Monday, June 22, 2009

Saving Adjustments

Ok, I don't like to give recipes for photo editing, but there is one thing that I apply to most of my pictures. I like my photos with a little extra contrast, saturation, and vibrance. While I could use the Lift and Stamp tools to copy adjustments from one picture to another, I can save my adjustments as a preset.

Every controls group has a menu drop down where you can save the adjustments. Once you have the adjustments set, open the menu and select "Save as Preset." A dialog box opens for you to name this preset. Now you can reapply these adjustments to your hearts content by accessing the menu drop down on your other photos. The three control groups that I have presets for are: Enhance (I have a basic and a high contrast that I use for monochrome), Sharpening, and Edge Sharpening.

My big peeve with this drop down is how all the options are ordered. You'll notice that the first item in the menu drop down is to add/remove the controls group to the default set. This option shows/hides this control group by default on the Adjustments Inspector. This option is the one I use the least and it's at the very top. There's been a bunch of times when I've clicked it by accident. The name of this menu item is also rather confusing. The other thing I would like to see Aperture add is a preset for adjustments that span across multiple control groups. I want to add vignette, sharpening, and enhancements from one command -- one that I would like to tie to a keyboard shortcut.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Stacks is an important tool in organizing your files in Aperture. It allows you to group your photos together. When you burst a series of shots or bracket a series of shots, you may not want to see each individual image. To clean up the browser, select all the images and ⌘K. This puts the selected images into a single stack of photos. Initially it doesn't appear any different except now there's a border around all those images. ⇧K will open/close the stack. Stacks eliminates the clutter in the browser.

When the stack is closed, the first picture is all that's visible. That picture is called the pick. If the desired picture is not the pick, select the one that is desired and hit ⌘\. Within the stack, there's additional sorting that can be applied. Promote/Demote (⌘[ or ⌘]) a picture moves it further up/down the stack. The sort within the stack is independent of the sort in the browser. The stack is sorted only against how the pictures are promoted/demoted.

When the stack has been added to an album, a further option is available for picks. The "album pick" allows the album to have a pick that is different from the project. This is useful for when a particular stack may have multiples of the same image but each is processed differently. Unfortunately there's an inherent limitation in that you can't promote multiple pictures within the stack to be album picks. For that, you will have to break that picture out of stack.

I use stacks quite a bit. I tend to shoot on burst mode. Keeping photos in stacks helps me keep the pictures in my browser clear of clutter. It also lets me hide my uglier shots behind a nicer one.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

That's My Email!

I have a very popular name for my email address. So much so that in any given week, I see around 5-8 password reset requests. I also get lots of other people's emails. Today was one of those days. Today somebody used my email address to sign up for an Aperture 2 trial. While I've already got a copy of Aperture, I was reminded that Apple provides a pretty good collection of video tutorials on their website:

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Synchronize Your Watches

When shooting with multiple cameras I like to get all my pictures time synched. That lets me sort all of my images by their time stamps. There's a few of ways to get your shots to report the same time stamps. The most obvious way is to just program the clocks in the camera. But what if you are shooting with other people? That's when post-shoot time synching in Aperture really comes into use. First, get the shooters to shoot the same subject at exactly the same time. Just count to 3 and shoot on 3... or is that after 3? Anyhoo, the picture doesn't need to be any good. You just need to have the same point in time to reference against. You can really do this at any time during the shoot, but it'll be easiest to do it in the beginning. Alternatively, you can bring up the Time & Date System Preference pane (or any accurate clock). Then take pictures of the screen and use that as a reference for adjusting the time. This is a little easier if you're just shooting with a lot of cameras -- which I found myself recently doing with 2 SLRs and 1 waterproof P&S and another P&S. Figure out what the time difference should be. Then select the photos for which you want to adjust the time. Under the Metadata menu, select Adjust Date & Time. Easy!

If you are traveling and change the time zone to the local time zone, make sure to use Metadata > Batch Change to set your photos to your home time zone. Aperture's not that good about handling time zones. Even if you tell Aperture what time zone your photos are, it doesn't really retain it. When you use any plug-ins, Aperture forgets what time zone the original photo came from and then time stamps the new version with the original time but current time zone of the Mac. For example, if the picture was tagged at 5:55PM GMT -5 and the Mac is currently GMT -8, after the picture has been run through a plug-in, the new time stamp on the edited photo will be 5:55PM GMT -8. This is why it's important to make the Batch Change to set photos to the home time zone. Hopefully this will get fixed in some future version of Aperture. I can see how this would be an issue for those photographers on the move.

Since I'm talking about time and complaining about bugs, here's a related problem. When exporting photos with the subfolder set to "Current Date," sometimes Aperture forgets what the current day is. Sometimes it thinks that yesterday is today. Just a minor issue, but one to look out for.