Photos for OS X Preview Now Available to Developers

Photos osx web title

Less than a week after scrubbing all mention of the new Photos for OS X app from its Web site, Apple has re-introduced the new software with a splash. A pre-release version is currently available to developers, bundled with a beta of OS X 10.10.3 (you need to install the system update to get the Photos app). The finished software is expected in the spring.

I haven’t had a chance to run the software yet, but several media outlets got an advanced look. I recommend starting with Chris Breen’s excellent overview at Macworld. David Pogue at Yahoo talks about switching from iPhoto and Aperture. And Wired and The Verge also have first-look articles.

[Update: Serenity Caldwell has given it a once-over and has a great FAQ at iMore.]

Some quick takeaways:

  • Switching from existing iPhoto and Aperture libraries looks to be less terrible than it could be; Photos won’t dupe your images, but will work with your existing library.
  • Photos for OS X is reportedly very fast. After iPhoto and Aperture sluggishness, I’m thrilled to hear it.
  • The new app, at least initially (?), won’t include support for star ratings or labels. Instead, there will be just a single “Favorite” button, as is found in the Photos for iOS app. As you know from my book Take Control of Your Digital Photos, I’m a big fan of using ratings to organize photos. In their place, the Photos app will convert ratings to keywords (which is one method I recommend when moving from iPhoto to Lightroom). So, that’s something, I guess.
  • You will be able to sync your photo library with iCloud, but it won’t be required. We don’t yet know if there will be a local backup option akin to Aperture’s vaults. (I’m guessing the answer is no, at least not at first.)
  • The appearance, organization, and editing tools are very similar to the Photos for iOS app.
  • Photos also supports projects like photo books and slideshows.

I’m looking forward to installing the app and throwing some libraries at it, both because I’m updating Take Control of Your Digital Photos and because I’m also working on a new book for Peachpit Press covering the Photos app and Apple’s photo ecosystem.

It’s going to be a busy winter and spring.

Lightroom mobile 1.3 Adds an Unexpected Editing Capability

While everyone was focused on the news of the new Photos for OS X developer preview, Adobe released a very interesting update to Lightroom mobile, its mobile companion to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

In previous versions of the app, there was a truly hidden, super powerful editing feature: not only could you copy adjustments made on the device between images, you could also copy adjustments made in the desktop Lightroom application. So, for example, if you’d applied a graduated filter on the desktop to an image and synced that image to Lightroom mobile, copying its adjustments to another photo also added the graduated filter—even though Lightroom mobile doesn’t offer a graduated filter tool. (See item #4, Copy Adjustments Between Photos, in this article of Lightroom mobile tips published at Peachpit.com a few months ago.)

Lightroom mobile 1.3 takes that one step further by enabling copying of adjustments in a more granular way. You can choose to copy only one type of edit and paste it. And that includes settings like Lens Corrections.

Watch the following video by Adobe’s Russell Brown to see the feature in action. It’s wonderfully cool.

Adobe Lightroom Mobile 1.3.0 from Russell Brown on Vimeo.

Photos for OS X Application Currently Missing at Apple.com

While Apple was announcing its record-breaking quarterly financial results (not just breaking its own records, but earning $74.6 billion, the most revenue of any company in any quarter in history), elves at the Apple site were busy.

According to 9to5 Mac, there’s now no mention of the successor to iPhoto and Aperture on Apple’s Web site.

Has the application been delayed? Shelved? Is Apple on the verge or releasing it and we’re seeing the preparation for new information to appear? I don’t know. I’ve reached out to my PR contacts at Apple to see if they can shed light on the situation.

But I’m certainly curious.

Article: iPhone Video Beyond Basic: FiLMiC Pro

FiLMiC Pro

One promise of the video-capture capabilities of the iPhone and iPad is being able to create movies without a lot of other expensive hardware. That can be shooting short movies, action clips, interviews, or even news segments. But when you need more than just the basics, turn to the app FiLMiC Pro. I write about this $7.99 gem at Lynda.com and explain why it’s essential for anyone who needs manual control over the video they capture, from locking focus and exposure independently to capturing video at a resolution higher than the built-in Camera app does.

Read about it here: iPhone Video Beyond Basic: Shooting with FiLMiC Pro.

iPad and iPhone VideoI also cover FiLMiC Pro in my book iPad and iPhone Video: Film, Edit, and Share the Apple Way. (Hint: It makes a great gift for the budding director in your family or circle of friends!)

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

Article: Make Photo Gifts Right from Your iPhone or iPad

Print gifts finished book2

Still looking for holiday gift ideas? Start with the photos in your iPhone or iPad! Over at Lynda.com, I’ve written about methods for making photo gifts without requiring a trip to your computer. Apps and services can make prints, photo books, and other creations while you wait in line to see Santa.

I also spotlight a couple of interesting photo book options: Chatbooks and Groovebook are designed to make small books out of all of your mobile photos (with the ability to skip shots you don’t like, of course) inexpensively. Chatbooks charges $6 for a 60-page book, while Groovebook works as a subscription that costs $2.99 per month for a book of 40 to 100 pages.

