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Lightroom and Aperture, how to work with your catalogs and optimize performance

Mac users have a very good application for managing photos as well as basic editing and possibility of creating slideshows, calendars, etc… that is called iPhoto. Application belonging to the iLife package and included by default in every new computer is more than enough for the vast majority.

Lightroom and Aperture, how to work with your catalogs and optimize performance
Lightroom and Aperture, how to work with your catalogs and optimize performance

But, if our sights are set further away, there may be aspects that fall short or prevent us from getting more out of our photographs. For this, there are different applications on the market, Adobe Lightroom and Aperture being the most popular.

Both the Adobe and Apple applications are aimed at the professional sector offering interesting tools and options, as well as greater compatibility and performance when it comes to working with RAW images. The problem is that for many users, such basic aspects as their inner workings escape them, which causes them to not make the most of resources.

Catalogues, libraries and performance improvement

Joan Boira has published an article that explains in a simple and visual way the way these applications catalogue the photographs we will work with as well as improving the optimization for a better performance.

In it we will be able to find tips such as placing the photographs on a different disk than the operating system, making copies of our current catalogues or libraries, exporting or importing and solving problems with the catalogues’ databases if they start to get a little heavy or slow.

The price of Adobe Lightroom 3 is £299 and Aperture 3 is £199 (on traditional media) but beware, if you buy it through the Mac App Store the price is only £62.99.

How to import our iPhoto library

If we’ve convinced ourselves to switch and use one of these applications as our primary option for retouching and managing our photos, we’ll show you how to import the iPhoto library into Aperture and Lightroom.

The first option, importing into Aperture, has already been discussed recently. Aperture, thanks to being an Apple application too, has an option that allows us to directly import the iPhoto library . To do this, from the File menu in the menu bar, select Import -> iPhoto Library.

To make it from iPhoto to Lightroom we have to take into account one thing: whether the photos have been copied to the library or not . If we have it configured so that it doesn’t copy the items to the iPhoto library we’ll only have to import the folders where the photos are located. If, on the contrary, we have been copying the photos into the iPhoto file we will have to perform a few simple steps so that we don’t have to go around exporting from iPhoto to a disk or folder, etc…

We need to know that iPhoto creates a “package” that contains both the original images and the modifications and thumbnails that we display in iPhoto for better and faster display, as well as data from albums, events,… So, if our photos are inside that “package” we will see how to import them in Lightroom.

Joan Boira

Once inside the contents we look for the Masters folder , in it are the original files. To import them from Lightroom without affecting the iPhoto library we’ll just create an Alias file (shortcut) and place it later on the desktop, for example, and then tell Lightroom to import the photos by selecting that Alias folder.

If we are going to uninstall iPhoto or stop using it, no matter how damaged the iPhoto library is, we can directly move that Masters folder to the desktop, external hard drive or image folder.

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