LR and iPhoto and Photoshop Elements

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by DynaSport, Mar 30, 2014.

  1. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 5, 2013
    Real Name:
    I am embarrassed to admit this on this forum because I know most of you are RAW shooters and really look down on JPEG, but from my Canon days, I have been a primarily JPEG shooter. About the only time I shot much RAW was shooting indoor HS sports with the terrible cycling lights that made white balance awful. Anyway, the truth is my PP skills are pretty poor and I have never learned to use Photoshop. I have had Photoshop Elements and that is what I used to process the RAW files on my Canon, but somewhere along the line I stopped upgrading it and didn't move it to a new computer so I don't even have it.

    I have been using iPhoto for the pretty light post processing I do and to keep a catalog of my photos. While it is not very powerful, I have gotten really used to it and like how I organize my photos with it. I have been considering LR for quite a while now, but one of the things that has made me hesitate is the number of photos I have in my iPhoto catalog and the confusion of trying to either move them to LR or just maintain the old photos in iPhoto and start putting the new ones in LR.

    And then there is Elements. My little bit of experience with the newer version of Elements showed me that it too wants to organize and catalog my photos, so I feel that if I went to that software I'd have the same concerns as I do with LR.

    To complicate matters I have decided to shoot more RAW to see if I can get substantially better quality than I do with my JPEG shooting to see if it is really worth it to me.

    So, all that said, have any of you guys used iPhoto and is LR or PSE substantially better at converting RAW files. And how confusing is the organization to learn and implement with both packages?

  2. WendyK

    WendyK Super Moderator

    Feb 28, 2014
    Northern Virginia
    Real Name:
    Have you considered Aperture? It's an Apple program and plays nice with iPhoto and you can use the two simultaneously, supposedly. I am considering that myself once Apple adds RAW support for the E-M10.
  3. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 5, 2013
    Real Name:
    That is something for me to consider. I didn't really think of that because LR is the main program I read about on here. I just assumed it was superior. With my minimal PP knowledge I also want something that there a good knowledge base around for me to learn from. But there probably is a good amount of Aperture info out there too.
  4. MichaelShea

    MichaelShea Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 27, 2011
    Algarve, Portugal
    I think far fewer serious photographers look down on jpegs because many of the camera manufacturers have improved their processing engines so much lately. Fuji jpegs for example are brilliant and Olympus very good, and neither can be improved upon massively by raw converters. Panasonic frankly haven't kept pace and the last time I looked (on a G5, admittedly), their unprocessed yellows looked pretty ghastly. For my money, Lightroom is an excellent raw converter with an intuitive user interface. In the long-term however, jpeg is probably the way to go so don't be embarrassed in the least by your own preferences.
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  5. BlackOakMo

    BlackOakMo Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 10, 2012
    Oxford Mississippi
    Well said MichaelShea, I think you hit on something here.
    I have long suspected that a large part of the success of the OMD-EM5’s was because you could get really nice jpegs SOOC (for the first time from a mu43 camera). I have a panny G2 and G3 and shoot exclusively in raw because LR can do so much to improve the image. I also have aspirations of printing large. Interestingly, I rented a pro-level lens once and was surprised at how nice the images were and how little, work was needed in LR (mostly just WB). So even with the newest cameras, I think LR would still be a good investment so that you can get the most out of your non-pro lenses (of course, even with all pro lenses I would likely still shoot raw just to be able to push the envelope as far as possible:smile: )

    As for iPhoto v LR on a mac: It is very easy to import your iPhoto catalog into LR but, once you do, the PP you do in LR will only show up in your LR catalog. For me, LR is for raw images. Once I am done culling and processing a shoot, I export the best of the lot as jpegs to a different file/catalog. this could easily be a folder in your iPhoto catalog. Someone out there probably knows a more efficient workflow than this.

    Adobe LR used to offer a 30 day free trial. You might want to try it for a bit and see if you like it.
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  6. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Aperture can read your iPhoto Library - no need to reimport or reorganize anything. iPhoto can also read Aperture Libraries as well

    Aperture and iphoto at their heart are just two different interfaces to the same underlying technologies, the difference between the two is that in Aperture you have acess to more controls and a more sophisticated asset management or filing system

    In general terms the fundemental PP capabilities of both Aperture and Lightroom are very similar in scope. There may be differences in the naming of some controls , but the principles of operation are the same.

