Lightroom vs. Aperture: Synching Adjustments

by Michael Clark

While reading one of the comments on Micah's Aperture vs. Lightroom post last week on the Inside Aperture website I came across a sweet trick to Auto Synch the develop module adjustments in Lightroom. I had never heard about this trick before and I was blown away that I learned it on the Aperture website. Looks like we are all learning a lot from this Lightroom vs. Aperture comparison.

First, in Lightroom's Develop module the normal way to copy develop settings is to adjust one image and then select the other(s) you want to develop and hit the Synch button in the lower right panel. Very simple and straight forward.

But here is the Auto Synch feature - if you select the images you want to work on as a group then you can hold down the Command (Mac) or Control (PC) key as you click the Synch button and it turns to Auto Synch as in the image below.


Now whenever you make a change to any of the images in your group it changes the settings for all for the selected images in the group automatically. I couldn't even find this trick in the Lightroom instruction manual so I thought this might be pretty interesting for those of you that shoot lots of similars and want to speed up your workflow.

In comparison, Aperture uses the lift and stamp tools to synch image settings. The lift and stamp tools have a lot more versatility than the Synch button in Lightroom because you can pick and choose what settings you wish to apply to other images. While that is all fine and dandy it is a slower process - that is the price of versatility. Alternatively, you can use Shift-CMD-C to copy your settings and Shift-CMD-V to past them into another image. And you can also lift from one image and select a group of images to stamp those settings to which speeds up the process. I have to say that both methods in Aperture seem overly complex to me for what should be a really simple process and is in Lightroom.

I'm not trying to knock Aperture here - just telling it like it is. At the moment, I am in the process of writing up a full article to wrap up my Lightroom vs. Aperture comparison and today I spent two hours trying to figure out some fairly simple stuff in Aperture. I'll have a lot more to say in the upcoming article. I'm trying to not form my opinion of Aperture too quickly but the more time I spend reading the user manual trying to figure out things that should be fairly obvious the less excited I get about using the application. Just my opinion....

Adios, Michael Clark


2007-02-26 01:40:12
A little bird told me it was a late inclusion in the product. It can have "dangers" if you're thick or just distracted and don't remember which pics are selected - hit F6 a couple of time to toggle the filmstrip. But it's a huge time saver.

Also notice Alt/Opt clicking a Develop panel's title will reset its contents, and double clicking either the slider's nipple or its label will reset that one slider.


2007-02-26 07:57:09
I always tell first time Aperture users watch the online tutorials or the DVD that comes with the application first. It will save you a ton of time. There were so many new tools and features that you wouldn't know existed let alone how to use if you didn't see it first. Someone gave me that tip, and I think it saved me hours of reading through the manual (which I've never had to do).

If someone were once a Photoshop or Camera RAW user, LR has an inherent feel advantage here, in that many of the tools use a similar nomenclature or "feel" like they are in the right spot. That does make it easier to jump in. But I encourage people to take an hour or so and watch the Aperture tutorials. It will make experimenting with the application so much easier.

Michael Clark
2007-02-26 13:03:11
Gio, thank you for the info on the Auto Sync. I think that is a really sweet feature in Lightroom and I chose to highlight it here. I would have give you credit by name but your post over at Inside Lightroom said Anonymous.

And yes, Auto Sync can be a little dangerous - one has to be careful. And it is just one of the many huge time savers in Lightroom. Thanks for the info!

Cheers, Michael Clark

Michael Clark
2007-02-26 13:08:18
Galactus of Myth -

Hello. I did actually watch all of the Aperture instructional videos on the Apple site as a refresher before I started the comparison - it took a while but I at least got some of the basics there. I'm sure that did save me many hours of reading in the user manual. Thanks for the post.

Cheers, Michael Clark

2007-02-27 23:08:54
the Auto Sync feature really impressed me when I first heard about it, and I experimented with it after I downloaded the v1.0 trial.

Let me put it this way: I wish that Aperture had a similar feature. That's about it. The lift&stamp tools in Aperture are much more versatile in my opinion and flow so much smoother than similar processes in LR. yes, you have to make adjustments then actually SELECT the photos you want to mimic those same adjustments (gasp!), but it's fast and the ability to quickly select/deselect the options you want stamped is really cool.

I say "cool" and not "Mission Critical" because this is only a hobby at the moment. I'm having fun with it. And Aperture actually makes it FUN to adjust, organize, and catalog my work (gasp!). Yes, it has made databasing my photos FUN. that's a great accomplishment.

lastly: not a LR hater; I prefer the adjustments pane in LR to AP. But having given it those kudos, I must say I have gone back to re-learn some AP adjustment basics, and am becoming even MORE proficient and quickly learning to make my adjustments at least as quick in AP as I can in LR, and probably with more control/better results (though minus a few cool tools).

2007-03-02 05:30:33
I have been using Lightroom for sometime and like you, have not spent enough time playing in Aperture to honestly evaluate it. I realise you intend to give Aperture a full run through, but as far as I can tell from what I have read, you have a slant toward Lightroom because of your comfort level. From my understanding (various reviews on the Web and whatnot) Aperture exceeds Lightroom in the very critical area of DAM. As a photojournalist and documentarian, this is very important. Lightroom, as the library grows, begins to choke. That said, Aperture biggest Achilles' Heel is in its hardware requirements. This is perhaps the single reason why I lean toward Lightroom; it allows me to use it on my Dual G4, as well as on my MacBook Pro.

2007-03-13 14:22:28
Nobody mentions that lightroom could also crop more than 100's pictures at a time. This program allows you to select groups of photos and apply the following size and color settings as adjusted. Aperture is great but for a professional photographer who has to accommodate a large number of clients lightroom is the best thing to ever come out
2007-08-26 08:15:35
This tip has saved me a lot of time. At this point in my Lightroom skill I'm mainly using 'Auto' and now, after this tip, Autosync many photos with the 'Auto' adjustment. Which brings to ask, how does this Auto feature do what it does? It's all very cool and I guess I don't really need to know. I think Lightroom is wonderful; it saves me hours and days of time.