After venting about what Apple’s Aperture wouldn’t let me do, I settled down and figured out how to make it work for me. With the help of some online message boards I was able to overcome many of my problems and am working towards loving Aperture. I’m not 100% there yet, but I have learned a lot that I wanted to share with you.

Here’s my list of things I’ve learned that will make your life easier during your transition.

Moving from iPhoto to Aperture: A Checklist

1) Re-Name your Events

In iPhoto, add to your event names with a year-number format. For example, if the first 3 events of 2009 used to be:

  • Playing Wii
  • Cindy’s Wedding
  • Gary’s Birthday

They should now read:

  • 2009-001 Playing Wii
  • 2009-002 Cindy’s Wedding
  • 2009-003 Gary’s Birthday

This will make things much easier to work with once you get to Aperture as everything will still be in the order you’re used to. Once in Aperture, your “Events” will now be “Projects.” Many people would now make folders in Aperture for each year and sub-folders for each month and place the proper project in the proper folder.

At that point you can erase the year from your project titles. It’s worth the name-then-erase work you just did because it makes organizing go much quicker than if you let everything go all out of order during the import.

(I’ll be leaving the “2009-003” at the start of my files, but I’m being needlessly organized and you probably shouldn’t follow me on that one.)

2) Ban the Forward Slash!

Look for any forward slash marks (/) in your iPhoto Event names and change them to dashes (-). iPhoto can uses slashes but Aperture sees them as directories and you’ll run into some messy problems. Just change them now and you’ll be better off.

3) Save the Videos

Make a smart album in iPhoto and search for any videos you have in there. Aperture will not take these videos, so find them now and move them somewhere else like iMovie, iTunes, or just the Finder.

4) Save the Faces (EDIT: Written for an older version of Aperture – Not necessary any more!)

If you’ve been using iPhotos ‘Faces’ feature you may think you’ll be losing that information. It’s true that Aperture doesn’t support that feature, but you don’t have to lose your work. iPhoto keywords DO transfer to Aperture, so we just have to convert face-data to keywords.

In iPhoto, make a smart album that searches for the first face in your list. Now make a keyword for that name and apply it to all those photos. Now change the smart album to the next name and do that for all the people iPhoto has identified.

(You can do the same thing for the ‘Location’ data if you want. Search for San Diego and keyword it, and so on.)

Only NOW should you use the “Import from iPhoto” feature in Aperture.

5) Seeing Double

Any photos you’ve edited in iPhoto will show up as 2 photos in Aperture; the original and the edit. If you want to erase the duplicates, follow this advice once you’re in Aperture and you can erase either the edits or the masters with a little bit of smart-album work.

Please note that you don’t have to do that! The duplicates will be in what Aperture calls “Stacks” which means the 2 versions are linked and Aperture knows they’re the same photo. I’ll be erasing my un-edited masters, but if you want to keep both, you can certainly do that.

6) Smart-Album Reeducation

In iPhoto you just make a smart album and you use it. Bam, done. In Aperture you have to be a bit careful. If you have the library selected a new smart album will search the whole library. If you have the “Lion Attack” project selected then a new smart album will only search that project! So be careful what you’ve highlighted before you create a smart album in Aperture.

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Six bullet points is hardly all you need to know, but at least it will get you started. This is the stuff that comes before most of the other tutorials. Once you get this far you can now seek out further training with confidence!