Why Don’t I Just Switch to Aperture 3?


I saw that comment a number of times in the comments on my “What I’d Love To See in Lightroom 4” post from Friday (link).

Since most photographers that read this blog, and well…most pro photographers in general (as we’ll discuss in a moment), use Lightroom, I was kind of surprised to read those responses, especially since I rarely see any mention of Aperture here on this blog at all.

Then I found out why my blog was suddenly getting visits from Aperture fans. The Aperture Users Network web site wrote a post (link) with the headline:

“Scott Kelby Pleas with Adobe to Make Lightroom More Like Aperture.”

With a link back to my post.

After reading that headline, I now fully understand the meaning of “Spin.”

A more accurate headline might have been “Scott Kelby Wants Some of Aperture’s Slideshow features and their Book feature added to Lightroom.”

I’ve been using Aperture since Aperture 1.0
As I’ve noted previously on this blog, I do sometimes use Aperture. So, why don’t I just switch?

It’s because I only like Aperture better for one feature—making photo books. I don’t use it for anything else (I do my slideshows in iPhoto).

If instead I had written the article “What I’d love to See in Aperture 4” my wish list would have been a lot longer, and it would have started with performance issues, which I feel has always been Aperture’s Achilles heel. For example, here’s a comment posted to that same article referenced above on the Aperture Users Network from an existing Aperture user:

“…frankly, I get frustrated more often by the lack of performance of Aperture and it’s temper, than I get delighted with it’s features and nice workflow.”

Plus, if I had written an Aperture 4 wish list article, it would have gone on to include features already in Lightroom that Aperture doesn’t do well, or doesn’t do at all, like: automated and manual lens correction and perspective correction, or snapshots and history for your edits, or supporting multiple adjustments with one brush stroke like Lightroom’s Adjustment Brush, or built-in Camera profiles to emulate Nikon/Canon in-camera looks, or a fast responsive crop tool, or crop tool overlays for composition, or setting your default adjustment settings by camera model, camera serial number or image ISO, or expertly-tuned sharpening on output, or saving your print layouts as JPEGs so you can send them to a photo lab, and I could go on and on and on.

Not to mention that there’s a massive worldwide community built around using Lightroom and supporting Lightroom users, and you can find tons of presets, plug-ins, advice, training books, live seminars, hands-on workshops, and even its own conference available to Lightroom users, that simply doesn’t exist on that scale for Aperture users (and did I mention that Aperture isn’t even available on the Windows platform at all?).

Of course, if I had written that article many people would have said: “Why don’t you just switch to Lightroom 3?”

It’s Not Just Me
Let’s set aside my feelings on Lightroom for a moment, and look at a bigger picture. Who is using Lightroom and who is using Aperture?

An independent study by InfoTrends looked at which programs pros are using to process their raw images. Here’s what they found:

In 2009 (the most current year for which statistics are available) here’s what the pros use:

Lightroom: 37%

Aperture: 6.3% (down from 7.5% the previous year, so their pro user base is actually shrinking).

Now, although Lightroom is available for both PCs and Macs, Aperture is only available on Macs, and you’d think that would help its case quite a bit, but it actually gets worse when you just compare what Mac users are using. Here are InfoTrend’s results when you just look at pro photographers using Macs:

Lightroom: 44.4%

Aperture: 12.5% (down from 14.6% the previous year, so their pro user base is actually shrinking on the Mac, too).

So why are pros choosing Lightroom nearly 4 to 1 over Aperture? Why aren’t they all just switching to Aperture 3 like the Aperture User Network fans are suggesting?

There’s a reason.

Here’s a comment from one of my readers, and frequent commenter, Omar D. Rivero, who wrote:

“I agree Scott. Aperture’s slideshow and photo book capabilities run circles around Lightroom’s. But as Lightroom is critical in my workflow, Aperture becomes a very expensive slideshow creator.”

When it comes to editing your raw images, Adobe’s Camera Raw (which is built into Lightroom—that’s what the Develop Module is—Camera Raw) is the industry standard for processing raw images. Period. It’s the heart of Lightroom, and the way it works with Photoshop (a seamless roundtrip) and how you can keep the Raw Editing capabilities by opening your Lightroom Raw images in Photoshop as a Smart Object makes it a critical part of most pros workflows. In fact, about 4 to 1.

I’m No Aperture Hater
Here’s the thing—-I think Aperture 3 is actually a good program. I think its book feature is absolutely fantastic (I use it myself), and Omar’s right—their slideshow module does run rings around Lightroom’s, which is why I brought up both in my original post.

While some of those features on my wish list are in Aperture, some of my wish list features are in Photo Mechanic—and not available in Aperture. (So why didn’t somebody write the headline “Scott Kelby Pleas with Adobe to Make Lightroom More Like Photo Mechanic”)? In fact, there are some features in the iPad App “Photogene” that I’d like to see in Adobe Photoshop CS5. Should should I switch to Photogene because it has a few features I’d love to have in Photoshop?

Switching Isn’t an Option
Right now Aperture 3 has a few features I would love to see in Lightroom, yet it wouldn’t make sense to switch because at this point in time it has a few features Lightroom doesn’t.

