14 Replies Latest reply: Nov 3, 2012 2:13 PM by ttx336
luba petrusha Level 1 (100 points)

I've been using iPhoto to manage my photos (successfully) for many years.  I have multiple themed iPhoto libraries with many thousands of photos in them (ten years' worth of digital plus another fifty years scanned).  I am thinking of downloading Aperture and giving it a try (thanks to an App Store gift card).


Can I use Aperture to edit photos within these iPhoto libraries?  Do the libraries become "common" to both applications, or does duplication occur?  I have limited hard drive space and don't want to create large duplicate files on my iMac.



iMac G5 (20-inch iSight), Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 (12,510 points)

    It depends on what versions of iPhoto and Aperture you use, which in turn depend on what version of OS X you use.


    Are you on 10.6.8 (that's what's listed with your post)?  Are you planning on upgrading to 10.7.4?


    If you upgrade all your software (which in turn also depends on whether you have the hardware to support it), then the difference between an "iPhoto Library" and an "Aperture Library" is null:  the Library file format is identical, and every Library can be opened with either Program at any time.  (Limitations are listed on this Apple support page.)


    If you do not upgrade, then you cannot open iPhoto Libraries with Aperture.  You must import them into Aperture, which creates a new Aperture Library, separate from your iPhoto Library.  Aperture Libraries cannot be opened by older versions of iPhoto.

  • luba petrusha Level 1 (100 points)

    I just bought a new MacBookPro which is fully updated (10.7.4 and iPhoto 11).  I plan to update the iMac, although it means losing some software that is being run in Rosetta at the moment (old Adobe CS programs I rarely use, Appleworks and a bunch of silly games). 


    Thanks for the info.  This was what I needed to know.


    I have some 50-100 libraries (haven't counted recently) which occupy most of my hard drive.  I find it easiest to manage my photos with themed libraries (annual, trip, subject).


    I tried Aperture a while back (free trial) and didn't like having to create all new libraries.

  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 (12,510 points)

    luba petrusha wrote:


    I have some 50-100 libraries (haven't counted recently) which occupy most of my hard drive.  I find it easiest to manage my photos with themed libraries (annual, trip, subject).

    You could make each of your "themed Libraries" a Folder in Aperture, with all your current Projects and Albums intact.  In this way, you could search across all of your Image at once (e.g.: a Smart Album showing all Images in which you've identified a Face as "Mom"; or filter for the keyword "Sunset").  In general, the more Images in a Library, the more useful that Library is.  I strongly recommend one Library for each photographer (or group of photographers working as a business).  Aperture has no trouble handling enormous Libraries (officially, it supports up to 1,000,000 Images, iirc).


    A more advanced Library organization would replace each "themed" Folder+Projects with Albums.  There is no reason to limit your "themes" to the Images in just the Projects contained in a Folder.


    My general recommendation has always been to put all your Projects in one Folder (with sub-Folders as needed); and to put all your Albums in another top-level Folder.  In this way you build two structures: a _storage_ structure, in which you put all your Projects, where each Project = one shoot, and an _access_ structure, where you have Albums organized by Folders into whatever groupings you need.


    The newest version of Aperture (3.3.1) leans in this direction.  For the first time there is a default division between Project storage and Album storage (one the Library tab of the Inspector, there are now two built-in top-level containers, one for Projects and one for Albums).


    A separate issue is where on your system your Library and your Originals are stored.  Aperture allows you to move your Originals to storage on external drives or other non-system drives.  The limitation of the storage available on the system drive is something that all active photographers encounter at some point.  (In Aperture-speak, you would convert Image's Originals from Managed to Referenced using "File➞Relocate Originals".  This isn't something I'd look into right away, but rather after you become familiar with the Aperture interface.

  • luba petrusha Level 1 (100 points)

    I have libraries within folders within folders within folders.  I don't think I would want all of my libraries in one big folder, but I could group them into four or five (Travel, Family, Volunteering, Pysanky, etc.).  It's something to look into......when I get back.  I'm off next week for a month of travel and taking lots more photos.


    Aperture sounds like it will be useful, but maybe I'll wait and install it when I have a bit more time to learn and use it. 


    Thanks again.

  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 (12,510 points)

    luba petrusha wrote:


    I have libraries within folders within folders within folders. 

    Precisely.  You are using Finder to organize Libraries.  Look into giving up on using Finder -- it's very very indirect (your goal isn't organizing Library files, it's organizing your photographs).  Aperture allows you infinitely more leeway in how you set up your storage and access.


    (Note: in my comments above, "Folder" -- capitalized -- means the container in Aperture called "folder".  Folders in Aperture have nothing to do with folders in Finder.  They are entirely different entities.)


    Enjoy your travels; take lots of fine pictures  .

  • KevinePaloAlto Level 1 (55 points)

    I agree, one huge advantage of Aperture over iPhoto comes to how much better you can organize photos. In iPhoto the structure was:



    In Aperture it's:



    Note that plural "Folders".  You can have nested folders in Aperture.  It's a little confusing at first, coming from iPhoto, and you'll want to be really clear as to when you're deleting photos from your Album versus Project. 


