Ready to move on from Aperture or iPhoto?

Adobe has just released their first Aperture/iPhoto to Lightroom Import tool. They’re going to continue refining the plug-in and will include it in a future Lightroom update, but if you’re itching to convert your Aperture library (3.5.1 or later) or iPhoto library (9 or later), you can try it right now. So what do you need to know?

What’s Included in the Transfer:
  • Metadata
    • Flags
    • Rejects (files designated as Rejects in Aperture will be imported into Collections > From Aperture > Photos Rejected in Aperture)
    • Star Ratings
    • Color Labels (Aperture has more color labels than LR, so Color Labels will be mapped to keywords: Red, Orange, etc…, including support for custom label names)
    • Keywords
    • Faces will be added as keywords in Lightroom (note that the box around the face doesn’t translate to a Lightroom 5 feature)
    • Places (GPS Data)
    • Info panel metadata (i.e. IPTC, etc.)
    • Hidden Files (files designated as Hidden in iPhoto will be imported into Collections > From iPhoto > Photos Hidden in iPhoto)
  • Organization
    • Aperture project/folder/album hierarchy and iPhoto events/folders/albums hierarchy will be mapped as closely as possible into Lightroom collection sets and collections
    • Stacking (Aperture Only — stack groupings will be mapped to keywords in Lightroom as they don’t map cleanly between the programs)
    • Aperture Versions will translate into Virtual Copies in Lightroom (metadata only – no Develop adjustments)
  • Edits
    • You can import ‘Full size’ previews from Aperture/iPhoto (optional, off by default) to help you remember how you edited the file in Aperture, provided that they are up-to-date. Lightroom can automatically stack the preview with the original photo.


What’s NOT Included in the Transfer:

Some Aperture/iPhoto features don’t have an equivalent feature in Lightroom. As a result, some settings aren’t transferred. They include:

  • Develop Settings don’t translate to Lightroom’s settings, so you have a few options:
    • Edit the files again using Lightroom when you need them.
    • Keep Aperture around to export those photos when you need them.
    • Use Aperture to export full resolution edited photos and store them with the originals.
  • Smart Albums don’t quite translate to Smart Collections.
  • Custom Fields have no Lightroom equivalent (except for certain plug-ins)
  • PSD Files can only be imported into Lightroom if they’re saved with ‘maximize compatibility’ enabled.
  • Anything else not already listed is probably not imported into Lightroom.


What about File Management?

Aperture offers two ways of storing your files – managed or referenced.

  • If your files are managed by Aperture, Lightroom leaves them where they are and duplicates them in your chosen location.
  • If your files are referenced by Aperture, Lightroom gives you the option of leaving them in their current location, or duplicating them in a new location.
  • If Lightroom duplicates the files, it places them in dated folders. YYYY/MM/YYYY-MM-DD
  • If you only want to transfer part of your library into Lightroom, you can export those photos as a new Aperture Library and then run the importer tool on that.


Installing and Using the Plug-in

Let’s take the instructions one step at a time. We’ll use the Aperture Import tool but the same principles apply to iPhoto too:

  • You need to be running Lightroom 5.6 on a Mac.  You can check your Lightroom version by going to Help menu > System Info. If you’re not using 5.6, you’ll need to update using Help menu > Check for Updates.
  • Download the plug-in from here: aperture_iphoto_importer and save it somewhere safe, such as your desktop or downloads folder.
  • Double-click on the downloaded zip file to extract it.
  • Open Finder and hold down the Opt key while selecting the Go menu. That makes the User Library folder visible. Select Library, then navigate through Application Support > Adobe > Lightroom.
  • If a folder called Modules doesn’t already exist, create it inside that Lightroom folder.
  • Copy the extracted aperture_iphoto_importer.lrplugin file to the Modules folder.
  • Launch Lightroom and then you’re ready to get started.
  • Create a clean Lightroom catalog (File menu > New Catalog) or at least back up your working Lightroom catalog.
    • To back up on demand, go to Lightroom menu > Catalog Settings and select When Lightroom Next Exits from the pop-up at the bottom and quit Lightroom to run the backup., then open Lightroom.
  • Go to File menu > Plug-in Extras > Import from Aperture Library or Import from iPhoto Library.
  • That displays the Import from Aperture dialog.


