macOS Mojave last to support Apple Aperture

Apple Aperture was discontinued about 4 years ago. Although there’s been no new development since, it has continued to work fine. That’ll change this year when Apple releases the next OS. Mojave (aka macOS 10.14) will be the last macOS version to support Aperture.

I wish I could say I’ve moved on and I’m in a happy place with my photography. The reality is that I’ve given most options a fair go and all of them suck compared to Aperture.

Apple has a support document explaining how to migrate your Aperture libraries to Photos or Adobe Lightroom Classic.

Photos has evolved a lot in the last few years and it’s pretty awesome. However, even if it was just as good as Aperture (it’s not), the thought of keeping both my personal photos (family, friends, work events, etc.) mixed in with my “photographer” photography makes my head hurt. I would go insane if I had to see hundreds of photos from a proper photo shoot, most of which are rejects that I don’t want to delete just yet and the few keepers are waiting editing, intermixed with my daughter’s school play. I can’t be alone in wanting, no, needing, to keep these 2 areas of my life separate.

Adobe Lightroom (Classic or not) is OK, but not great. There are so many ways in which Aperture was way superior. I do use it but I’ve always felt it’s just a stop gap until I find something better. I’ve increasingly moved to a mobile life and I do love editing photos on the iPad. Lightroom is the only app I’ve found that allows me a decent mobile workflow. If it wasn’t for the iPad I would probably ditch Lightroom altogether. Plus I still can’t get my head around that subscription model. I pay for it. It still pisses me off every month.

ON1 Photo RAW is pretty cool and it’s getting there. I also use it extensively. The DAM part isn’t there yet and it lacks any sort of mobile workflow. If it had, this would probably be my main choice.

I tried Capture One and it’s pretty good if you’re desktop only. It has a ton of great features and it’s not too far off Aperture from a DAM point of view. I tried it for a while but, like ON1, with no mobile workflow it just didn’t stick.

I still have Aperture on my Mac and jump in once in a while. I should’ve just deleted it and moved on years ago because every time I use it I feel a little bit sad. I still think Apple screwed up by abandoning Aperture.

Aperture... so long and thanks for all the fish.

I just got the below email from Apple regarding Aperture. Like every other Aperture user out there, I've known about this since it was announced last year. That doesn't make it any less annoying.

I'm disappointed in Apple and upset about this.

Apple has a history of ditching technologies for something they consider better. Remember floppy disks, CD-ROMs, Firewire ports, Adobe Flash, iTools? They even did it with their own operating system when they moved away from OS 9 into OS X. Almost every time, they’ve been right. What came after was better than what we had before.

They did it with Final Cut. But they jumped the gun and shipped the new version to early. We all complained that it was missing features and, for many, the new version just didn’t cut it. Apple realised the mistake and put the previous version up for sale again and acknowledged the problem. They said Final Cut X would get new features soon. Eventually Final Cut X matured and it’s now a great app.

At first, I hoped they wouldn’t make the same mistake with Aperture. Then they announced Photos for Mac and I thought oh no, here we go again. Then I used the beta of Photos for Mac and thought shit, there’s no way this can mature into an app that can replace Aperture.

And that’s where I’m at now. Photos for Mac is pretty and I’m sure my mom will love it. After all, iPhoto is confusing and has only gotten worse over time, so Photos for Mac will be a welcome change.

For Aperture users however, Photos for Mac is both a disappointment and a joke.

What I don’t get is how they thought this was a good idea. It’s one thing to change technologies where the impact is that we have to buy new hardware, but this is messing with peoples photographs.

In moving on from Aperture we will loose data. And that’s just not cool. Shame on Apple for leaving it’s customers in such a predicament.

Apple is wrong this time.

