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Tag: iPhoto

How to Switch from Aperture to Lightroom 6

If you’re not happy with Apple’s current Photos app, join the club. But if you’re starting to hyperventilate, because you know you can’t use Apple’s Aperture for very much longer… join my club. It’s time to take the journey to Lightroom.

If you’re not happy with Apple’s current Photos app, join the club. But if you’re starting to hyperventilate, because you know you can’t use Apple’s Aperture for very much longer… join my club. It’s time to take the journey to Lightroom.

I’ve been dreading this day. I knew it was coming, and I avoided it as long as possible. But if you’ve been procrastinating, like me… then you’re going to be in trouble. And you even run the risk of erasing your past…

We’re talking about my delayed response to Apple’s abandonment of both iPhoto and Aperture. I’ve been using Aperture as my photo editing/management software since 2012. But now, it’s finally just a matter of time until Aperture won’t work on future OS upgrades.

So it’s kind of critical that I escape from my beached behemoth, which contains tens of thousands of photos, documenting my family’s history.

I believe it’s an imminent crisis I will wake up to one day soon, and my personal deadline was last week to take action. Here’s what happened…

No Thank You, Photos
I decided that Apple’s relatively new Photos app for OS X wasn’t my solution…
(Easy as that could be)
…Because its functionality is a downgrade from Aperture.

I’m sure Photos is fine for many folks, who just want to organize and share their pics with some minor image adjustments. And the price is right as Apple just bakes it into the OS. But I’ve been trying to teach myself the art of creating the better picture.
(Granted… a work in progress)

To find the right software to help me in my ongoing quest, I had to look elsewhere…

Hello, Lightroom
As I considered the competition, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 quickly rose to the top.

I was partial to buying the standalone Lightroom 6 license for $149.
($142.99 for the DVD or $142.00 for the download at B&H Photo)

But you can also get Lightroom as part of the Creative Cloud package, which is bundled with other Adobe products like Photoshop. That choice is going to cost you $9.99/month. You get a whole lot more with the CC package, but you have to keep paying for it. So you’ve got to decide what’s right for you…

I actually bought the Lightroom standalone DVD a couple months back…
(Trying to stay ahead of my personal upgrade schedule)

But I was just too nervous to open the box. Not because I didn’t want to learn a new photo-management interface, but because I didn’t really know how to rescue all of my photos out of Aperture and safely get them into Lightroom.

And my online research on the migration process suggested it was not a pretty picture.

Importer Vs. Exporter
Sure, there’s a ‘simple’ Aperture Importer located in Lightroom’s Plug-in Extras.

Or alternately, you could buy the Aperture Exporter app for $19.99.

But the devil is in the details.
(We’ll come back to this…)

Install Lightroom Correctly
First things first… You need to get Lightroom 6 properly installed and optimized.

After completing your install, don’t forget to run Updates, which is located in the Help drop down.

As Lightroom is considered more of a ‘professional app,’ there are a number of settings in Preferences and Catalogue Settings you can tweak to make Lightroom work best for you. So spend some time there first, before you begin to import your first photos.

I am just an aspiring Jedi in this new galaxy. So here are two more videos to help you get started and properly organized using Lightroom.

And a few more helpful hints about how Lightroom is set up compared to Aperture:

  • Aperture Adjustments = Lightroom Develop
  • Aperture Projects = Lightroom Folders
  • Aperture Albums = Lightroom Collections
  • Aperture Folders = Light Collection Sets

Also, if you want to move photos around from one folder to another in Lightroom, drag from the center of the photo!
(I first tried dragging from the pic’s corner, and Lightroom entirely ignored me.)

The Golden Rule
One huge change from Aperture to Lightroom is Lightroom doesn’t hoard and hide your photo folders within the program itself.

Aperture did this by ‘managing’ your image files.
(Admittedly, Aperture also offered the option just to look at your ‘referenced’ image files located elsewhere, but unfortunately I never set up Aperture that way.)

As a result, my photos are all locked up in Aperture.
(We’ll come back to this.)

Lightroom respectfully references your separate photo folder structure. And then it organizes and adjusts the images only its own database. Your original photos remain in their easy-to-find folders… untouched.

That said, the one Lightroom golden rule I’ve run across numerous times is to move your photos and photo folders around only in Lightroom.
(After first creating or connecting your photo folder structure to Lightroom)

Apparently, since standard photo folders on your hard drive are so easy to see, amateur Lightroom users sometimes move their photo folders around outside of the Lightroom program. When that happens, Lightroom can’t find the photos anymore.
(Makes sense, right?)

