Alternatives to iPhoto: Eight of the best replacements for Apple's iPhoto

Alternatives to iPhoto

With Apple set to discontinue iPhoto with Photos for Mac coming in 2015, you might want to look for an alternative to iPhoto. Here are eight substitutes you might consider for your Mac photo editing needs.

by


X

Email this to a friend

Characters remaining:

  • Apple iPhoto
  • Apple Aperture
  • Photoshop Lightroom
  • Lyn
  • Photoshop Elements
  • Google Picas
  • Pixa
  • Unbound
Next Prev

Apple iPhoto for Mac

Apple has announced that iPhoto will be replaced by Photos for Mac in early 2015, bringing with it a number of features. For some iPhoto users, especially keen photographers and those with big libraries the news caused concern. In this article we will look at some alternatives to iPhoto, but first, this is what iPhoto offers right now:

[Read Why Apple is discontinuing iPhoto and Aperture]

Price: free with all new Macs – or £10.49 upgrade, From: the App Store

Photo-Organising: The great strength of iPhoto is the way that it helps you to quickly organize your photo library. When you import a batch of photos from your camera, smartphone or any other device, iPhoto automatically organizes those photos into ‘events’ – sets of photos that were all taken on the same day. Its Faces option allows it to scan photos and detect people’s faces so that you can quickly locate and label pictures of a specific person. There’s also a Places option that can use GPS location data to display a map showing the sites where you’ve taken photos.

One important feature that sets iPhoto apart from most of its rivals is the Photo Stream option that allows you to automatically share photos across any Mac, PC or iOS device that is linked to your personal iCloud account.

Photo-Editing: The editing features in iPhoto are fairly limited, primarily focusing on basic tools for adjusting exposure, contrast and colour balance. They’re straightforward to use so you can easily improve the look of your photos, but iPhoto doesn’t have the more precise editing tools found in some of its rivals.

Filters And Effects: This is probably iPhoto’s weakest area, as it only offers a very limited assortment of creative filters and effects. There are a few old standards, such as sepia and black-and-white effects, but if you want to get creative with your photos you should really look elsewhere.

Pros: automatically organises your photos for you, simple tools for adjusting brightness, contrast and colour settings

Cons: very limited editing tools and filter effects

See also: iPhoto tutorials, tips and tricks

Read:

Next Prev slideshow image

Apple has announced that iPhoto will be replaced by Photos for Mac in early 2015, bringing with it a number of features. For some iPhoto users, especially keen photographers and those with big libraries the news caused concern. In this article we will look at some alternatives to iPhoto, but first, this is what iPhoto offers right now:

[Read Why Apple is discontinuing iPhoto and Aperture]

Price: free with all new Macs – or £10.49 upgrade, From: the App Store

Photo-Organising: The great strength of iPhoto is the way that it helps you to quickly organize your photo library. When you import a batch of photos from your camera, smartphone or any other device, iPhoto automatically organizes those photos into ‘events’ – sets of photos that were all taken on the same day. Its Faces option allows it to scan photos and detect people’s faces so that you can quickly locate and label pictures of a specific person. There’s also a Places option that can use GPS location data to display a map showing the sites where you’ve taken photos.

One important feature that sets iPhoto apart from most of its rivals is the Photo Stream option that allows you to automatically share photos across any Mac, PC or iOS device that is linked to your personal iCloud account.

Photo-Editing: The editing features in iPhoto are fairly limited, primarily focusing on basic tools for adjusting exposure, contrast and colour balance. They’re straightforward to use so you can easily improve the look of your photos, but iPhoto doesn’t have the more precise editing tools found in some of its rivals.

Filters And Effects: This is probably iPhoto’s weakest area, as it only offers a very limited assortment of creative filters and effects. There are a few old standards, such as sepia and black-and-white effects, but if you want to get creative with your photos you should really look elsewhere.

