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.
Hot on the presses, the third edition of The iPad for Photographers is done and being printed! I can’t wait for you to see the finished version, which has been updated to cover iOS 7, more wireless options, Lightroom mobile, a dedicated workflow chapter, and more. I also had fun re-shooting many of the chapter opener images. Based on typical printing, ebook conversion, and distribution schedules, the new edition should be available mid-June. Pre-order it now.
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
Adobe has already pushed out a version 1.0.1 of Lightroom mobile, fixing little bugs but also changing one behavior that could be costly if you own a Wi-Fi + cellular iPad. Initially, the default was to sync photos and adjustments only over Wi-Fi connections. You could turn that off if you wanted to allow syncing over a cellular connection if Wi-Fi wasn’t an option.
Now, Sync Only Over WiFi is disabled by default. If you set up a collection to sync but didn’t launch Lightroom mobile while on Wi-Fi, those images are sent over the cellular connection, eating up your monthly bandwidth allocation. Depending on your cellular plan and the amount of photos you’re syncing, that change may not be an problem. But it seems like an odd change to me.
To sync only via Wi-Fi, open Lightroom mobile, tap your name in the top-left corner, and move the Sync Only Over WiFi switch to the On position (to the right).
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.
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This should come as no surprise: Adobe is working on a “Lightroom for iPad” app. What is unexpected is that a very early version exists enough to demonstrate the concept, which is exactly what Tom Hogarty did on Scott Kelby’s The Grid program. Cnet reports:
Adobe Systems plans to release high-end photo-editing software for tablets. The new app would be a close relative to Adobe’s Lightroom software for PCs and serve as a cloud-connected companion to the program.
Tom Hogarty, Adobe’s group product manager for Lightroom, demonstrated an early prototype version of the app Wednesday on the Grid, an online show from Photoshop guru Scott Kelby.
Adobe has done a good job with PC-centric photography software, but the company needs to better incorporate Internet connectivity and mobile devices into photography workflow, Hogarty said.
The article cites Photosmith and its ability to apply metadata and then sync it with Lightroom, but also touts the Adobe app’s capability to edit raw files. I’m impressed that the demo was done on an iPad 2, which includes just 512 MB of active memory. The third- and fourth-generation iPads contain 1 GB of memory, but still, apps that work with raw formats such as PiRAWhna are slow because the memory and processing demands are so high to work with raw files.f
It’s definitely an engineering hurdle, but with tablets gaining in popularity and PCs dropping, Adobe needs to plant a flag and embrace the future. I would be surprised if Apple isn’t working on an Aperture for iPad, or some utility that syncs with Aperture; more likely, that app will be an expanded iPhoto.