    I use Aperture and Aperture alone for all my PP work - check my flickr page to see the kind of results I get

    more info on Aperture here

    and for learning materials check out

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  7. WendyK

    WendyK Super Moderator

    Feb 28, 2014
    Northern Virginia
    Real Name:
    Some more thoughts this morning from a fellow Mac user....

    Dan, I didn't say it before, but I too have been mostly using iPhoto and shooting JPG for years. My reasons for JPG shooting were 1) inertia/familiarity and 2) (most important) I was on an older iMac with very little hard drive space left, and I barely had room forJPGs, let alone giant RAW files. I would move a bunch of stuff off to external drives periodically but it wasn't a long term solution.

    I've been a Photoshop Elements user for years, for web graphics as well as some more advanced photo processing/retouching, but iPhoto did most of what I wanted and I liked the way it integrated with OSX as a whole, so that's what I used most of the time.

    However, things have changed. I now have a much newer, better camera and want to take full advantage of it. I also have a new iMac with a hard drive 4x as big as the old one. I recently purchased the Nik Collection, which I love, and part of why I got it is that it works with so many different photo editors, including Elements, LR, and Aperture so I'm not locked in to one editor. I love the fine tuning I can do with Nik and the control points, to the point where I don't think iPhoto is going to cut it for me any more. But it annoys me to have multiple versions of my photos all over my hard drive.

    A few links I've stumbled upon that have gotten me thinking...

    This article about Aperture vs. LR - I am a power user of the Apple/OSX/iOS/iCloud ecosystem so this resonated with me, and I'm in the process of exploring the ApertureExpert site a bit, too.

    This also was useful (there are many more opinions if you Google LR vs. Aperture):

    This (very long) YouTube let me see both the Aperture interface as well as how it works w/ the Nik Collection, and I could easily see the extra functionality that Aperture would give me over iPhoto, both in terms of enhanced photo organization (without messing up what I have) and editing.

    I hesitate a bit since apparently Aperture has had a major update in a while and perhaps a new version might be coming, and I agree that there are tons of LR users and tutorials to learn from. Until Apple and Elements can support RAW for the E-M10 I will keep using my combination of iPhoto and Elements+Nik. I am mostly shooting JPG at the moment but have set one of the buttons on my E-M10 to toggle JPG and RAW+JPG so if I am about to take a really good shot and want the RAW too I press the button and I'm saving those RAWs for later. Once Elements is updated i'll decide whether to keep using that, get LR or get Aperture (or both).

    (PS Thanks to Kevin for your input about Aperture)
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  8. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I used to use Aperture and I swapped to Lightroom. I'd probably agree pretty much entirely with that article about Aperture vs LR but what it talks about is file management and sharing images within an iOS network. It doesn't really compare the 2 applications on processing issues and I swapped because I felt that Lightroom had gained some processing features that I wanted and which weren't available in Aperture. I only swapped after waiting over a year for Apple to try and catch up on the processing side and, as far as I can see because I still keep my copy of Aperture up to date, they haven't caught up. In fact I wonder where Apple is going with Aperture because while they have issued some minor updates, there has not been a major version upgrade in years.

    I've tried using Aperture again from time to time since I swapped and it has become increasingly difficult to do so because the longer I continue to use LR the more I start to automatically think and work in terms of how LR works and I find myself forgetting how I used to do things in Aperture so it takes me time to do things that didn't use to take time. I can still get good results in Aperture and I like what many people, including Kevin, do with it, but I don't want to go back to it. There are things like automatic removal of chromatic aberration, semi-automatic removal of purple and green fringing, and LR's "targeted adjustment tool" which works with curves, hue/saturation/luminance adjustments and also for adjustment of black and white tones, and more recently the radial filter and the automatic perspective adjustments that I really would not want to do without. It would take a major upgrade of the processing side of Aperture to draw me back to it.

