I am an Apple addict. I like all their products and think they are amazing and among the most innovative and cutting-edge of any tech company in the world. That said, when Aperture, a software program designed for professional photographers to make their workflow easier, was released, it's safe to say I was one of the first in line to get a copy.
- The program has made ordering photographs with my clients a breeze. That alone is worth the price of the software. I use it for my wedding clients as well as my portrait clients. Our studio photographs upward of 400 extremely high-end weddings every year. While we still shoot our weddings mostly with film, we scan our negatives and load the files into Aperture, along with the digital files we shoot. Once in Aperture, we have the ability to sort through and rate the images. This helps us eliminate duplicates and consolidate the shoot before clients come in. By the time a client arrives, going through the images and choosing our selects is a breeze.
- I especially like auto-stacking, which I use for portraits of children. After I shoot bursts of images with my Canon EOS-1D Mark II, Aperture groups images that were shot up to one minute apart in stacks, which can be opened or closed. When closed, a number appears in the upper right corner denoting the number of images in that stack. Clicking on the number opens the stack, so you're able to see all images.
- While Aperture lets you work fastest if you commit its shortcuts to memory, it is not necessary to remember all of them to make the program work effectively and impress your clients.
- My corporate clients love the Web gallery. Just select the images you want in the gallery and click on the Web gallery icon above the viewer. Within a couple of minutes, clients can view and select images from their own computer screens at home or in the office. This feature is particularly effective when I do portraits for corporate websites or for the many large law firms I do work for in New York. I can photograph 10 attorneys in my studio and by the time they return to their offices, they have an email waiting for them with the address of the website I created.
- I get emails from clients, citing how efficient we are, and I owe it all to Aperture! By the way, if you worry about emailing images to your clients and having them misused, Aperture lets you to place watermarks on the images to prevent copying.
- Another great feature is being able to select an image and make it your "pick." You can rate these images or change the pick with ease. Aperture allows you to select from several viewing methods. In Primary Viewing mode, you see one image at a time with a filmstrip browser of all your images in a specific project, below your viewer. I like to work in Multi-Viewer mode, where I can view several images at once and make my comparisons and selections.
- I use the Loupe a great deal. In version 1.5, the loupe got even better, now that the magnification level can be adjusted from 100 percent to 1600 percent. Just drag the loupe over any part of an image and it blows it up to 100 percent. This works in the browser, as well as the viewer.
- While it takes a little time to master the keyboard shortcuts, you can just as easily use the menu to navigate through your images. I shoot in RAW, and with Aperture, I can adjust files quickly and easily using the convenient HUDs (Heads Up Displays).
- Flexible library management means you can store your images wherever you want, while Aperture keeps track of their location.
- One of the coolest features of Aperture 1.5 is its advanced color management, which allows you to adjust hue, saturation, and luminance on a color-by-color basis. If you want a certain color in a photograph to pop, this is where you go to do it.
This program rocks. Apple has listened to photographers' suggestions and implemented a lot of great new features in version 1.5. Give it a try and watch your workload become incredibly streamlined.
For more information on Apple Aperture 1.5, visit www.apple.com
Andy Marcus, of Fred Marcus Photography (www.fredmarcus.com), in New York City, has been in the wedding photography business for over 40 years, photographing weddings all over the world. The studio established by his late father in 1941 is in its third generation, with his son, Brian, joining several years ago and bringing new ideas to the company. A Canon Explorer of Light, he's shot the weddings of Eddie Murphy, Donald Trump, Mary Tyler Moore, as well as most larger weddings in the New York area.