Aperture Apple Lightroom Photography

Aperture vs. Lightroom

This post is for photographers – as it airs some “dirty laundry” that is more about personal preferences than it is about results.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been using Apple’s Aperture photo management software to manage all of my photography. I left iPhoto behind in 2006 and jumped on the Aperture bandwagon. I’ve been pretty happy with Aperture for photo management. It’s done most of what I needed it to do.

After my HDR session at Stanford in early September, I had lunch with a friend who was a real Adobe Photoshop Lightroom fan – another Canon shooter who also enjoyed HDR.


Over lunch we talked a bit about Aperture vs. Lightroom – and his high satisfaction with Lightroom made me take another look. This was shortly after Adobe had shipped Lightroom 2.0 – with its new Develop module enhancements: the gradient filter and the adjustment brush.

So, I bought the upgrade (I had been an earlier Lightroom 1.0 customer) and began to explore Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 – and, subsequently, 2.1. I must say that those two new Develop module features (the gradient filter and the adjustment brush) are truly remarkable additions to Lightroom and have swung me over to using Lightroom 2.1 for all of my recent shoots. (For an introduction, be sure to view Julieanne Kost’s screencast on the enhancements to the Develop module in Lightroom!)

The ability to edit 99% of what I need to do in Lightroom – without resorting to any external editing – makes my workflow so simple. I’m a new Lightroom fan – and a frustrated former Aperture fan.

My sense is that this horserace will continue – with the folks at Apple eventually adding similar features to Aperture. Perhaps Apple and Aperture will win me back – but, in the meantime, Lightroom’s got my heart! Rock on!

3 replies on “Aperture vs. Lightroom”

As a DIMA member, I took introduction courses at PMA in early 2007 (half day on Aperture and Half Day on Lightroom). Julieanne Kost taught the Lightroom part of the day.
I was impressed with the first releases of both programs, and like you, I gave Aperture the initial nod. It was a good fit for me, and I used it for my personal family portrait and candid photojournalism workflow. (At the lab I work for, we have several different product lines that lend themselves to very different approaches… Neither of these programs would be efficient for high volume school, team & individual, or senior portraiture. We have our own proprietary systems for those situations.)
Both Aperture and Lightroom have evolved wonderfully, now. I’d currently give the nod to Adobe for the reasons you mentioned, and also because the integration with the rest of the Adobe suite is very tight, should you need it. I do think we’ll see a lot of continued development as a result of this competition…
Julieanne Kost is one of my instructional heros. I had the pleasure of introducing her at last year’s DIMA conference, and moderating her session. Her photography is beautiful, and her wit and charm in delivering subject matter are worth the price of admission to any of her sessions. She’s a whiz at Lightroom, and a master of Photoshop. When I get stumped in either one of them, I check her site first.

I’m a big Lightroom fan, too. Extremely convenient. I love the integration between photo selection, cropping, tweaking, and flexible output (resolutions, format, etc.). And all based on shooting raw. I’m not a serious photographer, and maybe have a shoot or three per month. The occasional use makes it even better because the learning curve each time I go back is pretty short.
I haven’t moved to 2.x yet. Sounds like it is worth it, eh?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.