But just for a moment, let’s pretend I did switch. Well…I’d have to change my entire workflow, import all my photos from scratch, learn a new program—a new user interface, their raw image editor, their keyboard shortcuts, their file management, and so on. It would take a while, and I wouldn’t be as proficient as I am in Lightroom because I’ve been using it for years, but I imagine I could get pretty decent after a while.

Then Adobe releases Lightroom 4, and what if it winds up having a great photo books feature and a better slideshow than Aperture’s, and some other features that Aperture doesn’t have? Do I then switch back to Lightroom, pay for the upgrade, and change my entire workflow again because it has 10% more features than Aperture 3?

But then what if six months later, here comes Aperture 4 and it has 10% more features than Lightroom 4. Do I pay for that upgrade and switch back? Do you see where I’m going with this? Your time is too valuable, and the learning curve too steep to play the “chasing features” game each time one comes up with a feature or two the other program doesn’t have. Yet.

I didn’t say Lightroom Was Way Off. I Said it was “This Close!”
I love Lightroom. Love it! Do I want some additional features added? Absolutely—that’s what my post was all about, but my “Plea to Adobe” part was all about this—Lightroom is so good, that it’s “This Close” to being perfect! I want Adobe to just take that extra step. Swing for the fence. Add those little things (and a few big things) that would take it over the top. You’re “This Close!”

Don’t be an Aperture Hater
There’s no reason to hate Aperture. Competition like this breeds innovation, and both groups of users will wind up with a better program because of it.

Either way, since you know it’s my personal preference to use Lightroom, you can stop trying to convince me to switch, just like I’m not trying to convince Aperture users to switch to Lightroom (that’s Adobe’s job).

So, I hope that lets you know where I stand and why. After this post, I hope the Aperture Users Network (link) crew doesn’t feel the same way about me that the guys over at SportsShooter.com did after my “Shooting on the Sidelines with Scott & Mike Contest” from last year (which incidentally, there is no way in heck I’m doing that contest again this year. I can only absorb so many slings and arrows in a 12 month period). ;-)

P.S. You guys posted some great wish list ideas of your own on Friday (there are over 200 comments), and I’ll be sharing some of my favorites in a post later this week.

  1. People love to hate. ;-) Your post was just a suggestion box anyway, and a few of us learned some new tricks about how to do stuff in LR3 we didn’t know could be done. Lightroom is my main editing source anymore, but anything can always use more improvements.

  2. Hi Scott,

    Geez it’s amazing how quick some people will jump on things with just the slightest hint of unhappiness with a competitive product.

    Back when Aperture 3 came out I gave the trial version a good run through and in fact did come quite close to switching over from Lightroom. However, and it’s a big however once I’d tidied up my Lightroom Catalogs that changed things all over. Lightroom had started running slower than I’d really wanted but then I guess having over 30,000 images loaded in could well have had something to do with that so once I’d removed ‘Rejected’ photos and then started a new catalog we were back to warp speed.

    Sure Aperture had some great features such as the loop but Lightroom 3 (for me) wins hands down. I’m using the tethering ‘alot’ especially due to the import speed and the new noise reduction, sharpening and so on are very impressive indeed.

    I guess this ‘comparing’ products will never end…Mac v Windows; iPhone v Blackberry and Lightroom v Aperture…all great products which boil down to personal taste.


      1. Scot, I wish you good luck in advance when you review the next Nikon camera! I already can assure you, you will make better pictures with a Canon (and they are less expensive!!) ;-)

      2. Scott – I think you’re a bit off the mark with your lead in and conclusion re: why there was so much discussion of Aperture in your comments section. I saw that MacCreate had posted your link later in the day, but my comment (sortly after midnight ET) and (I can only speak for mine of course, but others were posted before the MC link) was not the result of any MacCreate redirect, which I didn’t see (and I don’t think was up – subject to correction) until much later in the day. I’m a former LR 1-2.6 and I still keep 3.x but I’ve found Aperture 3 to be much better in key areas for me. Your blog is a regular stop to at least glance at for me and I suspect for many of the other Aperture users who commented. Yes, more use LR, and PCs and Canon DSLRs and Honda Civics, and Final Cut Pro isn’t a Windows program either… but those points don’t demonstrate that Aperture isn’t a program that isn’t in demanding professional use and prefer to LR2 or 3. As I’ve noted, Joe Mcnally is an Aperture user. Chase Jarvis is an Aperture user. Scott Bourne. Jim Richardson. Vincent Laforet, Bill Frakes. Given that, it surprises me that you seem surprised at the number of non-marquee Aperture 3 users who may read or at least skim the new postings on your blog. I think a lot of those users love Aperture 3 and simply wanted to tell you and others about some of the Ap 3 things they love what is usually a Aperture-free zone.

        I think your post recovers but not after seeming to go after Aperture for a moment, which is fine, but the basis seemed unsupported. Your “it’s not just me” and “there’s a reason” seem a bit off the rails or at least teetering. Yes, you have that note from MacCreate, but my personal experience is that Aperture 3.2 is much more robust in performance than LR on Macs (after the first patches – Ap. 3.0 in Feb. was buggy(!) out of the blocks) – the feature of PhotoMechanic that you like by the way – seeing the images instantaneously and start to work on them, is also a great part of Aperture 3. My images are there from the get go and I’m sorting and actually editing them during the import. My point is that performance is generally a very positive measure for Aperture 3.0, which leverages the OS, especially vs. LR. I read and participate in a forum working through why LR3 performance is so poor trying to get to the heart of the issues.
        http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=44395.0 And of course there are all sorts of other issues in that forum. That doesn’t mean LR3 is awful, it just means that pointing to a user comment re: performance on Ap vs LR. – whether simple speed, or speed of changing libraries, or speed of adjustments, is perhaps not a strong argument in support of a LR preference.