Week 27: Before and After, Photos app, and Presentations

Before & After by Esther Honig

What a fascinating experiment. Esther Hoing used Fiverr to get people from more than 25 countries to do some post processing of a photograph of her face. This is how she explains it:

In the U.S. Photoshop has become a symbol of our society's unobtainable standards for beauty. My project, Before & After, examines how these standards vary across cultures on a global level ... 
With a cost ranging from five to thirty dollars, and the hope that each designer will pull from their personal and cultural constructs of beauty to enhance my unaltered image, all I request is that they ‘make me beautiful’ ... 
Photoshop allows us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more elusive.

Check out her project on her website. (Via a link someone sent me from Buzzfeed, go figure!)

A Closer Look at the Photos Adjustment Bar

Joseph over at ApertureExpert.com takes an in depth look at the official screenshot of Apple's Photos app from the announcement of the death of Aperture. Interesting. As I said, I have high hopes for the new Photos app.

Presentations: The new MacSparky Field Guide

I'm looking forward to this one and have already preordered. David Sparks produces really great books using iBooks Author that truly take advantage of the medium. You can find out more here and preorder from the App Store.

What I think Apple stopping development of Aperture means

A few hours ago Apple announced that it would stop development of Aperture (and iPhoto) in favour of the new Photos app they introduced at WWDC earlier this month.

This is what Apple said:

With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture,” said Apple in a statement provided to The Loop. “When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS X.

Apple also said there will be at least one final update to Aperture to make it fully compatible with Mac OS X Yosemite, so at the very least we have a little over a year before we have to find an alternative.

As you might expect, I’m a bit torn about this news. Not too long ago, I was hopeful when I wrote my thoughts and wish list for the next version of Aperture. Then, after the WWDC Keynote, I wasn’t so sure and I wrote:

After seeing what they showed developers outside of the keynote, I don't think Aperture is dead. OK, maybe the Aperture we know and love is, but what comes after could be even better. I have no idea what it is, maybe a pro version of the Photos app, maybe it is Aperture 4, maybe something else. As long as it maintains backwards compatibility and doesn't loose any of the asset management power Aperture has, I think it could be good.

Clearly the upcoming Photos app is not Aperture 4.

But I do believe it will be pretty slick. If it does maintain backwards compatibility, then it just might be the evolution of a photography application. Scratch that, it might be the evolution of a photography ecosystem where a single applcation is no longer the right approach.

According to The Verge, Photos will be backwards compatible:

The company also confirmed that when users transition to the new Photos for OS X app, all their albums, folders, keywords and captions will be preserved. Apple also noted that any edits applied to photos will be retained non-destructively, so hopefully the transition won't be too difficult.

The truth is that I have no idea what’s coming. I can only speculate. But think of the history of Aperture and why it exists in the first place. When Apple introduced it, there was nothing like it. We used to manage our photographs in folders on hard drives and maybe used Adobe Bridge to bring some sense to them other than the one dimensional hierarchy the Finder allowed. There were no albums and metadata was limited. And any adjustment we wanted to make needed a destructive trip to Photoshop or similar.

Apple realised this was a problem that needed a solution and they built one. Then Adobe quickly jumped on the train with Lightroom. Today, if you have a sizeable library, you’d be insane to manage you photographs the “old way”.

Fast forward almost 10 years. Today we have multiple devices and we’re used to them being in sync, the cloud is a thing, we take a lot of photos with our iPhones.

Frankly, it’s a mess again.

It makes sense that Apple knows this and is coming up with a solution. In doing so, some things necessarily have to be left behind.

After all, this is the company that decided floppy disks and DVD drives were obsolete before any of us wanted them to be. The one that decided Ethernet and Firewire ports were no longer needed. The one that introduced a brand new product (iPhone) knowing it would canibalise a very profitable product (iPod). The one that decided video editing needed a complete reinvention. Every time, they didn’t look back.

My guess (hope) is that this is what’s happening with digital photography.

