screenshot of aperture program open
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Breaking up with Aperture

Breaking up is hard to do. No one likes coming to the realization that a once blossoming relationship is now dwindling, leaving you less than fulfilled and perhaps jaded.

When Apple dealt the blow back in June that it was killing my beloved Aperture, I was heartbroken. I was an early adopter of Aperture. Actually, because I was working for Apple at the time of the release (November 2005), I was glued to the demo on the sales floor the day it came out and took home a copy that night.

At the time there was nothing like it. Apple’s iPhoto program was similar, but professionals lacked something robust & refined with sophisticated tools.(Adobe wouldn’t come out with even a beta for Lightroom for several months, following up with an actual working release in February of 2007.) I adored the freedom I found in Aperture’s editing tools. The workflow was groundbreaking and sped up my editing a zillionfold!

Okay, I am exaggerating, but it was a far cry from Bridge, Camera RAW, & Photoshop for each one. It was also amazing to have the organization. A huge part of Apple’s success is due to their streamlining of organization. They make things easy. You don’t have to spend time over thinking what you’re doing or how you’re doing it; it just works.

So along I went on my happy little Aperture trail for years. Then I started hearing about this Lightroom thing. I didn’t think much of it. After all, I was completely happy with what I was able to do in Aperture. It was meeting my needs and then some. However, around this time, Apple had already released the iPod, which was taking the world by storm, and slowly, the pro market was beginning to notice support for pro apps dwindling. Logic Pro, Final Cut, Motion, even pro hardware options seemed to be getting put on the back burner.

Releases were slower and fewer as this new addition to the family started taking over. I was disappointed, but was happy that they were continually updating Aperture, so I kept my nose to the screen and kept working. As Lightroom began finding it’s feet and gaining traction, I kept ignoring all the funny looks other photogs gave me when they found out I still used Aperture. They’d ask me why and all I could say was that it just worked for me. It’s simple, straightforward, and stable. Why fix it if it isn’t broken?

Well, it did break. I didn’t see it coming–or at least I was in denial about seeing it coming. When the news broke about Apple killing yet another pro app I threw a bit of a temper tantrum, I’ll admit. Changing workflows is difficult. Retraining your brain, your muscle memory, heck, even just reorganizing your hard drive is a pain in the butt! And of course, it’d come right as wedding season was peaking for me and there’s about zero time for any of those shenanigans. Luckily, I’m surrounded by many lovely photographer friends who have been truly supportive of the switch and tolerant enough to laugh off my gripeing and grumbling along the way as I ask question after question after question.

I’m discovering that Lightroom, while on the outside is very much the “same” as Aperture (a system of organizing and editing photos on a professional level), they are very much different beasts and Lightroom has grown far more robust than I thought it had. As much as I hate to break up with Aperture, I know that sooner or later (likely sooner, with the way technology advances) I’m just plain not going to be able to open and work on my photos anymore and (the part I really hate) the coding Aperture is written on isn’t going to be readable eventually, so I’ll need to migrate my libraries over so I’ll still be able to have access to them. Ugh! Plus, support for plug ins & specialty software is getting hard and harder to come by with Aperture, and easier and easier for Lightroom.

At least with Adobe, I know that support for their programs isn’t going anywhere because all they are is their programs! They’ve carefully cultivated their company over decades to be the industry standard, not the industry option, which is comforting. Also, in knowing that, at least I know there will be support and community out there for me in the switch. As I make this journey I’ll be blogging extensively about my “adventures” (and misadventures!) of coming into Lightroom with Aperture eyes and how I’ve found to overcome the differences and embrace the advantages that Lightroom has to offer, so stay tuned for more!

Lisa is a D.C. area wedding & boudoir photographer. Check out her !

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