Why I switched from iPhotos/Photos to Lightroom
I bought a new Macbook around 2 years ago. My old one was great - I still use it because it’s still (mostly) going strong - but I needed something just a little bit lighter and a little bit faster, and my new Macbook is exactly that.
It’s always exciting getting a new laptop, or any new bit of tech really. But that excitement rapidly faded when I realised how bloody difficult it was going to be to move my photos over.
iPhoto - or Photos as it’s now called - is decent. It synced all my photos from my iPhone, it works great with other apps on Macs, it’s editing options are pretty neat for basic edits and it’s an easy way to view and organise photos.
Until you realise they’re not actually organised.
You try to find the original photo file in Finder, I dare you.
If you don’t take millions of photos, don’t store massive amounts of photos either, don’t really edit too much, and you just want a hassle-free way of synching photos, it’s honestly probably not too important to switch.
But I really can’t recommend Lightroom enough. Just want to add here, this is not a sponsored post or anything like that, I just genuinely love Lightroom. If you have a lot of photos, like 20,000+, want to free up some memory on your hard drive but still have all your photos accessible at all times, like having the original photo files to hand, want more freedom editing or want to batch edit, or even batch watermark - Lightroom is incredible.
Now the catch, Lightroom isn’t free. Adobe Creative Cloud requires a monthly subscription, but you don’t need the £49.94 a month package. You can get Photoshop and Lightroom in a bundle for £9.98 a month. Or if you’re a student you can get the full range of apps that Adobe offer for £16.24 a month.
So you might not think it’s worth it, but personally I think it’s worth that for just Lightroom, but you also get Photoshop too.
I’m not an expert or professional photographer by any means, but I’ve had a DSLR for 7 years and I take LOTS of photos. When I got my new macbook, I opted for less storage. Which meant I couldn’t keep my 70,000+ photos all on my computer. But I LIKE having access to them at all times, because I’m a millennial lol. We like things and we like them now. So I didn’t want to have to permanently move some photos off my hard drive and carry an external hard drive around all the time.
Here was my solution:
- Exported all my photos from Photos with maximum quality (every time you resave a JPEG you lose a little bit of quality), but I wanted to keep the folder structure I’d made in iPhoto, because no thanks I’m not reorganising 70,000 photos.
- Imported all the photos into Lightroom. (Yes these steps took quite a long time, but so worth it)
- Make Smart Previews for all photos
- Move all photos to my external hard drive.
- Have a free hard drive, but still be able to view and edit photos with the Smart Preview functionality.
Smart Previews are Lightroom's way of storing the photos when external hard drives or servers are disconnected. It saves a much lower file size so it doesn’t take up anywhere near as much storage. But usually still high enough quality for say, social media. Edits can be made to the photo without you needing the original file, and then when the hard drive is reconnected all these edits will automatically be applied to the photo.
Original files are stored in exactly the same way as you see them in Lightroom. If you move a photo from one folder to another in Lightroom, your computer will mirror this and the file will move on your hard drive too. Not like Photos where the file just gets lost in the most bizarre folder structure ever.
You can download filters to use on photos, though Lightroom provides some of its own already. Plus batch editing allows you to edit a lot of photos in one go, which can really speed up the editing process. Think of VCSO’s copy and paste editing, you can do that with Lightroom. Plus you can automatically apply a watermark to multiple photos on export, so you don’t need to worry about individually watermarking each one.
Lightroom can definitely be a bit overwhelming at first, but once you get to grips with it, you’ll never ever go back to Apple’s Photos.
Sorry this has been a bit of a tech-y post, but it’s something I really wanted to share. If, like me, you love taking photos, especially if you’ve got a blog where you end up taking a lot of photos on different subjects and editing takes a lot of time, this programme will be such a lifesaver for you.
And not only do you get Lightroom with that monthly package, you get Photoshop too. If you want to take your photography to another level, you will need Photoshop. There’s programmes out there with similar capabilities, but really it is the market leader. And again, there’s a lot to learn with the programme, but it’s simply the best when it comes to photography. And there's so many free tutorials and videos and guides out there to help you.
I hope this post helps someone in some way as though it was a few days of hair pulling trying to move and sort my photos, 2 years on, it was SO worth it. Lightroom is no where near as hair-pullingly frustrating as Photos.