    Having said that, I still find myself missing Aperture's approach to file management and the ease of sharing images with my iPad or of viewing them on my TV via an Apple TV. Apple have done a really great job on the file sharing front. At the stage when I originally bought Aperture they had also done a really good job on the processing front and many, including more than a few professionals, regarded Aperture's processing features as better than those in LR 3/Adobe Camera Raw. Then Adobe played leapfrog on the processing front and now 3 years or so later there still has been no significant improvement in Aperture's processing features that I can see while LR has gone through LR 4 and is now up to LR5 and both of those upgrades bought features I find extremely useful. If Apple were doing things on the processing feature front I would still be using Aperture but sadly they appear to have dropped that ball.

    To be fair Aperture has a very good processing feature set but what it has is now becoming "basic" or "less than full featured" because they haven't tried to keep pace with the competition when some years ago they were leading the competition. I could get by with Aperture but I'd rather have some of the bells and whistles that LR has added as well. That means that when I choose between Aperture and LR, basically for me it's a choice between basic processing features and good integration with the Apple system or superior processing features and poorer integration with the Apple system. The processing features win out for me. I could do 90% of what I do in processing in Aperture but that extra 10% I can do in LR is enough to make me accept some losses in how the program works with other Apple devices. I would love to see a significant major upgrade to Aperture and I would love to be seduced back from "the dark side" but I find it increasingly difficult to believe Apple have any real investment in Aperture the longer they go without a significant feature upgrade.
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  9. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    Real Name:
    As Michael Shea said, there's no reason to be in any way ashamed about using jpg rather than raw. That being said, I shoot raw, and it works better for me. But that decision has little to do with the software choice you are asking about.

    I made the move to LR several years ago after using iPhoto and Picasa for a while, and having made a complete mess of my photo catalog and storage as a result. Why LR rather than Aperture? I wanted a product which would be equally at home on a Windows machine as on a Mac, even though I currently use an iMac and/or iPad for all of my photography-related work. Just seemed like a bit more degrees of freedom should I want or need to move to Windows in the future.

    LR serves two major purposes for me. First off, it's a primo catalog / organizer. Most users can easily carry over whatever folder/file name conventions they were using (assuming they were thoughtful in the first place), but easily add the extra juice LR offers: keywords, smart collections, etc. Once you choose LR (or Aperture, I presume, but I have no experience there), it becomes the center of your photo workflow. It you won't need to use any of the organizing tools that come with Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

    LR also acts as a pretty sophisticated image processor for post processing. It lets me take care of well over 90% of all the PP I need to do, and lets you link very smoothly to both the other Adobe tools like PS and PSE, and non-Adobe tools. I use Nik and OnOne for some of my more detailed work. I have PS installed but seem to not use it much.

    The switch from a disorganized state to an organized state in LR is all about the work of organizing. My new structure since I switched is to have a very straightfoward folder structure: (year)/(yyyy-mm-dd + "shoot name"), and a very straightfoward filename for images: yyyy-mm-dd + "shoot name" + {original image file name from the camera}. LR pretty much automates this when I import the images from the SD cards, as I'm doing right now for my mom's birthday party this afternoon. All of the images will go into a folder named 2014/2014-03-30 Connie's 92 Birthday Party. The files will be renamed "20140330-Connie's 92 Birthday Party" + {SGA10384.ORF}, where the last bit is the filename from my E-M1. I also have LR keyword tag each image with a few choice keys, put my copyright info into the EXIF, and apply a default development preset. All this takes place while I'm doing something else useful, like typing this reply.
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  10. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    I also use LR as my digital asset manager (DAM) to import, sort, and catalog my incoming files (almost always raw). I use LR to do some basic edits. For advanced edits I use the Nik Collection and OnOneSoftware's Perfect Photo Suite 8. Between LR. Nik, and Perfect Photo, I can do anything I want with a photo.

    For a slightly lower cost Mac users can go with Aperture ($79 at Apple Store) as your DAM and use a world of plugins like Nik and Perfect Photo. Rather than PS Elements, look at Pixelmator for $39 at the Apple Store. When Apple debuted the new Mac Pro it was Pixelmator they had on the screen....not an Adobe product.
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