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Is Aperture for me? (Photo organisation for a non-professional)

436 Views 3 Replies Latest reply: Oct 9, 2012 1:57 AM by Gerard Perret RSS
Laralyn10 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Oct 8, 2012 11:23 AM

I'm not a professional photographer, I'm just looking for a way to better organise my personal photos. However I am a graphic designer and know my way around editing photos and I have some of RAW files too.

 

So, currently, my iPhoto library is a wasteland- mostly duplicates that I imported at some point for some reason or another.

 

The rest of my photos are simply in named folders. I have about 200 gigs of the stuff, going back to 2006 (plus older ones on other drives)

 

Currently, I simply use cover flow and quick view to browse photos. It works surprisingly well, but it's no match for a proper solution (geotagging, face recognition, creating books, flagging, rating, etc.)

 

So, if you use Aperture, I'd love to ask you:

 

• Is Aperture your primary photo organisation tool, or do you also continue to use the finder or other solutions at the same time?

 

• How is storing photos on an external drive handled in Aperture? Is it easy, or does it involve a lot of dragging stuff around and messing up your existing events/albums?

 

• Once photos are stored on an external.. how do you back them up in case that drive fails?

 

• On the Apple "iPhoto to Aperture" page, they say iPhoto and Aperture share their libraries. So what happens to photos Aperture has moved to an external drive, do they disappear from iPhoto?

 

• How's the speed? I always found iPhoto to be slow and unresponsive. I do have the 13" MBP from 2010 (2.4 Ghz, Intel Core 2 Duo) but it does everything else smoothly so I fail to see what is so intense about iPhoto to justify the poor performance.

I plan to upgrade to a new MBP, so maybe this is a moot point.

 

• Is importing all my old photos gonna be pretty straightforward? I'd assume Aperture will take the dates on the files, rather than the date I import them.

 

• Since I never used iPhoto much, I don't get the difference between an Event and an Album- though I assume that events are for separating photo dumps (say, your visit to italy and your skiing trip) and albums are for combining an arbitrary set of photos (for instance your best travel photos featuring images from italy and the skiing trip among others), so when you delete one from an album, the image is still in the event, but if you delete from an event, it goes to the trash?... is this correct?

 

• any other advice you may have

 

Thanks!

MacBook Pro, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • CorkyO2 Level 4 Level 4 (1,290 points)

    I will comment on some of the items and exclude the external drive questions as I use a 'Managed' library on the internal drive.

     

     

    • Is Aperture your primary photo organisation tool, or do you also continue to use the finder or other solutions at the same time?

     

    I use Aperture specifically for organizing, viewing and enhancing images from my camera (with one proviso noted at end of this section). Since I use Photoshop and Illustrator to create composites and other graphic images, I keep that type of work outside of Aperture and use Bridge to view those in the finder disk structure. Basic line of thought here is just like iTunes is for music files, Aperture is for camera image files.

     

    Although I could hold composite PSD files from Photoshop inside the Aperture library, I don't simply because I don't know if Apple may decide not to support those fully in the future. I used to keep PSD files in the library, but moved away from that practice.

     

    Note - the proviso mentioned above is that I do have one Project that contains imported composites and rasterized Illustrator files that I wish to sync with iDevices. This is the only place I keep anything other than JPEG or RAW original camera files in the library.

     

     

    • How's the speed? I always found iPhoto to be slow and unresponsive. I do have the 13" MBP from 2010 (2.4 Ghz, Intel Core 2 Duo) but it does everything else smoothly so I fail to see what is so intense about iPhoto to justify the poor performance.

    I plan to upgrade to a new MBP, so maybe this is a moot point.

     

    Aperture's speed depends on what you are doing in the program. Importing many images can take a little time, but no more so than other programs (e.g., Lightroom or even Bridge - which has to build it's cache). Face detection can take some time if you have a lot of faces in the images, but once it completes it is done.

     

    Making adjustments to images can be quick in most of the adjustment bricks and HUD's, although; the retouch and skin softening brushes can become slower when you are adding a lot of local adjustments. This is no different than in Lightroom or Adobe Camera RAW when using brushes. Photoshop actually edges out these programs if you use layers and masks when brushing as far as processing speed goes, but that takes time to create a layer > fill > brush adjustment. Since Aperture does the masking for you on the fly, the speed is pretty much a wash.

     

    Note - if iPhoto is slow and unresponsive on your machine, it may be due to something in the library database being the issue. However, it seems that most software creators (Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, etc.) always want to take advantage of the leading edge hardware when possible, which can lead to depleted performance in underpowered machines. With your machine, I would probably look at the library first aid items to improve performance though as iPhoto should be able to run decently.

     

     

    • Is importing all my old photos gonna be pretty straightforward? I'd assume Aperture will take the dates on the files, rather than the date I import them.

     

    Importing is easy and you have a number of options. Aperture will read the metadata of the image files and if the date and time are there, you can use that as the naming scheme if you wish. I would suggest reading the bit about file naming presets here:

     

    http://documentation.apple.com/en/aperture/usermanual/index.html#chapter=4%26sec tion=6%26tasks=true

     

    I will leave the external drive ideas to others who run a reference library as they will have much better information than I can provide.