The fix is to reconnect Lightroom to your ‘missing’ photos.
(That’s not necessarily a problem… as long as you don’t forget where your photos are.)

Where are the Keys to Your Photo Kingdom?
Riddle me this:
So how are you supposed to export the archive of all of your adjusted images from Aperture to Lightroom?

The short answer is I’m not quite sure…

Both the Aperture Importer plug in and the third-party Aperture Exporter app can’t get your photo library into Lightroom with all the tweaks, improvements and changes you’ve made to your photos. Apparently Lightroom can’t read that kind of Aperture metadata.

You can only transfer the original photos, folder structure and other metadata.


You can’t migrate your photos with all of your applied changes?!

Other than maintaining the actual photos and providing organization, isn’t holding onto your adjustments a critical need?!!
(I’ve probably spent the equivalent of months tweaking my photos over the past ten years.)

Again… I’m not absolutely certain, but all of my research points to this distressing reality.
(If anyone out there knows another answer, please add your two cents!)

Plan B
Let me know when you’re done hyperventilating.

Okay… so…
(Too soon?)

All right. Let’s continue…

So what the frak are we supposed to do now?!

We’ll, here’s a homegrown plan I’m considering…

Instead of trying to accomplish a complete Aperture library transfer of my original photos without all the tweaks I’ve made, I will instead manually export groups of adjusted photo ‘versions’ (not original photos) from individual Aperture projects. These photo versions will go into new photo folders I’ll create for Lightroom to access.

  • But I’ll only transfer over the best photos (the ones I’ve rated ‘5 stars’) and leave the rest behind.
    (I know that may seem harsh, but my plan has always been just to use my 5-star photos for photo book creation and long-term archiving.)
  • That means I’ll also be leaving my original photo files behind in Aperture, but I created all of those tweaked ‘versions’ for a reason, right?
    (Do I really think I’m going to go back the originals to tinker with a shot from 2009?)

Plan C?
But there are two problems with Plan B:

  1. It’s probably going to take me weeks (months?) to complete.
    The silver lining is this workaround will force me to do the spring-cleaning on my photo library I’ve been meaning to do for years. At the end of the process, I’ll have a leaner and meaner group of photos to take forward that really matter.
    (What would I do with tens of thousands of photos anyway?)
  2. (Prepare yourself…)
    All of these adjusted photo versions I’ll be moving forward won’t retain their original creation date. They’ll only display the day and date they’re exported out of Aperture into their new file folder.

Is that a big deal?
I think it is..!

Sure, all of these rescued photos can live in properly dated folders that Lightroom will manage. But what if I have to rescue these pictures again in the future? The fact that they will no longer have a date of origin could really be a huge gap.

So the good news is I’ve officially stopped adding photos to my Aperture library as of the New Year. Lightroom 6 has been successfully installed in the Lester home and has taken over all of my new pics moving forward.

The bad news is I’ve still got to migrate half a lifetime’s worth of photos into Lightroom.
(I think I’m starting to hyperventilate again…)

Any suggestions beyond what I’m contemplating?

Next week, I’ll report on my progress in crystallizing a transfer plan.

Don’t forget:
Baby steps…

Those Pictures on Your Fridge

People love to look at photos and art on your refrigerator.  But if the imagery isn’t current, it’s probably time to give your family ‘monolith’ an artificial time-warp update.

People love to look at photos and art on your refrigerator. But if the imagery isn’t current, it’s probably time to give your family ‘monolith’ an artificial time-warp update.

We had a small family get-together yesterday. A little holiday brunch. Nothing crazy…

As my wife and I were doing some prep work earlier in the week, we noticed our refrigerator needed some refreshing.

No, not the food on the inside. My wife had that covered. (yum)
I’m talking about some of the items affixed with tape and magnets to the outside!

A lot of the pictures wrapping around our fridge were a tad out of date, and so my new mission was to bring the general imagery of our son’s adventures with his cousins and friends up to a more current state.

So how easy is that?

Normally, pictures, postcards, and your children’s drawings evolve onto your refrigerator. It simply takes time… just like good wine, right?
You can’t just snap your fingers and suddenly give the outside of your icebox that ‘look.’

Well, of course…you can.
Actually, tapping your fingers on your computer’s keyboard is the way to do it.

How to Refresh Your Fridge Photos
With a little thoughtful photo organization using software like iPhoto or Aperture, the pictures you need are waiting patiently for you in digital form.

