Photos.app from an Aperture user’s perspective

So I’ve updated to 10.10.3 and checked out Photos.app. There’s been quite a few reviews of it already, but I still feel like writing down some quick thoughts about it.

The downsides :

If you’re a pro or semi-pro photographer using Aperture, stick with it for now. As it is, Photos will not be a suitable replacement. The main area it’s lacking in is photo management : rating, flagging (those two are replaced by keywords when migrating from Aperture) and elaborated library structure (folders, projects, being able to store originals locally rather than on iCloud). It’s also lacking in retouching, the main missing features being tool brushes and curves. I don’t think I’ve seen a way to quickly apply a set of changes to several photos at once.

Possible future perspectives :

If Photos.app keeps on evolving like the Office apps (Pages, Numbers, Keynote), It’s likely it will gain some of these missing features eventually, the question being when and to what extent. Regarding the ability to store originals locally rather than on iCloud, Photos.app has a “consolidate” feature which, as far as I understand, is meant only to consolidate a converted Aperture library which had referenced originals. On one hand I’d say it’s likely that Apple will add the opposite feature at some point, on the other it might be complicated to integrate given the application’s design and the apparent goal of keeping it simple enough for casual photographers. But I’d be really surprised if Apple was completely giving up on the pro photographer market.

What does make Photos.app very interesting, though, are the photo editing features, even though they aren’t as complete as in Aperture. The controls are much better organized (Aperture is quite old-fashioned in that regard), and are also much more responsive (and I do mean much more). The cropping and straightening tools, in particular, are a lot more convenient to use. Most of all, the idea of “combined” settings (light, color, black and white) works quite well and speeds up the retouching process. In that aspect, even without the tool brushes and curves, I wish I could use Photos.app to handle further photo works.

In conclusion, for now I’m sticking with Aperture, hoping that Photos will keep on adding features and become a suitable replacement. I’m not sure this will ever be the case, and if it is it will take a long while. In the meantime, Lightroom can try and get a less ugly UI.

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