This was a fun article to research. Check it out here: Make Photo Gifts Right from Your iPhone or iPad.

iStick Hampered by Poor Software

When the iStick was introduced earlier this year, it promised something not previously available for the iPad or iPhone: copy files via the Lightning connector. Apple built iOS with the limitation that the connector not be used as a generic USB file transfer mechanism. That meant companies needed to get clever, resulting in methods such as having a portable hard drive create its own Wi-Fi connection to stream media to the device.

I don’t know how the iStick gets around that limitation, but according to Derrick Story, it works. Unfortunately, the software to run it is so basic that it’s almost unusable. Sure, you can copy images from an iPad to the iStick as a backup… but you won’t be able to view thumbnails until you get back to a computer. Currently, it sounds like a fine solution to bring media like movies and music along so it’s not stored on the iPad itself. But that’s about it.

How Does iOS 8 Time-Lapse Work?

[Video by Dan Provost]

Dan Provost at Studio Neat (the inventors of the Glif tripod mount for iPhones) took a closer look at the Time-Lapse feature in the Camera app under iOS 8. If you’ve tried it out, the mode is dead simple; there are no configuration options, you just start recording and the app’s “dynamically selected intervals” do all the work.

Studio Neat also makes a time-lapse app called Frameographer, so Provost experimented to see what the Camera app is doing. Turns out it’s pretty cool. Read all about it: How Does the iOS 8 Time-Lapse Feature Work?

Lightroom mobile – Iceland

Adobe’s Russell Brown sent a group of photographers to Iceland to shoot a promotional video for Lightroom mobile, and boy is it wonderful. The visuals are just gorgeous, but the clip also does a great job of explaining some of the editing tools and presets available in Lightroom mobile.

(A reminder: I wrote a Fuel ebook that covers Lightroom mobile: Adobe Lightroom mobile: Your Lightroom on the Go, only $8!)

After you’ve watched the video a couple of times, be sure to take a look at the behind-the-scenes video, especially if you lust after photo drones.

iPhoto for iOS Is Dead under iOS 8

When Apple introduced the updated Photos app under iOS 8, the company showed off a lot of cool new editing tools that were clearly taken from iPhoto for iOS. What I didn’t expect was that iPhoto wouldn’t work at all under iOS 8. (Although I’ve been running betas of iOS 8 for several weeks, I realized I’d never tried to open iPhoto for iOS… which is probably a sign that iPhoto wasn’t being used in favor of other tools; and just that I’ve been really busy lately.)

When you launch iPhoto for iOS, you see this message:

IPhoto dead migrate

Tap Migrate and all the photos you’ve edited in iPhoto are copied to your Photos library.

  • Edits you made in iPhoto are baked into the photos; you can’t re-edit the adjustments. However, you can tap Revert to revert the image to its original state, and then re-edit that.
  • Anything you marked as a favorite in iPhoto is added to a Favorites album
  • Everything migrated appears in the Recently Added album, which can be a little confusing because normally those items are chronological based on when you capture photos.

In a support note about this turn of events, Apple also notes many other circumstances that will apply:

  • Any photos in your iPhoto library that aren’t already in Photos are added.
  • Image adjustments you made in iPhoto are migrated to Photos.
  • If you applied image adjustments to photos synced to your iOS device from iTunes, a duplicate of each photo will be created in Photos with adjustments applied.
  • Photos hidden in iPhoto do not appear in the Years, Moments, or Collections views in Photos, but are placed in an album titled Hidden.
  • Photo Books, Web Journals, and Slideshows are converted into regular albums in Photos. Text and layouts are not preserved.
  • Only projects created on the device performing the migration will be converted. Projects you synced from other devices to iPhoto via iCloud must be converted from the devices on which they were created.
  • Photos marked as Favorites in iPhoto are marked as Favorites in Photos.
  • Tags and captions from iPhoto are not displayed in Photos, but you can use them as search terms and they will show up respectively as Keywords and Titles in Photos search results.
  • Flags from iPhoto are converted to the keyword Flagged.

One thing I miss from iPhoto is the ability to make spot-adjustments, versus making an adjustment that applies to the entire image. However, the Extensions capability of iOS 8 should fill in that gap by letting you use editing controls from other apps you’ve installed.

Aperture’s Golden Hour

Aperture sunsetIt seemed fitting that I heard the news that Apple is sunsetting Aperture while I was attending a photo seminar. Aperture has been largely dormant for the past three years, and as I commented to Jackie Dove in an article at The Next Web, “I have to admit, on one level I’m a bit relieved that we finally know what’s happening with Aperture, instead of the limbo it’s been in for the last few years.” (Is it weird to quote myself on my own blog?)

What does this news mean for photographers who’ve invested countless hours and gigabytes of photos to Aperture? In short, we need to wait and see what Apple’s new Photos for OS X application will bring, but I’m not optimistic it will meet everyone’s needs, especially right away.

I explain in more detail at TidBITS in a new article: “Aperture’s Golden Hour.”

In photography, the “golden hour” is that slice of time just before and after sunset when the sun is low in the sky and the light is often bronze-hued and dramatic. It’s one of the best times of the day to capture photos, but the good light too soon rolls over into darkness.

Apple’s professional photo-management application, Aperture, has enjoyed an extended golden hour. Although Adobe Photoshop Lightroom long ago dominated the market, Aperture has held on in development limbo — working fine (but sludgy, in my experience) for those who use it, but not updated in any meaningful way. Now, its light is close to winking out: Apple announced last week that it will soon halt development of Aperture.