It 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.
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.
Coinciding with the latest announcements from Adobe, two articles of mine were published this morning.
Lightroom mobile 1.1
For my first article at Lynda.com, I looked at Lightroom mobile 1.1. On the surface it appears to be an incremental update that delivers iPhone compatibility (which Adobe promised was coming when Lightroom mobile came out in April). However, it turns out that having the app on the iPhone can potentially change the way you work with mobile photos.
Right now, to get the shots you capture with the iPhone (and if you’re like me, you take a lot) into your Lightroom library, you need to connect the phone to your computer via a sync cable and import the photos like any other camera. Using the feature of Lightroom mobile 1.1 to automatically add new photos from the Camera Roll to a synced collection means your photos get zapped to your Lightroom library without any intervention.
Over at Macworld, I wrote a first-look article about Adobe’s new Photoshop Mix app for iPad. It’s an interesting use of the underlying Photoshop technologies that Adobe is putting into many of its apps, enabling you to perform image corrections on photos and also build compositions from different photos.
Lightroom mobile has been out just a week and already there’s evidence that what we’re using now is very much a 1.0, with new features in the works. This shouldn’t be surprising: the original Lightroom started fairly bare and aggressively added new features after its release.
One of the top surprises I’ve heard from people is the lack of a way to edit metadata for photos in the app—star ratings, keywords, IPTC data, and the like. I suspect those were probably planned for the app but held back so Adobe could ship the first version on the schedule they set for themselves.
Now, it’s clear that star ratings and other probably other metadata features are being worked on, following a tweet posted by Adobe’s Tom Hogarty this morning:
LrMobile eng mgr(Torsten) and design lead(Kai) talk star ratings over dinner in SJ.(And yes, that's an iphone) pic.twitter.com/doMoJWDTXT
Premiere photo site 500px has just published an article of mine that takes a high level overview of what an iPad can do for photographers: How an iPad Can Improve Your Photography. Think of it as the ultra-compact version of my iPad for Photographers book, covering the options for using the iPad as a portfolio, importing photos to the iPad and reviewing them in the field, adding all-important metadata, editing the shots, sharing images, and more.
I’m actually quite excited to appear on 500px, not only because I like what the company is doing, but because the people who post and read at the site tend to be extremely talented photographers. It’s fabulous company to be in.
The book features 53 pages of detailed information on how to use Lightroom mobile, including lots of tips on how to get the most out of Adobe’s new remote tool. And it costs just $8! As near as I can tell, this is the first book about Lightroom mobile on the market. (Update: Victoria Bampton, aka The Lightroom Queen, also released a book. Go buy her book, too!)
The book walks you through creating and syncing collections from the desktop version of Lightroom, as well as creating collections on the iPad itself (and why you’d want to do it). It also goes into detail about the app’s editing features, covers the many gestures used to speed things up, and more.
Here are some page samples. Buy it now (not-so-subtle-hint), and let me know what you think!
And here’s a first for me: I’m quoted in Adobe’s press release! (Yes, mine is one of the quotes that journalists often skim over, sometimes rolling their eyes as they do so.) The folks working with the development program for Lightroom mobile approached me, since I’m the author of The iPad for Photographers:
“Adobe Lightroom mobile transforms the way I am able to work with my photographs because now I can review and process photos when I’m comfortable and creative, and not just when I’m at my computer,” said Jeff Carlson, educator and author of The iPad for Photographers and Adobe Lightroom mobile: Your Lightroom on the Go. “It also works as a malleable photo portfolio on my iPad. As I add or remove images from a collection in Lightroom mobile or on the computer, the changes stay synchronized. When I need to show my work those photos are already set up to be viewed.”
I’ll definitely have more to say about Lightroom mobile soon, but Adobe’s posts and my First Look article are good places to start.
There’s no indication of whether the app is imminent or still in development (and I wonder if the subscription pricing might be an intentional test balloon to see how people would react to the pricing). But it’s definitely an exciting development.
If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume mailing list that I use to announce new projects and items that I think my readers would be interested in. (It’s hosted by MailChimp, so if you decide I’ve gotten too chatty in the future, you can unsubscribe easily.)
Macworld’s Jackie Dove has published her review of iPhoto 2.0 for iOS, the new version of Apple’s mobile photo editor for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. She likes it quite a bit, writing:
iPhoto 2.0 for iOS is a fantastic upgrade to Apple’s mobile consumer image editing flagship program; its streamlined, updated interface is a joy to use. Though not as cute and whimsical as last year’s debut version, its swift operation, direct controls, enhanced sharing, and no-nonsense interface make it a must-have upgrade.
Other pressing deadlines have kept me from digging into the new version in depth, but it’s still the photo editor I turn to first on my iPad. I’m looking forward to seeing how well it performs on my new iPad Air, since Jackie’s review suggests a lot of the processing is now being handled by the graphics processor.
Google announced improvements to its Google+ service today, with a focus on photography. One of the items mentioned was an update to Snapseed that adds a new HDR Scope filter to the versatile image editor. According to Google, this implementation uses pixel edge detection instead of relying solely on tone mapping. As soon as the iOS app update was available, I had to throw an image at it and see what the results were.
Here’s an original photo, shot with a Nikon D90 and imported to my iPad via Eye-Fi. This is the JPEG portion of the Raw+JPEG pair I shot.
Here’s the same shot taken into the HDR Scape filter. This is with a setting strength of +83, the default that Snapseed used.
That’s too much HDR effect for me, so I dialed the effect down to +47. Total time editing: about two minutes.