    Also photos can be part of multiple albums, even if the albums are in different projects. 


    Also, you can import Libraries and export Folder, Projects, or Albums as Libraries.


    This may seem overwhelming at first, but spend some time playing with this and getting a good understanding by reading the manual or watching videos, and you'll really appreciate how robust this is.  Especially if you were having so many iPhoto Libraries like I was.  Aperture will change your life!


    A note of caution... Aperture 3.3.x and iPhoto 9.3 will upgrade your Libraries and make them incompatible with previous versions of the software.  If you're wanting to open your Libraries on your iMac, you might want to check and see if you can upgrade that iMac to Lion first, or at least be aware of the problem.

  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 (12,510 points)

    KevinePaloAlto wrote:


    In Aperture it's:


    There are even more degrees of freedom in Aperture  .  Neither Projects nor Albums need to be in Folders -- they can be top-level items.  All of them can co-exist at the same outline level.  It's quite free-form.  One of the often over-looked "pro" aspects of Aperture (imho) is that the Library is yours to structure.


    Aperture 3.3.1 has simplicated this ( ) with the addition of an "Albums" section on the Library tab of the Inspector (I've also seen a "Books" section; there are likely others as well).  This isn't the place to chop things that finely, but it is worth noting for later use.

  • luba petrusha Level 1 (100 points)

    What sort of drive do you use for external storage?  I am leery to store off-computer (as opposed to backing up the computer to external drive) because I have had numerous external drives fail in the past, and have lost several iTunes libraries (backed up to DVDs) and a couple of small iPhoto libraries (not yet backed up). 


    I had looked at a Drobo in the past, but couldn't get any real-life input on whether it was as good as advertised, and if it was easy to work with in an Apple environment.


    I would love to have a good option as I have little free disk space left on my main computer.


    Oddly, I have never lost a computer hard drive, although I know these things happen.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (137,883 points)

    I have a variety of USB HDs - LaCie, Seagate and Western Digital. Yes, drives go down, that's why I use multiple drives, each backed to others. Both my Aperture and iTunes Libraries live on externals.


    This could be a far greater risk to your data:


    ...as I have little free disk space left on my main computer.


    How much have you left? How big is the drive?

  • luba petrusha Level 1 (100 points)

    I've done a bit of cleaning up, and currently have 43 Gb (out of a TB drive) free.  With some more removal of duplicative libraries, I should be able to eek out another 60.


    I have two large external drives mirroring each other and harboring my iTunes library (600GB/ 1 TB each) and another 2 TB drive with my Time Machine files.  I don't particularly want to add to this row of drives, which is why I am curious about a Drobo or similar drive array.

  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 (12,510 points)

    Less than 10% free space on your system drive is going to slow performance and probably puts you at more risk for data loss than you would like.  The usual recommendation here is _at least_ 15% free, but aim for 20%.


    I can't comment on Drobo.  Search this forum -- there are many posts.  Iirc, Aperture has trouble with them.


    (Added) Underscoring Terence comment: ALL DRIVES WILL FAIL.  I had no failures for almost two years, and have six drives fail since April.


    Message was edited by: Kirby Krieger

  • ttx336 Level 1 (0 points)

    luba, I use Amazon's S3 (Simplified Storage Service); part of their AWS Suite... for offsite storage. imho it is an outstanding value... I think I currently have like 80GB stored there currently and pay around $5 per month, something like that... I use SuperFlexible Synchronizer to manage the transfer as AWS is strictly storage and does not handle the transfers. SuperFlexible is fantastic, Tobias is my point of contact there and he is really responsive and excellent at what he does. I just cannot say enough about how great a combination this is! I also use SuperFlexible to manage the mirroring between my NAS devices, etc.


    I also have had multiple drive failures in the past and am so very glad to have had state-of-the-art off-site storage available to me; I have lost NO data!


    Hope this helps...


  • luba petrusha Level 1 (100 points)

    How quickly can you upload the data?  I tried using Carbonite a while back, and it would have taken me several months (about 5) just to upload my data, much less update it. I have about 800 GB of photos on my drive.

  • ttx336 Level 1 (0 points)



    I cannot imagine that there are any speed restrictions, as I said, this is Enterprise Level off-site storage, there is not even a provison for moving the data, you must do that yourself; that is the bad news and the good news... There are untold numbers of organizations moving tens of terbytes of data in and out of S3 daily... as an aside, I didn't mention that you pay by the hour... not a big advantage for us little guys, but a huge advantage for those that swap out big chunks of data for short-term daily storage and move it somehwere else for the night, etc.


    I cannot say enough about how cool it is that they let tiny little players like me store 100GB or less here so inexpensively, and they let me choose how much redundancy I want to place on the storage too.


    So, the only limitation that I can think of is your upload speed. I can upload at about 2Mbps here and 35Mbps at work... hope this helps!