To be honest, managing the photos I take with my iPhone has been a headache. Getting them into Aperture is a pain. Photo stream works, but it messes with keywords and I have to manually reorganise them. If I don’t do it often enough I miss some photos and who knows which ones I missed. My Aperture library is so big that it doesn’t fit in my MacBook Pro, so I’ve had to split it in two and merge then regularly. My main library is still in a separate hard drive. It’s not fun and every time I'm dealing with this I think there has to be a better way.

Maybe the new Photos approach is the solution.

So what am I planning to do?

For now, I’ll stick with Aperture until I see what the new Photos is all about. I may eventually end up moving to Lightroom if I’m wrong, but I’m not going to rush into it or make any rash decisions.

UPDATE: Joseph Linaschke at ApertureExpert.com wrote a great article with similar thoughts. He did a much better job at it than I did. Go check it out.

Week 26: Aperture Workflow eBook, Timelapse photography, and Essentialism

Effective Aperture Workflow Book Updated

If you use Apple's Aperture you need to get this book. It's written by Scott Davenport, an active member of the Aperture community and a great landscape photographer.

 
 

I purchased Effective Aperture Workflow many months ago and enjoyed it immensely, but more importantly, I learned a lot from it. Scott goes through his workflow in a lot of detail and believe me, it's a good workflow. I've adapted many things from the book into my own.

The book is available in the iBookstore and includes a bunch of video where Scott shows you as he explains. It's only $6.99.

Last week Scott updated it with new content and I'm going through it again.

The Art Of The Timelapse by Michael Shainblum

Not much to add to this other than... wow. See more from Michael Shainblum at his website and Vimeo channel.

Greg McKeown on Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

I often fall for this. Sometimes I try to do way too many things and end up finishing none. Or the ones I finish are half-assed because I had to split my time and attention on too many non-essential things. The worst is, as Greg McKeown explains in the video below, when you do something that's successful and that opens a lot of new doors and you try to go through all of them. Success can bring failure indeed.

The video is about Greg's latest book titled Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (Amazon | iBookstore | unfortunately I couldn't find in Audible). I just purchased it and it's next on my reading list.

Perfect Photo Suite 8.5 Summer Sale Bundle

It's a bit weird calling it a Summer Sale while I'm freezing down under, but either way, the guys at onOne Software have put together a great deal on Perfect Photo Suite 8.8.

Here's what's included in the bundle:

  • Perfect Photo Suite 8.5: Their amazing photo editor with 8 apps in one. ($129.95)
  • Creative Live Workshop Collection: Over 5 hours of online training workshops on Photoshop and Lightroom. ($116)
  • Endless Summer Preset Pack: 32 summer-stylized presets, including 8 for Perfect Effects, 8 for Lightroom, 8 for Adobe Camera Raw, and 8 for Apple Aperture. ($40)
  • Light & Process eBook by Nicole S. Young: A 205-page ebook with 10 step-by-step photography and post-processing tutorials on Suite 8. ($10)

All this for only $99.95 until June 26.

It's a great offer. I've used the Perfect Photo Suite extensively for years and I love it. You can download a trial and check it out before purchasing. It's worth it and a great companion to Aperture.

Thoughts on Lightroom Mobile

Adobe released a new Lightroom for iPad app called Lightroom Mobile. I haven't tried it because I don't use Lightroom (the last one I purchased was version 2). But from what I've read so far it seems Adobe missed the mark.

Let me start by saying I commend Adobe for beating Apple to it. I've wished for an Aperture for iPad for a long time and I'm still waiting. Over the years there have been third party apps like Pixelsync (now dead) and Photoscope that have tried to fill the gap. But an official Aperture for iPad from Apple has long been missing. Kudos to Adobe for getting Lightroom Mobile out there.

Having said that, I don't think Lightroom Mobile is a winner.

Here are my thoughts on it, but take them with a grain of salt. My opinion is based on what I envision an iPad version of Aperture being and on reading the feature set of Lightroom Mobile.

