As you know, one of my biggest hobbies is photography. Half of the fun comes from going out and actually capturing the images with my camera. The other half, however, comes from taking those captured images and making them even better by editing them. There are many different software options and platforms with which you can edit your photos. I choose Apple’s photo editing software, Aperture 3.
Below, I will show you what it feels like to work with Aperture 3: importing, organizing, and editing.
First, let’s talk about importing your photos. Aperture allows you to import directly from your hard drive or from any external device that is connected to your computer. As you can see below, Aperture automatically recognized my camera memory card (NIKON D3000) and has brought up the files located within that device. Choosing the files you wish to import is very easy. The files are displayed in either the browser (thumbnails), Split View (thumbnails with image preview), or Viewer (full images). Aperture allows you to select the files you wish to import by clicking a box on each photo, and then lets you pick where you wish to import them to by either selecting a project that has already been created, or by creating a new project.
Organizing your photos with Aperture 3 is clean and simple. When looking at the screenshot below, you can see that there are many different options for photo organization. First you have your entire library. Within that library, you can create projects. Projects are essentially folders within your library that allow you to coordinate which photos belong to certain, well, projects. I use projects all the time! For example, I participate in “Raw File of the Week” in the forums of http://froknowsphoto.com/. All of the raw files I download and edit go within my “Edit this Raw File” project, making it easy to keep those photos separate from all of my other images. I also have projects for my Flickr account and for my blog photos.
Another cool feature that Aperture 3 has for organization is Faces and Places. With Places, you separate your images by the locations where you took them. Photo Metadata makes this possible. Aperture’s Faces folder automatically detects and organizes your photos by similar faces. You can name a set of photos with someone’s name and then move images that have been recognized into their respective Faces categories.
As you can see below, Aperture 3 also has some very handy sharing options. Aperture allows you to directly export your photos to email, MobileMe, Facebook, and Flickr. I have yet to use these exporting options, simply because I place watermarks on my photos before I export them. I do think that they would be a great tool though.
Finally, we move on to editing the photos themselves. I have had so much fun playing around with this software. For my needs, Aperture 3 is beyond capable of producing fantastic results. This product could satisfy even tough professional photographers.
Lets begin with the Presets. Aperture offers many preset alterations that are very similar to an “autocorrect” feature that most computers have at base configuration. Within Presets, you have the option to edit color, white balance, and to make the image different variations of b&w. You also have Quick Fixes within the Presets drop-down. Quick Fixes allow you to auto-enhance the quality, adjust the exposure + or -, and to hold highlights / brighten shadows.
Next you have, Adjustments. I won’t take the time to explain what each adjustment does, because that is part of the fun involved with playing with it yourself. All of the changes that you make within Adjustments are non-destructive, meaning they can be removed or added at any time before you choose to export the image. Even after you export the image, you can still come back later and edit the photo as if you never left. Just to give you an idea, I will describe some of the cool features of Quick Brushes within Adjustments. Probably my favorite Quick Brush is the Skin Smoothing brush. This does exactly what you think it does. Ever wanted to get that retouched smooth look that you have only seen from professional companies? Well now you have that power in your hands. Skin smoothing makes pores and wrinkles seem to disappear. Similar to Skin Smoothing, is the Retouch feature. Using Retouch, you can either clone or “fix” spots within the photo such as telephone lines or blemishes in skin. For an example, just check out the before and after shots of the photo shown within the screenshot below.
Overall, the editing capability of Aperture 3 is very user friendly and completely worthwhile.
Below are some photos that I have taken and then edited using Aperture 3. Let me know what you think! Keep in mind that I am by no means a pro. All of the edits that I have done could have been done by any amateur using this photo editing software.
Before and After
If you have any questions or comments about Aperture 3, please feel free to let me know in the box below this post. I’d love to hear what you think about the software. If you have any feedback on my edits, those are welcome as well. Thanks!