And with your trusty home photo printer,
(You do have one of those?)
…it’s super simple to print up a fresh batch of refrigerator pics!

In less than half an hour, my-four-year-old son and I were busily taping a fresh batch of photos onto our refrigerator.

Problem solved.

HAL, Open the Refrigerator Door
But I find it interesting how such an old-school, analog activity centered around the family refrigerator is still alive and well in our high-tech lives these days.

There are lots of forward-thinking ideas surrounding what a ‘smart’ refrigerator should do for you, such as letting you know when you’re out of milk.

I know I’m not the first to acknowledge the fridge as the ‘bridge’ in the starship of your family’s household. It’s like the ‘memory central’ for the Borg of your little population.

It sits there, not unlike the black ‘monolith’ in “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
And people are compelled to tape important strips of paper to it.
So be it.

Bringing Your Icebox into the 21st Century
So what about a fridge that has a digital workspace or interactive whiteboard on its entire door? Then you can take all that taped clutter away and clear the space for a rotating digital photo montage managed from your computer.

Now that’s a concept I’d be interested in paying for!

How expensive could it be?
With flat-screen monitor prices crashing, popping one into a refrigerator door shouldn’t be that costly!

And of course, one that’s ‘connected.’
Okay, so that would jack the price up a bit.

But it would be so sweet…

The 2015 holiday shopping season begins in just a few more days.
I’m ready to start saving up!

Five Tips to Rescue your Best Summer Family Photos

Your family vacation is over. Now, you’ve got hundreds of photos to organize after you track in sand to your bedroom. Still feeling relaxed? Don’t burst your vacation bubble. It’s time to rescue your best photo memories!

Remember the Star Trek episode titled “The Trouble with Tribbles” where those cute furballs kept replicating like rabbits? Everyone loved them, but those darn tribbles quickly clogged up the Enterprise. At the end of the episode, the tribbles find their way into a poisoned storage bin of quadrotriticale (grain) destined for a hungry human colony. All the tribbles have a big feast and then get a huge stomach ache. (A lot of them actually starve surrounded by all that food, but I guess the AHA wasn’t on the set that day.)

What does this have to do with your digital photo collection from your summer fun?

Here’s today’s cautionary warning:
You too can starve with a computer full of amazing family photos.

The Quadrotriticale Paradox
We all want to share our best vacation moments with family and friends. But I’ve discovered an ironic phenomenon, which I’ll coin the
“Quadrotriticale Paradox.”

It suggests the more vacation pictures you bring home that clog up your computer, the smaller the chance you’ll actually share your best photos.
There is a clear inverse probability.

I just got back from a weeklong family beach vacation.
And I’ve been known to snap a photo or two. This time, it was more like 522.
We shared a beach house with another family. And they had their own ‘photoholic’ who took really great pictures. At the end of the trip, we swapped our respective photos through Dropbox.

Now, I was blessed with 692 photos!
That’s a whole lot of tribbles to manage, even for me.

Where do you start?
Well, many folks just upload their snapshots someplace where people can take a look.

I often watch with envy as some of my friends regularly share their photos on Facebook and other social platforms.
But, honestly, some of the photos seem a little half-baked. Not quite ready for prime time.

But who really cares?!
They’re not submitting their photos to an amateur photo competition.
My friends are successfully sharing their lives in the moment.
That’s the only point, and they’re getting the job done!

But if you’re a photoholic like me, you can’t do that.
Nobody wants to look at hundreds of your vacation photos (especially my dad).

And what about your best photos… your little magic gems?
You know, the ones where people say, “Wow, how did you get that?!”

The Curse of the DSLR
Capturing magic shots of your toddler requires the fine art of snapping away and waiting to get lucky. This is especially true using a DSLR. But you’re inevitably creating an excess of mediocre shots in search of the perfect photo.

So maybe you get fifty gems (not a bad catch).
But they’re all buried under hundreds of inferior versions.

Now what?

Tip #1 – You Must Sift through all your Photos to Find the Gems

There’s No Magic Bullet
You have to go through each photo to choose the best ones. Sorry.
I use a numbering system. 1 through 5.
Both iPhoto and Apple’s Aperture allow you to do this.

Here are my rating rules-

1- Total failure. Give it an immediate appointment with the trash bin.
2- Really bad photo. Trash it unless it’s the only shot of something special.
3- Just okay. Decide whether to trash it another time.
4- Good photo, but there’s a better version of it.
5- The better version or simply a great picture.