First, the app is free... with a catch. You need to be a Creative Cloud subscriber to really make use of all the features. This means at a minimum you'll have to pay US$10 a month (for Lightroom and Photoshop only) and up to US$600 a year for the complete plan.

This is a weird move since Adobe still sells Lightroom as a stand alone product. I guess I does make sense from Adobe's perspective as a way to get LR owners into the monthly payment plans of Creative Cloud. But from a customer's perspective is just annoying. I would be really pissed off if I was a Lightroom user.

Second, developing (to use Lightroom's parlance) is limited to the adjustments in the Basics panel only. You can adjust things like exposure, contrast, and vibrance but you don't get advanced tools like localised adjustments, lens correction, vignettes and surprisingly, curves. How the hell did curves not make it? There are hundreds of apps out there that do curves on iOS, so it's not like the device isn't powerful enough.

This, of course, means you can't use presets in Lightroom for Mobile. I'm not sure what happens with photographs that have presets applied in the desktop. If you sync them to the iPad do you only push the unedited version? Not sure how that works.

Finally, it looks like editing metadata is also limited. You can assign picks and rejects, but no star ratings for example. I've read different thoughts on this one, so I'm not sure how limited it is. But if anything, full metadata editing is one of the key things I'd like to see in a mobile version of my photo management software.

As I said, if I was a Lightroom user I'd be disappointed at the features and angry at the pricing model.

Here's hoping Apple releases Aperture for iPad soon with the right features and price.

Apple Aperture 4 Wish List (2014)

Aperture 4 Wish List

Like pretty much everybody else that uses Apple's Aperture, I've been waiting and hoping for the release of Aperture 4 for way too long.

Unlike most of the Internet though, I don't think Apple has abandoned it. In fact, I feel pretty confident we'll see Aperture 4 (or X or Pro X or whatever) sometime in the next few months. Of course, this is just speculation on my part. I have zero inside knowledge. However, there are a few things that hint at Aperture still being alive: Apple features Aperture in their website and advertising, they have been hiring people for the Aperture team, and of course there are the book leaks.

Most importantly though, I think Aperture 4 is around the corner because I believe a few pieces needed to fall into place before they could release a new version. Some are done and some are not here yet, but close:

  1. iCloud and Photo Streams - These are key for the next version of Aperture and I don't think they're finished. They need to add back some of the features of MobileMe Gallery and figure out how to support video. They also need to sort out how keywords are treated in Photo Streams.
  2. Unified iPhoto & Aperture Library - This not only provides a seamless upgrade path for iPhoto users, but makes it much easier to build new features and integration across the OS off a common base.
  3. New Mac Pro - A key Mac to promote and use Aperture.
  4. Retina iMac and Displays - Or at least 4k. It looks like this is coming soon.
  5. Powerful iPad and iPhone - I believe Aperture 4 will come with a companion iOS version and the previous gen iOS devices weren't powerful enough. iOS 7 being 64 bit might have something to do with this as well.

Again, I don't know, but I sure hope I'm right.

On the other hand, if I think about it, I don't really need and Aperture 4. Yes, there are a lot of things I'd like to see improved and a few features I'd like added, but non of them are a deal breaker.

Aperture does most of what I need and it does it well. It's still a pleasure to use and I like the fact that I haven't had to relearn new things or pay for upgrades.

The photographer in me is perfectly content with Aperture, but the geek in me wants a shiny new version. Now.

My Aperture 4 Wish List

Over the years I've kept a list of things I'd like to see in Aperture 4. Some are features, some are improvements, some are changes in the way things currently work.

