple customer because their products work best for me. If that would not be the case I would not complain; I would just not buy.

Hello all: I presume to know next to nothing to most of you with your knowledge. However, it seems this is descending into a “he said” “he said” (haven’t noticed any shes). To Don and those in that camp, more power to you as you do what you think is right. To those content to wait and see what and future iterations bring (I’m in that camp) more power to us. Can we just agree to disagree? I’m about ready to unfollow this post as I’ve gotten (10? 20?) posts in the last hour or so. Don’t want to as here have been some good thoughts but…just a thought

Steve Hadeen

LOL. Right on Don!

Steve Hadeen

I’ve only been using Aperture for about a year but I already love it. Best software for my needs. Have had Lightroom 3 for few years now, don’t like it. Really dislike the user interface and I think there’s more distortion for the filters I use most like exposure and vibrance.

I don’t expect the new Photos App to be able to handle batch edits. I think some day Apple might realize how good Aperture is and continue to support it with updates. It wouldn’t be hard. 

 Forstall was fired in late 2012 and Jony Ive only took over software starting in 2013. The moves Apple has made to iOS8 and Yosemite are incredible. The company has been moving at breakneck speed considering Ive’s short tenure at the helm thus far.

Now that the hard stuff has been put out maybe Apple will have some more time to devote to stuff like Aperture.

I’m an amateur photographer who already understands the basics from courses I took in high school (and I used to shoot film), but I have never really had a program I liked to manage all of my digital photos. Was an Elements and Picasa user at times, but walked away from those and haven’t done much since, in part b/c I haven’t had the hard drive space or the desire to really get back into taking and managing photos, until now.

I’m considering buying Aperture even though support is discontinuing soon. I like the usability of iPhoto, but it’s just not robust enough on the organization side. I’ve been working in a trial of Lightroom, and I gotta tell ya, I was cross-eyed just trying to figure out how to email someone a photo, and I’m a management consultant who writes and develops software requirements for a living! (among other things) Lightroom doesn’t feel intuitive for one minute.

So, the question is, should I go ahead with Aperture for now, and if so, should I used a managed or a reference library? I’ve always been wary of the managed library concept, but perhaps that’s just because I’m old school and I like to be able to find my files more than one at a time. I also may want to be able to dial into the same library from different machines. I have no idea how many photos I have, but I know it doesn’t exceed a terabyte (yet). If I want to easily prepare photo books, does that mean I *have* to have a referenced library to integrate with iPhoto, or can I produce those books right out of Aperture?

Thanks in advance for any guidance you might have.

Amateur/Budding Hobbyist

The nice thing about Aperture (besides the interface) is the flexibility it gives you to either manage your images within the library or reference the images external to the library. I prefer the referenced approach since, like you, I like to get my hands on an image file and quickly copy it or move it to a new location. AP lets you use the managed and referenced approach within the same library. It will also let you quickly convert your managed images to referenced ones (if, say, you change your mind). I’ve created books within AP using referenced libraries, and have had no problems. I’ve only used iPhoto for some cards in the past. I have LR, and I agree with your observations about the UI. AP is far better and offers easier asset management. Since Apple promises to allow migration of AP libraries to the new Photo application, then I’d go ahead and delve into AP and enjoy the experience for as long as you can.

Phil in Midland

Thanks for your thoughts Flipkal. Any thoughts on the best plug-ins/add-ons to grab before they disappear?

Amateur/Budding Hobbyist

The Google NIK collection is what I use quite often. I also use the Photomatix HDR plugin. I have OnOne software plugins, but would not recommend. 

Phil in Midland

I also use Photomatix HDR - AND - OnOne Perefect Photo Suite with Apperture.

I am curious why you would ‘not recommend’ OnOne software?


Frank, I’ve gone thru two major releases of OnOne, and I have the same problems each time. 1) the interface is confusing, and some controls e.g. brushes don’t operate smoothly. 2) working with 16-bit images, the file size can get enormous (several hundred mb), depending on what you’re doing. I think some of the features are nice and template support is very good. I like the way you can incorporate textures with your images. I really wanted to use OnOne’s masking tools but got very frustrated trying to apply them to my image creations. Bottom line, it looks great on paper, but using it in practice was an exercise in frustration for me.

Phil in Midland

Many thanks again!

