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Aperture vs Lightroom – Which is Best for Real Estate Photography?

August 17th, 2010

Mac users starting out in real estate photography are faced with a choice of whether to go with Lightroom or Aperture for photo management/editing. Back in February I did a comparison of of Lightroom and Aperture just after Aperture 3 was released. Now that both Aperture 3 and Lightroom 3 have been out for a while it’s a good time to revisit the comparison of these two photo management applications.

I use both Lightroom 3 and Aperture 3 on a MacBook Pro (a 2 year old  2.53 GHz MacBook Pro with 4 Gig of RAM) Here is my impression of the pros and cons for these two applications. This comparison is by no means intended to be exhaustive. These are just some of my favorite features and issues.

Aperture Pros

  1. Aperture brushes: I am totally in love with this feature. If it weren’t for the lens correction features in Lightroom I would move completely to Aperture just for this feature.
  2. Aperture video editing: This is compelling feature but you get the same features on every Mac for free in iMovie.
  3. Aperture GPS mapping: This is another feature I love. I can just snap a iPhone shot while shooting with my 5D  when I import the iPhone photos with the 5D photos and Aperture will automatically put  the iPhone GPS data on the 5D shots taken around the same time. Very cool!

Aperture Cons

  1. Aperture feels slow to me on my MacBook Pro: It always seems to be doing stuff in the background and just doesn’t feel as snappy as Lightroom 3.
  2. Slide shows: Aperture 3 will create slideshows on me.com but I just don’t find these useable for real estate use.
  3. Aperture updates: Historically new versions of Aperture seem to be few an far between and Apple does not let the user community participate in betas like Adobe does. There have been many long waits for RAW conversion compatibility in Aperture’s past.

Lightroom Pros

  1. The Lens correction features: for real estate photographers this is a huge time saver not to have to round trip out to another an application like PTlens or Photoshop to just  fix verticals or horizontals.
  2. Lightroom feels snappy on my MacBook Pro.
  3. The ability to create slide shows on any website you can access

Lightroom Cons

  1. Costs $100 more: A new license cost $100 more than Aperture.
  2. Interface: Lightroom 3 doesn’t feel as “Apple like” as Aperture 3 does.

In summary, my opinion is that having great lens correction features built into Lightroom 3 makes it the obvious choice for real estate photographers. This feature doesn’t make much difference to other areas of photography but having your verticals, vertical  your horizontals, horizontal and not having barrel distortion from your wide angel lens is super important in real estate photography and the time a real estate photographer saves buy having these features built into Lightroom 3 is worth the extra $100 over Aperture 3.

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7 Responses to “Aperture vs Lightroom – Which is Best for Real Estate Photography?”

  • You are almost correct at your points. This will be really helpful for the beginners. You have done a research under a big lens and zoomed all the features of both the applications. The pros and cons are absolutely accurate. Thank you for suggesting Lightroom 3 for the users who hesitates because of extra $100 over Aperture 3.

  • Their is a 3rd Lightroom Interface Con: Lightroom doesn’t feel as “Windows like” nor as “Apple like” as the rest of the Adobe suit of applications do… ;p

  • Slideshows in Aperture can be exported as standard Quicktime movies ( http://www.apple.com/aperture/how-to/#video-slideshows ), you can also create WWW pages that can either be easily published to Mobile Me (which can also be set up to host as a Personal Domain http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1107 ) or exported as a folder ready to be uploaded to your www site. ( http://www.apple.com/aperture/how-to/#video-web )

    The addition healing/cloning brushes in Aperture that aren’t just spot brushes and the need to export to an external editor for Lightroom for that same level of functionality (at an additional cost, with your most common product for that, Photoshop is a $699 addon) gives an interesting thought to the issue (You might be able to get away with a lesser expensive editing package i.e. Pixelmator, Adobe Photoshop Elements 8). For functionality you can spend between 360 and 1300 (Adobe Lightroom with Pixelmator to Adobe Lightroom with Photoshop CS5 Extended) or ~$240 for Aperture.

    And speaking of perspective, with perspective modification tools that cost less than $30 such as PTLens ( http://www.epaperpress.com/ptlens/ ), LensFix ( http://www.kekus.com/lensfix.html ) which is available as both an external editor and as a Plugin for Aperture, and Hugin ( http://hugin.sourceforge.net/ ) you have multiple options for Lens Correction in Aperture (one of which is a straight up Plug-in as opposed to using an external editor).

