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Author Topic: First look at OS X Photos - pleasant surprise!  (Read 5682 times)

luxborealis

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First look at OS X Photos - pleasant surprise!
« on: April 11, 2015, 01:30:03 PM »

I'm a Lightroom user first and foremost but have used iPhoto extensively over the years for family snaps and for making books. I've also used Aperture for books and, more recently, Photos on iOS for snaps. iOS Photos is "fun" to use and surprisingly useful on an iPad despite not being able to tag or title photos (my pet peeve).

This morning, I've starting dabbling with Photos on OS X and am very pleasantly surprised with what I've seen so far. I was planning to spend only a few minutes with it, but became intrigued with its depth.

Hooray, I can add Titles and Descriptions and keywords - which I couldn't do in iOS Photos. But more importantly, it is a far more complete photo editing app than expected. While it's not quite a replacement for LR or Aperture, it is definitely a step up from iPhoto. Now, before you jump all over iPhoto as the piece of crap many have previously mentioned, it is FREE, as is Photos. Both are better than any other free app out there, the main contender being Picasa.

The UI is elegant, at least far more so than LR or iPhoto and cropping and straightening are easy. The beauty of Photos, though, is the variety of very powerful adjustment tools (see the attached screenshot). I like that I can turn on and off various Adjustments as needed (like LR), unfortunately the different selections don't seem to stay on when I move to another photo (or I've missed a toggle somewhere – EDIT - Solved - There's a "Save as Default). Adjustments also include a Histogram which I turned off in the screenshot because I have Levels turned on.

And, take a closer look at the Levels - users can adjust them in quadrants similar to LR's Highlights, Shadows, Whites and Blacks. There are also Levels controls for each colour channel and for Luminance. In fact, each of the Adjustments have drop-down selectors to allow further refinements. This can lead to more clicking than you are used to, but the functionality is pleasantly surprising. The second screenshot shows more of those options.

Another surprise is how well the healing tool works - it's more intuitive than LR, more along the lines of Aperture. While you cannot revisit and change or delete previous "heals" as you can in LR, I find the tool to be more accurate and you can preselect the source area with an Opt-click.

No doubt, there is far more here than the average user will ever use, but I see this as one of Photos strengths: users can grow into the app as they become more interested in furthering their photography or as they become more technically inclined.

Sadly, at this point, there are no adjustment brushes and gradients, so helpful in LR and Aperture. They would certainly make Photos more of a contender as a replacement.

As I have a book project on the go, I spent a few minutes with "Create > Book" (which I finally found under the "+" sign). Photos is much closer to Aperture in book creation than iPhoto ever was. There are far more choices available and options within each choice (perhaps too many for those who might be overwhelmed by choice). Page colours and photo layout options are greatly expanded from iPhoto (but still not customizable by, for example, moving and rotating), as are font selections. While this can lead to a dog's breakfast of design, to someone who knows what they are doing, one can do a lot more to achieve even better results - certainly Photos has LR beat in this respect!

The Book module in Photos also works much more smoothly than in iPhoto or Aperture. I do wish both the Page Options and Text Options windows can be open at the same time, but I've not found a way to do that (the screenshot is a compilation to show both). The window does change instantly from one to the other, but I find that distracting to the creative process.

Let me be clear, though... Photos does not replace the professional options offered in Aperture or Lightroom (due to lack of brushes, gradients and history) and I will continue to use LR for DAM and processing, but Photos will remain an important app for creating calendars (which my family loves each year) and for books. My hat goes off to Apple for the improved UI, the great variety and depth to Adjustments and the much improved Books in Photos. Any improvement from here can only make an already very good product even better, and remember, it is FREE to Apple users.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2015, 11:25:51 AM by luxborealis »
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BJL

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Re: First look at OS X Photos - pleasant surprise!
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2015, 05:16:43 PM »

Thanks for the review Terry.

I will just mention one nice experience I had with the cloud syncing features. I saw an interesting vintage car and had only my iPhone to snap it with.  When I got home, I saw the photo synced to my Mac, and noticed that I had accidentally activated some color filter.  A while later,  I played around  with  it in Photos on my iPad, and found that I could "revert to original", fixing the color.  And this fix propagated everywhere, including back to the phone.

A nice convenience when working at the level that does not require power tools.
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francois

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Re: First look at OS X Photos - pleasant surprise!
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2015, 10:49:57 AM »

Thanks for the interesting review… Me, I think that it's an improvement over iPhoto.
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kirkt

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Re: First look at OS X Photos - pleasant surprise!
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2015, 12:46:51 PM »

I took me a while to discover the additional image editing tools that one can access via the "Add" button in the Adjustments interface.  Have you figured out how to apply adjustments across multiple images (i.e., Copy Adjustments from one image and then Paste Adjustments to several images at once)?  I cannot seem to select more than on image at a time in a view where I am able to Copy and Paste adjustments.  I have to Copy the adjustment, and then, one image at a time, select and image and Paste the adjustment recipe that is in the clipboard.  That is not good.

Also, have you figured out a way to see a side-by-side view of the before and after processing?  Ir a single image view where one can toggle image edits on and off to see the effect of editing?

kirk
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JDar

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Re: First look at OS X Photos - pleasant surprise!
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2015, 02:24:22 PM »

Photos is much better than I had expected and when some needed extensible add-ons make their way into use, should be adequate for many users. It's good enough that I'm content to let the field settle out over the year or so it takes and continue using Aperture while experimenting with added new features in Photos. After trials of Lightroom and Capture One the database management of Photos is both familiar and adequate and even comforting compared to suddenly experiencing new ways of DAM. Once the image enhancement tools are amplified a bit I think Photos will be a keeper with occasional forays into some favorite programs as now done using Aperture.
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trichardlin

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Re: First look at OS X Photos - pleasant surprise!
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2015, 01:37:20 AM »

Another pleasant surprise is the availability of many keyboard short cuts. For example, C for crop and A for adjustment. You can also use the Return key to 'open' and 'close' many operations.
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luxborealis

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Re: First look at OS X Photos - pleasant surprise!
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2015, 09:03:22 PM »

I took me a while to discover the additional image editing tools that one can access via the "Add" button in the Adjustments interface.  Have you figured out how to apply adjustments across multiple images (i.e., Copy Adjustments from one image and then Paste Adjustments to several images at once)?  I cannot seem to select more than on image at a time in a view where I am able to Copy and Paste adjustments.  I have to Copy the adjustment, and then, one image at a time, select and image and Paste the adjustment recipe that is in the clipboard.  That is not good.

Also, have you figured out a way to see a side-by-side view of the before and after processing?  Ir a single image view where one can toggle image edits on and off to see the effect of editing?

kirk
 

I think you've identified A couple of features (amongst others) that would be welcome in the next iteration.
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