Amateur/Budding Hobbyist

Thanks for that Flipkal.  I agree it can be a little unwieldy.

However, compared to, say, Adobe Photoshop it is clarity and joy personified.
I must confess I have never tried Lightroom but my experience with Photoshop and other comments I have read about the LR UI has convinced me to stay well clear of Adobe.

In my experience Adobe software engineers just don’t think like the rest of us.

They take what should be the most simple functions and complicate them to the nth degree.  An example is removing a background - a clunky, confusing and long-winded task in Photoshop but I have found this quite straightforward and intuitive with OnOne.


I’d like to thank the folks here for inspiring me to look into Nik and Photomatix plug in for Aperture. I am relative newby to Aperture and I didn’t know about these. Also, I’m trying to make a book using Aperture but it’s very confusing. I’m having difficulty getting pictures in the book. Not sure what I’m doing wrong. I managed to get 1 picture in the slideshow on the bottom but can’t add anymore. 

When you create your new book in Aperture, you need to drag the photos for that book and drop them on to the icon, just like you would add them to a project. Click on the new book icon, and you will see all your images in a film strip along the bottom. You can go ahead and set up the format for the book, then add your images as you need them.

Just go to the project or album, and Select All (or command-click the images you want). Then drag the selected images to the new book icon in the navigator (on the left pane). Drop them and they will be available to use.

Phil in Midland

Remember that the page you wanna fill photos in, needs to be active

… and also remember Joseph’s excellent video tutorial on Aperture Books, which can be found here……

… and is available for a mere $2.00.


I’m playing with the new Photos App. Ok, now I’m pissed. I thought I would wait until the new Photos App came out before making judgment. It looks and works just like the iPhone photo editor. The only difference is I get a few additional tweaks like curves, white balance, and vignetting. Where’s the batch photo editor? I was squarely in Apple’s corner up until this point, but I can say definitively, this SUCKS!

This new Photos App is unequivocally a huge step backwards from Aperture. Why would Apple do this? Why would they force us to use an app that is so clearly inferior? It almost makes as much sense as what Microsoft did with Windows 8, getting rid of the Start button and all. It’s as if the lunacy that infected Redmond has made it’s way to Cupertino. Nuts!

Well, I will continue to use Aperture until it no longer functions. Until that year comes, I’ll continue to be a happy camper because I love Aperture.

Try Capture One. You’ll quit loving Aperture and be happy to embrace a real photo editing program.

The first time I used Capture One, I was angry at Apple for days.

I’m opening Aperture now to see if it still works. Oh my god, my photo library has automatically been merged into the new app. It says I can make edits with Aperture but they will not appear in the catalog. Thanks for giving me a choice there Jony.

Just a heads up for anyone who is thinking of doing the new OSX updates. You might want to prepare yourself mentally for the new changes.

I think you misinterpreted that message. All it means is after the merge, the Photos and Aperture libraries are totally independent of each other. They start off the same but changes you make in one don’t appear in the other.
You can still work in Aperture and pretend Photos doesn’t exist.


Thomas is correct. The migration from Aperture to Photos does NOT mean your can’t continue to use Aperture. They are now two independent libraries. In fact if you decided you migrated to Photos too soon, you could throw away the Photos library and continue to work in Alerture, then migrate again later if/when ready.

— Have you signed up for the mailing list?

Apple now genuinely sucks. Especially if you’re one of the old faithful. Believe it now or believe it later. If you care about your photos, give Capture One a try.

The first time I used Capture One, I was angry at Apple for days.

Photos is for the iPhoto customers, Apple is exiting the pro photography business as Apple said a year ago. And yet somehow that means they suck? This what Apple does, they sometimes write software to fill a void, something innovative, that nobody else is doing, but after other competitors flood the market they move on. Apple is a hardware company. This is not the first time, nor the last that they will do this. So why the angst and name calling? You didn’t believe them a year ago? Glad you found a program you like. FYI Aperture still works, for now, so for those who waited but want more than Photos, there is still time to switch. That seems like responsible behavior to me for a corporation toward its customers.

“This what Apple does, they sometimes write software to fill a void, something innovative, that nobody else is doing, but after other competitors flood the market they move on.”

I’m not sure who designated jd7000 to declare “what Apple does”, but hey, I’ll play too:

This is what Apple does: it changes from an innovative, idea-driven company into a profit-driven corporate behemoth more beholden to shareholders than users.

