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Photo app suggestions


Topic starter

I'm currently on Lightroom 6.14 - an old standalone version of LR. I do not want the subscription model. 

I have a lot of keywords I don't want to lose.

I thought about the Photos app, but it has a MAJOR dealbreaker for me: it's all TIME based instead of LOCATION based when it comes to my photos. And before you say, "Hey, click on the map!" I tried that. What I got was City A, then dates, surrounding cities, then back to my city. It's sorting by date still. The tech advisor at Apple says Photos can't do what I'm asking without making a Smart Folder. Fine. Except there's NO dropdown to choose LOCATION. Just 'Has GPS' which isn't helpful because then I just get all photos that have a GPS location sub sorted by date. 

Help? I'm at wits end. There has to be some way of keeping my tags, seeing photos by location location location. I can't recall WHEN I saw X, but I'm very likely to tell you WHERE I saw it. I mean, what did you have for dinner two Mondays ago? Right? But I bet you know that you ate at home. And for me, I'll know that the drinking commenced here, at home in front of my computer while there was wailing and gnashing of teeth. But I certainly won't recall WHEN. 

Thanks. No. really. If you have the answer to this, THANK YOU!

6 Answers

@mmuto Photos doesn't have hierarchical keywords so, you won't be able to have that like in LR. As for Pixelmator, it's better to compare it to Photoshop or even Photoshop Express or Affinity Photo than LR. They are wayyyyy more powerful than LR or Photos because you can actually modify at pixel levels, versus on a more global way (or even with local adjustment). Photos and LR uses instructions to tell the picture how it is modified vs PS, Pixelmator, Affinity photo who actually modify the pixel. That's the biggest difference.  And you can merge images, make photo montage and retouching (cloning something out or adding a new person in a photo for example) which LR and photos can't do. So, it really depends on what you typically do with your photos.

If you want to just make them look good, than Photos is OK, not the best, but getting there with Catalina and iOS 13. Than you can add something like VSCO on the iOS side to stylize your photo, still not retouching, just applying a style, or going even further with Luminar or ON1 photo Raw as a plugin or extension to Photos. Those two try to mix what PS and LR can do, so maybe worth looking at. Then there is Affinity and PixelMator to do any retouching, cloning, merging, collage etc,...

I have to confess, I have them all;-) but then again, it's my job and every tool has its plus and minus, so I'm taking every advantages I can get. 

Every one of those software has trials, so check them out and see what each can do and what you like. Luminar 4 is coming soon and will have a lot of AI stuff which look pretty impressive, BUT Skylum tend to often over promises and under deliver and there is no beta yet available to test it. On1 2020 is in beta, so you can check it out.

Anyway, happy exploring with all those options:-)


I am using Airbrush app for my iPhone 8 plus. With the latest updated version dated 20th Dec. 2019, AirBrush has been considered as the best photo editor for iPhone


@mmuto, I understand you don't want a subscription, but depending on your needs, Adobe might still be the better option. If you only want to be able to see the photos by location, you might look at NeoFinder. It's a digital management system that can give you a way to see your images by location. You'd have to test that out though because I only looked online and don't own the latest version myself. Lightroom being more of a RAW processor, which happens to be a cataloging software for your photos is more of an all in one solution which enables you to developpe your RAWs (if you are shooting in RAW) and modify or adjust your jpegs to achieve a certain look. And if you want to tag, rate, label your photos, you can also do that, and print, etc,...

If you take photos with your phone, put them in a folder on your hard drive and don't retouch them at all, then Neofinder can probably do what you want. If you need to fiddle with your photos, retouch them, develop them (for RAWs) and still want to view them by location, there isn't much better software than Adobe's Lightroom Classique. You could also look at Adobe Lightroom (the leaner version). I just checked and you can search the name of the city or country or whatever and it will show it to you on a little map in the info panel. It only works on images that have GPS data though. ON1 doesn't have it, Exposure doesn't have it Luminar doesn't have it.

To back up a bit, in Photos, if I enter the name of any city I know I have pictures from, I see those pictures. If, as you say, you KNOW where, then just enter the name of the city in the search field and you should be able to click on the city and see all those pictures. You don't have an album that you can click on, but I guess it's even better to just enter the location and have them all show up. AND, it's FREE!;-)

Topic starter

Thank you so much, Jeff!

I played with Photos for a bit on the laptop instead of the iMac. Imported some photos to see if switching to Photos made sense. 

The map thing is nice. But since I also like to see things without having to zoom a lot, I toyed with making a folder calle location and then a folder for each state, then albums under that for cities. I could easily zoom in and then add photos to that. Okay, a bit weird for the Photos users out there, but if I never got used to the clicking on locations and then zooming and then zooming some more, I can completely mimic LR.

So far, so good.

Editing. I'm not a pro and it's true that LR is a bit of an overkill for me. But Photos seemed lacking. Okay, Pixelmator. I quite like it — even moreso than LR, to be honest. For $30 it's a steal compared to LR!

I'm getting optimistic!

Keywords. Ugh. Okay, so here's where I'm having to think this through. LR allows for nested keywords. Example:

Topic starter



You set me on a path that works.

I had NO idea that I could type in Dogs in the search field inside photos and Photos does it's darnedest to find photos of dogs. Or animals. Or waterfalls. Or trees. Plants. People. Cars. Sportscars. 


Pixelmator Pro Hummingbird works as a Photos plug-in. It's $40 in the app store.

Buh-bye Adobe!

And Dave or John, if you are reading this, THIS is definitely COOL STUFF FOUND! Like THE coolest!

*sniff* I love you guys, man! 😀 What would I do without you all?


By using the Airbrush app for my iPhone, I've got the latest updated version.