        RE: RAW conversion, and this really is personal preference, I just happen to like the look of Nikon files more out of the camera in Aperture 3 than LR3 and I find myself making fewer small tweeks to them as a result, which is what I find really attractive. So yes, Camera Raw is built into LR and PS, but I think Aperture does a better job than CR – although LR3 is certainly (much) better than LR2.

        One other point, you can see your adjustments listed (although a bit different than LR history) in a list and stamp view in Aperture.

        I know that your livlihood is focused on LR is a big way, from books to concert tour-like training sessions / workshops, and it’s a big part of Photoshop World now too, and it’s obviously your blog, but I what I was saying the other day was not to take away from that but note how far Aperture had come, and that it was great to see some resources on Kelby training and it would be great to see even more.

    1. And for some sad reason, expressing a personal preference different from the reader, is then seen as an attack on that reader’s judgement.

      I think it’s also sad Scott has to ‘defend’ what he said to people who didn’t even think about or read clearly what he had written; instead seeing there own agenda.

      ps current Aperture user

  3. I am sill contemplating the switch to Apple. I have so much invested in my Hp stuff (4 laptops and two custom towers) that I can’t see that happening soon. If I could get Adobe to let me switch a license to Apple I would at least try one! Then I would be able to compare Apature to LR.

      1. THANKS Terry! I never knew that. And I am gonna assume that’s just LR correct, not other CS products.

        Regardless, this is great.

      2. It’s all of the Adobe CS products. It’s a cross-platform change request. They require you to destroy the original media (and sign a release that you will) and then they’ll send you the discs for the new platform. When I did it, it was a pretty straightforward process. They charged me like $5 for shipping.

      3. Actually Neil, Lightroom is different from all of the other Adobe CS products. The serial number you receive in the box will work on either platform and does not require that you submit a request or destroy the original media.

        Tom Hogarty
        Lightroom Product Manager

  4. Just read the SportsShooter thread, LOL funny when you think it about it, how dare you intrude on their sports field Mr Kelby, what were you thinking !

    I’m using Lightroom & Aperture cos I can’t decide which I like best, its making my head hurt ;-)

  5. I’ve not taken the time to experiment with Aperture on the Mac, but believe I remember reading somewhere that it has the same printing services that iPhoto does. So, that functionality is already available, right?

    Aside from that, I totally agree with your philosophy/mentality of “Don’t be a ____ hater.” Whether it’s Macs vs Windows, Nikon vs Canon, Aperture vs Lightroom, Ford vs Chevy, Vanilla vs Chocolate, Coke vs Pepsi – it really is a matter of personal taste and choice, and your insights have always been to encourage and foster the innovation that both perspectives of any “take” will bring to the table.

      1. Just got off the phone with Apple – print fulfillment is handled the same for both Aperture and iPhoto – only possible difference is more granular control over templates

  6. Hey Scott,

    It’s disappointing that you get those sort of comments, I read the Lightroom post and loved it (hope Adobe did too) that you let everyone know where you think the program falls short. Any Lightroom user will know that you were just picking at the very fine edges of an excellent program – there really is NOTHING like it out there.

    I have been curious for a while as to why everyone on PhotoshopUserTV uses Mac computers though – and was hoping you would do a post to shed some light. I have looked into getting a MacBook Pro to help out on the field, but obviously, with having to purchase all the programs to support Mac again, it is not an easy or cheap move at the end of the day. I know there are lovers and haters of both platforms, and I know there are programs on the Mac that is industry standard for videographers, but why do so many prominent photographers prefer Mac when the programs they use are the same on both platforms? Is it only down to preference, or am I missing something?

    Thanks very much and keep bloggin’!

    1. It is most likely because of the color space being used.
      The default when exporting images from Lightroom to Photoshop is for the image to be in ProPhoto RGB. This can look darker especially on the screen.
      You can go into the preferences in Lightroom and change the color space there or just make sure that when you save a version to be used for output in photoshop that you pick the right colorspace.

      It is also important to get your monitor color calibrated or it wont make a difference what color space you use since the monitor wont be showing the true colors anyway.

  7. I used Aperture up until 3 was released and the performance just died for me. With a lot of thanks to Kelby Training I was up to speed on Lightroom very quickly!

    I still use Aperture for slideshows and books and it seems I’m with everyone else in wishing Lightroom had the same capabilities. But what I really miss about Aperture is the workflow, I really don’t like switching between modules in Lightroom.

    Anyway, they’re both amazing programs. Who cares which one you use?

  8. I agree with the prior post regarding personal taste. I have had a Blackberry, now I have an iPhone. I used a Mac and now I migrated to a PC. Equally great devices and the same holds true for the software. I seriously doubt that one software program (except for PS) will ever please all. Until then, I think it boils down to your workflow preference and which one works for you.