Once I’m done with this evaluation, I adjust the photo album to display in an ascending order based on the ratings I’ve just assigned the pictures.

Then, I review the 2’s again just to make sure I wasn’t too harsh before I delete them. Sometimes a few of them get a reprieve and get bumped up to a 3.

Then I move the 1’s and 2’s into the trash, and DELETE!
Your worst photos are now gone forever.
Now it’s time to focus on the pictures you want to show off.
And those are your 5’s.

Tip #2 – You Can’t Share Your Photos if You Lose Them

Preparing for the End of the Mayan Calendar
I occasionally take the 5’s and put them in a folder called “Best of 2012.” That folder is what I use for my end of year photo books as well as my “end of world” photo back-up strategy.

Sure, I’ve got Time Machine on an external Lacie hard drive for my iMac. But when you’re on vacation, does anyone else have nightmares about coming home to some disaster?

So to start my vacation with peace of mind on the photo archiving front, I do a second back up of all the 5’s to another portable hard drive, which I then pop into a small SentrySafe firebox.

I’m not sure if that will protect against an invasion of angry mutant tribbles.
But I always sleep a little sounder my first night away on vacation.
Don’t judge.

Tip #3 – Share Your Photos Quickly

Your Family Photos have an Expiration Date
I’ve learned a painful lesson capturing photos of my toddler over the past two years. Children grow up fast. No one is interested in last month’s photo. They want to see what he did yesterday!

Case in point…

On the Monday after I returned from vacation, I hadn’t yet had time to take the hour needed to do the prep I describe above.
All I could do was quickly choose three pictures that jumped out and print them to show off at the office. (Colleagues want to see!) I figured a few hard copies should cover it. I also downloaded the complete mass (mess) to my iPhone as part of my normal data syncing process.

So I almost got through the day…
But before I headed home, I went to get a haircut.
(I had gotten a little shaggy over vacation.)

As soon as I mentioned the beach trip to my hair stylist, she immediately demanded to see pictures. I warily pulled out my iPhone and flipped to the middle of the 692 where I knew there were a few good shots back to back. I thumbed through them and swiftly made my move to put my iPhone away, hoping I had satisfied her.

Not quite.

Instead, she took the phone out of my hand and kept flipping through what seemed like hundreds of number 3 photos. I was mortified.
These photos weren’t supposed to be seen! They were 3’s!!
Holy frak… that one was a 2!! Stop!!!
Time crawled to a halt.

Finally, she had her fill, and handed back my phone.
She was beaming. “You have such a beautiful family,” she said.
And my haircut continued. Perhaps I had overreacted.

But I decided I wasn’t going to get cornered unprepared again.

Tip #4 – Perfection of Process is Overrated

Throw Out the Handbook
Sometimes, when time is working against you, you’ve got to just get it done.
That means forget about Tip #1.

So that night, still without the requisite hour to whip my photos into shape, I quickly browsed again, found ten more photos, threw them into a folder, and synced them to my iPhone with the original three I had printed out.

The next day, I got pressed twice to give up the goods, but now I was ready. Having the hastily prepped photos ready to display on my iPhone was all it took to satisfy my paparazzi.

The lucky thirteen weren’t necessarily the best of my 692.
But in the moment, they did the job.

I suddenly feel the urge to offer a relevant quote from a movie-
“Fate rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing.”
(Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen)

You’re welcome.

I know I’m not saving the universe here, but in my little world…
Mission accomplished!

Tip #5 – Finish the Job and Tame the Beast

Show off your Photo Bling
After the firestorm of immediacy subsides, you may return to your regularly scheduled programming.
(And don’t forget to quickly share the baker’s dozen online or via email.)

So you’ve got your all your 5’s.
Time to buff out the gems to perfection. (color balance, brightness, crop, etc.)
This will take some time. But it’s worth it, because these are the pictures you’ll print and distribute, and use to create your photo books.

Remember, don’t wait too long to share or suffer the consequences of an indifferent audience.

The other downside to delaying this part of your photo organization is you’ll eventually develop such a backlog of pictures you’ll never catch up.
You’re always taking new shots, and the wild of your disorganized photo jungle will continue its creep!

Over the course of time, you’re easily managing many thousands of pictures.
It’s a beast that needs to be kept under control.

Or else.

Now go tame your jungle and hunt down your best summer pictures!

And if you come across a wild tribble or discover a way to stretch the fabric of time, please let me know!

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