Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Thoughts On A Post Aperture Workflow

In last weeks article "The Death Of Aperture, Where to Go From Here?" I talked about possible alternatives to consider now that everyone knows that Aperture has no long term future. The following are suggestions to Aperture users about what you can do while considering what direction to take.

1. Consider not using Aperture Libraries to store and manage new images. While coming up with your own system may be a painful and time consuming for anyone who relies heavily on Aperture to manage images, doing so could be an important step to take if you do not have any intention of using Apple's Photos application. One of the first steps I took after hearing that Apple discontinued Aperture was to start the process of exporting the original RAW files, and full size jpegs of the edits, from my Aperture Libraries. Thankfully Aperture gives you a reasonable amount of control over the file structure of images that are exported, if you start the process by exporting the original files. Using those tools can help you get started, but more work may be required depending on how you want to organize your images. There are downsides to exporting all your files, like the loss of any ratings, keywords and captions that have been entered in Aperture (at least from the original files).

So why go to all the effort of exporting the edited files? I see no reason to go through the hassle of re-edit all my images in whatever program I decide to move to in the future. Simply put, keeping the edits in Aperture Libraries is not a long term solution. Will I keep a copy and backups of my exiting Aperture Libraries? Yes, because if I do move to the Photos app, transitioning the files from Aperture Libraries into the new Photos app should virtually seamless (hopefully).

2. Start looking at alternative ways to manage your images now, rather than waiting for Photos to come out. The new Photos application might be a great program, but the total lack of information that Apple has provided is frustrating to say the least. While you might feel, as I do, that there are no good alternative to Aperture's DAM (Digital Asset Management), looking for a new solution now would be a good idea. Many of the major photo editors available today have some kind of management system, or an add-on program, to handle the files. Finding out if any of those solutions will work for you now, rather than six months down the road, would be a good idea. Take advantage of the free tryout periods of applications like Lightroom, or open software like Darktable, to see if you want to use the provided file management. If none of the available solutions work, you may have to come up with your own system, and starting the process sooner rather than later could be beneficial. 

3. On the heals of the previous suggestion, consider what editing tools you need to have for the style of photography you do. Are the tools in one of the available alternatives to Aperture best suited to what you do? If yes, you might want to use that program, even if it means having a less than ideal DAM. If you have plug-ins for Aperture that you need for your work, are they available for other applications you are considering? If so will the companies that make those plug-ins allow you to transfer the license to use the plug-ins for that application? 

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