Apple Retires Aperture

“With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture. When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS X.” — Apple, Inc. 

Today's news about Apple retiring iPhoto and Aperture was quite shocking to me. I've been using iPhoto for as long as I can remember, and just within the past few months bought Aperture to organize my photo library. My initial impression was that this was bad news. But after thinking and reading more about Apple's replacement coming next year, and the vision driving it, this new system will ultimately be for the better. 

In the short term, this provides another opportunity for Adobe to cannibalize Apple's user base of creative professionals, much like they did with the sub-par release of Final Cut Pro X. 

"If you are an Aperture or iPhoto customer looking for change, check out our new Creative Cloud Photography plan announced last week, or our standalone Lightroom app for your desktop as alternatives." 

Adobe is good at harvesting dissatisfied Apple customers by playing off of negative news surrounding Apple's perceived lack of commitment to creative professionals. However, Apple is good at making short-term sacrifices for long-term gains driven by a vision for a better system for its endusers. I made the mistake of switching from Apple FCP7 to Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 and will not be making that mistake again (a long story for a future post). FCPX was heavily criticized when it launched before it was totally ready for primetime, and I did the popular thing by bailing Apple for Adobe CS6. But now I can't imagine using anything other than FCPX because of the forward-thinking enhancements unique to it. Joseph at ApertureExpert provides some helpful perspective:

"After some serious backlash [Apple] relented, and re-relesed Final Cut Pro 7 for the existing users, so they could wait for FCP X to mature. And mature it has. Today, Final Cut Pro X is an amazing piece of software. Apple isn’t making that mistake with Aperture. But it doesn’t change the fact that it’s time to move on." 

Apple is positioning itself for the future:

"Aperture is a photo editing and management tool written for users used to an old school workflow. Go on a shoot. Sit down to edit. Share when you’re done. But that’s not the world we live in anymore. Today we want to shoot, share immediately with a cool effect, edit on an iPad, sit down at your 4k display and get serious, pick up the iPad and show off what you’ve done, mix, repeat. We want our devices, our libraries, our experience integrated and seamless. This simply can not happen with Aperture as it is today." 

I'm excited for what Apple has in store for photography and eagerly await the release of their system. 

 

My 5 Favorite Photography Apps

Photography has come a long way in the past few decades. What once needed celluloid and a photo lab, and a few hours of waiting, now only needs an app or two on your cellphone. The App Store is filled with apps for image editing and capture, but I've found the following to be the photography apps that I rely on the most. 


iPhone Camera App

Believe it or not, this is the app that I use the most. There are three reasons for this: speed, speed, and speed. Whenever I see something that needs to be photographed, I reflexively reach for my iPhone, hit the sleep-wake button, and scroll up on the lock screen to launch the camera. Speed is everything when trying to capture fast-changing subject matter. 

With iOS7, we saw a number of improvements to the camera app that include the ability to swipe between four functions: video, photo, a square camera, and a pano cam. Honestly, I prefer the flexibility of cropping with the standard photo function and would never recommend using the square camera. The pano cam is also fun for capturing wide scenes.


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SlowShutter

Right behind the native camera app is SlowShutter. On my DSLR, I love to work with slow shutter speeds because of the creative options it provides. But there is no easy way to control the shutter on the native camera (and many other popular apps for that matter). Enter SlowShutter. 

This app uses a clever method that simulates shutter speeds and looks almost identical to the real thing. How it works is you select one of three modes (motion blur, light trail, and low light), set the blur strength, then the capture duration. By playing around with settings and modes, you can achieve really fun results. 

 


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Camera+

While Camera+ has loads of features that include image editing and library management, the main reason I recommend this app is for its burst function. When the iPhone 5S was announced, one of its main camera features was the burst function. But what if you have an older iPhone? No problem. While not as robust as the iPhone 5S burst camera, the burst feature on Camera+ is quite adequate for my needs. 


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VSCOCam

The first three apps discussed are primarily used for capture. But when it comes time to post-process and edit your photos, look no further than the gold-standard: VSCOCam. Honestly, this is, in my opinion, the best method to edit any photo captured on an iPhone. This app does offer its own camera for capturing photos into the app, but I prefer to rely on the other apps previously mentioned and import from the iPhone Camera Roll into the VSCOCam library. 

What I do after capturing a set of photos (often shot in multiple instances to provide options) is I import all of those photos into the VSCOCam library and begin making selects with the flag button. After sorting through all the new images, and marking the keepers with flags, I delete the rejects from the VSCOCam library. Then I begin to edit each photo by first going to the settings wrench and, if needed, begin straightening and cropping. After that, I then adjust exposure, highlights, shadows, and contrast as needed, with a pinch of sharpening at the end. Finally, after those primary edits are made, I try out different filters and eventually save the photos to the iPhone Camera Roll. 


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Instagram

Just about everyone has heard of this app by now. The main reason I would recommend this app is for sharing with friends and interacting with the vast user base. After processing a photo through VSCOCam, and exporting to the iPhone Camera Roll, I'll import it from Instagram. While VSCOCam has its own sharing function that exports to Instagram, I would not recommend it because it crops your photo into a square and provides no way to adjust it. By importing the photo from the iPhone Camera Roll, you have flexibility to adjust the framing in Instagram before sharing. After importing to Instagram, I typically skip past any filters and go straight to sharing the photo. 


So there it is. My 5 favorite photography apps. Are there any other apps that you love to use? If you do, I would love to hear about them! 

Myrtle Beach

Generally speaking, I don't enjoy waking up at 4:00am, especially while on vacation visiting family.  But waking up early to drive down to Myrtle Beach and see the sunrise makes it totally worth doing. 

Myrtle Beach has significantly grown ever since it became a key tourist attraction just a few decades ago.  It is gets very busy along highway 17 and 501 during the daytime.  But in the wee hours of the morning, it is almost a ghost town. 

Seeing the first glimpses of light coming up over the horizon is stunning, when the weather is clear.  Sometimes the clouds will obstruct the sunrise, but the light coming from behind is still beautiful. 

Seeing the natural beauty of a sunrise is something everyone should make an effort to see every now and then.  Going down to Myrtle Beach to see the day break has sort of become a tradition for me, one that I always look forward to.