  9. I routinely use iPhoto in conjunction with Lightroom 3. If I have a group of photos that I want to upload to MobileMe, facebook, or flickr I just import them into iPhoto and do a batch upload (I also know that there are plugins I could use for this with Lightroom, but the plugin feature seems a bit clunky to me). Once they are in the iPhoto library I can use the photo book or calendar maker to order those items.

  10. Mr. Kelby as usual, you are pretty much spot on. I think “switching” is often impractical. Once you get a large library going, you have to face the fact that nothing is perfect. Bill Frakes has just crossed the 1.5 million image mark in his Aperture library. Can you imagine what it would be like for him to switch to Lightroom?

    I used Lightroom for a while and just decided that for me, personally, the Aperture interface and managed libraries were a better choice. But I completely understand why most people prefer Adobe. Adobe is a more open company than Apple and easier to deal with. They actually let the user base beta test products while Apple doesn’t even acknowledge future products. Lightroom can run on both platforms and Aperture cannot. Given your job, you can help many more people by focusing on Lightroom. There are plenty of resources for both Aperture and Lightroom learners. I continue to play with Lightroom just so I can intelligently answer questions about it in comparison to Aperture. To each his own. Why people feel the need to hate on either product is beyond me.

    I would like to address the performance issue with Aperture. Up until Aperture 3.01 I would not use the program for anything important. But with that update, Apple made the program pretty solid. On my MacBook Pro Intel Core i7 (2.66 GHz) with eight gigs of Apple’s fastest RAM, I don’t see a performance issue. And both Aperture and Lightroom run at about the same speed on my machine. Aperture is VERY GPU dependent and if folks are having Aperture performance issues, that’s the first place I usually send them.

    Thanks for another great post on this subject. People trying to make you switch from Lightroom are silly. Your Lightroom books are simply the best instruction on the subject available. Asking you to switch to Aperture would be like expecting me to give up Kentucky Fried Chicken!

    1. Hi Scott, I think you’ll always find apologists They don’t realise computer programs on whatever platform are created by Human Beings at the end of the day. I think both Lightroom & Aperture are great!

    2. Great Scott(s)!!!

      My “other” favorite instructor!

      I watched your training on Creative Live for Aperture 3 & it has been vital in my workflow. I couldn’t agree with your comments -and Kelby’s- more. After trying both LR 3 & Aperture 3, I personally feel that Aperture 3 just works better for me, its that simple. I actually still love LR, and if I had a 50,000+ image library like many here do, I probably wouldn’t even have considered the switch.

      Aperture does indeed require some commitment that many aren’t able or willing to do. First of all, and most obvious, is that you can only use a Mac. secondly, without a very nice graphics card, FUHGEDABOUDIT…. you will hate Aperture ( i had to update the graphics card on my 2008 Mac Pro, which set me back about $450 to get one compatible). So I can understand why the statistics show that, with the programs in so many ways comparable, LR is by far more popular. I personally do not share Scott Kelby’s experience that LR is the better RAW processor, but again that is a personal experience, and I too wish that people could settle for making an educated personal choice & stop hating on the other program. :)

    3. Scott, you have one of the top podcasts in my book, getting ready to down load. I have listen to many of the photo related casts but yours and Rick Sammons are the 2 that I can actually learn from!

    4. Haha, well put Scott :) Both programs are pretty solid in there own way. The way Apple markets their products though is genius. When I saw the demo videos on Apple’s website and seeing Chase Jarvis talk about his workflow using Aperture, I felt like “I gotta have that.” They convey their message like no other company I’ve seen. Both applications are great though. It’s crazy, I’ve actually been going back and forth between Bridge CS5 and Lightroom 3. Bridge CS5 just seems to run so much faster for me. My library in Lightroom 3 isn’t huge. I usually create a catalogue for each client/project. But I’m so organized with my folders that Bridge CS5 sometimes just seems to keep me better organized. I love the fact that it comes with the Creative Suite, but there are just some things that Lightroom 3 does more efficiently. I will say that it’s interesting to see peoples thoughts on the subject, and see the workflow and creative process of other photographers. Thanks for posting Scott! Take care

  11. Hi Scott! I was very surprised to hear you mention how Aperture’s user base is falling, but as you quite rightly point out why switch to Aperture from Lightroom when it clearly suits your own workflow and others? Both programs have their own strengths and weaknesses but I think it would be a shame for Apple to cease creating future updates as from my own experience because I find it to be very intuitive from a MobileMe standpoint as well!

    I wonder how your friend David Ziser feels about Lightroom as Aperture suits his workflow more? Anyway I digress. Thanks for your thoughts and interesting findings!

  12. I had to make a decision last year to figure out where to continue to dump my money into upgrades. I started with Aperture, but what lured me to Lightroom was the fact that Adobe was all over the continued improvements to Lightroom. It seemed like Apple sat back for a while before it came out with version 3. In this fast paced world of IT, a company cannot afford to take that risk.

    I am an “all things Apple” kind of person. But I can’t afford to wait on the sidelines.

    Speaking of sidelines… Scott, those guys over at SportsShooter.com were brutal!!!! Dang!!!

