Photos App

Well, I have installed the 10.10.3 Yosemite Beta so I can play with the new Photos App, the replacement for iPhoto and Aperture. I made a small photo library for testing purposes using iPhoto Library Manager, see my previous article. I placed the library on my Yosemite Beta install and went at it.


Here is the deal. It is important to remember that the new Photos app is still in beta, although it may not change too much before it’s official release. The Photos app is very much an iPhoto replacement. It is almost exactly the same as the version in iOS 8 with a few tweaks for the Mac. Overall, viewing your photos is very similar to to viewing them in the iOS 8 version. The interface is more minimalist than the current iPhoto:

Here is the “Moments” look in the Photos interface, just like the iOS Photos. Just scroll through to locate the moment you wish. Then there is “All Photos”, the same as iPhoto really:

The “Events” area is pretty much the same as well. I don’t have a bunch of events in it but if I did they would show in this window:


Nothing terribly remarkable in all the above other than a more minimalist interface. However, when you get into the “Editing” area I think there are some improvements over iPhoto. Photos app editing capabilities are fairly sophisticated. When you double-click a photo to edit it you get this window:

Basically, you can see the various editing features on the right side of the window. They are pretty self explanatory. However, where I think Photos excels over iPhoto is in “Adjust” area. When you click on “Adjust” it shows all kinds of ways to tweak and alter (fix?) your photo:

You can see all the settings under “Light” for instance. You can tweak a lot of things. However, you can add various editing areas to your workflow by clicking on the “Add” word and selecting them. The editing area of Photos app is considerably more sophisticated than the old iPhotos in my opinion, a very welcome improvement.

The Good

The Photos app is faster than iPhoto. If you are used to the iPhoto interface then I think the Photos app interface may be a bit of a shock it is so minimalist. However, you can get used to it and the layout is very similar. The Editing capabilities are better. I did not import my whole library yet, wanted to test on a separate Yosemite install. As far as I can tell the Photos app does not share a library like iPhoto and Aperture. One more thing; Photos is extensible, it can have Extensions! That is a cool idea. If Apple does not beef up Photos perhaps a third party will release an extension that will provide some Aperture like features.

The Bad

If you are an avid user of Aperture then Photos is a major step backward. Keep in mind I am only testing a beta version. And, there is nothing stopping Apple from adding Aperture like features in the future, something I am strongly hoping will happen. But, for now, it is an iPhoto replacement, that’s it.

The Ugly

I do not use Aperture like a photography professional. However, I do rely heavily on a few of it’s features. One of those features is called “Effects”, but I would have labeled it “Presets”. I use several different cameras and I have editing presets setup for each camera, they all handle photos differently! I cannot possibly imagine trying to edit a bunch of photos from a photo shoot using a specific camera by going through each setting (contrast, sharpening, etc.) for each individual photo. As Charlie Brown would say, “Good Grief”! 

I know that officially Apple refers to Photos as an iPhoto and Aperture replacement, but rest assured it ain’t no replacement for Aperture by any stretch of the imagination. If you are an Aperture user like me then you have a few choices. I intend to go on using Aperture for this year. I think it will continue to work in Yosemite and perhaps the next Mac OS (any votes for “Redwood”?). I am definitely not going to Adobe Lightroom, don’t need that much functionality (I know it is a good program) and to be quite frank I do not trust Adobe. So, the only other alternative, if Photos does not have some more Pro features added in the future (by Apple or via Extensions), is to find another application to do the editing. So far I have found some that do a good job at editing, but their photo management is abysmal to say the least.

Anyway, hang in there. Perhaps the release version of Photos will have more features and perhaps Apple will add more features in the future. Only time will tell.