  • Next to Aperture Library, press Select to choose your library. It selects the default location automatically.
  • To the right of Copy images/videos to, select where to store copies of the photos. (If the photos are all referenced, you can choose to leave them in their current location in Options).
  • The number of images/video files, disk space required and disk space available are for information only. Obviously ensure that there’s enough space available on your chosen drive!
  • Press the Options button to select your preferences. The options are:
    • For images which have been adjusted in Aperture, import full size previews from the Aperture library (if they are available and up-to-date).
    • Import only applied keywords from Aperture (or import the full keyword list even if they’re not applied to any photos)
    • Create Lightroom keywords for color labels from Aperture (or ignore the color labels)
    • Create Lightroom keywords for stacks from Aperture (or ignore the stacks)
    • Leave referenced files in your Aperture library in their current location (this avoids duplicating files and taking up double the hard drive space, but if you move them in one program, the other program won’t be able to find them again).
    • Place preview copies in the same folder as the master images to allow automatic stacking only appears if For images which have been adjusted in Aperture, import full size previews from the Aperture library (if they are available and up-to-date) is checked.


  • Press OK to return to the main dialog, then press Import.
  • A progress dialog displays while it’s working.


  • When it gets to the end, press Done. An information dialog displays. You can show it again later by selecting File menu > Plug-in Extras > Aperture Info.


  • Now it’s time to survey the results.
  • If you imported managed files, all of those new folders are listed as a flat list by default. To change it into a folder hierarchy, right-click on a folder and select Show Parent Folder. A new month folder appears with a solid triangle to the left (see the red arrow), showing that the folder has subfolders. Right-click on that folder and choose Show Parent Folder.

aperture_06 aperture_07

  • Lightroom then displays the year folder. Repeat on that year folder so it displays the LightroomMasters folder (or whatever you called your folder), with the year folders listed indented below, like this:


  • The import also creates a series of From Aperture collections in the Collections panel, including Most Recent Import, Photos Adjusted in Aperture, Photos Rejected in Aperture and a hierarchy of Projects based on your Aperture Projects list.


  • In the Keyword panel, you’ll find your keywords, plus some that are created by the import tool. Those are Aperture Color Labels, Aperture Stacks and Faces from Aperture.


  • You can then filter and select those photos and apply a Lightroom setting.  For example, click on the arrow to the right of the Green keyword count to filter photos that had that Aperture color label. Select the resulting photos and press the 8 key to assign the green Lightroom color label.


You’re done! As with any transfer between software, there’s probably some cleanup to do, but you can now call yourself a Lightroom User! If you’re new to Lightroom, don’t forget to download my free Lightroom 5 Quick Start eBook.

What’s new in Lightroom 5.6?

It’s only 6 weeks after the release of Lightroom 5.5, and Lightroom 5.6 is already on our doorsteps!  That would be primarily due to the recent release of an expensive but popular camera… so just a few updates this time.

Here are the update download links: WindowsMac


So what’s new? Camera support, for a start:


There are also some new lens profiles:

  • Canon mount
    • Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM
    • Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM
    • Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD A010E
    • Tamron 18-200 f/3.5-6.3 DiIII VC B011EM
  • Nikon mount
    • Nikon 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/4.5 – 5.6
    • Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD A010N
    • Pentax mount
    • Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM A013
  • Phase One A/S
    • Schneider Kreuznach LS 40-80mm f/4.0-5.6
  • Sony Alpha
    • Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM A013
    • Sony 28mm f/2.8
    • Sony 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye
    • Sony 100mm f/2.8 MACRO
    • Sony DT 16-105mm f/3.5-5.6
    • Sony DT 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3
    • Sony DT 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3
    • Sony 70-200mm f/2.8G
    • Sony 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G SSM
    • Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM
    • Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II
    • Sony 135mm f/2.8 [T4.5] STF
    • Sony 300mm f/2.8 G SSM II
  • Sony E
    • Zeiss Touit 2.8/50M
  • Click here for the full list of available Adobe Lens Profiles
  • Further user-created profiles can be downloaded using the Lens Profile Downloader


Of course there are also bug fixes, particularly surrounding Lightroom mobile and the new Nikon D810 camera:

  • Collections with a custom sort order would sometimes not properly sync with Lightroom mobile.
  • Updated the “Adobe Standard” color profile for the Nikon D810.  Please note that this only impacts customers who used Camera Raw 8.6 or DNG Converter 8.6 to convert NEF raw files from the D810 to DNG
  • Star ratings set in Lightroom mobile did not properly sync to Lightroom desktop.  Please note that this only occurred on images that were added to Lightroom mobile from the camera roll
  • Resolved the issues causing the persistent “Syncing … images” state that some of our customers have reported.”
  • Star ratings would sometimes not sync from Lightroom desktop to Lightroom mobile.  Please note that this only occurred when attempting to sync a Collection that contained more than 100 photos that already contained star ratings.
  • Added information to the “System Info” dialogue to help designate if the customer installed Lightroom from the Creative Cloud.
  • Unable to open sRaw files from the Nikon D810.  Please note that this only impacted customers that converted D810 sRaw files to DNG in either Camera Raw 8.6 RC or DNG Converter 8.6 RC.
  • Images with invalid GPS coordinates would not properly sync with Lightroom mobile
  • Lightroom occasionally crashed when changing image selection on Windows. Please note that this only occurred on the Windows platform.
  • JPEG files exported from Lightroom would not open or be available to edit within Canon Digital Photo Professional application software.
  • Lightroom would run in reduced functionality mode when it should not.


