October 30th, 2008
Beginning real estate photographers that are Mac users face a fundamental decision. Do you use Lightroom or do you use Aperture? While talking to such a real estate photographer this week I realized that for Mac user starting out as a photographer this decision is not that easy.
First of all I need to disclose my Apple bias. My first computer was a Apple II Plus and I purchased a one of the first Macintosh’s when they first came on the market. I was an Apple Developer for about 5 years from 1985 to 1990 but went over to the dark side in about 1994 when I became frustrated with the lack of Macintosh software development tools. I came back to Apple about a year ago when I was faced with the prospect of having to use Vista. I freely admit I’m an Apple fan-boy. I have and use both Lightroom and Aperture although all of my photographs since 1999 are catalogued in Lightroom, only my photos from 2008 are also cataloged in Aperture.
Why use Lightroom or Aperture at all? Why not just use Photoshop Elements or Photoshop? They both have photo organization features. For me, this is very easy.
- The slider paradigm for adjusting things like exposure, white balance, clarity etc. is incredibly fast compared to doing the same thing in Photoshop with layers. This single item is worth the price of the software.
- Organizational features for sorting and selecting are important but I could easily live with the similar features in Bridge.
- Creating slide shows to me is a great feature of both Aperture and Lightroom.
Why do I recommend Lightroom over Aperture for Mac real estate photographers?
- Chromatic aberration: Aperture doesn’t have any built-in feature for removing chromatic aberration. Sure, you can use an external plugin like PTlens to do this but Lightroom has a great built-in feature for removing chromatic aberrations. This feature is important if you have a lens that has serious chromatic aberrations. I use a Sigma 8mm fish-eye lens for 360 images, that is notorious for it’s bad chromatic aberrations and I love the way Lightroom deals with images from this lens.
- Slide shows: For real estate photographers I think the ability to create a professional looking online Flash slide show is incredibly useful and effective. No matter how you deliver still photos, sending your client a slide show to show results is an effective way to show your work. You can give the slide show link to the client to use as tour. Lightroom allows you to create a variety of Flash slide shows with a few clicks for almost nothing. Of course, you have to have some web space, but that’s available for as little as $6/mo. Yes, Aperture will create slide shows to, but only easily to me.com (Apples online service) and the options are few and the results disappointing.
If you are not interested in either of these then Aperture is a good choice. It’s also $100 USD cheaper than Lightroom. For me easily creating professional looking slide shows is a huge deal. I use this feature for almost every shoot I do. I couldn’t live with out it. On the other hand, I like the feel of Aperture and how it’s tightly integrated with other Apple products. I keep all my iPhone photos in Aperture because Aperture works so smoothly with the iPhone.