    As for the slowness, that will all depend on your machine, and the new graphics update from Apple may help with that. (Then again, it may not.) So, YMMV. (Oh, and the Video Card in your laptop is probably slightly anemic and with Aperture using Core Graphics support that will be a slight bottleneck for you.)

    Is Lightroom better than Aperture? Is Aperture better than Lightroom? Are they both comparable products?

    Adobe’s Lightroom does have more training videos, lots of support, and it does have lens profiles built in. With Aperture you can use OneToOne (if you’re signed up), Excellent (though not as many) training videos and materia. Are either of them better? More that they are just different.

  • “Slideshows in Aperture can be exported as standard Quicktime movies”

    Lightroom also exports movies. in fact anything from 320×240 to 1080p in mp4 format that nativly plays in QT, WMP12, and Adobe Media player. (and you dont need to read a “how to” to do it)

    “you can also create WWW pages that can either be easily published to Mobile Me or exported as a folder ready to be uploaded to your www site. ”

    Lightroom also has dozens of gallery presets and way more templates from 3rd party sources. (and you dont need to read a “how to” to do it)

    “The addition healing/cloning brushes in Aperture that aren’t just spot brushes and the need to export to an external editor for Lightroom for that same level of functionality (at an additional cost, with your most common product for that, Photoshop is a $699 addon)”

    GIMP does it just as well as Photoshop and its free.

    “gives an interesting thought to the issue (You might be able to get away with a lesser expensive editing package i.e. Pixelmator, Adobe Photoshop Elements 8). For functionality you can spend between 360 and 1300 (Adobe Lightroom with Pixelmator to Adobe Lightroom with Photoshop CS5 Extended) or ~$240 for Aperture.”

    Or Lightroom and GIMP for $199

    “And speaking of perspective, with perspective modification tools that cost less than $30 such as PTLens ( http://www.epaperpress.com/ptlens/ ), LensFix ( http://www.kekus.com/lensfix.html ) which is available as both an external editor and as a Plugin for Aperture, and Hugin ( http://hugin.sourceforge.net/ ) you have multiple options for Lens Correction in Aperture (one of which is a straight up Plug-in as opposed to using an external editor).”

    Or just get Lightroom and have the tools included for free.

    “As for the slowness, that will all depend on your machine, and the new graphics update from Apple may help with that. (Then again, it may not.) So, YMMV. (Oh, and the Video Card in your laptop is probably slightly anemic and with Aperture using Core Graphics support that will be a slight bottleneck for you.)”

    Firmware updates can not make hardware run better, it just fixes and improves on inefficiencies that were pre existing. if you have Lightroom performance issues just go but 2gb of ram for $50 or upgrade the cpu or video card for $100. you cant do that on a macbook and the ram is really expensive

    “Is Lightroom better than Aperture? Is Aperture better than Lightroom? Are they both comparable products?”

    dont forget, Aperature can only work on 2.4% of all the computers (apples little market share) where as lightroom will work on 100%

    “Adobe’s Lightroom does have more training videos, lots of support, and it does have lens profiles built in. With Aperture you can use OneToOne (if you’re signed up), Excellent (though not as many) training videos and material. Are either of them better? More that they are just different.”

    So you have to pay for training that adobe provides for free? hmm

  • Sorry this isn’t directly related to Lightroom vs Aperture, but rather Elements 7 and 8 and the need for Photomatix for HDR and PTgui for stitching.

    I’m starting out in RE photography, and need to purchase some software I’ve just been using the canon digital professional software which came with my camera. I’ve used the free trial of Photomatix pro with great results. I’ve looked at PTgui for stitching panoramas, but I see that Photoshop Elements 7 and 8 both have HDR and stitching panorama capability. Am I ok with that, or do I NEED Photomatix and PTgui as well?

    I’m needing to purchase some glass (sigma 10-20mm) and a manfrotto 3021 (why not?). I’ve ordered the cactus radio triggers, and am borrowing another strobe, so I don’t want to spend the extra money on Photomatix and PTgui, AND Lightroom if I don’t have to right now.

    Thanks for your advice. Great Site by-the-way! This has opened my eyes to the possibility of an entirely different vocation. Very Exciting!

    Greg

  • I have been using aperture 2 and bought a plug in called fish eye and hemi which is a one click to undistorte the wide angle lens. To me it works great and some of the other features are fabulous.

  • hello, i am doing some research in the finding the best computer/software package for enhancing property photos and drawing floorplan. Is a mac computer best or windows platform. What adobe photoshop versions are acceptable for editing property photos.

    any help would be greatly appreciated

    many thanks

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