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When iPhoto isn't enough: Four reasons to upgrade your software

Theano Nikitas | April 17, 2014
iPhoto is an excellent tool for basic photo management and editing, but if your library's getting too big to handle or you need advanced editing options, it might be time to look into alternatives. Adobe's Lightroom and Apple's Aperture provide better management and image tools, while Photoshop and Photoshop Elements can augment iPhoto's basic editing software with more powerful options. If you're starting to feel like your library is getting out of control, here are some of the best reasons to upgrade.

On the Lightroom side, photographers can create presets — or use third-party presets — to quickly apply a certain style or look to images. Using presets is a quick and easy way to create a universal, repeatable look for your photos without having to spend time tweaking each image.

Dabble in plug-ins

Plug-ins offer even more options for creative photographers by supplying specialized adjustments and improving the speed of your workflow. Granted, most of these add-ons will put a minor — sometimes major — dent in your budget, but they can help you create a signature look or add a creative touch to images.

For example, while most applications offer a method of converting color images to black and white, manufacturers of specialized plug-ins often go to extraordinary lengths to simulate black and white film looks that can be applied — and tweaked — by using their plug-ins. Like actions and presets, plug-ins can be a real time saver while providing detailed personalization. Earlier versions of iPhoto offer limited plug-in support, while apps like Lightroom, Aperture, and Photoshop have a much more expansive library of third-party plug-ins to choose from.

Moving on up

If and when you're ready to step up from iPhoto to an advanced piece of software, it's worth downloading a free trial of the apps you're interested in to see which best meets your growing needs. Don't be afraid to look for help if you're initially overwhelmed, as advanced programs tend to have a steeper learning curve than basic apps like iPhoto. But if you want to move forward, it's well worth the extra time to learn the ins and outs.


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