Lightroom vs Aperture – which program to choose to facilitate the basic image editing?
Lightroom is a professional batch photo editor designed for photographers to make image management and color correction.
Aperture targets at amateurs, who want to cope with photo cataloging of family photos and basic editing/cropping on the laptop.
This is feature-rich software with extensive importing/saving capabilities, optimized viewing and organizing functions, separate tools for tagging, image editing and sharing.
All your pictures are organized in a clear way, based on keywords and metadata. Thus, the sorting and storing processes are straightforward.
Regardless of the Lightroom version you choose, you can make good use of its RAW photo editing functions and supports for different presets. Such plug-ins help handle the bulks of pictures in a quicker way.
+ Multiplatform program. Lightroom is meant to satisfy a broad range of users, that is why it is optimized both for desktop (Windows, Mac) and mobile (iOS, Android) OS. Besides, you can use Lightroom Editor Online.
+ Is frequently updated. Adobe developers work hard to pamper users with improved tools and new features all the time. Lightroom updates fall into 2 categories – large-scale ones, which appear once in 1-1.5 years and smaller advancements, e.g. support for recently released cameras, which come out every 3 months.
+ Extensive support for lens profiles and cameras. Lightroom supports over 200 cameras and lens profiles, which eventually bring more flexibility to photo editing.
+ Immense community. The number of people using Adobe products, including Lightroom, is simply mind-blowing. To cater to the needs of each loyal user and potential clients, Adobe works in a non-stop mode and the results of such a dedicated activity speak for themselves.
+ Supports presets. Initially, it contains 14 collections of default presets, which are aimed at simplifying and speeding up photo editing. In case, you need something peculiar, you can ask your forum friends for help and they are likely to provide you with necessary plug-ins. Besides, you can also invest in paid bundles.
+ Face tagging feature. Using Lightroom, you can arrange your pictures in groups based on who is depicted there. The face recognition feature not only helps define that it is a face, but also “names” whose face it is. This is a really helpful approach to categorizing images, which allows dealing with the task quicker and more professionally.
+ Lens profile correction. Thanks to the broad lens profiles and cameras support, the program can effortlessly deal with the problems that often appear during shooting, but become evident at the image editing stage. This refers to lens distortion, vignetting, chromatic aberration, etc.
- No layer support. Unfortunately, current Lightroom versions don’t include layer support. This can become a decisive point for those users, who can’t go without this feature, especially if they want to switch from other software where this feature is available by default.
- Subscription-based model. Those people, who prefer Aperture to Lightroom, claim that the most important factor, which affected their choice, was the possibility to get the former as a one-time investment. In the case of Adobe software, you need to spend money regularly, either monthly or annually, and the cost may be too high for some users.
The software demonstrated great results in importing and organizing photos, applying corrections, displaying slideshows and printing images during tests.
There are brushes to apply an effect (skin smoothing, etc.), non-destructive workflow, the possibility to organize pictures by keywords, faces (face recognition) and locations (based on image GPS metadata). When the photo editing is finished, you can export the result to SmugMug, Facebook, Flickr or iCloud.
+ Easy transfer from iPhoto. If you keep your images on iPhoto and need to import them to a photo editing software, you’d prefer Aperture to Lightroom because this program ensures a faster transferring process.
+ Traditional Apple-style UI. If you have already used other programs developed by Apple, you will easily recognize the traditional interface and won’t face difficulties mastering it. There are familiar controls and menus, amazing full-screen mode and intuitive features.
+ Moderate price at resellers. You can get the program at a very good price, addressing resellers and buying it from them. Anyway, the price has been reduced over the last 5 years significantly, which is another feature that makes Aperture appealing to users.
+ One-time purchase. The thing is that Aperture is available as a one-time purchase, while Adobe product requires paying regular fees.
+ Remarkable export and sharing options. Aperture offers users lots of methods to export and share the results of their work. For example, you can output slideshows, share images online, print them and create photo books.
It is possible to send pictures via email without leaving the program. If you decide on the slideshow, there are 14 interesting templates to choose from. The unique feature is that you can define how long each photo in the slideshow will be displayed.
To make the content even more engaging, it is possible to add soundtracks from Apple collection or your own MP3s.
- No support or updates. Apple developers stopped supporting and enhancing Aperture in 2015, so nowadays the program looks quite dated. You can’t buy it from the official website and there are also performance issues if you try to install it on devices with the newest Mac versions.
- Poor tools to deal with noise and chromatic aberration. Comparing Adobe Lightroom vs Aperture in this regard, it becomes obvious that the latter lags behind its rival, offering only basic features for removing noise and fixing chromatic aberration, which often appear too weak.
- Incompatible with Android and Windows. This program is designed specifically for one operating system, and if you choose Windows or Android, you can never use Aperture.
- You need to find a reseller to get this software. Since Aperture was discounted 5 years ago, you can’t download it from Apple Store. The only way to obtain a copy of this software is to address resellers.
The program is no longer supported and distributed by a legal developer and you can get it from eBay for $15 + shipping fee.
As for Lightroom, you can choose from several subscription plans. It is available as a separate program or as a part of the software package:
Adobe also offers frequent Lightroom discounts options up to 40% and up to 60% discount on Creative Cloud All Apps plan.
If you aren’t sure whether Lr can fully satisfy you, enjoy the trial version of Lightroom for free.
Both programs can help you with your image editing routine, but they have a slightly different approach to this process.
Aperture is an ideal option if you are a dedicated Apple fan and just learning the trade. The lack of updates and customer support, as well as limited functionality may be unacceptable for pro users.
Adobe Lightroom has proven to be an ideal option for professional users, who value extensive toolkit, RAW format support, batch editing and the possibility to apply numerous presets. The fast-evolving community is another advantage.
Here is a great collection of Sepia effect presets that will help you emulate the color of dry autumn leaves. Once you learn how to install Lightroom presets, you can apply them to your images and get impressive results in several mouse clicks.