In no particular order, here's my wish list for Aperture 4:

  • Fix Keywords: The way keywords work in Aperture is seriously infuriating. It's a long topic for another post, but if you use Aperture you know what I mean. (BTW, here's how to batch remove a keyword).
  • Pixelmator Compatibility: Aperture cannot read Pixelmator files (pxm) so there's no way to roundtrip a photograph.
  • Ability to assign multiple external editors with different settings.
  • Ability to assign export format for each plugin independently: onOne is happy with PSD files, but with the Nik plugins, some can't work with PSD so you need to use TIFFs. The problem is that Aperture will send files to plugins in whatever filetype you've chosen for the external editor, so you need to go back and forth.
  • Non-destructive plugins: Something like Smart Filters in Photoshop would be great.
  • Project and Image level restore from Vaults: At the moment it's an all or nothing backup.
  • Grouping and naming of adjustments bricks: I'd like to be able to give names to the bricks. Once you have 3 curves you need to open each and look at them to remember what exactly they're doing.
  • Ability to save masks and copy across different bricks: Scott Davenport has a script for that, it's called Aperture Adjustment Brush Mask Lift & Stamp AppleScript. That's awesome, but this should just be built in.
  • Ability to save groups of adjustments as brushes: Imagine you did multiple adjustments to the sky in a photograph and brushed them all in. Wouldn't it be great to save that as a brush so you could just paint in once to another photograph and apply all adjustments at once?
  • Save custom crop sizes: It's incredible that you can't to this. Every single time I have to type in the dimensions for a custom size that I use regularly.
  • Brush flow and pressure sensitivity with Wacom tablets
  • Output sharpening: Sometimes you need a little more sharpening than you can get out of Edge Sharpen.
  • Lens corrections: Adobe really cracked this one and I'd be happy with a similar implementation. Just make it automatic depending on the camera/lens. GoPro lens correction would be awesome. At least add manual perspective correction.
  • Noise reduction: Again, Adobe cracked it. Just copy them.
  • Sync settings across computers with iCloud: It's really annoying when a keyboard shortcut doesn't work because it's a custom one you created on one Mac and not in the other one.
  • Integration with other services: Forget about Flickr (the new version is horrible), give me 500px. And Squarespace somehow.
  • Stitching for panoramas: If the iPhone can do it, why can't Aperture?
  • HDR: I don't want to have to use an external plugin for this.
  • Graduated filters: Another one that Lightroom does great.
  • Film grain emulation: For those of us that like grain so we don't have to rely on plugins or hack it (like my Grain Preset).
  • Adjustment History
  • Ability to add borders on export
  • Watermarks that don't require Photoshop or using a bunch of applications.
  • Larger previews for effects (presets): If you have a big screen, there's no reason to have such a tiny preview.
  • Blending Modes
  • Content Aware Fill: I've never really had the need for this, but it could be useful.
  • Nik's u-point technology or something similar: Most of the time this would work better and faster than brushing. It's genius.
  • Camera Profiles
  • Aperture for iPad: Ideally, I'd like to move entire projects to the iPad to work on while away from my main computer and have them sync seamlessly back to the main library. At the very least, I'd like to be able to do editing on the road (ratings, keywords, flags, labels, albums, etc.) and creating and adding to Photo Streams.

That's my wish list for Aperture 4. I'm not sure these warrant a new version though. Many seem to me like incremental improvements and Apple has added new features in point updates. Still, this is what I hope for the new version.

Did I miss anything?

How to batch remove keywords in Aperture 3

As much as I love Aperture, I'll be the first to admit that the way keywords are implemented is confusing and often infuriating.

Once you get the hang of it you can make them work well, but it's not at all intuitive. I'm not sure what they were thinking when they designed keywords but it has caused me a lot of grief over the years.

One of these grievances is removing a keyword from multiple photographs. It took me a while to figure this one out. It's certainly not obvious, but there's a very simple way of doing it using the Keyword Controls in the Control Bar.

Here's a quick 25 second video showing it in action:

If you're not familiar with the Control Bar, you can bring it up by selecting Window > Show Control Bar or pressing 'D' on the keyboard. 

