20 April 2015

Accidentally Using Apple Photos

I just restarted my Mac and wasn't paying attention when I launched the new Photos app. It opened up with the new screen and so I figured, might was well check it out. I knew it was going to grab my existing iPhoto library and convert it, etc, etc, but I wasn't sure how I was going to like it.

My first reaction: Meh. Just say no to iCloud Photo Library.

My library is well over 100 GB which means I'd need the 200 GB iCloud storage option which would cost $48 to have access to all my photos. Until I ran out of space. And I just switched to shooting in RAW. And now I am using Lightroom for main editing and importing finished photos to iPhoto Photos. Sorry Apple, you need to drop the price here. I'm sticking with Photo Stream until I am forced to change - by using Lightroom, I don't really plan to use the Photos editing features.

My second reaction: How many bloody iPhoto libraries are now lurking?

Then finally: Urg, all my Events are jacked up in this nested album thing.

So, how to manage this... It's not too bad, but it will be time consuming. In typical Apple fashion, Photos works differently than iPhoto. First, it seems my default iPhoto library is now "migrated". But, it can still be opened using iPhoto, there is a simple pop up box that informs you what has happened. Go ahead and "Open iPhoto" for the familiar look.

Events are gone and we now are told to keep everything in an Album. Annoyingly, I managed to be very good at making discrete Events for every "event" and very few Albums. I used albums as a way to generalize events - so items in common from multiple disparate events could be viewed from a single album. It worked for me. But, now I have what looks like hundreds of these old iPhoto Events tucked away in a dedicated album. Can they be moved to be their own album? Why, yes...

Open up the "iPhoto Events" album, then right click (ctrl + click) on one of the Events. From the menu, there is an option to "Move Album Out Of "iPhoto Events". It works as advertised. Rinse, Repeat. 390 times for me.

So, do I like Photos? Yes. It's faster than iPhoto without doubt. The editing options are limited, but good at what they do, straight forward to use, and I expect more features to be added in the coming months/years. However, I can't use it as I hoped as it stands. Had Photos skewed more towards Aperture in capability and iCloud Photo Library was priced at half what it currently it is, I'd use it without reserve. As it stands, I would be willing to spend more time with it if it wasn't for the pricing structure of iCloud Photo Library (the promise of all your pictures anywhere you are is very appealing).

Unfortunately, I can see myself surpassing the 200 GB iCloud storage size in the next year especially combined with keeping my iPhone and iPad backups "in the cloud". Remember, the iCloud space you lease has to keep everything, not just photos. This is your device backups, your app data, and anything else that might get stored there now that it is more like Dropbox.

For now, I am relegating Photos to be a way to easily share pictures with my family and manage photos and videos that I take with my iPhone or have edited fully in Lightroom from my 5D. When I first started using iPhoto, it was my de facto photo management app. I had a Canon P&S and didn't shot in RAW. Any serious extra editing could be done in external apps as needed. But, with the announcement that Aperture and iPhoto were losing support, and having watched the FCP X fallout, I decided that there was no point in really investing time and effort into the ecosystem. If Photos gains capability as FCP X has, then I'll be able to easily move back to using it with more vigor. For the time being, I'll treat it as a half-way house.

Flickr: 1 TB Free, limited uploads in a single session
Dropbox: 1 TB - $120/yr
iCloud: 20 GB - $12/yr, 200 GB - $48/yr, 500 GB - $120/yr, 1TB - $240/yr
OneDrive: 100 GB - $24/yr, 200 GB - $48/yr, 1 TB (plus Office 365) - $84/yr
Google: 100 GB - $24/yr, 1 TB - $120/yr


  1. All this is strange ... made the program apple photo instead of iPhoto. And what about Aperture? Is that an intrusive hint to move to a more expensive product from Adobe? But there are many other alternatives http://besthdrprogram.com/hdrapp/ to work with.

  2. Well, Aperture is completely dead now, so it can't even be considered. I've heard good things about Pixelmator, but haven't tried it. At least Apple has reduced their pricing! 50GB is now $12/yr. I still can't get the hang of Photos, so I'll be sticking with Lightroom.