If you ask about a photo editor for Mac, most people will recommend iPhoto. But if you're looking for something else, you should probably skip to Aperture.
Aperture could be defined as 'iPhoto on steroids'. It's a complete photo organizer and viewer, easy enough for the amateur, but with the powerful tools that any advanced user would need. Plus it features a comfortable interface that hardly takes a few minutes to get used to.
Aperture lets you import images from various resources (including your photo camera), organize them in an intuitive way and optimize or fix them if necessary. When ready, sit back and enjoy them in a fullscreen slideshow, or use them in various creative projects such as a book, an album or a web gallery.
When I said Aperture was a bit like iPhoto, I wasn't exaggerating. This new version includes Faces, the popular facial recognition technology implemented in the last version of iPhoto. But Aperture goes a step beyond and also includes Places, another special technology that geolocates your images using the information stored in metadata by some cameras. However, I have to say that this feature wasn't working properly: the map took ages to load and controls were over-sensitive – which made map navigation a real pain. It even caused a program crash while testing it.
Besides these organizational features, Aperture includes a bunch of interesting tools to enhance your pics. You can tweak the image's balance, exposure, color and light values, levels and more with easy-to-use slides. The so-called Adjustment presets let you apply quick, frequent fixes to images in just two clicks. Finally, the all-new precision brushes help you fix the problem with extraordinary accuracy.
Other features in Aperture I found specially interesting were the possibility to share your images online in MobileMe, Facebook and Flickr right from the program, and to create printed copies of your photos – which always works as a nice present for grandma.
Aperture is an excellent photo application, there's no doubt about that. But in a way I felt disappointed when testing this new version. I expected to have more editing and drawing tools, and – why not – support for layers and masks. I found the controls uncomfortable and hard to manage, and my overall impression was one of disappointment.
Aperture is a powerful photo organizer and viewer that includes a handful of features to view, fix, optimize, enhance, share and enjoy your photos!
- - Adds support for iCloud Photo Sharing, including the ability to post videos to shared photo streams and to have multiple subscribers contribute to a shared stream
- - The Places feature now uses Apple maps to display photo locations
- - New integration with SmugMug, with support for publishing and syncing galleries directly to a SmugMug account
- - Adds support for iOS 7 camera filters applied to photos imported from iOS devices
- - Fixes an issue that sometimes resulted in Retouch adjustments not being applied to exported images
- - Addresses an issue that could cause the black and white points in Curves to shift incorrectly when using the eyedropper tools
- - Fixes a problem that prevented caption data from being embedded correctly when exporting versions of some RAW file types
- - Improves reliability when adding names to Faces
- - Addresses an issue that could cause Aperture to hang after adjusting a very large panorama
- - Fixes a problem that could prevent memory cards or hard disks from ejecting properly after import when clicking the Delete Items button
- - Improves reliability of slideshows on a 15" Macbook Pro with Retina display
- - Addresses an issue that could cause thumbnails to display incorrectly in the iLife Media Browser
- - Videos up to three minutes long can now be shared to Flickr
- - Captions instead of version names are now synced between Aperture and Facebook for newly-created albums
- - Improves reliability when printing a light table
- - Fixes an issue that could prevent adjusted images from being published to My Photo Stream
- - Includes stability and performance improvements