IPhoto Alternatives. Is there a Life After the iPhoto is gone?

February 20

9 min. to read

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Bryan Wolfe shares his thoughts on what iPhoto users should do before Photos comes to replace it.

Back in 2014, Apple announced that they would no longer be supporting iPhoto for Mac, or the company’s professional photography application, Aperture. Instead, a new application called Photos for Mac was launched in 2015.  If you’re still an iPhoto user, now is the time to find a new solution for your digital photos. That depends on your situation, of course. 

We here at Skylum believe that our latest Mac photo editor called Luminar, is a great iPhoto alternative. Now you can try it by yourself free for 7 days:

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What iPhoto for Mac is — and isn’t 

In general terms, iPhoto for Mac serves two main purposes. First, it’s a photo management tool. Second, the application offers photo-editing tools, such as quick fixes, adjustments, and effects.  As a photo management tool, iPhoto does an admirable job at organizing your photos by Event, Date, Faces, or Location. In some cases, however, this is a labor-intensive process.  For example, you need to tell iPhoto who is in each photo. Based on this information, the application attempts to find that person’s face in other photos.

It has been my experience that this process doesn’t always work. In particular, children’s faces are difficult to match, as are people from the same family. In other words, for most folks, organizing photos by Faces is more of a gimmick, than a realistic solution.  Many also incorrectly assume that being a photo management tool means that iPhoto is backing up your photos. It is not. To perform this task, you need to use the Time Machine software built into OS X, or a third-party solution. 

Do you like to edit photos? Again, iPhoto does an admirable job at this. However, the tools presented aren’t for professionals. Even as a basic photo editing tool, better solutions do exist. 

Backing up your data 

At the minimum, you should make sure that your photos are being backed up. Conceptually, Apple’s iCloud is supposed to do this, but better solutions are currently available. Two that come highly recommended also serve as photo-management solutions. 

Dropbox is a well-known Web-based file hosting service that allows users to automatically upload photos or videos from a camera, tablet, SD card, or smartphone. There is no cost for up to 2GB of storage. For $9.99 per month, you can subscribe to Dropbox Pro and store up to 1TB of data.  I’ve been using Dropbox for years to back up all of my Mac files. Because it does so in the background, you can set it up and then forget about it. Better still: your files can be shared across multiple devices and with others. 

ThisLife by Shutterfly also provides online photo storage. You can store up to 2,500 photos for free. For as little as $59 per year, you can store up to 25,000 photos and HD videos. Unlike Dropbox, ThisLife also provides limited photo-editing tools via an online or app-based tool. 

iPhoto Alternatives for Photo Editing 

There are a number of brilliant photo editing tools available for Mac. Each can be used in conjunction with iPhoto, Dropbox, or ThisLife.  Software like Adobe Photoshop Elements and Pixelmator are popular raster graphics editors, which are ideal for graphic artists and photography enthusiasts who want to edit "pixels." These tools enable Mac users to add some artistic touches by hand or transform photos in creative ways.

1. Luminar

If you tend to be more photo-oriented, like simple fixes and are ready to take your images to the next level, consider Luminar. The application features a number of high-quality photo filters and effects. 

Luminar focuses on making the process of editing images easier and quicker thanks to an intuitive design language and various AI Tools, like AI Skin Enhancer & AI Photo Enhancer, AI Structure and even AI Sky Replacement that let you make smart adjustments with simple sliders.  Luminar also comes with Libraries which makes the program capable of managing your photos much like Lightroom is known for. 

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2. Lightroom

Lightroom has long been known as one of the best, if not the very best, RAW photo editing software available. It is the software of choice for many professional photographers around the world thanks to its excellent image quality and the vast set of tools it brings to the table. The sleek and modern interface coupled with powerful controls over every aspect of a photo from its exposure to the visible noise makes Lightroom an overall treat to use. And when paired with Photoshop, it becomes even more capable as an image editor. 

However, Lightroom can only be used based on a monthly subscription of $9.99 which also gives you access to Photoshop. This isn’t an ideal way to use such programs, as serious photographers use them for years to come. That said, Lightroom does offer a free trial version that can be used to determine whether the price is worth it for you or not. 

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3. Photopea

Photopea is an online photo editing solution that allows you to make all the common adjustments: cut and crop, apply filters, fix brightness, contrast, adjust curves and shadows, etc, as well as perform more complicated things, like selecting an image from a background and working with layers. 

Its interface looks very similar to Photoshop; moreover, the program includes simple drawing and design tools. Photopea supports several file formats, including .psd and works with vectors and raster images. 

Photopea is free, but the free version comes with ads. If you want to support the developer, Premium account is available for $9 per 30 days and removes ads.


Other solutions do exist, from Apple’s own Photos to third-party software. Even if you decide to stick with iPhoto, be sure that you are backing up your collection. When you’re ready to dabble in other photo-editing tools, they are many various tools for you to try. 

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