  13. Switching is never a real option when you are using programs like this, it’s simply put way too much work.
    I’m an Aperture 3 user myself and love the program but it’s very bugy since version 3, however my main work is done with Photoshop, I use Aperture only for DAM and for that it works great, but also Lightroom would work just fine.

    Why did I choose Aperture ?
    Actually quiete simple, at that moment in time Aperture was better for me than Lightroom, there has been a time I would have loved to be in Lightroom and then Aperture again.

    As Scott pointed out there is always something to love in a different program, but it’s not a reason to switch, it’s why there will always be a new version :D
    As soon as that doesn’t happen any more one could think about changing until then it’s just what works for you.

    As mentioned by another reader/commenter it all boils down to people who also fight in the Apple/PC, iPhone/Adroid etc. wars, but I wonder how many of them are really using the programs, both are doing a great job, and with each new version new things are added, by posts like people like Scott I think Lightroom/Adobe will listen and the next version will be even better……

    maybe I should switch :D

    1. I think a lot depends on how you use the programs.
      I use both LR3 and Aperture but I also use Photo Mechanics and Bridge.

      I use PM to ingest the images and make the first cull
      Copy the selected images to their own sub folder
      I then make a lightroom catalog with only the selected images
      Speeds up workflow and also means I can grab the selected images in bridge if needed.

      What I’m trying to say is that my workflow works for me.
      Might not work for everyone
      I try to use the best tool for the job.

      It also allows me to use Aperture on any shoot if I want a book or a slideshow.
      And speaking of aperture, why can I make a calendar in iPhoto but not in Aperture?

  14. Wow – the comments on Sportsshooter really aggravate me. I am a photographer but I still have to supplement my income with non-photography work from time to time because its a hard industry to get started in. I love the people who are willing to step aside and allow new photographers a chance to shoot bigger venues.

    You guys were offering a great prize and an opportunity. All those who commented so wildly should rethink how (and if) they became photographers. I bet there is a story or two about a nice opportunity similar to the original idea.

    Any complaint aimed at photographers about overcrowded sidelines is asinine. I would have thought the venue would be responsible for over-crowding.

    Keep up the great work Scott. The blog, photowalk, books, etc are all very appreciated.

    1. I know what all that’s like, last year I had it out with the “Pro Photographer” for a regional HS band contest who had an issue with me standing above him in the stands taking pictures of my best friend. Some people just need to take a chill pill, and realize it doesn’t matter whether you are a “pro” or what program you use to finish your pictures with, it only matters how good your pictures are, and how good a person you are. That’s what really matters.

  15. “Spin” is right! Your post came nowhere close to even the notion that you were trying to get Adobe to make Lightroom 4 more like Aperture.

    I’ve been using Lightroom since version 1, and I have given Aperture a try at versions 1, 2, and now 3. Once they released the updates to Aperture 3, I too saw the performance issues disappear. But as sexy and slick as the interface is, the features and workflow just aren’t there for me in the same ways that they are in Lightroom 3. I love using Aperture 3 for books and slideshows – they just plain rock! I even posted a tutorial on my photo tips blog about how to whiten teeth in Aperture 3 after a reader asked about it, but alas I still cannot make the switch because it just doesn’t do the same things for me that Lightroom 3 does.

    The bottom line is that it boils down to personal taste, your workflow, and what you’re accustomed to. I’ll guess I’ll never really understand why people hate on one program versus another beyond arguing for the sake of arguing.

    1. Personally I don’t think it matters if a photographer uses LR or Aperture. They’re both good programs. I use Aperture daily, but I still use LR like Scott Bourne does to keep up to date with it. I’d rather see a photographer on either package than using a combo of Bridge/Photoshop like in the old days.

      Both have strengths, both have weaknesses. That’s how product comparisons work. The reason people debate Nikon vs. Canon is because they both work well, they just work well for different people. Even Windows vs. Mac, there are some things people like about Windows that just work for them. If it works, awesome.

      But about this –

      “Spin” is right! Your post came nowhere close to even the notion that you were trying to get Adobe to make Lightroom 4 more like Aperture.”

      “More like Aperture.” Like=”having the same characteristics or qualities as; similar to”

      So what Thomas was saying is that Scott wants LR’s feature set to improve and the suggestions he made make the program more *like* the functions of Aperture. Lightroom doesn’t do things he wants it to. He wants it to be more LIKE Aperture, because Aperture does these things.

      The program was specifically or indirectly compared in each major feature. In the list of features Aperture can already do things that he mentions 80% of the time. He’d like LR to be able to do these things, just like Aperture can.

      • (1) Photo Book Creation & Printing

      – Aperture has these, and Scott cited Aperture specifically.

      • (2) A Great Slideshow Module
      – Aperture has that, and Scott cited that the free consumer Apple product has better slideshows than Lightroom. Aperture has better slideshows than iPhoto, therefor Aperture has better slideshows than LR.

      • (3) Decent Type Controls
      – Scott says that Stickies has better type than LR. Aperture has better type control than Stickies. (Command-T brings up the OS X type dialog box).

      • (4) Basic Video Editing. We just need what Aperture 3 has;
      -Another direct citation of a feature in Aperture.

      • (4) [sic] Soft Proofing
      – Aperture has this.