And there’s one small new known bug that’ll be fixed in the next release:

  • The profile for the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens isn’t currently picked up automatically. You can fix it by selecting a photo shot using that lens, selecting the profile from the pop-ups in the Lens Correction panel, and then selecting Save New Lens Profile Defaults from the Setup pop-up menu.


If you cancel your CC subscription, you’ll lose all your work… or will you?

There’s been a lot of discussion about subscription services and whether you’ll lose access to your work when you cancel your Creative Cloud subscription.

lightroom data loss expired

This is particularly of concern to Lightroom users because your edits are stored non-destructively in the catalog. Of course you could export all of your edited photos to standardized formats before canceling your subscription, but that’s hardly ideal. So what do you do?

Believe it or not, Adobe has been listening. A change was quietly made to the Lightroom 5.5 release to allay your fears.

As long as you’re running Lightroom 5.5 or later, if your subscription or trial version expires, you can continue to use Lightroom excluding the Develop module, Map module and mobile sync.

Yes, you read that correctly!  You can import new photos, add metadata, organize them, search for specific photos, do rough edits using Quick Develop, apply Develop presets, create books, slideshows and web galleries, email and publish photos on social media, export and print your edited photos… nothing is lost!

And when you’re ready, you can renew your subscription or buy a perpetual license to unlock the main Develop module, Map module and mobile sync (sync is subscription only, of course) and use Lightroom to the full.

I’m sure there will be people with a few interesting conspiracy theories, but I see this as a huge step forward. Of course Adobe want to encourage people to join their subscription service - they’re a business, after all - but they’re doing their best to ensure there’s no risk to you or to your data.

What do you think of this change in policy?

What’s new in Lightroom 5.5 and Lightroom mobile 1.1?

It’s that time again!  Lightroom 5.5 has just been released, with its usual camera updates and bug fixes, and there are some sneaky new features. At the same time, Lightroom mobile for iPad has been updated to 1.1 and the long-awaited Lightroom mobile for iPhone is now available too!  This might be a long blog post…


Lightroom mobile

New Features on Lightroom for iPad

  • Star Ratings! You can now click the flag in the lower right corner of Loupe view to change to star rating mode. Then swipe up or down to show the star rating overlay and select your chosen rating.
  • Custom Sort Order!  If you have a custom sort order on the desktop, it’s transferred to the mobile version.
  • (You must be running LR 5.5 for those to work.)
  • Filter on multiple criteria! You can now select both Picked and Unflagged, for example, or Picked plus a star rating.
  • From the menu in Grid or Loupe view, you can now open images in 3rd party apps without first saving to the camera roll.
  • I’ve updated my Lightroom mobile for iPad book, so if you’ve already purchased it, you can download again from the original purchase link.


Lightroom for iPhone/iPod Released

  • Lightroom mobile is now available on the iPhone and iPod!
  • It requires iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 (all models) and iPod (5th gen.) running iOS7 or newer.
  • The features are the same as the iPad version, except smaller!
  • Auto import is particularly useful as it syncs your camera roll photos back to the desktop catalog automatically.  Just remember it doesn’t sync videos.
  • I haven’t done a Lightroom mobile for iPhone book yet, as the functionality is exactly the same as the iPad, just the screenshots are different. If you want a Lightroom mobile for iPhone version, let me know, and if I get enough requests, I’ll do it.

lightroomiphonedev11  lightroomiphonefilter11


Lightroom for Desktop

Here are the update download links: WindowsMac (or update through the CC app if you’re a subscriber)



  • The $9.99 Photographer’s Bundle is no longer a special offer. It’s been so popular, they’ve decided to keep it as a standard bundle for the foreseeable future. You don’t need to have a previous version (i.e. CS3+).  The only change is the 20GB cloud space is dropping to 2GB as they’re including unlimited Lightroom Sync space. Anyone who already signed up keeps their full 20GB.
  • Don’t worry, this does NOT mean that Lightroom’s going subscription-only. Tom Hogarty confirmed in a blog post that “Future versions of Lightroom will be made available via traditional perpetual licenses indefinitely.” Of course it’s possible that some new features in future versions may be limited to subscribers, just as the mobile sync solution today requires a subscription for cloud access, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.


Sync with Lightroom mobile 

  • Lightroom mobile 1.1 can now sync star ratings and custom sort orders, so 5.5 also adds that functionality.
  • If you right-click on a sync collection, there are now additional options for making the web gallery public and copying that public link directly to the clipboard instead of having to visit the website. That makes it much easier to email links to synced collections.



