3 Replies Latest reply: Mar 16, 2014 5:28 AM by hibhaven Branched to a new discussion.
hibhaven Level 1 (5 points)

I am a wedding photographer and shoot 10k-12k images per month. Other than latest projects, I move all my Master files to external drives, keeping only previews on my iMac. All my master files are always 'referenced'.


My concern is that the Aperture library itself is getting too large in size, its approx 70 GB. On expanding the library ('show package content), I notice that the Previews folder itself is 50+ GB.


- Do the preview files take up so much space?

- Is there a way to reduce the size of the Aperture library itself (without splitting the library into smaller ones n shifting them elsewhere)


How do others address this issue?

MacBook Pro (15-inch Early 2011), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.4), Intel Core i7, 8 GB RAM, 500 GB HDD
  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 (12,510 points)

    The database itself does not use up very much room.  The Previews do.  What size are your Previews?


    You can delete them (do NOT do this from Finder), but without Previews you won't be able to email the Images or browse or share them via the OS X Media Browser.  (I like to think of the Previews as _another_ back-up, albeit a reduced-in-quality one.)  Your Library will retain small and large (1024 px) thumbnails of your Images.


    Another set of files that can take up a lot of space in a Library are thumbnails and "head shots" used by Faces.  Do you have Faces enabled?


    Other than diminishing the size and/or quantity of Previews, and not using Faces, there isn't much (afaik) you can do to decrease the size of your Library.  You can move it to an external drive, however.  Since the disadvantages of splitting a Library are significant, I move overly large Libraries to their own external drives (USB-3 or Thunderbolt for professional workloads).  As a busy wedding photographer, you should consider a large external SSD for the Library, with the Originals of Images in no-longer-current shoots referenced on another (slower) HDD.  (Bonus for this set-up: backing up whole drives is easy to do and administer.)


    (Added:) Also, remove your iDevice cache.


    Message was edited by: Kirby Krieger

  • Najinsky Level 3 (670 points)

    Using your own words, you have a concern rather than an issue.


    My advice is simply don't worry about it. It's remarkably common for people to take their working system and try to apply some preventtive maintenance to it and inadvetently turn it into a non-working system! Just look through the kind of issues raised here to see many examples.


    Aperture is designed to handle the volumes with ease and if the current size is not presenting any actual problems for you, I'd just let it get on and do its thing.


    Having said that, storage management and planning is important, but you aleady have the lions share of that side of things under control with the use of referenced files and external drives.


    The actual library is (among other things) your index into your external drives and the images they contain.


    Thumbnails and Previews are the visual element of that index used for browsing and sharing your collection.


    Thumbnails are used for browsing and are not optional. So previews is where you have the most opportunity to control the size.


    However, keep in mind it's a trade-off; make smaller or lower quality prieviews to reduce the space they take up (in preferences), and they potentially become usuable in fewer scenarios. Elect not to keep the previews for some (or all) images, and you lose the ability to share them through iLife/Media Browser.


    Previously I had a smaller internal hard and so needed to make this trade-off, and my approach was to only keep previews for my top rated images, as these were the ones I would be sharing in slideshows and online. However being a pro, I doubt this kind of trade off would work for you. It needs to be tailored to your own usage, for example perhaps keep previews for all projects for 3 years along with those that you elect to reperesent your portfolio.



  • hibhaven Level 1 (5 points)

    I dont have faces enabled, nor places.


    Based on the above two responses, I have a few queries:


    -  What's the difference between Previews & Thumbnails (in the Aperture context)?

    - What do you mean by "but without Previews you won't be able to email the Images or browse or share them via the OS X Media Browser". Whenever I have wanted to email an image, I export it from Aperture and then add to my mail. Is there any other way to do so? And what do you mean by OS X Media browser?


    And thanks for your responses, it gives me ideas about possible options.