Pros: automatically organises your photos for you, simple tools for adjusting brightness, contrast and colour settings

Cons: very limited editing tools and filter effects

See also: iPhoto tutorials, tips and tricks

Read:

Apple Aperture 3.5

Apple is also set to dicsontinue Aperture, its software solution for professional photographers. Where previously Aperture might have been considered a good upgrade from iPhoto, professional Mac users may have to look elsewhere for an alternative. We look at Alternatives to Aperture here.

Price: £54.99, From: the App Store

Photo-Organising: Aperture is iPhoto’s big brother, and it’s aimed at the more experience hobbyist or professional photographer who needs to work with really large collections of photos. To help you make the transition from iPhoto, Aperture will allow you to import your existing iPhoto library and it includes the same Faces and Places viewing modes as iPhoto – although your iPhoto events are now renamed as ‘projects’ instead.

However, Aperture provides much more powerful tools for searching through your photo library. You can search using multiple criteria, such as location, date, and file type, and you can even search for specific adjustments that have been applied to a photo. And if your photo library gets really big you can sub-divide it into a series of smaller libraries and then quickly switch between them as required.

Photo-Editing: Aperture provides an extensive set of adjustment tools for improving the appearance of your photos, ranging from simple red-eye removal to more sophisticated options such as chromatic aberration, noise-reduction and edge-sharpening. A key difference between iPhoto and Aperture is that Aperture lets you use brushes to selectively apply these adjustments to specific areas of an image rather than simply applying them to the entire image.

Filters And Effects: Aperture does have a few more filters and effects than iPhoto – but not a lot. There are several variations on the basic sepia and black-and-white effect, and a handy set of tools for adjusting white balance. We also like Aperture’s instant preview option, which shows how each effect will look on your photos. However, neither iPhoto nor Aperture can really compete with the range of filters and effects found in dedicated photo-editors such as Photoshop Elements.

Pros: very powerful search tools, brushes allow you to apply adjustments with great precision

Cons: limited range of filters and effects, more complicated than iPhoto for beginners

Read

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5

Price: £102.57 (upgrade - £57.64), Available from: www.adobe.com/uk

Photo-Organising: Lightroom is quite a bit more complicated than iPhoto, and will probably seem rather intimidating to most amateur photographers. When organizing photos, it allows you to create ‘collections’ of photos, which can also be linked together as ‘collection sets’. You could create a collection for photos from a football match, which in turn could be part of a collection set that includes multiple sports events. There’s also a powerful search filter that lets you search for keywords, dates, and even specific types of cameras and lenses.

Photo-Editing: Lightroom’s Develop mode looks rather like a souped-up version of iPhoto’s Edit mode. The tools panel that runs down the right-hand side of the screen has a histogram right at the top, followed by basic controls for adjusting white-balance, exposure and contrast. Work your way down the list and you’ll find more advanced features such as split-toning and lens corrections. Lightroom also borrows some powerful tools from Photoshop, such as the Advanced Healing Brush, which can remove unwanted elements from an image.

These are powerful tools, but you’ll need a fair bit of technical knowledge to really make the most of them, so Lightroom isn’t the best option for amateur photographers who are used to the simpler tools of iPhoto.

Filters And Effects: If you’re looking for some quick, fun effects to liven up your photos then Lightroom isn’t the best choice. It does include a number of simple presets, such as ‘vignette’ and ‘yesteryear’ that allow you to quickly alter the look of your photos, but it largely assumes that you know enough to experiment and create effects of your own. You can save these effects as presets for future use – which is handy for more experienced photographers, but not for casual snappers.

Pros: powerful adjustments tools, brushes for precise editing, Advanced Healing Brush for removing unwanted details

Cons: cluttered interface and complex tools are more suited to professional photographers

Lyn 1.3

Price: £16.00, From: www.lynapp.com

Photo-Organising: Lyn isn’t very well known, as it’s not available on the App Store, but it’s a fast and efficient tool for browsing your photo collection and performing simple edits.