This is what Apple does: it abandons its software endeavors without regard for the established user base, whose loyalty they gained through marketing touting ”Professional”, “industry-leading”, “state-of-the-art” performance designed specifically to take advantage of their “professional, industry-leading, state-of-the-art” hardware we all bought into with our own professional dollars. In the end, the only thing “State-of-the-art and professional and industry leading” about Apple’s Professional Software was the hucksterizing.

This is what Apple does: It monetizes its customer base using the “boiling toad” approach, a buck or two a month at a time, until you are unable to freely sustain your photo library without paying Apple serious dollars over the lifetime of your “hobby”. Professionals know better than to trust Apple again with their libraries, their creative assets, or their aspirations. If you are on this site as a pro and are still trusting your output to Apple, consider yourself warned. It’s not if, it’s when you will become a believer: Apple doesn’t care about your photos or your music or your emails or your writing or your work of any type. It cares about your money. 

This is what Apple does. And yes, compared to what Apple used to do and be, this Sucks.

Want further proof? Use an android phone and offload your photos. (Nice to have a removable sd card for that, eh?) Now go look at them. Same as it ever was. Your photos on your mac. Great. Now get to work.

Now go try the same thing with an iphone. When you finally get some files onto your desktop, go look at them. Notice anything different? All of your filters have been removed. Sepia? gone. Noir? nope. Square format? not any more. If you want what you shot from your iphone and saw when you finished shooting your image, you’re out of luck unless you’re paying to view your photos within Apple’s ecosystem. Icloud bucks, here I come! Looks like that $5 per month isn’t enough if I want to see what I just created…

In my world, this sucks. The policy sucks, the people who created the model suck, the very practice of this model sucks. Feel free to tell me what you call it in yours.

Try Capture One. There’s a smooth straightaway before there’s any steep learning curve. You’ll quickly see how badly Apple took you to the cleaners the entire time you were using Aperture, thinking you were getting the best money could buy. They’ve become state-of-the-art Snake Oil Hucksters peddling dreams to the rubes. 

Why do I care enough to rant? Because I still have a substantial investment in Apple software, and some of their hardware. I buy my Apple products used these days, but those days are numbered. The macbook pro has become completely unjustifiable to anyone but a status seeker. With the collapse of their imaging software, the best reason to own a mac these days is for status, not performance. I remember different.  That’s why I rant. But slowly, the rest of the computing world is once again catching up to what Apple did a while back: it’s learning how to think different. And I’m all about that.


The first time I used Capture One, I was angry at Apple for days.

Apple didn’t say they were exiting the pro photo business - they said they were dropping Aperture and Photos would be its (and iPhoto’s) replacement.

Aperture provided a number of people a more than adequate solution to their professional requirements. It’s tragic that is was lost. I was one who decided to wait and see what Photos was like before making a great change ( Sadly that hope was dashed when I first got the developer preview of Photos. It’s lame, very lame, compared to Aperture (

It took about 1 minute to realise Apple were fooling themselves when they talked about an Aperture replacement. It’s no more a replacement for Aperture than a horse is for a car.

I’ve bought Capture One Pro and started using it. It’s very capable and eventually I’ll come to like it. I’ve even been able to tailor the interface so it even somewhat resembles Aperture. It’s still not as friendly, but I have a lot more faith in Phase One to maintain it than I do for Apple to improve Photos. I downloaded the trial of Lightroom but I sufficiently despise Adobe’s subscription fees I was glad Capture One existed as an option.

I’ve pretty much lost faith in Apple to do anything for me now. I love my iPhone, I love my Mac, but as for  Apple Watches and TVs and Cars I couldn’t give a rat’s.

I beg to differ with you. It was couched in corporate speak, but Apple clearly said they were exiting the pro-photography photo-editing business in their press release in June of 2014.  Perhaps you simply chose not to hear that message?

Don’t feel bad. Nobody wanted to hear that. However now the evidence is undeniable. Photos is targeted at the iPhone shooter social media user. The ma$$es.

I think it has a place in my workflow as a sharing and publishing app.  I like the fact I can share across all my devices.  No more connecting cords, to download photos from the phone.

But if you a serious amateur or a pro, still using Aperture, then, sorry but it’s time to move to another platform for that.

Clarification: when I said ”move to another platform”  I meant another software platform. 


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