Aperture to Lightroom (an alternate path)

In early 2006 I purchased my first Mac, partly fueled by my growing rage with getting Windows to do its job, but also by the release of Apple Aperture. I've been an avid Aperture user since then and watched the product grow into something that many of us loved. Fast forward to 2014 and Apple finally informed the public that they would be discontinuing the product. After much analysis and usage of both Lightroom and Capture One Pro, I decided that Lightroom was the best choice for my needs. Certainly the rendering of my Fuji RAW files seemed the most natural to me and also the most faithful to the in-camera film simulations.

Now, I have amassed quite the collection of imagery in my Aperture libraries and getting over to Lightroom seemed on the surface to be simple: just use the built in migration tool, right? Wrong!

It took me several failed attempts to migrate my personal library over. First I thought it was my (somewhat geeky) ZFS volume that my imagery lived on. Not that. Then I thought it was the size of my library. Not that either. I tried splitting my library into different years and even into just a handful of images. Not that...

Eventually I found the solution in the Aperture Exporter: a handy, low cost application that did the job in a fraction of the time that Adobe's own offering did (which promptly failed at the end), with 100% quality AND I even got it to generate full sized exports for my 5 star images. For the full list of features head over to their website, but here's how I migrated:

1. Downloaded and paid for the app on the Apple App Store.
2. Split my personal library into smaller chunks as recommended (I went for ~3000 images max per project).
3. Opened the app and (each) aperture library. Ran the exporter.
4. In Lightroom, imported the resulting folders, but left the photos in their current position (to avoid duplication of data. Another bonus of this tool).
5. Since I elected to create keywords for albums and smart albums, I downloaded the Data Explorer Lightroom plugin and used it to selectively re-create all of my albums from Aperture.

See the support section on the Aperture Exporter website for more details. If you have been holding back on migrating away from Aperture and over to Lightroom (or even Capture One) because you were lacking good tools to preserve most off your hard work that you put in to your Aperture libraries, then head over to Aperture Exporter and give it a try. The result isn't going to give you exactly what you had in Aperture, but let's face it nothing probably will, but if you are like me and struggled with Adobe's tool, this may be what you are looking for.

I'm still getting to grips with Lightroom; its user experience is no way near as charming as Aperture's and the library management tools don't do it for me. Now that Aperture is gone, maybe Adobe can get rid of their dreadful modal workflow? Wishful thinking.

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