It doesn’t use events and faces to automatically organise your photos, as iPhoto does, but Lyn’s source panel allows you to look straight into any folder on your Mac’s hard disk, or on external devices such as a camera or back-up drive. It can also display the contents of your existing iPhoto library, so there’s no need to start reorganising everything if you decide to switch to Lyn (or just try out the demo version).

You can’t create albums within Lyn, so it’s up to you to keep your photos in a reasonably tidy set of folders. However, you can create links to favourite folders for instant access, and Lyn also provides multiple viewing options when browsing your photos. Its ‘icon’ view shows quick previews of all the photos in a folder, while ‘split’ view also displays a larger close-up of the currently selected photo. There’s also a useful ‘list’ view that displays small previews of your photos along with metadata, such as exposure or aperture setting. Its Inspector panel displays additional editable metadata, including keywords for searching, and GPS data with a maps option.

Photo-Editing: Lyn started out as a simple photo browser, but the current version now includes basic adjustment tools similar to those found in iPhoto. There’s a histogram that allows you to highlight specific colours within an image, and simple slider controls for adjusting exposure, brightness and colour settings. It’s a shame, though, that there are no automatic ‘quick fix’ options, similar to those found in iPhoto.

Filters And Effects: Very basic – just black-and-white, sepia, and vignette effects.

Pros: fast, versatile browsing options, simple adjustment controls, works with your existing iPhoto library

Cons: can’t create albums, no automatic adjustments, few filters

Adobe Photoshop Elements 12

Price: £54.00, From: www.adobe.com/uk

Photo-Organising: Photoshop Elements is purely a photo-editing program, and if you buy it from the App Store then you just get the photo-editor on its own for £54.00. It costs £78.00 if you buy it from Adobe, or get a boxed copy from some other retailer, but that price also includes a second program called the Adobe Organizer.

As the name implies, the Organizer allows you to organize your photo library, using a set of tools very similar to those found in iPhoto. It can import your existing iPhoto library, and display all the same events, faces and places that you’re already familiar with. The interface of the Organizer is a bit more complicated than that of iPhoto, but it does go beyond iPhoto by also allowing you to store and organise audio and video files as well.

Photo-Editing: The editing tools in Photoshop Elements go way beyond anything you’ll find in iPhoto. There’s a set of automatic Smart Fix tools to help beginners get started, and there’s also a special Guided Edit mode that can give you step-by-step help with tasks such as restoring old photos or reproducing a variety of popular artistic and photographic effects.

A stand-out feature in Photoshop Elements is the Photo Merge tool that allows you to combine elements from multiple photos in order to create one perfect shot. More experienced photographers can also use the program’s Layers and Mask tools to create complex composite images and effects.

Filters And Effects:  This is another area where Photoshop Elements leaves iPhoto trailing in its wake. The program’s Filter Gallery has its own editing mode, where you can explore dozens of artistic effects, as well as having fun by stretching and distorting your photos in various ways.

Pros: extensive range of powerful editing tools, includes separate Organizer when bought from Adobe

Cons: more complex than iPhoto, full version with Organizer costs £78.00

Google Picasa 3.9

Price: free, From: picasa.google.com

Photo-Organising: Picasa doesn’t have the attractive interface of iPhoto, but it’s a pretty efficient tool for organizing your photo collection. It can import photos from your existing iPhoto library or from any other folders on your Mac, and it also allows you to ‘watch’ folders so that any photos added to a particular folder are automatically imported into Picasa for you.

It doesn’t organize photos into events like iPhoto, but you can quickly create your own albums in order to group sets of photos together. Picasa can also recognize faces and use location data to display photos on a map. There are some handy filtering tools as well, such as a slider control that allows you to scan through a particular date range, from 2 days to 18 years.

Photo-Editing: The editing tools in Picasa are fairly basic, but they’re quick and easy to use. A simple set of slider controls allows you to adjust lighting, shadows, highlights and colour, and we like the side-by-side option that displays Before and After versions of your photos while you’re working. There are also some simple tools for removing blemishes, such as dust and scratches, or red-eye, and a text tool for adding captions.