      (5) A Networked Lightroom
      – Aperture has library merging. The libraries aren’t directly accessible at the same time, but you can split anything off to use it as a library and then bring it back, where Aperture will merge it.

      (7) Automated Backup
      – Aperture has this by virtue of Time Machine, LR does too if you’re using a Mac.


      Can we finally have the Stacking feature in Collections? It’s in Folders, why can’t we have it in collections? – Aperture has this.

      Can we change catalogs without having to quit and restart Lightroom? –
      Aperture has this.

      I want a Light Table feature. – Aperture has this

      Please give us a menu command for getting to these existing features: – Aperture has this.

      (2) Your thumbnails appear faster in Photo Mechanic, and so you’re already entering your captions while the Lightroom guys are waiting for their thumbnails to load. – Aperture has this

      We need to be able to email an image directly from within Lightroom. – Aperture has this

      We need to be able to add a backscreened image – Aperture can do this.

      We need to be able to add more than one graphic element to a page (so, more than one logo, or a logo and a graphic swatch or something. – Aperture can do this.

      Give us the ability to add a Mat around our images. – Aperture can do this.

      We would love to see the ability to have different photos in Picture Package cells – Aperture can do this.

      If we could have the ability to zoom in on our image while we’re in the Print Module, – Aperture can do this.

      We need to ability to have multiple galleries on the same page. – Aperture can do this via mobileme

      1. “We need to be able to add a backscreened image – Aperture can do this”

        What is a Backscreened image?

  16. Hi Scott,

    Why not mention Photo Mechanic which I use and love. Most pro sports photographers, photojournalists and others use that as well. As a heavy Photoshop and Camera RAW user (thanks to Kelby Training) I cannot see duplicating PS functionality in a separate program.

    Love your blog!


  17. I will say this, Scott: after reading your comments last week, I’ve held off on upgrading to Lightroom 3.0 from 2.0. I wouldn’t consider Aperture, but may just stick with Photoshop CS4 or do the CS5 upgrade there, instead.

    In any event, I did appreciate your comments because if anyone knows LR, methinks it’s you!


  18. Thanks for the shout out Scott! And for the many Aperture 3 lovers out there, like Scott I am no Aperture hater. A seldom mentioned feature in Aperture 3 that I really use is face-recognition. I love that feature and wish LR had it! However when it comes down to business, Lightroom is just a better fit for my workflow. And Lightroom’s tight integration with Photoshop is a real time-saver for me, especially when processing several hundred images on a tight deadline.

  19. Scott,

    Try this. See if you can live exclusively in Lightroom without Photoshop. Try it for just ONE shoot. Or even ONE photo. I bet your love of Lightroom is largely dependent on your love of Photoshop.

    Lou …

  20. Scott maybe you could try & convince Photodex to make a Mac verson of Pro Show Gold & Producer . I think they have the best slideshow program on the planet. My nephew has made shows that look like Final Cut. Without the $ & the learning curve. Photodex in the last couple of years has started to have the kind of training around it you see for LR. & its the only think I miss about switching back to Mac 3 years ago. Still trying to figure out either Bootcamp or VM to get windows on the Mac so I can get Photodex back.

    Any one here have Windows on their Mac.

  21. In my opinion, the competition between several programs is the biggest guarantee of further development steps, so would happen what if everbody switched?

  22. I’m using Aperture at home because I find Lightrooms interface dreadful and confusing, but Ligthroom at work because that’s what I have to teach my Windows-using students. Strange thing, the images that result from it are just as good arriving from either application, and I spend approximately the same amount of time processing the same kinds of sets of images. Don’t you think that strange? So what’s the moral? If you are like me and don’t process 10 000 images a day, it mostly about the gut feeling of working with the applications, I like one interface, others like the other. They’re both extremely good programs.
    I think the people at the Aperture Network ran the story well, and made a very fair representation of Scott’s article, both the first one and this one.

  23. Hey Scott,

    Can you do a post comparing when you think it’s better to use a Lightroom workflow and whey you think it’s better to use an ACR+PS workflow? I don’t mean this to be a setup (but doubless there’s be loads of comments) but although I have LR3, I still find myself sticking mostly with ACR+PS, mostly because this is what I know – i.e. combining multiple exposures as layers with masks and adjustments in PS to give and expanded dynaminc range (rather than HDR) for photos of interiors and the like.

    Maybe LR is better at handling high volume events – sports etc. – where many images need the same adjustments applied and ACR+PS is better at handling one-offs where each image is treated uniquely?

    Anyway, something that explains your approach to both workflows would be a very interesting post for me.

  24. As a reader of both Scott’s Blog and Maccreate I knew once Scott’s post went up it would show up at Maccreate. They seem to like to point these things out (just ask Matt K). I’m an Aperture 3 user and I love the program. Not because someone else uses it, but because I tried the 30 day trial for both and A3 worked better for me. Both programs have their pros and cons. Neither are perfect and both have users with long wish lists. It all a personal preference in the end.
    On a side note, thank you Scott for adding Richard Harrington’s A3 training videos. The unfortunate thing about being an A3 user is that there isn’t as much quality training for it as there is for LR. I was really happy to see them as an addition to your already great offerings over at Kelbytraining.com

  25. Scott:

    I can’t believe you didn’t like my headline writing! That’s my best work to date! Pure Gold!! Ha!

