How I might be able to use Apple' new Photos app

Apple released the new Photos app today along with OS X 10.10.3. I never gave iPhoto a serious try, but I did use Aperture for a while. Photos seems to aim for somewhere between those two.

I love the idea of Photos handling everything for me. That seems nice, so I’m reviewing my current workflow to see how that might work out.

I have 3 different photo sources: iPhone, a Digital Camera, and my Film Cameras. Today I process them all the same way.

  1. Import images from card or scanner using Photo Mechanic
  2. Write captions for every image in Photo Mechanic
  3. For film scans, write camera info into exif data using exiftool
  4. Move files into dated folders (e.g. 2015/04-April/)
  5. Import (in place) into Lightroom
  6. Edit and share as needed

Photo Mechanic is the best way I’ve found for captioning, keywording, renaming, uploading, etc. It’s fast and great at what it does. I don’t want to lose that. Lightroom is a decent file manager and has no problem working with files organized in the Finder. I like being able to see the files. I’ve got a lot invested in Lightroom, plugins, and edits.

I rarely edit my iPhone photos, which means there might be a use for Photos after all. I’m considering handling each type of photo differently. That sounds like a terrible idea, but here’s what I’m thinking.

Film Scans

Film scans stay in their usual tidy folder-per-roll structure. Film scans are usually either ignored or edited in Photoshop. I upload my favorites to Flickr so they don’t need to be in the Photos library.

Raw files

Digital (Raw) photos from the Fuji look best when converted from Raw using Capture One. I could use Capture one to crop, edit, tweak and export JPEGs for import into Photos. The Raw files would remain in dated folders, acting as a sort of “negative”.

iPhone photos

iPhone images automatically end up in the Photos library so there’s nothing to do here, file-management wise.

The drawbacks I can think of are:

  • I have to caption all iPhone photos using Photos, which blows.
  • I lose my Lightroom plugin workflow. This is probably ok since most of them also work in Photoshop if I need them. I’m hoping we’ll see some decent plugins for Photos before long.
  • I can’t see the iPhone files. I hate that.

The benefits:

  • All my snapshots are everywhere all the time; easy to  view and share
  • I get to use Capture One for Raw conversions from the Fuji
  • Raw files and film scans remain neatly organized, and those are usually the important files.

I’m certainly over-thinking this, but I feel it’s worth a try.