No that’s not a misprint. I didn’t mean Lightroom 2 – I meant Lightroom in addition to Aperture.
I’ve been one of the early proponents of Aperture. I liked it when nobody else did. For me, it was easy to use, and reduced my post-processing time significantly. About the time Aperture came out, Adobe brought out Lightroom. I had already invested a great deal of time in Aperture. I even went so far as to become an Apple-certified T3 Aperture trainer. I co-led the first public class in Aperture at MacWorld with Derrick Story. I served as technical editor on two Aperture books, ran an Aperture blog, wrote about Aperture for O’Reillynet, etc. But I decided that I should know how to use Lightroom so I could help Lightroom users who were making the switch to Aperture.
This isn’t my first attempt at Lightroom. Frankly, I just thought Lightroom version 1.0 was a horrible program. I quickly gave up on it. It was missing at least 19 features that Aperture had. But even though I took a pass, others embraced it. Lightroom got more traction than Aperture. Why?
Lots of reasons. The easy one is that Lightroom works on Windows machines as well as on Macs. Aperture is Mac only. So out of the gate, Lightroom has the advantage. But beyond that, Apple’s very closed culture, odd PR and marketing approach and a few misfires in Aperture 1, caused the photo community to shift pretty heavily toward Lightroom.
According to an Adobe employee’s blog, the uptake of Lightroom, even on Macs, is significant. You can read about Lightroom adoption rates here. By the way, I’m not taking John Nack’s post as Gospel. He is after all an Adobe employee and I have no data on the InfoTrends study. Did Adobe fund it? How recent is the data? I’m not willing to pay InfoTrends to find out. But I do believe that Nack is generally correct. I do believe Lightroom has more uptake than Aperture. Whether or not the numbers in his post are accurate, it’s clear that Lightroom is winning that battle.
When both products got 2.0 updates, they both became considerably better. But Lightroom came further than Aperture did in its 2.0 update, and has been updated since with maintenance releases that add small bits and bobs to the program that make it much more powerful and easy to use. Lightroom also has the advantage of being tied to ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) Adobe’s RAW file converter which, like it or not, is the standard in the photo industry. ACR tends to get faster and more updates than Aperture’s RAW converter, which leads to a simpler workflow for those who want to use new cameras. Adobe has also been more aggressive in its marketing of Lightroom than Apple has of Aperture and all told, Lightroom has become the choice for a large number of folks in our audience.
With all that in mind, I decided to try Lightroom again and I must say, Lightroom 2.4 is very impressive. Because Adobe is much more open than Apple, they work with more people to promote the product and consequently, there are more books, workshops, add-ons, etc., for Lightroom than Aperture. I bucked this trend for as long as I could. But the time to open up my arms and embrace Lightroom has come.
Because Lightroom is so prevalent, it’s made it easier for me to learn the program than it would be if I had to go the other way around. In my business, the lack of Aperture uptake caused me to seriously re-organize my priorities. I spend a great deal of time trying to work with other photographers and more and more of them were coming to me for Lightroom help. Accordingly, I felt compelled to add Lightroom to my arsenal.
So now I am using Lightroom AND Aperture. I will work this way for the next year to see which I actually like best. I’m working with my legacy photography using Aperture. All my new photography will be processed in Lightroom. I’m also slowing converting each Aperture Project I have to a Lightroom Catalog. It gives me an extra backup and if I decide to switch completely to Lightroom, I’ll already have all my images ready to go.
I’ve spent more than 20 hours this week alone studying Lightroom training resources and working with the program.
I am thrilled at the number of fantastic resources you can find for Lightroom. Right off the bat, Matt Kloskowski’s “Lightroom 2 In Depth, Part One” helped me get my sea-legs. Matt did a great job of laying out Lightroom’s basic features. If you’re not a Kelby Training subscriber, this title alone should convince you to sign up. I plan to watch the remaining two titles in that series soon.
Next stop – I am working with Kevin Kubota’s Raw Workflow for Lightroom 2 tutorial. I also got my hands on Kevin’s amazing Lightroom presets and his new RPG keypad. I’ll post more about this when I’ve finished his course. After that, I’ll be visiting my friends at lynda.com and trying out Photoshop Lightroom Essential Training with: Chris Orwig.
Of course I’m very excited about the live training I’ll get on Lightroom at Photoshop World in a few weeks. It’s fun to learn a new product. I plan to immerse myself in the program so that I am comfortable enough to teach it. They say that the best way to learn something is to teach it – so teach it I will.
You can bet that once I finish immersing myself in Lightroom, I’ll have plenty of tips to pass along here on Photofocus. We can learn together 🙂
I realize that this will make some of my fallow Apple fanboys unhappy. Hopefully I won’t get death threats like I did when I switched from Canon to Nikon after 17 years as a Canon shooter. At the end of the day, you have to look at what the community is using. And the numbers don’t lie. Lightroom uptake far exceeds Aperture uptake. I’d be a fool not to acknowledge the truth of that and see how Lightroom can benefit my workflow.
Also – remember I am not abandoning Aperture. I don’t have anything bad to say about the product itself. The interface is beautiful and it still offers one feature that I love, and which Lightroom does not – book printing. Apple’s new book printing service is great and the ability to quickly, easily make and send off for printing a book, is one thing that will keep me using Aperture too.
But back to Lightroom…
If you have any favorite Lightroom books, training titles, tutorials, presets, etc., you think I should know about, or have resources you’d like me to review, ping me at [email protected]