Lightroom keyword tagging vs. Aperture face tagging

I have recently switched from Aperture 3 to Lightroom 3. The purpose of this post is not to repeat the reasons for that switch, nor is it to say that LR3 is better than AP3.

Switching has required that I give up on using Faces in AP3. I kind of liked that feature as it allowed me to quickly tag who is who on each shot. And I must say that here the integration with the iPad is kind of well done.

Face tagging did have limitations however. One of them is that it could “miss” some faces. In large crowd shots (think concerts) it would detect way too many faces to tag efficiently.

The good thing that Aperture did when I exported my library is that it added the face name keyword to each tagged pics. This way, in Lightroom, I could still see which pictures was tagged with which faces – although it would not “zoom” to the face itself.

More than good enough for me.

But I think that Aperture made me “lazy” about tagging people.

What I did not realize then was that Aperture had missed a good number of fairly obvious faces and most, if not all, hard to detect faces. This left a number of pictures where people I wanted to tag were not referenced. More so than I wanted.

And this was not good enough for me.

In Aperture, in order to see the keyword list, I had to display a “HUD”, a head-up display. Maybe I could have anchored it to one side of the screen, but I never managed to (or never looked how to). I also never got to remember the darn keyword shortcut to display the HUD. This is probably just me being thick since Aperture is praised by many as having the best user interface of all similar products out there, including Lightroom.

In LR, the keyword list is always present in library mode. I like that. Maybe it is one of the benefits of having two separate modules, one for photo management (library), one for post processing (development). Whatever the reason for the keyword list to be readily accessible, I “digg” that workflow.

Now, after a weekend outing or after a shooting, I tag all my photos with keywords. And it is faaaast. This is also a nice benefit from not having the overhead of Aperture trying to detect faces. And because “face tagging” and “keyword tagging” are one, it gets me to tag more as I do not have to switch from one more to another like in Aperture.

It is just me, it is just the way that I work with my workflow. Your workflow might fit better the Aperture way, but for me Lightroom’s keyword tagging is, at the end of the day, better that Aperture’s face tagging.

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5 Responses to Lightroom keyword tagging vs. Aperture face tagging

  1. Pingback: More on Photosmith 2.0 |

  2. Your explanation does not convince me. A lot of LR users are complaining that LR 4 does not have face recognition, something many users weres expecting to have, like wedding fotographers. Face recognition saves inmense amount of work and Adobe has simply missed this point.

    • maximegousse says:

      Mario, tks for adding to this conversation. Mucho gracias (sorry that’s the extent of my Spanish – but we can try French!).

      Before replying here, I just read my post again. And I stick by my word :). Especially in weddings where you do not have time to tag Uncle Javier and Auntie Maria – all you care about is tagging the bride and the groom, no? I think that face recognition is more a a “consumer” feature rather than a “pro” feature. Not that I pretend to be a pro, but I can pretend on being able to use LR4 to its fullest. I do realize however that face recognition will get better real soon and that its accuracy will greatly improve. When that time comes, I will revisit my comment… maybe in LR5!

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