Photo Management


iphoto In the wake of the iPhoto announcement, especially its shiny new features and (in my mind) much more appealing interface, I thought I would take another look at Aperture.

This really does make sense: I work with professional creative types, and they convinced me that I ought to be using Aperture over iPhoto. I had some money to burn that month, so I picked up a copy – and watched it kill my MacBook Pro. I was shocked – CPU usage through the roof, free memory gone, every other app – including my desktop pager – stalled if not dead outright – it was ridiculous. Here I am, running what Apple is billing as its top-of-the-line for portable graphics professionals, with plenty of RAM and processor to burn, and this supposedly-crucial app won’t really work. (Although my code compiles like lightning, I will grant.) As if that weren’t enough, Aperture insists that some of my rolls were taken years before they were – as much as three years – and won’t seem to let me change that.

aperture Disgusted with the interminably-whirling blue ball of not-really-progress, I switched back to iPhoto, and started doing even the most minor retouching in Photoshop. Now, though, I would rather use an app I’ve already bought than fork over still more for iLife ’08. I’m sure there are reasons for and against any of the big options, but I don’t know enough about any of them, really, to tell.

What do you think, and what do you use? iPhoto? Aperture? Something else, like Lightroom? Favor me (and the other photo newbies around here) with your wisdom in the comments.



aperture works great for me. however, initial startup and importing everything from iPhoto took about 3 hours, high CPU usage and crazy disk I/O.

try it again, and let it do what it is supposed to. after that it will work great.

Joe Kunin

Im running an iBook with 1gb of RAM, and while aperture ran decently (oddly enough) i wasnt a fan of the interface, and being a photographer, iPhoto didnt offer me enough flexibility. Enter Lightroom. Its quick, efficient, has every feature i need, and is a joy to use. Ive since gone back to aperture , to give it a shot, and regardless of which app i use (iview media pro was also tried), i always come back to lightroom. seamless integration with photoshop, excellent editing and library capability, and run beautifully on an old iBook

(the link is to my photography site (which is in the process of being updated with more material!) if you should so care to venture a look)

Philip from Australia

I don’t undertsand why you didn’t download the free trial from Apple. It’s fully functional. Only lasts 30 days. But at least you wouldn’t then be out the money.

I tried it on an original MBP, with 2 Gig. Yes, it slowed up other things on the initial import of my iPhoto library (thumbnail and previews generation). But now it seems ok (I don’t normally import that many at a time now).

I love it now. There are a couple of issues. But nothing really show stopping. Although I probably should have tried LightRoom.



Use Lightroom. I use it on a first gen 2ghz Macbook w/ 1gb RAM and it’s super fast. I tried Aperture, and it slowed my system down way too much.

Ryan Stone

I’m a lightroom guy too. I would love to say I like Aperture better but I don’t. I used iPhoto for my photo sorting (I only using Lightroom for RAW) and recently just switched to using the finder. I found that no matter what sorting it myself was always the easiest way to find it.


I am using Adobe Lightroom. I tried Aperture, but couldn’t get used to the way it wants you to work. Lightroom just felt more old school and fit my style of working much better. Hotkeys are also very logical (well, most of them anyways). To pick them up in Aperture seemed more complicated to me. However, for all the plug-ins, like flickr and SlideShowPro I’m jumping back and forth between Lightroom and iPhoto. Other than for the plugins support I’m not using iPhoto at all – but for that, it works like a charm.


One application that hasn’t been mentioned is Iview Media. (not the new microsoft version) but this is a serious good application for organsing and sorting. I then select a picture and it imports into Photoshop for editing. I have used Aperture but never liked the idea I had to import all my images into one ‘archive’ and not keep them in my already organised folders.

I have also tried Lightroom and just found it a little too slow – Iview is fast and allows different Libraries for different aspects of your photography or keep all the images into one folder.


I used to use aperture on my Powerbook G4 and it worked alright… it was slow. But I was running the bare minimum of what the requirements were. I chose iPhoto at the time over it, but then I upgraded to the Mac Pro and it’s definitely better than iPhoto now. You just need a computer that can handle it.

Richard Lomas

I forget…Does Lightroom have any built in print ordering?


I’am using Lightroom on my last generation PowerBook G4 for my RAW workflow. I think that iPhoto is not bad, but not really an option if you are using RAW Image, because you can do a lot more corrections and adjustments to your images in Lightroom. OK, Lightroom is not very fast on my PowerBook, but it feels much faster than Aperture.

Jessica Beck

Lightroom rocks my socks off. I tried Aperture but found it to be ponderous, badly laid out and hard to use. I’d try Lightroom if I were you.

Richard Lomas

I have a 2.4ghz MBP, 4GB RAM, 160GB 7200 Drive….I’ve been using Aperture for a while and yes it runs, but just “ok”. I’m constantly working with huge image files from my Canon 5D and a Sony A100 DSLR and it just isn’t snappy enough to allow you to be creative and want to “try things”. It forces you to really think “do I want to adjust that slider” before doing it, as you know you’re in for a session with the beach ball which just drives me crazy. Lightroom runs way faster than Aperture on my system with my pro size photo files.


