elizabeth&jane blog

Aperture vs. Lightroom ~ Why I chose what I did

When I first started out in photography I wanted a program that could be dedicated to archiving and handling my files in an easy and comprehensive way. The options for me on a Mac were either iPhoto or Apple’s higher end photo editing suite, Aperture. I looked into Aperture’s features and decided to go with it. At that point, Aperture’s now biggest competitor, Lightroom, didn’t event exist yet.

Fast forward to today and I am still using Aperture. This isn’t because I haven’t tried Lightroom, I definitely have, but I chose to stick with Aperture for some key reasons.


One of the first reasons why I considered switching to Lightroom has nothing to do with the program itself, and everything to do with a company I have a ton of faith in. They produce fantastic products and when I heard they were releasing presets for Lightroom, I started to think that maybe I should consider switching. At that point, Lightroom had many features, such as the presets, that Aperture did not. The company that made me waiver my commitment to Aperture is Get Totally Rad.

Many photographers will already be familiar with the Totally Rad Actions for Photoshop. I personally cannot live without them. I use at least one of their actions on every photo I publish. They are stellar, extremely well made and worth every single penny in my opinion. And it was because of this awesome track record with the Totally Rad Action Sets 1 and 2, that when I found out they were releasing Lightroom presets, I actually gave Lightroom a try.


I read tons of literature and watched way too many tutorial videos about Lightroom and got pretty excited to try it out. It sounded awesome so I downloaded Adobe’s Free Trial to see what I thought. At first I played around with the presets and thought they were pretty cool, until I realized that I really wanted them to behave like Photoshop layers. I found it a bit difficult to navigate around and kept trying to make it look more like Aperture, in the way it displays how the files are organized.

Aperture stores its files in a very different way than Lightroom. Apple has created a self contained “packaging system” that essentially puts all of your photos into one single file. That may sound confusing, but it’s within Aperture that you are able to organize your photos into a very easy file structure. This simple packaging also aids in the backup process. Aperture allows you to back up with one single click to however many “vaults” as you’d like. I am sure there is a way to do this in Lightroom, but I wanted it to be the way Aperture is so the obvious decision was to stick with Aperture.

And that was it. I realized that I wanted Lightroom to be like Aperture as well as wanting it to be like Photoshop so I went back to my first loves.

I was rewarded and reaffirmed a few days after I made my decision with the release of Aperture 3 which brought features such as the presets that I had wanted from Lightroom. I was thrilled!

The only downside now is that Get Totally Rad has put out a statement that they will not be doing TRA Aperture presets, which really sucks but I will still hope that at some point in the future, they might revisit the idea. For now, I am so happy with using Aperture 2 coupled with Photoshop and I am quite confident in my decision.

Photographers: what do you use? Lightroom? Aperture? Adobe Bridge? Photoshop? Something completely different? Please share and tell me why you chose your selected product(s)?

In a few weeks I will be upgrading to Aperture 3 and I can’t wait!!

Have a wonderful day,

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