The Control Bar has 2 views:

Control Bar with Navigation & Ratings buttons

Control Bar with Navigation & Ratings buttons

Control Bar with Keyword Controls

Control Bar with Keyword Controls

To toggle between the two, press Shift-D

With Keyword Controls you can apply keywords by pressing the buttons or searching for existing keywords via the Add Keyword text box. You can also create your own custom button sets for quick access to your most used keywords for each type of photography or subject/topic. And of course, you can also remove keywords.

To remove an individual keyword from multiple photographs at the same time, do the following:

  1. Select all the photographs you want to remove the keyword from.
  2. In the Control Bar, type the keyword you want to remove into the Add Keyword field.
  3. Press Shift-Return.

If there's already a button for that particular keyword in the set, you can just Shift-click on it to remove it from all photographs.

In the example in the video, I applied "black and white" to all the images in a project. I had scanned a lot of negatives and imported them all into one project. I thought they were all scans from black & white film, so I applied the keyword to all. After looking at the project in detail during my rating process I realised some were in colour.

Of course, I didn't want to remove the keyword from each photograph one at a time. I needed to batch remove the keyword. So I opened the Control Bar, selected the colour photographs, typed in "black and white" into the Add Keyword field, and hit Shift-Return.

Poof. The keyword was removed from all photographs in one go.

Week 8: John Carey, Patrick Rhone, Joseph Linaschke

John Carey's One Year video

John is the photographer behind 50 Foot Shadows. A few days ago, he published a video with all the photographs he took in 2013. And he does mean all. Here's how he explains it:

In the process of finding nice enough photos of my life to share there were plenty that did not make the cut. Piles of photos that theoretically would never be seen by much of anyone at all unless you happened to be looking over my shoulder as I scroll though my Aperture libraries.

The thought crossed my mind toward the end of the first year of the project that maybe some of you would be interested in seeing the uncut version of my photographic output from 2013 so this is exactly what I have prepared in the most chaotic way possible, at 24 frames a second in a quasi stop motion video.

The video includes 8,212 frames and looks great. It gives you a glimpse into his thinking process when he's behind the camera. It's also a great way to look back on a year of memories.

John is a talented photographer. Last year he created a new site called Yesterday was only where he shares photographs every day. I took inspiration from him to start posting a photo a day of my own.

Patrick Rhone's new book

Patrick published his new book titled Some Thoughts About Writing. He calls it a "collection of back pocket wisdom for those who wish to be successful writers". If this sound interesting, head over to his website and check out the preview with some excerpts from the book. Patrick is the man behind Minimal Mac amongst other things.

I just purchased it (it's only US$5) and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Aperture Expert Live Training News

You can now get the Live training series as a bundle for only US$30. It includes all 25 sessions. It's good value and a great way to learn Aperture. Even if you're already familiar with it you will learn a few new things. I finally understood Aperture's Places and geotagging in Aperture through session 17, which is all about Places.

Some of the videos were recorded with versions 3.0 to 3.2 of Aperture, and the interface changed a bit with version 3.3, so Joseph is also planning on starting the series again soon.

See geolocation of a photograph with Apple Preview

I'm obsessed with embedding location metadata in my photographs, or what's commonly called geotagging. In fact, it's the next step in my photography workflow right after importing my photos into Aperture.

Having this information is both fun and useful.

Looking at your photographs after a trip in Aperture's Places is a great way of reliving your adventures. You can also add maps, weather and other info to Web Journals with iPhone for iOS based on the location information. And if you ever forget where you took a particular photograph, the answer is just a click away.

I tend to add location information in 2 ways:

  1. Manually in Aperture's Places when I do an entire shoot in a single location.
  2. Automatically using GeoTagr on the iPhone when I'll be at multiple locations or when travelling.

Of course, Aperture and iPhoto aren't the only applications that can read location information.

Did you know you can see location information in Apple Preview?

This is one of those things that surprises most people when I show them.

