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Evolving your Photography Workflow #1

Evolving you Photography Workflow #2
The switch from iPhoto to Aperture. Getting your Library converted.

You're a happy iPhoto user and using it for the past years to take care of your vacation photos and the pictures you shot at family events. So far so good. As your Library gets bigger and bigger, you start loosing the overview, can’t find a certain photo quickly and iPhoto becomes really slow and a pain to use. That or something similar I’m seeing day in day out at my daily job behind the counter of Comspot Schanze, an Apple Retailer in Hamburg.
There is often a way to repair the old iPhoto library, split it into small ones and make those small ones run faster again. This however, as a matter of fact, is cumbersome, frustrating and will not stop iPhoto from crashing and slowing down again. Additionally the switching between libraries isn’t fluid and you would have to start building your albums again. Or you switch to Aperture and get used to another workflow which eliminates those problems and brings many new organizing features into the game.

Even though it has never been easier to switch from iPhoto to Aperture than at present running Mavericks and the latest versions of iPhoto and Aperture, there are still some caveats to handle. That is where I want to give you a hand with this short guide.

If you’re on the newest Version of Aperture and iPhoto you can simply open your existing iPhoto Library with Aperture. If you’re on an older Version and not running Mavericks, you have to start up Aperture and let it build a new Library. Then you use the Import Dialog in the File menu and select import iPhoto Library.

In both cases Aperture will import your iPhoto library and build projects from your events and separate albums from your iPhoto albums. This sounds very logical and natural at first but there is a caveat. Aperture has a different structure compared to iPhoto.
First up, in iPhoto you have your events which are created more or less automatically on import. They are labeled based on the date you took your photo. You can also give an own name to the event. Than there are the iPhoto albums, which you create manually on your own and drag photo collections from your events to your albums. Those albums are shown directly on the left side of the program window, whereas your events are grouped into the events Folder at the very top of the right sided iPhoto menu. The Books you created are at the very bottom of your side menu.
In Aperture there are no events anymore but projects into which your events are converted. Those projects are different to the events in iPhoto in that they are not only grouped under the projects folder on top of the right side menu in Aperture. They are displayed also in the same side menu one by one on the way down. Now where is the difference apart from the location you ask! Well, Aperture has three different kinds of possibilities to organise your photos: Projects, Albums and Folders. There is a hierarchy in these which states that Albums can only be created within projects but Folders can contain Albums or Projects. What that means is that I can create multiple Albums inside my Projects and group them into Folders. I can also create multiple Projects in my library and group those into folders. Those projects can contain Albums within or without Folders as well but I can’t put Projects and Albums into Folders at the same level.

As you used to know in iPhoto, when a photo is put into an album, it can be deleted from the album without deleting it from the event. The same story is true for Aperture. You can delete photos from albums inside a project, without deleting the photo from the project. If you delete a photo from a project it is like deleting photos from events. They are gone from the event/project and any albums they where in. The reason why I tell you this, is because it happens more often than not that someone erases a photo from a project because the projects are show in the same manner, as iPhoto displays albums, so watch out what you are about to delete.

So we imported our iPhoto library into Aperture and know how Aperture handles projects, albums and folders. What know? Well the next thing is about sorting your photos, rating them and distributing tags. This will be covered in the next episode of Evolving you Photography Workflow.