Filters And Effects: There are three small sets of filters that you can use. The first set allows you to make colour adjustments, switching to sepia or monotone, or enhancing lackluster colours in a photo. The second set is a little more advanced, reproducing photo techniques such as the Orton or Lo-Mo effects. Finally, there’s a set of artistic effects that make your photos look like hand-drawn sketches or neon poster artwork

Pros: free download, can import photos from iPhoto library, good browsing and filtering options

Cons: basic editing tools, interface is a little cluttered, not as fast as iPhoto

Pixa 1.1

Price: £17.49, Available from: the App Store or www.pixa-app.com

Pixa is a versatile organizer that works with screenshots and other types of graphics files, as well as just photos.

It doesn’t organize your photos automatically, as iPhoto does, and there’s no face-recognition or GPS maps, but Pixa will appeal to people who prefer to organize their photos themselves. Once you’ve imported your photos you can organize them into ‘projects’ – similar to iPhoto albums – and then group multiple projects together within a larger folder. There’s also a ‘live folders’ option that will monitor specified folders on your hard disk and automatically import any photos that you place within those folders.

You can add your own tags (keywords) to help with searches, but Pixa also helps out by analysing photos as you import them and adding tags relating to the size of each image and the dominant colours within the image.

As well as importing most photo file formats Pixa can also import graphics files such as screenshots and vector graphics files from programs like Adobe Illustrator, so it will be a handy tool for designers who work with lots of different graphics and photo formats. It even adds a special tool to the main menu bar on your Mac that allows you to capture screenshots and web pages to import into Pixa.

Photo-Editing: There are no editing tools in Pixa, but it does include some useful export options that allow you to convert images into different sizes and file formats, and even templates for creating graphics such as iOS icons.

Filters And Effects: None

Pros: quick and versatile organizer, handles a wide variety of photo and graphics file formats

Cons: no face-recognition or GPS options, no editing tools or filters

Unbound 1.0

Price: £6.99, From: the App Store

Photo-Organising: One thing that annoys many people about iPhoto is that it prefers to store copies of your photos in its own mysterious library file. That takes up extra space on your hard disk, and also makes it hard to find photos outside of iPhoto itself. Many people prefer to do things their own way, and to organize their photos in a series of folders instead. Unbound is aimed at those people, as it simply works with whatever folder structure you already have set up.

When you launch Unbound for the first time it asks which folders you want to import. Each folder is then added as a separate album within Unbound’s main browser window. You can import additional folders as you go along, or create new albums within Unbound itself and just allow it to create new folders for each album automatically. There’s no face-recognition – just a simple, straightforward text-search option. However, Unbound can play simple slideshows and can also use GPS location data to display photos on a map. There’s also an iOS version of Unbound, which works in conjunction with Dropbox and allows you to sync photos across all your Macs and iOS devices.

Photo-Editing: Zilch – although you can right click on photos within Unbound in order to open them within Preview or any other photo-editing program.

Filters And Effects: Equally zilch.

Pros: fast, simple photo browser, works with your existing folder structure, iOS version for syncing across devices

Cons: no editing tools or filter effects, still has a few bugs to iron out

Comments

Comments

Market Place

synology.com

Founded in 2000, Synology is dedicated to developing high-performance, reliable, versatile, and environmentally-friendly Network Attached Storage (NAS) servers for home and business users. To see their full product portfolio visit

Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 comparison: What's the best Android phablet?

Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 comparison: What's the best Android phablet?

The iPhone is doomed. Doomed to be marginally less successful than a very successful thing.

The iPhone is doomed. Doomed to be marginally less successful than a very successful thing.

How to prototype native mobile apps without writing code

How to prototype native mobile apps without writing code

How to prepare for and update to OS X Yosemite: Get your Mac ready to download & install Apple's new OS X 10.10 : VIDEO GUIDE

How to prepare for and update to OS X Yosemite: Get your Mac ready to download & install Apple's...

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message