Can anyone help with my workflow?
I am using referenced files in Aperture.
Here's my workflow:
Import directly from cards to Aperture
Rename original files on import from DSC_xxx to LGK_YYYY_MM_DD_Counter and save the files to referenced folder broken down by year.
Apply Metadata on import.
Referenced files are the way to go but importing directly into Aperture is high risk. Personally I leave the original file names as created by the camera. Decades in the future (Aperture or no Aperture) a global search will easily find originals.
The fact that Apple describes a direct-to-Aperture workflow in the manual is simply sales-driven incompetence on Apple's part. We have seen scores if not hundreds of "Aperture ate my images" type threads here that lead from direct-to-Aperture import.
• First copy card images to a folder on a hard drive.
• Next eject the card, but do not reformat it yet. This is an important step because while the card is in play errors can cause loss of the originals.
• Now separate the images in the folder into sub-folders, each of which will be a Project. Often all the images are just one Project anyway.
• Next back up the folders of images that will be projects. After two copies exist, each on different drives, the previously ejected card may be reformatted (in-camera, not by computer).
• (Only after the above are verified complete) then import each folder as a new Project into Aperture by reference (set the import window to Store Files: in their current location) to one set of the backed up original images that are living in a folder on an external drive.
• Remember to also back up off site to protect against fire and theft.
One should never trust not-yet-backed-up original images to humans' error-prone usage of Aperture or any other images management application (unless of course one has a dual-card camera; or if images are low value and/or easily reproducible).
I have had problems with Aperture importing duplicates in the past. Will this be the case with my current workflow?
See Léonies answer. Aperture's image-duplication prevention is limited. You should make a workflow from camera to Aperture that prevents selecting duplicates for import. What I do is simple, but hardly fool-proof. Every time I import a shoot, I put the card back in the camera (unless it is close to full), aim for a window, hold my index finger up in front of the camera, and take a picture. Out-of-focus helps. This gives me a clear indication that all files on the card dated before the finger shot are already imported.
If a card is close to full, I rotate it to the bottom of my available cards. If I put another card in a camera (because the last card used was close to full) I format it immediately.
I keep enough cards so that I know I have made a backup of my imported (or copied to computer) files before I end up re-formatting any card.
Can photostream import be set to do the same thing?
Sorry. I don't know.
Should I be using the original filename instead of counter in import settings?
I use both, but I use sequence instead of counter. The sequence alerts me to missing pictures, and in the case of repeated shoots, locations, etc, helps ensure a unique file name. My file naming convention is here.
Should I be renaming at all?
I think so. But read the linked thread for comments from two top-notch commenters who point out, rightly, that you don't _need_ to rename your files.
I use referenced library because I am not limiting my post processing to Aperture.
I rename pictures during import from camera leaving the original name and adding date and short meaningful description at the end of it, i.e., IMG_7857_2012-11-08_Some name.CR2.
The pictures live in folders where top level describes what kind of shoot it was i.e.
„commissioned," then a year, then full shoot date in format yyyy-mm-dd to make it easier to sort and short shoot description, this folder may contain several subfolders Originals (where original files live) /Edited (here are finished/post processed files) /Contact Sheet /PSD , etc.
If I use Apertrure’s feature edit in external editor, it creates TIFF file in the same directory where original files live, therefore later I have to move these files to /Edited folder manually and check is Aperture still keeps correct links to it.
Few times I had duplicates imported to my library, but this was not a big deal.
2012-10-20 Fashion Shoot Magazine name/
2012-11-14 Portrait Name Surname/
After files are imported and organized in the way I need, I start backing up entire Volume (I Use Carbon Copy Cloner) and do not erase cards until I need it. I do rotate cards (in total have around 70GB of CF cards), so there is low risk that I will use the same card next day, or at least before I will touch the pictures from that card and find that something is wrong (have not yet found anything wrong with imported files).