“Take Control of Your Digital Photos,” Chapter 9
If you’ve been using iPhoto for years and want to switch up to either Aperture or Lightroom, this final chapter of “Take Control of Your Digital Photos” is for you! In it, Jeff explains how to migrate your photos from iPhoto to Aperture, which is incredibly easy, before showing you how perform the same task with Lightroom, where the migration requires more effort if you want to retain all your metadata from iPhoto (which you do).
Is there an easy/well-working way to migrate from iPhoto to Lightroom via Aperture? Aperture is more capable than iPhoto, should not have as many restrictions or problems to work around.
Some users already have both Aperture and Lightroom. For others, it might be worth the small effort to install the 30-day trial if that opened for a smooth migration to Lightroom.
I was going to post the same question!
From what I can see, Apple no longer offers a 30-day trial of Aperture. I think they stopped doing that when it became available only from the Mac App Store (and they dropped the price to $80)
I focused on getting out of iPhoto since that would be the most common scenario. However, moving from Aperture to Lightroom is definitely easier. I haven't tested this extensively, but Aperture has a couple of options to make it easier.
To export the bulk of the library (including edited photos), you choose File > Export > Versions. Unlike iPhoto, ratings and metadata do travel when you export as JPEGs.
Originals still need to be handled separately, and there's a trick with the metadata depending on the file format.
1. Make a smart album that finds edited photos (in Aperture, you'd choose the Adjustments rule and change it to "are applied"). Add a File Type rule that is Not Raw. That gives you all the edited originals that are JPEGs.
2. Select the images and choose Metadata > Write IPTC Metadata to Originals. That adds the ratings, keywords, IPTC data, etc. to the JPEG files. (You'll see why this is important in a minute.)
3. Change the smart album's parameters so that File Type is deselected. That shows all edited files, JPEG and raw. (Obviously, if you have no raw images in your library, you can skip this step.)
4. Select all the edited photos and choose File > Export > Originals.
5. In the Metadata pop-up menu choose Create IPTC4XMP Sidecar File.
6. Click Export Originals to save the files.
In Lightroom, when you import the images, all the metadata transfers.
Now, the thing about saving metadata for JPEGs separately is this: When you export with Create IPTC4XMP Sidecar File enabled, Aperture also creates sidecar files for all of the files. However, Lightroom ignores the sidecar if it belongs to a JPEG, and reads the metadata within the JPEG file only. Kind of a crazy exception, but whatever.
You still end up with the same issue of having originals living with edited JPEGs as separate files, just as with iPhoto. But the process of migrating is certainly less complicated.
(Maybe this should be a sidebar or a new section in the article. I didn't want to write a "how to migrate everything from everything else" chapter due to what I expect would be a dwindling level of interest.)
I think a short new section would be good. We haven't seen anyone wanting to move away from Lightroom, perhaps because it's the newest, the most supported by its developer, and arguably the most powerful. But I could see someone buying into Apple's claims for Aperture and then becoming disillusioned by the slow pace of development and wanting to move to Lightroom.
I've enjoyed reading your serialized book and plan to buy the full edition.
I recommend that you devote at least a sidebar to Media Pro (MP) from PhaseOne:
I started using MP years ago when it was iView Media Pro. Then Microsoft bought it and called it Expression Media. Then Phase One (http://www.phaseone.com) bought it. More of its history is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase_One_Media_Pro.
MP is a full-featured and powerful organizer, going far beyond iPhoto. I compared it to the Photoshop Elements (PE) organizer some time ago and found MP far more versatile. I haven't compared it to Lightroom but that's on my to-do list.
MP's seamless integration with the Finder is its most valuable feature for me. I get to decide the folder structures and it lets me move/copy images directly from/to its catalog windows. I can also rename image files right in the catalog window. If I rename/reorganize folders in the Finder, MP updates its catalogs (provided they're open when I make the changes).
MP's limited internal editing functions are no hindrance because I just drag photos to PE for editing and return seamlessly to MP. Try that in iPhoto and the thumbnail won't be updated (does that also happen in Aperture?).
I strongly recommend MP, with the caveat that serious image editing requires companion software like PE.
Phase One Media Pro is indeed a good application, but for the purposes of the book's goals it didn't work for me (building smart albums, etc.). There's a sidebar in Chapter 3 that discusses it.
I looked in Chapter 3 but didn't find said sidebar. I'll look again when the book appears.
Oh sorry, you're right the sidebar doesn't mention Media Pro. I didn't include it because it didn't meet all of my criteria, and also because it feels really dated compared to Lightroom and Aperture these days.
I recently successfully migrated from iPhoto '08 (!) to Lightroom using (free/shareware) phoshare and EXIFTool:
My only "trick" was making sure all the photos were in some album, then exporting all the albums.
Yep, that works if you have an earlier version of iPhoto, because Apple broke the export functionality in a more recent version.
We were quite bummed to see that Apple changed things to break that approach!
Maybe I am stupid, but it may more have to do with me not using iPhoto for anything else than saving the photos and showing them in slideshows. So my initial idea of how to "export" the images to Lightroom (which I have not done) would be to simply dump all the folders in the Masters folder inside the iPhoto library on Lightroom - what could the problem be apart from losing albums/slideshows? I have never even thought of editing a photo in iPhoto and never assigned any info/rating etc to any photo (only changed the originals file names before dumping them (importing them) on iPhoto before I started to make use of a digital camera (my new iPhone recently)). Maybe I'm a minority ... anyway it seems I will not have to face the doubly lossy jpeg export process ... (which I would not tolerate anyway ...).
That certainly works. The steps I outline assume you've assigned ratings and metadata and want to keep that information intact. If you're just using iPhoto as photo storage, you'll probably be happy sticking with it, or you could move the Masters folder somewhere else on your hard disk and just access the photos using the Finder.
I started importing pictures into Aperture a while back, but left the iPhoto library intact. Now I have an 81GB iPhoto library and a 31 GB Aperture library. Aperture lets me choose, but how can I merge the libraries?
I'm a little confused. Do the two libraries contain different photos, or are some of the iPhoto shots also in the Aperture library?
The iPhoto library stops in January 2011. The Aperture library has all of the pictures (both old and newer), but the older ones have small file sizes, like previews. The older pix also have a badge with an exclamation point inside of a gold triangle. Does this help?
Update: I checked a pic which is in both libraries. The Aperture info pane shows the same file size in each. Why then is the iPhoto library so much bigger when the Aperture library seems to have more pix (~27k items v 21k items in iPhoto lib)?
My guess is that the iPhoto library contains more/larger previews. Aperture may be creating smaller-sized previews too.
I like that iPhoto grabs my Photo Stream photos that I shoot on my iPhone. Does Aperture do likewise? If not, how do I get photos from Photo Stream to Aperture?
Yes, you can set Aperture so it handles your iCloud Photo Stream. Only one app can be set for it: either iPhoto or Aperture.