     

     

    • Since I never used iPhoto much, I don't get the difference between an Event and an Album- though I assume that events are for separating photo dumps (say, your visit to italy and your skiing trip) and albums are for combining an arbitrary set of photos (for instance your best travel photos featuring images from italy and the skiing trip among others), so when you delete one from an album, the image is still in the event, but if you delete from an event, it goes to the trash?... is this correct?

     

    In either iPhoto or Aperture, you have to import image before the programs know about them and therefore before you can work with them in the program. iPhoto uses 'Events' to hold imports and Aperture uses 'Projects'. They are really the same thing - a container for the imported images.

     

    In both programs, Albums are manually created collections of 'aliases' to the imported images that reside inside the Events / Projects. If you delete an image alias in an Album, it only removes the link to the image in the Event / Project. If on the other hand you delete the imported image from the Event / Project, then it will remove the image as well as any aliases to that image that you have created in Albums.

     

    In both programs, if you delete an image from the Event / Project where it resides, it will go to the program's internal Trash first. If you then emtpy that internal Trash via command, it will go to the Finder trash. Note - you can put an image back from the program's internal Trash without re-importing. If you send to the Finder trash, you will need to re-import the image if you want to replace it.

     

    Both programs also incorporate 'Smart Albums' which are created using filtering criteria and remain dynamic. Meaning any current image that meets the filter criteria will be shown as well as any future image that meets said criteria (either via import, ranking, keyword, adjustment, etc.).

     

    Note - the library structures in both programs don't really mirror the file structure on disk. While you can try to set it up that way (and many users may well do that) - I just felt it was too time consuming for me. So I just use Aperture like I do iTunes. Camera image in > organize > enhance as needed > enjoy.

     

    One thing in Aperture that is really nice is a feature called 'Quick Preview Mode'. With the click of a button or a keyboard press, you can tell Aperture not to worry about rendering an adjustable version and just show you the image as it currently is. Really great for cruising the images. Just remember to switch off the Quick Preview Mode when you want to make adjustments.

     

    http://documentation.apple.com/en/aperture/usermanual/index.html#chapter=5%26sec tion=7%26tasks=true

     

    Hope that helps.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,895 points)

    Is Aperture your primary photo organisation tool, or do you also continue to use the finder or other solutions at the same time?

     

    It's an either/or proposition. Use Aperture and it replaces the Finder as you're go-to app for your photos.

     

    • How is storing photos on an external drive handled in Aperture? Is it easy, or does it involve a lot of dragging stuff around and messing up your existing events/albums?

     

    Easy. Quite seamless.

     

    • Once photos are stored on an external.. how do you back them up in case that drive fails?

     

    Use any of the 100's of back up utilities out there to back them up to another drive.

     

    • On the Apple "iPhoto to Aperture" page, they say iPhoto and Aperture share their libraries. So what happens to photos Aperture has moved to an external drive, do they disappear from iPhoto?

     

    No.

     

    • Is importing all my old photos gonna be pretty straightforward? I'd assume Aperture will take the dates on the files, rather than the date I import them.

     

    Yes and Yes.

     

    Regards

     

     

    TD

  • Gerard Perret Calculating status...

    Morning, Just bringing up my to cents.

    I started 2 years ago with iPhoto on my first iMac and I decided immediately to import all photos inside the iPhoto libraries and to keep a backup of all originals on an external Usb drive

     

    As all my originals files were organized per year (coming from a folder structure managed by Picasa) so I have created one iPhoto library for each year starting 2005.

     

    I organized all my pictures from inside Apple application nothing was done on external drive except getting photos from the cameras to temporary folders created by YYYY MM DD. Then I imported pretty all into libraries and kept a backup of the folders.

     

    In a second step I looked to Aperture and bought it as it was stronger and having more functions but did not really start with because as at this time (one year ago) we had to create new libraries for Aperture, from the iPhoto libraries or importing again originals. This was not very nice to have everything duplicated as I wanted to keep iPhoto as a basic photo editor (used by my wife) and in parallel being able to make more with Aperture.

     

    Then the last updates, Aperture 3.4 and of iPhoto 9.4 came making the libraries compatibles in both directions and this is really a very very great improvement.

     

    I converted all my libraries to the latest version without any problems (did a backup before just in case…) and now it’s really a pleasure. You can edit modify your photos, add metadata in Aperture and be able to read the library within iPhoto and vice versa. You can skip from one libray to anothe one, merge or split libraries and now as well with iPhoto you can select the libray to open from the file menu (this was not possible before)

     

    In aperture you can then organize your photos with many options, date (which is the date of the original file for sure) location, very nice feature I am playing with all my WEs, any kind of keywords can be added and used as query/filter. Only your imagination will be a limit to the organization . You can play with books, presentations and so on

     

    I regularly copy all libraries on my Mac Book using FireWire connection  to bring them out and everything works well.

    I am now starting to digitalize old non numeric pictures to store them within Aperture (long job!!)

     

    Just to finish, I did recently upgrade my machines to Mountain Lion and moved up the memory to 8G and it’s working well and fast, somehow depending of the size of the picture file specially with new cameras that are making huge files.

    Well my conclusion is that Aperture is a very nice tool for a non professional photographer who likes to have things well stored and easy to find back.

    Cheers

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