I’m having problems with captions written in Aperture not exporting to exported versions. If anyone has ideas, please post them. Also I would like to see if others are having this problem. Sorry about the long post.
I’m having a difficult problem with the inability to write captions in Aperture and have them saved in exported versions. This occurs only when the original master already has something in its caption. While in Aperture, everything looks fine, but upon exporting as a VERSION, the exported version will still show the previous caption that was in the original master and not the new caption from Aperture. This can be seen by looking at the information in Preview, Graphic Convertor (which shows the both the correct newer caption in the “IPTC caption abstract”, and the incorrect original caption in the IFDO Image description, XMP-dc and EXIF image title), or upon reimport to Aperture. When the newly exported version is reimported into Aperture, it will continue to show only the incorrect older caption. This will occur with photos from any camera. Exported MASTERS with “include IPTC” checked will export correctly, unless the problem comes from a camera caption preset (see below). Keywords and “most” other metadata do not seem to be affected (there are some issues with copyright and contact info).
It is easy to test: Import a photo into Aperture, add a caption to the photo in Aperture, and export it as a version. Then reimport the exported version, then change the caption to something different, and export it again as a version. Then open it in Preview and review the information (command-I), or reimport this photo into Aperture and look at the caption - it will continue to show the first caption, and it will not show the newer caption.
A related problem with somewhat different behavior occurs with several camera models which seem to have a preset caption in the metadata which is exported with their photos (many Canon models have many “empty spaces”, and several Olympus cameras have “OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA”, and I believe some Nikons also have a similar issue). In these cases, the original master already has a “caption” (even if it appears blank), and even though you have added a caption in Aperture, upon exporting a version, the caption will retain the camera caption preset, and the caption written in Aperture is not visible. This problem must be slightly different because if you export a Master (with IPTC) from these photos with a camera caption preset, the caption is still incorrect (ie empty spaces for the Canons and Nikons or the “OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA” for the Olympus cameras); whereas for photos with embedded captions in the originals (i.e. previously exported from Aperture), then the exported MASTERS (with IPTC) will have the correct caption.
Both problems (ie the one with previous captions from any source in the original and the one with the camera preset captions) have surfaced since updating from Aperture 3.3.2 to subsequent versions, currently at version 3.4.3. I have a Cannon PS-230 HS camera, which previously did not have any issues; but since updating from version 3.3.2, Aperture always reads the initial caption upon import as a series of about 20-30 empty spaces. When a new caption is written in Aperture, the “empty spaces” caption overrides the new written caption in all exported versions and exported masters. This is the very same photo without any changes and in the same Aperture Library which exported correctly with Aperture version 3.3.2. The same behavior is noted in photos from 2 different cameras of the same type, so it is not a corruption in the metadata of one camera. It must be something in the way Aperture reads and writes metadata.
I am able to avoid this problem with the camera presets if PRIOR TO IMPORT to Aperture I take the photos and use terminal and EXIF TOOL, and after changing directories to the location of those particular photos run the terminal command
exiftool -P -r -overwrite_original_in_place -m -EXIF:ImageDescription= (place file path here)
(I placed a previous post about 2 years ago with more details on how to do this, but notice that parts of the command are incorrectly underlined in that post; they should be as posted above. Here is the long winded link: Loss of Captions only in Olympus Camera photos that might help a terminal neophyte like me).
I can then import them and they will behave normally (i.e. they will export a version with a new caption once only). However, once they have been imported to Aperture, this will not work unless you get the original masters, run the EXIF Tool script and then reimport them. You will then have to individually paste all metadata and adjustments to the reimported masters from the ones that you already worked on in Aperture. Obviously not very practical if you have thousands of photos like this, and then you still have the problem of being able to add a caption to an exported version one time only.
Unfortunately, for some reason this doesn’t help the problem with originals that already have captions in them. I have tried over a hundred different ways of working around this without any luck, including using EXIF tool exiftool -P -r -overwrite_original_in_place -m -EXIF:ImageDescription= -XMP= /Current\ Aperture\ Photo\ Projects/FolderEXIFChange, Exif tool exiftool -iptc:all= -tagsfromfile @ -all:all -unsafe ./ (I have no idea what that does, but previous posters have had some success with this), different import and export parameters, consolidated vs. referenced, repaired permissions and prefences, etc. in all kinds of different orders and it still does not work.
The only thing that seems to kind of work is to export a Master “with IPTC” after changing the caption to the way you want it, then reimporting it and pasting all of the adjustments you made from the original in Aperture to the reimported photo. You will have to repeat the whole process any time you change the caption again in the future, but at least any exported versions will have the correct caption. (Please notice that this will not work if you have one of the “camera preset caption” problem, and you will have fix that with the EXIF Tool as above first.)
This is a very poor solution for this problem. It must be possible for Apple to fix this problem as it was working well before the recent Aperture updates. If you have any ideas on other methods to get this to work, please post a comment!
This is a BIG problem for users, and if it becomes widespread could cause Aperture to lose credibility with users. It's very easy to not notice it until after you've written thousands of captions, and to then realize that it doesn't export is enough to make many people give up on the whole thing. I hope it has a solution soon.