An Aperture to Lightroom addendum | & some archive diving.


Sorry for the lack of content this week: I’ve been struggling with a nasty bug while trying to work on a new project. I’ll have more on that later but let’s just say it also explains the lack of updates to the EDITIONS site. Something to do with overlapping mandates…

I’ve also been knee-deep in the Lightroom switcharoo and I thought I’d give you a follow-up on that process. I was supposed to write about the processing differences this time around but it’ll have to wait. A lot of ground to cover on that front and too little time. So this is more about my import strategy.

My biggest fear with this move was obviously losing all the edits I’d done in Aperture over the years. I had three choices:

  • Keep the files edited in Aperture where they were and only add new files to Lightroom.
  • Export rendered images of my Aperture files to Lightroom.
  • Edit all the images again in Lightroom.

Now, I’m pretty sure you’re thinking this last option would be DOA. I mean, who wants to go through that, right? Well… Me? Turns out it’s pretty much what I’ve been doing. I’m not doing it systematically for every image I’ve shot mind you, but I am revisiting what I consider my best images, reprocessing each one in Lightroom.

The first option of having some images in Aperture and others in Lightroom didn’t work for me. I like having access to everything in one place. The second option would’ve meant a lot of disk space in lossless format (TIFF or PSD). A lot. So I settled on a strategy that may seem strange but works for me:

  • In Aperture I filtered all the 3 stars and up files from 2012.
  • I exported all these files as high quality JPEGs into a new folder called 2012 AP3 Renders.
  • I imported this folder in Lightroom and labeled all these files blue so I could easily identify them later.
  • Then I proceeded to import my 2012 folder (the one on my external hard drive) into Lightroom.

By doing this I can easily identify my best Aperture images in the Lightroom library (they’re all in blue) and since I always use the All Photographs view sorted by capture time, I get the rendered Aperture images side by side with the original masters, no matter when they were imported. Here’s what I mean:


The Aperture renders have kept their 3 stars rating (on import, this is in the metadata) and as I reprocess the masters in Lightroom, these new versions get 4 stars. So a quick 4 star filtering shows me just the newly processed files. When I want to see everything again I turn off the filters altogether (Command-L).

When I’m reprocessing those files I can also easily compare them to the Aperture version which is a nice bonus. I just hit the left arrow key for a quick look, go back with the right arrow key. To be honest I relied on this heavily at first, making sure I could replicate the same look and not stray too far away from what I’d done previously. But I’m now much more confident with LR’s toolset and don’t need this as much as I did. In fact I’ve been very surprised at how quickly I can go through this reprocessing, even with local adjustments taken into account. It’s not anywhere near as nightmarish as I thought it would be.

I imagine you’re probably wondering why the hell I’m doing this in the first place… I’d say refining. With new tools come new possibilities and with distance comes a better understanding of the bigger picture. So the result is that I feel I’m doing a better job this time around, as well as making everything more consistent. This has nothing to do with one application being better than the other, it’s just the ability to see the same images from another angle in these new surroundings. A bit like an old couch in a new apartment.

Speaking of apartments: at the Apple Event this week I’m sure you all noticed the Aperture cameo and it’s repeated description as a PRO application for PRO users. Hopefully this bodes well for the future. I’m just sayin’.

It’ll be too late for me though.

I know, I know: never say never.

I’ll end with some bonus images to make up for this slow week. New photos from last year’s LUTETIA series that I found while archive diving (it’s the new pastime!) in Lightroom. Nothing like moving stuff around to uncover misplaced items.