I use iPhoto.
i have around 28000 (46 GB) photos from 10 years of digital photographing.
Importing into iPhoto was a real pain it took hours (probably same as Aperture).
Because i am a sceptiv person i kept all photos in an external folder structure (as in former days on my pc) to make leaving iPhoto easy…

We will see how iLife ’08 will behave.

I’d be happy to use your aperture licences on my MBP though! ;-)
Before you throw it into the trashcan – just email me the serial! :-))


To be honest, I’ve had the exact same experience as the original poster. I have about 10,000 photos. It’s almost unuseable on my six month old Macbook Pro (with 2gb of RAM). I love the apps functionality, but the performance is so abysmal I’m at a loss…


I went with Lightroom because it runs acceptably on my G4 mini @1.67ghz. You could not prise it from my cold dead hands.


I LOVE Aperture… I’m sorry it didn’t work for you. I use it on my 17″ Core Duo MBPro every day. It has had a profound effect on the way I work with images.

BTW, if you want to sell your license (if you haven’t already), shoot me an email.


Horst Gutmann

Lightroom because I only have a Powerbook G4 12″ ;) But the new featureset of iPhoto’08 look veeeery interesting since my main reason for getting Lightroom in the first place was because I could non-destructively (is this even a word?) edit my photos.

Seth Rubenstein

I use both. Aperture for my work, I put all my clients photos there and do what I need to in there. I then use iPhoto for my personal photos. I have heard alot of people have trouble with Aperture, suprisingly on my 1st gen MacBook with 1gb of ram and a 120gb drive I havent had much problem with Aperture.


How much RAM do you have? I’m running Aperture quite happily on a MacBook (not Pro) with 2GB RAM. It chews through CPU initially to create previews but seems quite well-behaved after that.


it’s actually quite funny to see this – I got an MBP at the weekend and I’ve been reassessing my photo cataloguing. I use lightroom for RAW processing, as Aperture used to cripple my Powerbook, but it’s still way too hungry to have it running all the time, or to open to show photos to people, so I’ve devised a new way of doing things that seems to suit me quite nicely.

What I do now is import all photos from my camera to lightroom, process them and export the highest quality jpegs I can, then import those to iPhoto, so I’ve only ever got my best photos in there. So far it seems to be going well, as I don’t really see iPhoto as much of an alternative to Lightroom as far as development is concerned. I’d say iPhoto is to photos what iTunes is to music – it’s just somewhere to keep it all together.


Unfortunately I haven’t gotten to do more than play with Aperture at the Apple Store (and it had about the same effect on the G5 as it had on your MBP) but from what I have scene it will never replace Photoshop in a pro photographers workflow.

I have checked out Lightroom and it is decent but it is slow. The thing I like about it is that it puts almost every single piece of my standard workflow of things I do to every single photo I take into a single application (I batch process all my Canon RAW files into DNG and then export JPEG’s, I also like to create custom Finder icons for all the files but Lightroom doesn’t handle that). Problem is it does it in twice the amount of time as my previous solution.

My favorite solution has got to be the application formerly known as iView MediaPro, Microsoft Expression Media. So far Microsoft was failed to ruin it. It is tons faster than Lightroom and much more flexible than iPhoto or Aperture. It is really nice for making catalogs of images backed up on DVD’s. It can also handle more than just image files. It is great for previewing fonts without having to actually install the fonts.

marie boyer

I use and love Aperture. Bummer that it does not run on your MacBook Pro. Apple ought to help you with that. Lots of folks use it on their MacBook Pros with success. Wonder what the problem is?

I can assure you that, if you could get it up and running, it would make your heart swell! Fantastic program. I will never switch to anything else. I hardly have to use CS3 for anything except the fun stuff.


woops, forgot to mention, I have Aperture as well, but find it pretty sluggish.. and it doesn’t support my E400 camera.. well OSX doesn’t support it, I should say.


I actually use Finder + Spotlight for my photo organizing tasks.
I *do* use iPhoto (now 6, but I’ve ordered 08) for my finished images (web and print). The raw images are just finder+spotlight and for processing bibble.
I’ve created a few folder actions that import images dropped into certain folders into iPhoto.
I’m now using Flickr for my webimages, but the dotmac gallery looks very nice, I might even switch over to that since I have my webimages in iphoto anyway.

so, in short:
– organization: Finder and Spotlight
– raw editor: Bibble Pro
– finished images (web, print): Iphoto


Lightroom is a great app, but it’s pretty slow on my 2Ghz/1GB Macbook.

Robert Saunders

I also use Adobe Lightroom on a MacBook Pro and have no complaints at all.

In the past I have used Photoshop Bridge (CS2 & CS3), Shoebox, and iPhoto for photo management. Lightroom has been by far the best in my experience.

Thomas Krajacic

You might want to give Adobe Lightroom a try.
Its really speedy and gives you plenty of options to correct your photos.
I use it on my MacBook Pro.

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