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Aperture vs Lightroom: The mini guide for your decision process - The Photography Express

Aperture vs Lightroom: The mini guide for your decision process

Photo Credit: milos milosevic Added text by ThePhotographyExpress

Photo Credit: milos milosevic Added text by ThePhotographyExpress

Choosing between Aperture vs Lightroom is often the most challenging decision each of us as a photographer has to face. They seems to be created for the sole purpose of avoiding market monopoly but both post-processing softwares tend to have the same functionally. So how do we determine which one is better? In this post, I want to share with you a few tips that I considered to help you with this process. As a disclaimer I do not speak for Apple or Adobe and the tips below are merely my opinion. With that said, I’ll also avoid any technical details so you can get an overall perspective even without any experience on both Aperture and Lightroom.

Now to the details:

1) Consider how frequent Aperture vs Lightroom is updated

The frequently of software update is very important when deciding between Aperture vs Lightroom. From my personal observation as well as from articles online, Lightroom seems to be doing a better job than Aperture at software updates. You also see more major versions of the software being released by Adobe rather than Apple. The thing is for Apple, Aperture is just a very small part of their business but for Adobe Lightroom is their major business line. I’m a little bias towards Lightroom in this category and you should definitely take the “frequency of  update” into consideration when choosing between Aperture vs Lightroom. This will greatly affect the future software development as well as upgrades for the post-processing functionality.

2) Consider the organization database between Aperture vs Lightroom

Both Aperture and Lightroom uses a feature called “non-destructive editing”. What that means is when you make photo edits the software doesn’t apply the changes to your original photo until you export the photo out. Don’t be alarm, the software still keeps your original photo even after you exported. The software merely creates another copy with changes of your original photo. The organization feature is called managed library for Aperture and referenced database for Lightroom. The way how these two programs filter photos, keyword pictures and apply face detection (not available for Lightroom yet by the time I’m writing this post) are very different. Try testing both softwares out before buying to make sure it suits your work style. Personally, I like Adobe Lightroom’s filtering and star rating system and I can organize photos very efficiently using this method.

3) Consider which operating system you are using for Aperture vs Lightroom

Even though this sounds like a no-brainer since you cannot use Aperture on Windows (unless you can somehow bypass which I don’t know how), consider how Aperture vs Lightroom’s perform under Mac and Lightroom under Windows. If you are a Mac user like myself, I tend to find Aperture works faster than Lightroom. Also, when you decide between Aperture vs Lightroom take into consideration on features like iTunes sync and iCloud that can only be done in Mac. I do feel Aperture has a better advantage in Mac than Lightroom on Windows. I haven’t tested all aspects of the programs yet but if you have tried please let me know your result!

4) Consider the user interface between Aperture vs Lightroom

I would have to agree that Aperture’s user interface is more superior to Lightroom. Apple is known for great user interface and I feel it is easier to navigate in Aperture than Lightroom. If you want a easier learning curve and  less reading the instruction then Aperture may be for you. On the other hand, if you like a more advance workflow and a program that is manageable and functions great, then go for Lightroom.

I can go on forever with this guide but would like to end here so you can get an idea on where to start if you are looking for Aperture vs Lightroom. If you want a more comprehensive guide please let me know I’d be more than happy to create one just for you! If you have tried both programs like me, then what are some of your decision process when choosing Aperture vs Lightroom? Share with everyone below!

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About Gary

A passionate photographer with goals to fulfill your photography passion and motivate you to take pictures even when life is busy!


  1. I don’t use either of these! But great article to consider them!

    • Is there a specific post processing software you are using right now? I think at the end it really comes down to which interface you are more comfortable working with.

  2. I love, love, love LR! This is wonderful information!

  3. Lightroom ALL the way! Once I started using LR in conjunction with Photoshop, I’ve never gone back to another editing program.

  4. Great comparison! So many people are confused between the 2 and this will really help!

    • Thank you Nicole. Yes at the beginning I was very confused and don’t know which one to choose from. Hope this blog post will help others along the way. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  5. Thanks for writing this blog Gary. It seems like LightRoom is used by more professional photographers and Aperture are used by more hobbiests. I have never used Aperture, so I cannot make a judgement on this tool. Apple’s UI is always intuitive for majority of users, but Adobe designs and develops tools for designers and photographers. I am a Lightroom user since the beginning. I really love its workflow and how it can speed up my editing process. I think LR interface is intuitive. I also use PhotoShop in conjunction with LR, but LR has always been my main editing tool.

    • Hi Lai welcome to my blog! You are exactly right the workflow and the speed of editing pictures are wonderful in LR. I’m learning more and more LR skills each day and I am hoping to provide some quick training videos in this blog to help others one day! By the way, I really like your photography style from looking at your website. Keep it up!

  6. Very informative! Thank you for sharing!

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