Photos for OS X Strikes a Middle Ground

We knew there would be some compromise when Apple folded its high-end Aperture and consumer iPhoto applications in to one program. Now that we have an official preview of Photos for OS X, we can see the direction they're heading.


The first thing to keep in mind is that this is the first beta for developer review. We'll see the gold master of Photos for OS X in the spring. So missing items such as star ratings, file names, etc. will probably appear in later releases. In other words, don't interpret what you see now as what you'll have later this year.

We do see some indicators, however, of the direction Apple is taking with Photos. And hardcore Aperture users will surely miss its advanced editing tools. In this area, I would say that early versions of Photos will feel more like iPhoto than Aperture.

My advice is for Aperture photographers to think about a 2-part strategy: what to do for 2015, then 2016 and beyond. For the remainder of this year, we have the luxury of sticking with Aperture on Yosemite and playing with Photos for OS X when it's released. By the end of 2015, we all should have a pretty good idea of how the new software is going to stack up against Aperture.

At the end of 2015, I believe it's decision time. In my case, I'll look at the following possibilities:

  • Continued support of Aperture with Mac OS X 10.11. If Apple continues to enable operating system compatibility, including systemwide RAW updates, then my job is easier. I can experiment with new workflows without having to overhaul my photo management system.
  • Evolution of Photos for OS X. With its open architecture, there are many possibilities for this application. In terms of features, what we see in 2016 could be very different than in the spring of 2015.
  • The competition. In addition to Adobe Lightroom, other applications such as DxO Optics Pro will continue to tempt Aperture users with their tool sets.

For the moment, I find this all very interesting. I'm looking forward to working with Photos for OS X and seeing how far I can push it. In the meantime, the current announcements (in terms of timing) are encouraging. We're going to see this application sooner than later.

Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture, check out my Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012) on Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.