My plan to translate tips about using Adobe’s Lightroom found online into tips for using Aperture here hasn’t gone very far. But now I have some motivation. The folks at The Digital Photo Experience have started a Lightroom tip series for the upcoming week and I intend to piggyback on their work by posting matching articles here about Aperture 3. Don’t look at this as a Lightroom vs. Aperture thing — its not.
This series should work well as Aperture 3 has added many new elements bringing it into virtual feature parity with Lightroom 2 (the version they’ll be using for their series). Also, the latest update to Aperture, 3.0.2, seems to have fixed at least the most egregious bugs found in the initial release — there are bugs left to be sure (don’t get me started …), but Aperture is now stable enough for full time use. See also Scott Bourne’s comments at Photofocus.
Lightroom is divided into “modules” as virtual spaces for post processing work. There are Library, Develop, Slideshow, Print and Web work areas. Aperture doesn’t use modules and follows a more non-modal approach to workflow. You get the same things done, but you don’t have to switch modules to do them.
Managing files (imports, grouping into projects and albums, creating enclosing folders, backing up to vaults etc.) is done from the Library tab of the Inspector pane.
You use the Metadata tab of that same Inspector panel to add keywords, ratings, location data and the like.
And image adjustments such as exposure, sharpening and white balance are made in the Adjustments tab of the Inspector panel.
The cool thing about the lack of modules is that you can do nearly anything at nearly anytime from nearly any view. Here you can see that you can make image adjustments while using the browser view.
A Slideshow in Aperture is just another album but has a slightly different view. There are a number of templates available, slide transitions can be edited and you can add music from your iTunes library. Aperture is, not surprisingly, well integrated with Apple’s iLife suite of applications.
When its time to print, you head off to the print dialog box as you would in any other Macintosh application. Here you can also save commonly used settings (color management profile, paper size, margins, text additions, watermarks, and so on) as presets.
Just like a Slideshow, a Web Page is another type of Aperture album. And just as with all other albums, you can add metadata and make image adjustments there by switching tabs in the Inspector panel.
Aperture has another type of album called a Light Table. This works much like a traditional light table where you can spread out a stack of photos and arrange and even resize them as you wish. You might use this view to pick images for a book, or to look at how different images might go together as you assemble a portfolio for a show.
Rick makes a good point about learning Lightroom’s keyboard shortcuts to speed your work. The same is true for Aperture, but Aperture goes it one better. Not only are there a heap of shortcuts, you can customize them and even create your own.