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My Switch to Aperture: Second Impressions

Recently I posted a blog here about my switch Aperture and wrote a little about my first impressions. After spending a lot more time with it I would like to share my second and third impressions with it.

First of all my enthusiasm about the software has not decreased, in fact, the more I use it the more I like it. After first mainly playing with it, I now have started to do some more serious work with it and the ease of use, the flexibility simply are great. It just feels fresh and inspires me to have some fun working and processing.

To get a little more into details I would like to share my personal highlights in no particular order:

Image editing and Brushes

The image editing possibilities cover most of my needs, and from my recently processed images, actually none had to go over to Photoshop at all. Have to admit though, that in my landscape photography I usually don’t need to do some heavy processing. The possibility to apply selectively and multiple curves and levels to the images is most of the time enough. Also the shadow/highlights tool for some minor lifting or recovering has become a welcome addition. Interestingly I rarely have used this tool in Photoshop. The possibility to brush-in or out an adjustment is just fantastic.


Naturally I had a backup-stragedy already before, and with Aperture this has not significantly changed, but integration of vaults within the app just makes my backup easier. I now have my library on one 1TB external RAID drive, which is also backup’d via Time-Machine on another external hard-drive. After a new import I can quickly start a backup to the vault within the app or have that automated. So there’s three copies, which makes me sleep better.

UI and integration

The UI is simple and as one might expect from Apple well thought. Friendly, simple and effective. No confusing menus, buttons, tabs or something like that. To get used to the interface and knowing how to start working on my images took roughly the length of one small cup of coffee. The interface is pretty much self-explaining. Of course I occasionally had a look at the manual. Usually only to figure out some keyboard shortcut, of which there are a lot, and useful ones.

And there’s fullscreen mode… Sounds not so exciting but working in fullscreen mode is plain fun and feels very effective to me.

Also I like that the app, or better the library is integrated so well into the whole OS. The images are easily accessible in any other app, which comes in very handy for emailing (I use for most of my blogging), writing and working in Pages and so on.


The inclusion of Books is a huge thing for me. I like to have my images printed and the ease of use to create a book effectively has made a not-so-freshly married couple very happy.
I have made books before in iPhoto but all the extra design and workflow options and the possibility to save them as a PDF are very good.


I never thought I could be interested into geo-tagging my images, but with Aperture it just makes sense. Seeing images on the map is good for organizational tasks, but also brings back nice memories from time to time.

I know, this all sounds like a lame commercial, but I’m very excited about this software as it’s a) fun to use and b) helps me to get things done the way I want to.

By Sven Seebeck

I make music, take pictures, write and apparently collect text-editors and bags.

6 replies on “My Switch to Aperture: Second Impressions”

What kind of computer/monitor are you using? How much memory, what processor?

My old issue with Aperture was slowness on an early core 2 duo MacBook Pro. I'm due for a new computer and it will probably be an i7 quad core MBP. I'm hoping that does the trick.

Any thoughts you have on this would be appreciated: memory, HD speed, etc.


At the moment I'm running it on a basic MacBook with 4 GB and it works okay. Sometimes it get a little slow but that's the slow computers issue. I guess the faster the better.

Hei Sven!
Is your MacBook the newest version? I am now pondering which one of my Macs I would use with Aperture 3.

My iMac has a 2.16 GHz Core 2 Duo, 2 Gb 667 MHz memory, ATI Radeon X1600 (128 Mb) graphics card, and 20" screen.

My MacBook has a 2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo, 2 Gb 800 MHz memory, GeForce 9400M (256 Mb) graphics card, and 13" screen.

I think the main difference between these two is the graphics cards and of course the display size. Aperture 3 is quite usable with my iMac. And I think I will upgrade the memory to 4 Gb in the computer I will choose as the main workstation.

If I use fullscreen editing (which I like much) in Aperture I think 13" screen could be OK.

Any comments/opinions on the above things? Thanks!


Hei Jonne,

I believe my MacBook to be the second but last version with upgraded RAM to 4GB. Aperture runs rather smoothly on it. For some operations though it get's sometimes slow, for example images with many adjustments (brushed in curves, shadow/highlights and so on) occasionally take long to export, while others just export in a second. Not sure if that's due to my computer or is it something that Apple needs to fix.

Either way, I'm getting a faster machine (not because of that, just in general) but my guess would be the more the better. Following some threads in various discussion groups, it seems to be useful to have a lot of RAM memory.

I hope this helps.

Hey Sven,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I've used Aperture a while, and a small tip for you:

I would recommend that you keep an eye on the import settings, particularly "store files" (in their current location | in aperture library) – my own backup/import routine revolves around creating folders by Month & Day/Subject on my Mac (e.g. EOS_2010_05_May / Misc, EOS_2010_05_May / Fields, etc). I backup those folders, and then import into Aperture using a similar (Aperture) Project & Folder structure, choosing the option of storing the files "in their current location".

Aperture, in my experience, has a habit of occasionally forgetting my import settings, which results in copies of my images being placed in folders of Apertures own invention in my Pictures directory. A fine mess to sort out if you don't catch it early.

Keep up the fine work! I'm looking forward to a video of that panoramic head in use :o)

Hi Barry!

Thanks for your comment and your tip, I will keep an eye on that.

So far I have the images always imported and stored in the library and had no issues so far, but it's good to know that issues might come up. So far nothing, fingers crossed ;-)

About the video… I have some things planned coming up with video, but I still have to think about some details. Please keep an eye on the blog, there will be something coming up in the near future.