Feature Request: A better photo solution for Mac and iOS
As much as I love iOS, in 2018 I still use MacOS as my go-to operating system for getting work done both professionally and at work. At work, I use Final Cut to edit class videos because the improved performance and workflow make it really easy for me to quickly get through hours of lectures. I hit the iMovie wall really hard when I was asked to clean up the audio and crop about 40+ hours of class videos for my college. Just iMovie trying to process the videos into its library system was a big drag. Final Cut Pro was a big C-Change for me with its external library support, taking better advantage of my iMac’s horsepower, its background processing, etc. Over the last year it has more than paid for itself in the hours that its saved me having to edit videos at work and allowed our students to get to their videos much faster. As time as gone on I have started getting into Logic Pro X and while its probably overkill for the small podcast that I edit, it is nice to have a tool that I know that I can grow into. My friends who are much more into audio editing than I am sing its praises and that’s inspired me to dig into Logic Pro X as well and stretch myself.
For all of that praise I have for Logic Pro X and Final Cut Pro, I get frustrated when I think about my photography options. I take a lot of photos. My iCloud Photo Library is 170GB+ now and growing, mostly iPhone photos, but I also own as Nikon D5300 DSLR that I do like to use on trips and special occasions. I should use it more, but my iPhone 7 is the camera I have with me most often. When I do use my DSLR though, I quickly get frustrated with the workflow for getting photos into my MacBook Pro and process them. Yeah, the editor got more capable with High Sierra and the ability to “Open-with” is a nice feature, but its still lacking when it comes time to import hundreds of photos, organize them, and do batch editing. I love the idea of iCloud photo library and having my photos with me everywhere and being able to make changes on any of my devices, but Lightroom CC is closer to what I really need when I use my DSLR. The problem though is I’m at this weird segment that I imagine a lot of hobbyists are that I like to use iCloud Photo library with its syncing, shared library, feature set variety, etc, but do not wish to make the switch to Adobe. Lightroom CC is a much, MUCH more capable program, but as a Mac user I find that its really like running a Windows application on my computer. It just doesn’t perform, look, or act the way that I would expect a Mac application to perform. It doesn’t integrate into my current iCloud photo library, support the Touch Bar or multi-touch trackpad gestures, and it requires me pay another $10–20/month to yet another company. Lightroom just feels like Adobe codes to the least common denominator and because the Mac’s marketshare it is never going to prioritize features for it over a Windows machine.
Here are a few things I would love for them to introduce with a professional photography application suite:
- iCloud Library support: I would love a professional Apple photography application to support iCloud photo library just like the consumer application does.
- Multiple Library support: One of my favorite features of Final Cut is the multiple library support. At work, I store my Final Cut library on an external SSD and edit from that directly instead of filling up my local SSD. When I’m done, I back up the videos to a NAS we have.
- Batch Processing/Editing: One of the thing I miss about Aperture was the ability to copy and paste edits between images. When going through hundreds of shots its really annoying in Photos.app to keep having to hit the same buttons hundreds of times.
- iPad Pro app: Like Lightroom CC, I think an Aperture X would be a great experience on mobile, this could be especially true with the bigger iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil for editing. It would be handy to also be able to use the mobile version of Lightroom as a secondary display to preview clients your work without having to turn your MacBook Pro around awkwardly.
- Smarter Search and Album recommendations: I really do like how in iOS 12 there is a “For You” tab that recommends photos for sharing based off your contacts the your labeled faces in the photo app as well as recommended albums based off time/location. iOS 11 and 12 already do a pretty decent job of helping you find things with search, ideally, an Aperture X for Mac would use all the power your Mac has to offer to rip through set of photos for image recognition in no time, especially on the higher end MacBook Pro and iMac Pro’s. I feel like that really a consumer/prosumer feature, but building that intelligence into search and having a separate “For You” tab would be handy to have even if they do have to tuck it away.
- More capable editing: Photos is great, but my friends who are better at photography have complained about it not being as capable as they wished it was. For myself, I think a modern version of Aperture would look at the edits you have made in the past or to others photos in a set and recommend fixing photos the same way with a little bit of machine learning.
- Web Galleries: One of my favorite things about iLife back in the day was being able to publish web photo galleries. As somebody sharing photos in 2018, I really don’t always want my photos tied into a social network. I don’t personally mind, but I always try to be mindful of people’s privacy preferences. I know some people don’t like sharing their photos with Facebook or Google photos. Being able to publish a webpage and share out a professional link directly from my iCloud Photo library would be nice, especially if you could password protect it.
- iPhone app: I would also love an Aperture for iPhone that had some the more advanced editing features of the Mac and iPad Pro application. I think the iPhone app should focus on quick editing and sharing. I think that bigger screens are better for triaging through large photo galleries.
- iPhone Aperture Camera app: Having a separate Aperture camera app on the iPhone would be a great way to add a “Pro” camera mode to the iPhone camera without having to clutter up the default camera application. Apple could even allow it to be set as a the default camera app and shoot in RAW by default. That way, professionals and hobbyists could have more control over their phone cameras, but normal users would not have to be bothered with having so many options.
- Dark mode: I know that Photos.app is getting a dark mode in Mojave, but all good Pro apps need a dark mode just to make you feel like more a badass.
- Community: Despite not having an official social network, Apple does have pockets of social features sprinkled throughout iOS these days when you look at iMessage and Apple Music. I think an Apple Photos/Aperture mini-social network would be a nice escape from the terror that is traditional social networks in 2018 *Cough* Facebook *Cough*. There could be a great focus on privacy. I would like a way to be able to share my photos with friends, family, or clients in a secure and private location.
Photography is the last big professional editing application that Apple is sorely missing. I feel like the Photos core is solid now compared to where it was in the past and having a modern photography workflow for the Mac. If they were really serious about appealing to the professional market they would stop overlooking photography professionals going forward. Reintroducing Aperture for the Mac and expanding the experience into iOS would be a great way to complete the Apple professional trifecta.