Just open a photograph in Preview and display the Inspector (Tools>Show Inspector or cmd-I). In the Inspector window, click on the "More Info" button (the one with an info icon) and then click on GPS.

If the photograph is geotagged, you'll see altitude, latitude, longitude and a few other things, plus a map with the location highlighted.

The photograph below is of my first long exposure image taken a few days ago and today's photo of the day.

preview-location-gps-01.jpg

Clicking on the Locate button opens Apple Maps with the exact location.

preview-location-gps-02.jpg

How cool is that?

In the example above, Apple Maps says "Unknown Location" because I took the photograph in the rocky part of Gordon Bay and Apple doesn't have a landmark associated with it. But if you get closer you will see the exact place I was standing when I took that photograph.

This feature is also useful to see which photos do have location information embedded in the metadata. There are times when you don't want location info there and Preview makes it easy to check. For example, you might not want to post online photos taken at your house!

Why I back up my best photographs in Evernote

You can never have too many backups of your most important or precious files. In my case, my best photographs are both important and precious, so I back them up multiple times. One of them is in Evernote.

Every time I mention this, people look at me like I'm insane. You're probably thinking that right now!

Let me explain my overall photography backup programme first so I can put the backing up photographs in Evernote idea into context.

Evernote Photography Backup Notebook

Evernote Photography Backup Notebook

I organise and keep all my photographs in Aperture as managed files. This means each Aperture Library is a single special type of folder called a package that behaves like a self-contained entity. It includes everything in one place. I like the managed approach because I never have to worry about where my original photographs are.

I have 2 Aperture libraries: a Main library in an external Thunderbolt drive that has everything, and a Mobile library in my retina MacBook Pro's internal drive that has only a copy of the projects I'm actively working on. I merge the mobile one back to the main one regularly.

In the external Thunderbolt drive I keep my main Aperture library and my main Final Cut Pro library. Nothing else.

This is my overall backup strategy:

  1. Time Machine: One at home via Wi-Fi and one at work via USB. They back up both my rMBP and external Thunderbolt drive, which includes all my photographs.
  2. Backblaze: Continuously backing up both rMBP and Thunderbolt drive to the cloud.
  3. Clone: About once a week I clone my rMBP using Carbon Copy Cloner. This only backs up my Mobile library.
  4. Aperture Vaults: This is my primary photo backup. An additional external USB drive holds Vaults for both Main and Mobile libraries. Vaults are one of the great things about managed files in Aperture.

My photographs live in at least 5 places: the original drives, two Time Machine drives, the Backblaze cloud, and the external drive with the Aperture Vaults. I think I'm covered.

So where does Evernote fit in?

Aperture is non-destructive. Many photographs don't exist in their final form since Aperture doesn't touch the original files. Any adjustments you make in Aperture are just instructions that Aperture interprets. This is good because it preserves your originals intact, you can further adjust the photos later, and you don't fill up your drive with duplicate files.

However, I still like to keep an extra copy of my very best images in a final "rendered" format. Full size JPEGs are good quality even for print and will be readable for a long time by pretty much any computer.

I used to export these to MobileMe Galleries back in the day. Now I store them in Evernote.

Once I'm done with a project in Aperture, I filter out the 4 and 5 star images and export JPEGs in their original resolution. In Evernote, I create a new note for each project with the same title as in Aperture and I add all the JPEGs to it. All these photo backup notes are then stored in a dedicated stack called "Photography Backups (JPEGs)".

UPDATE: Several readers asked me to expand on how I put the photos into Evernote, so I wrote a follow up explaining it.

Backing up my best photographs in Evernote is really just in case the worst happens. I don't think I'll ever need them, but it helps me sleep better at night.

If you want to learn or get better at Evernote, I suggest you get Brett Kelly's ebook, Evernote Essentials. It will save you a ton of time and give you great ideas to get the most out of Evernote. I believe it's a good investment. You can find my review of the ebook here.