I've just ordered my first mac and as an impatient hobby photographer I've already been reading up a lot on Aperture and iPhoto.

I've seen the iPhoto '11 presentation and was very impressed with the usability and cool features.

But I know that I will need Aperture eventually to work on my photos as I like to tweak a lot of things.

I currently work with Adobe Lightroom and while I like its advanced stuff, I don't like the basics much such as the organizing, sorting, etc. What I saw in the iPhoto demo certainly looked a lot better.

I'm still reading up on aperture but I think (this is only a guesstimate) that it will be less enjoyable and less easy to sort/browse/organize your photo's in it than iPhoto. I don't mind using something dumbed down, consumer grade to do this basic stuff, but I do like something more pro to do the actual editing.

So my question is..

What's the workflow that other hobby/pro photographers here use to organize/edit their photos? Do everything in aperture? Start in aperture and export to iPhoto? Start in iPhoto and switch to aperture to edit individual photo's?

3 Answers 3


I use both

  • Aperture to store and manage my hobby photography and any pro work I do
  • iPhoto to hold my family and friends snapshots (and manage my personal flickr, facebook and web gallery sites).

If I use the pro camera for any personal stuff, I process in Aperture, copy the final selections to iPhoto and remove them from Aperture.

For me, its best to separate hobby/business from pleasure.

  • that's a very interesting approach. thanks for your workflow. I assume for travelling, you do the aperture processing -> copy final to iPhoto ? Mar 2, 2011 at 14:16
  • Exactly. And then I archive off the traveling aperture library to a few external hard drives as backup.
    – Hiltmon
    Mar 4, 2011 at 20:25

You should consider Aperture to be a replacement for iPhoto. When you switch to Aperture, you will import your iPhoto DB of photos into Aperture and work with your photos exclusively in Aperture. The features that you are used to in iPhoto will be available in Aperture.

Aperture still have a 30-day free trial available from Apple.

What you can do is make a backup of your iphoto library (because backup are good, right), import the photos into Aperture and give it a try. Over the next 30 days, when you import new photos, import them into both Aperture and iPhoto. This way, if you don't like Aperture, you still have an up-to-date iPhoto library. If you are going to switch to Aperture, then you can delete your iPhoto library to get back that space.

I am a terrible photographer and I don't mind Aperture's way of organizing v. iPhoto. Trying to keep two applications in sync with photos, however, is not an ideal solution for long-term use, IMO.

  • thanks for pointing out the issues with keeping 2 apps in sync. Mar 2, 2011 at 14:16

I see Aperture/Lightroom as pro versions of Lightroom, they do the same things. If you are happy with the iPhoto way of working, but want to do edits in more detail, I would suggest Photoshop Elements rather than Aperture.

FWIW I occasionally go from Lightroom to iPhoto, but only if I want to do a photobook.

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