Photo management after a decade

posted by Jeff | Sunday, August 25, 2019, 7:50 PM | comments: 0

About a decade ago, I bought Apple's Aperture software to manage photos on my computer. I generally liked it, because you could make the basic edits you would want and it would retain your tweaks to exposure and such. I also liked that it worked on a file reference arrangement, meaning you could organize the actual files any way that you wanted, and reference them with a folder and album structure however you wanted inside of the software.

Some weeks ago, I decided to build a computer for the first time in forever (I'm loving it, by the way), and that meant abandoning the Mac. I had to abandon Aperture eventually no matter what, because they stopped maintaining it years ago, and future versions of MacOS wouldn't support it at all. And if that weren't enough, I was still using a version of Adobe's Creative Suite that I bought in 2011, before they switched to a subscription model. That was a bummer, because I would generally buy new versions of the Adobe stuff every three or four years. While $1,800+ for the software was high, it wasn't so bad if I could use it for three years or more. Alas, even Photoshop stopped working right in the most current MacOS versions on high resolution screens.

I had been considering jumping in to Adobe's $10/month Lightroom and Photoshop plan for a long time, so moving over to a Windows computer seemed like the right time. Functionally, Lightroom works about the same way as Aperture, but it doesn't do referenced files. Instead, it uploads a copy to their servers for backup and safe keeping. I guess this is OK, but to accommodate the 350 gigs of photos I have, it meant having to upgrade to their bigger storage plan, an extra $5 per month with a current promotion. This is kind of redundant, because I already use a backup service, but I suppose there's no such thing as having too much backup. I'm just being kind of cheap.

What I didn't like about Lightroom is that it stages the photos in a hidden data directory until they get uploaded, so at first I thought this was a huge fail, because I was using an extra 350 gigs of disk space for no reason. Then after reading up, I discovered that they were removed once in the cloud. I wish they'd just do referenced files.

It is kind of neat to use a version of Photoshop that isn't 8-years-old. It's faster and more responsive, too. I don't completely hate Adobe for the subscription model, but it makes justifying the whole suite, for which I used Illustrator, Premier and After Effects on a semi-frequent basis, a lot harder. Sometimes I get a promotional rate of $40/month, but normally it's $60. I know that's not terrible considering what I used to shell out, but on a 3-year upgrade cycle I essentially paid $50/month, and it went down to $37 if I stretched it to four years. I know, I make software for a living. I should probably get over it.

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