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Why I Migrated From Aperture To Lightroom And Then Back Again

July 13, 2014  •  3 Comments

After Apple announced that development on Aperture was ceasing, I decided that the time had come to migrate to Lightroom. I have been subscribing to Adobe's Creative Cloud Photographer program since it was first offered. I viewed it as an insurance package and an extended trial period. The truth is, I really didn't start using Lightroom until the Aperture announcement. I actually didn't find the process of migrating my library to Lightroom to be too difficult. I don't do a ton of editing on my images, so losing adjustments wasn't a huge deal to me. Prior to migrating my Aperture library, I weeded out all the one star images that didn't warrant carrying forward to Lightroom. That actually cut my Aperture library down by almost half. I don't keep unrated images. With around 27,000 images, my Aperture library was just under 700GB.

After working with Lightroom for a couple weeks, there are some things I definitely came to appreciate, especially some of the tools in the Develop module. However, Aperture's organization tools, workflow and integration with the Apple ecosystem wooed me back. I found Lightroom's concept of a separate Catalog and Library to be clunky and counterintuitive. Filtering your library in Lightroom is nowhere near as easy as in Aperture. I found the workflow from Lightroom back into iCloud to be awful. I use Photostreams extensively to share photos and to view them on our Apple TV. The other area I found woefully lacking in Lightroom is the Slideshow module. It is pretty pathetic. Again, I use slideshows in Aperture quite a bit. Finally, I just couldn't get comfortable with Lightroom's module-based approach to workflow. I much prefer Aperture's mode-less approach. One other thing in Aperture's favor I almost forgot to mention is full-screen editing. I much prefer this to Lightroom's more constrained approach.

So where did this leave me? I have decided that workflow and integration across all my Apple devices trumps development tools. I am prepared for the first generation of Photos to not be everything I might like it to be, but as long as Apple follows through on the Yosemite update to Aperture, I won't need to jump on that first generation. I should be able to hang tight with Aperture for some time until Photos gets where I'd like it to be. Until then, I'm going to remain a happy Aperture user.


John Newman(non-registered)
Agree totally and your experience mirrors my own. A useful technique though is send an image from Aperture to Photoshop and then use the Camera Raw filter on a separate layer. Gives you all of ACR's developing power whilst still retaining your image in Aperture. Not necessary all the time but useful for tricky images, lens correction, noise reduction etc when Aperture doesn't do the. Job well enough.
Agree 100%. I tried LR twice before and went back to Aperture. Photos 1.0 won't be pretty from Aperture eyes, but my hope is Apple will give us an amazing package in the next couple of years.
Ernesto Durand(non-registered)
Well said, I agree with you!
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