    Your basic logic in not switching is totally solid. It’s a hassle, plain and simple. I would never suggest you, of all people, switch to Aperture. You are too valuable of resource to the Lightroom and Photoshop community.

    But, you’re a pretty good spin-master as well. First of all, that InfoTrends study, is not a really valid study because they don’t publish who they asked, how they found the people or what they consider a “pro” to be. They could have surveyed PC users on Flickr who say they’re pro for an example.

    I’d also point out that the number of people using a tool doesn’t dictate the superiority of the tool. If you surveyed how many people use Windows machines vs. Macs, you’d be able to surmise that everyone should use Windows, because more people use it. The quantity of a user base doesn’t signal the strength of the program, especially when one of the tools is only available on the PC.

    Like Scott Bourne’s experience, A3 and LR3 perform similarly on my hardware. Frankly, both could be better and both are adequate. I don’t see an advantage there either.

    And this worldwide community stuff comes up all the time. I don’t think that’s a big deal. I’ve found I can get an answer on anything regarding Aperture I need from just a few places. The Flickr group alone can answer about any question anyone could dream up (not to mention the best place ever: maccreate.com) Nik Player (see commenter above) knows a ton about both apps he’s everywhere! Rob Boyer monitors the Aperture Discussion board and also writes some great articles and tutorials. Did I mention Scott Bourne? He’s a machine! Derrick Story is prolific and on Lynda.com. Finding information and tutorials on Aperture 3 is not a problem.

    One thing I’d love see is a proper, extensive comparison of RAW conversion between not only LR3 and A3 but with some others (DXO, NX, Capture One, etc.,) in there as well with a variety of cameras.

    I just hear so much talk about RAW processing without any data to back it up. It’s all anecdotal opinion. I think is what we would see is one app would work better with particular cameras than the other app with other cameras. But, again, I have no idea. No one knows because, there just haven’t been any good tests done. It’s highly subjective to begin with. Rob Galbraith or DPReview needs to tackle it. Having said that, I’m very pleased with the way both apps do RAW conversion. I think they both are so good and so customizable that it really doesn’t tip in either direction enough for a photographer to make a switch.

    For me, the most compelling reason for a photographer to choose Lightroom over Aperture is if they are stuck using Windows, or they are so invested in their Lightroom library it would just be too much of a hassle to switch.

    In the end, both apps are incredible gifts to photographers and they will both get better. I’m really looking forward to what the future holds, but right now is an exciting time in the world of digital photography.

    Thomas Boyd

  26. Scott, I do not choose my tools based on popularity but based on who does a better job. There are two main reason LR is more popular than Ap: (1) Ap 1 through 2 performance was poor copared to LR, but not under Ap 3. And (2) is available for Windows.

    I teach LR and eberytime I share the power of Ap 3 I get Many wows.

    ACR may be standard but not the best raw converter. It is average at best. Ap 3 as well as Capture Onevdo a much better job.

    But do not believe me, just download Ap 3 and be prepared to me amazed at what you can do without touching PS.

    Of course, you are not the most objective voice I’m this matter as you have an immensed vested interest on anything Adobe as you make much money from Adobe. so why would you switch as for you would mean lost of revenue? Of course not.

    If I ask anything Adobe related you are the man, but not ejem it comes to Ap 3. The Day you Will admit that Ap3 is better is the day you can make more money from Ap3 than LR.

    1. Wow David really? So let’s look at your accusation – you claim Scott Kelby has a vested interest in the success of Adobe. Don’t you think that if Scott Kelby decided to make Aperture his program of choice he’d get the same support from Apple he gets from Adobe? If anyone has a vested interest here it’s Adobe not Kelby. Adobe benefits more from the support than Kelby does. And if you are a regular reader of Scott Kelby’s blogs, books, etc., then I am very surprised that you would suggest he operates with any bias. He’s one of the most up-front, transparent and honest people in the industry who spends the vast majority of his time trying to help photographers get better at what they do.

      I am a well-known Aperture advocate. I prefer Aperture to Lightroom. But to assume that Scott Kelby simply prefers Lightroom to Aperture because he can make more money at it is to assume that just because you personally might be swayed to shift your loyalty for money, someone else would too.

      I’d bet on Kelby’s sincerity, honesty and desire to be genuinely helpful any day of the week.

      1. I agree with the bet about Kelby being honest. Especially since he took the time to lambast a program that he talks about in books, tours, etc.

        But, SB….

        ” Don’t you think that if Scott Kelby decided to make Aperture his program of choice he’d get the same support from Apple he gets from Adobe?”

        Have you met Apple’s support (and I know you have :), have you met Adobe’s? I don’t think that he’d get the same. Even on a PR level, Kelby actively gets promoted by Adobe. Apple, god love em, doesn’t PR promote anything.

        ” If anyone has a vested interest here it’s Adobe not Kelby.”
        Again, not so sure about that. Adobe makes its revenue by selling products. They’d sell products even if Scott didn’t advocate them, even though he’s the most vocal advocate out there. Look at the number of books by people who are NOT Scott Kelby. Look at the number of videos by people who aren’t Scott.

        Kelby’s business (and it’s a GREAT one, he’s a fantastic educator) wouldn’t even exist without Adobe. Adobe would exist without Kelby.