  • There were some sleep-related changes made in 5.4, and they’ve been improved in 5.5.  Lightroom now prevents your computer from sleeping while building previews, publishing, importing, or exporting, so you don’t you don’t wander back to wake it up and find the job half-done.
  • In addition, there is a separate “Prevent system sleep during sync” preference in the “Lightroom mobile” tab of the preferences dialog (on by default).
  • In 5.4, it also prevented your screen from sleeping, but that now obeys your system preferences.
  • While playing a slideshow, the screen will not sleep.


More Lightroom Desktop bug fixes (I’ve just listed the most frequent ones)

  • The Flickr API has been updated.
  • Lightroom threw an “assertion failed” error in 5.4 on Windows if there was no Pictures folder at the default location. That’s fixed.
  • Signing in to Lightroom Sync on Mac failed with an “attempt to index nil value” error if no computer name was set.
  • Import has had additional attention. As a result, thumbnails show up more quickly in Library’s Grid view after import.


New Camera support:

  • Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II
  • Fuji FinePix S1
  • Nikon 1 J4
  • Nikon 1 V3
  • Nikon 1 S2
  • Olympus OM-D E-M10
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4
  • Pentax 645Z
  • Samsung NX3000
  • Sony ILCE-7S (A7S)
  • Sony RX100MIII
  • Sony ILCA-77M2 (A77 II)


There’s new camera tethering support:


There are also some new lens profiles:

  • Canon mount
    • Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM A014
    • Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM C014
  • Nikon mount
    • Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM A014
    • Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM C014
  • Pentax mount
    • Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC HSM A013
  • Sigma mount
    • Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM A014
    • Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM C014
  • Sony Alpha mount
    • Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC HSM A013


Go and download now and let me know what you think of the changes!  And if you haven’t purchased my Lightroom mobile book yet, here’s the link.

Lightroom 5.4 bugs and Lightroom mobile workflow ideas

Lightroom 5.4 and Lightroom mobile have been available for about 10 days now, and of course a few bugs have reared their ugly heads.  Here are the solutions and temporary workarounds:

  • If Lightroom says “Sign in failure. Please try again later. (attempt to index a nil value)”, click here to view the tech note or here to view the forum thread with screenshots.
  • Photos deleted from Lightroom mobile show as synced in Lightroom – there’s more information in this tech note.
  • Some users with current CC subscriptions were showing as trial mode, but that should now be fixed.
  • Some Windows users (nothing to do with mobile) are seeing an Assertion Failed error message when starting Lightroom 5.4.  There’s a solution in this tech note.
  • Some Mac users are seeing Lightroom get stuck in Full Screen Preview mode if they quit Lightroom while using that view. While waiting for an official fix, press SHIFT+F after re-opening LR to get out of the loop.


Now back to the fun!  Are you using Lightroom mobile on your iPad?  If so, how is it fitting into your workflow so far? I’ve heard some interesting ideas:



Do you still have a backlog of photos you’ve haven’t finished sorting out yet? If you sync them all to Lightroom mobile and mark them for offline editing, you can make good use of odd 10 minute breaks to start reducing that backlog, even if you don’t have internet access.



You get back from a family day out and upload the photos to the desktop. Then you get THAT look – you’re not going to spend the whole evening on the computer looking through the photos, are you? No, certainly not, you’re going to sync them to your iPad, and by the time you’re sat down relaxing with the family, you can browse through them on your iPad.



You run into an old friend when you’re out, or perhaps a potential client, and want to show them that photo of… anything! Once you’ve synced your catalog of photos to the Lightroom Sync cloud, your whole portfolio will be at your fingertips, and will be automatically updated with any changes you’ve made since you first synced them. No more trying to remember to update your portfolio app.



You’ve had a relaxing day at the beach, and while everyone else is getting ready for dinner, you upload your photos and start sorting out the best ones. When you get home from the airport, you’re not faced with thousands of photos waiting to be sorted out because you’ve already done the initial edits. (This one only works well if you only shoot JPEG as Lightroom mobile can’t directly import raw files on the iPad version).



You’re not going to try to gather the family around the computer to show them your vacation photos, are you? Why not hook your iPad up to the TV using an HDMI adaptor or stream the photos to an AppleTV using AirPlay, and then you can watch your Lightroom slideshow on the big screen.



You’ve already edited a shoot on your desktop, and now you’re ready to show your client. Sync the photos to your iPad, and mark them for offline editing so you don’t have to
wait for them to load. Then you’re ready to sit down with your client and sort through the photos, marking their favorites with flags and rejecting others. They want to see a different crop? Not a problem, you can do it right there with them, and the edits are automatically synced back to the desktop ready for you to order the prints.


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