  27. I’m not saying that “Scott Kelby Pleas with Adobe to Make Lightroom More Like Aperture.” was appropriate but “Scott Kelby Wants Some of Aperture’s Slideshow features and their Book feature added to Lightroom.” doesn’t come close either.

    “Scott Kelby Wants Some of Aperture’s brilliantly done Slideshow features and their Book feature and their video editing and their automated backup their stacking and their ability to switch libraries without quitting and their ability to customize keyboard shortcuts and their light table and their quickly loading thumbnails and their really smart HUD and their ability to email right out of application.”

    may have been closer. That would have been one hell of a headline though : )

    I didn’t even dig into the stuff that you can find easy work arounds for in Aperture. Like decent type controls, toggling through the different White Balance presets etc.

    You may not have know that Aperture could do all of that though. It’s clear that you haven’t used it much in version 3 after reading your statements that it doesn’t have composition overlays when cropping or the ability to send a print layout as a jpg. The overlays were added in Aperture 3 and it has always had the ability to create any custom print with the book builder and save it as a PDF, TIFF or JPG.

    I don’t use apps based on popularity and I don’t need you and your friends to use Aperture with me but you should give it a fair shake before you go ranting.

  28. I’ve more than a couple of 100 thousands of photos. I always keep two copies in different hard disks. And I use both Aperture and Lightroom to databased them. So one copy (which is in RAW format) is in Aperture Library and another copy (in DN format) is kept in Lightroom Catalog. I use both applications. It is easier to work with Lightroom, but the picture quality on screen is much better in Aperture (I use a 30″ Apple cinema display). Both have cons and pros. And I don’t think there would be a day that I can choose one of them as the only single software to use. We should see in future the changes.

  29. I have got to say that I am quite ambivalent about this posting.

    On the one hand I love critiques like this because it provides a wonderful roadmap of features and improvements that real working pros are looking for. We know that Scott Kelby has the ear of the product developers at Adobe. I hope the gnomes at Apple are also reading this and other opinions and taking notes. It is for content like this that I check in here each day.

    But I’m disappointed by the tone of this article. I’m sorry Scott, but you sound really thin skinned and defensive.

    Although Thomas Boyd’s piece is a rather myopic interpretation of your “What I’d Love to See in Lightroom 4” post, there is nothing about it that is factually incorrect or mean-spirited (the invocation of the word “hate” has been on this site). After reporting the Aperture-related observations that would be of most interest to Aperture Users Network readers, Boyd concludes, “There are a lot of other things he’d like in Lightroom (and it’s a great article for a list of things that all photographers would want in a program as well, so a big thanks to Scott for compiling all of this.” And then he provided a link to your site.

    Frankly, I think you should be thankful to have been noticed by a peer site (albeit much smaller than your own) and grateful for the link that, as you indicated at the top of this post, drove some new traffic to your site.

    1. To be fair to Scott (not that he needs me to stick up for him), he and his team have built up an incredible amount of street cred in the “Adobe-sphere” with all the books and training videos and roadshows and blogs and live training events. He honestly held a mirror to Adobe and told them not to rest on their laurels, and he gets completely blasted for his trouble — from people with their own agendas.

      Yes, Scott could’ve handled this better, but this is the blogosphere and you don’t always have the time or energy to run every post past the PR types.

      As an Apple user that originally used the first two versions of Aperture, I can tell you there was plenty wrong in Aperture 2 that didn’t even get addressed in Aperture 3. Enough that I wasn’t remotely interested in migrating back from Lightroom 2 and then Lightroom 3.

      Mostly I hope this doesn’t silence the “big voice” Scott has available to him to communicate with the folks at Adobe over future versions of Lightroom (and Photoshop)…

      1. I don’t think Scott thinks I “completely blasted” him. The post was done in good fun with no hatred whatsoever. He gets that.

        I have nothing but respect for what Scott Kelby has built here. It’s something we can all aspire to.

        That doesn’t mean we can’t have some respectful back and forth with a few barbs thrown in here and there. It’s all good! We’re laughing and smiling! It’s software. We love software!

  30. For a long time I’ve been importing the final JPEGs of my “keepers” in iPhoto.

    It’s dirt simple to look up where they came from, in that rare instance that I need to return to the original to correct something.

    In the mean time, there is *zero* reason for me to ever re-import all my old images on the off chance that I were to go back from Lightroom to Aperture or whatever other image processing software I may use later.

  31. I believe I’ll be switching to Aperture 3 because Adobe has made LR 4 for 64 bit machines only. I use three Macs, only one is a 64 bit. LR 4  does not look worth buying more Macs, when the other two Intel Macs are still kicking a……  My two cents.


  32. I know this is pretty old, but if anyone is trying to learn how to switch from Aperture to Lightroom they should go to this link John Beardsworth


    This post was great and it worked perfect! It worked so good I made this You Tube video as a visual walkthrough


    and this blog post discussing it and a couple questions that you may have going through the process.

    Thanks for the great discussion Scott.

  33. Have you done an empirical test on aperture raw conversion v Lightroom? Forget all the editing better done in photoshop and just consider the ability to produce an image without clipping (assuming you correctly overexpose). Aperture wins every time. And L4 is so sluggish

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