Aperture 3 – Oh Snap, it’s Good!

If you have children over the age of 10 you’ve probably heard the exclamation “Oh Snap!” more than once.  It’s kind of like the kid version of “Holy Crap!” but in a good way.  As a parent, I have come to adopt my children’s slang terms if for no other reason than to be able to communicate on some base level.  Well yesterday evening I found myself playing with a newly installed version of Aperture 3 and I believe I heard myself saying “Oh Snap!”as I was checking out all the cool new features.

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I am a long-time Adobe Lightroom user.  I gave Aperture a spin when it first came out but it just never really did it for me.  I’m not sure why, but I just felt that I could be more productive in Lightroom.  Then yesterday on the way home I was talking to a buddy about Lightroom and then he mentioned some new features in Aperture that were pretty slick.  I was intrigued so I downloaded the trial version when I got home and then imported some images so I could investigate further.

Now I can’t tell you that I am going to throw my copy of Lightroom in the recycle bin because it just isn’t true.  On the other hand, there are some features in Aperture that are just crazy-good and I am wondering what Adobe is waiting for.  Case in point, the Aperture books feature just downright rocks!  Of course Lightroom doesn’t even have a book feature but I ask the question, why not?  Apple’s book creation in Aperture is smooth as butter and completely customizable.  It’s as easy as selecting Book from the New drop-down menu and then selecting a style.  From there, you can go to one of your image collections called Projects and simply drag the images you want onto the newly created book icon.  By the way, this was my first time really using the software so please forgive me if there are other ways of doing this (which I am sure there are) but my point is that it was easy enough to do without even reading a help file.

After adding the files, I chose the page layouts from a variety of choices and then dragged images from the thumbnails at the bottom of the screen into the empty image placeholders.  I could resize the images by double-clicking them and then using the sizing slider and dragging the image around in the frame until it was positioned just the way I like.

By the way, you can even backscreen your pages.  I found this out by accident as I was dropping an image into a frame and missed.  I let go on the page instead of the frame and it automatically snapped my image into the background.  I then located the wash filter and I had a beautifully washed out backscreen for my page.  Just too cool.  You can also customize just about anything else on your pages as well.  You can resize the picture frames and drag them all around he page until you have it just the way you want it.  If your image doesn’t look right, you can double-click it to take it back into the adjustment portion of Aperture and when you’re done, just double-click it again and you are right back into the book building section.

Here’s another cool feature.  When I was done, I could have selected to send my book off to the printers but instead I turned it into a PDF document.  You can’t tell me that isn’t slick.  Can you imagine creating a wedding album and then sending a PDF proof off to the client for final approval before sending it to the printers.

I could go on and on about some of the very cool features in Aperture but I’m still learning my way around and frankly, that’s have the fun of it.  So if you are a Mac owner and you haven’t tried Aperture 3 yet, head over to Apple’s Aperture page, read up on the “What’s New” section (there’s over 200 new features, which is why I’m not going to even try and list them), and then download a free 30-day trial version and have some fun.


  1. Welcome to the Dark Side.

    I’ve used Aperture since before Lightroom was a product, which is why I never plunged into Lightroom. It just didn’t seem appealing enough to switch my library and lose my edits. Then LR 2.0 came out with those wonderful editing features, and I felt a bit jealous. It took a couple of years, but I think Apple did a very nice job with this update of Aperture and I’m glad I stuck with it. While the image editing features of LR were nice, there were more important features of photo management in Aperture that I liked better than Lightroom.

    While you’re laying out your next book, you may think that a certain image would fit better if it were Black & White. No need to switch to a Develop module. You can make the change right there in the layout. You can really re-think your workflow, if you decide to switch to Aperture.

  2. Jeff,
    Don’t go to the darkside! 🙂

    I say that half joking, the other half is thinking that I can’t even try this out without switching to Apple. Maybe instead of wishing that Adobe would implement these kind of improvements we should be asking Apple to produce Aperture for Windows? Not only would Adobe sit up as it gets confronted by a product on both operating systems but it could then also notice these improvements over it’s own product!

    Well, until I make that leap (if I do) I will just have to sigh and think that maybe I could change over 🙂


  3. I made the switch to Aperture 3 a couple of weeks ago myself. Why the book feature is great, Aperture’s library system and shooting tethered without any other software did it for me. I never really thought the Lightroom library system was bad until I played with and used the Aperture library system, I love having a visual cue for the projects instead of just a list of folders.

  4. I just have to chime in here. I have found (after extensive use) Aperture 3 to be the worst software I have ever purchased. It is riddled with bugs and glitches, eats up a massive amount of hard drive space and just isn’t worth the money. The only thing Aperture really has going for it is a the star editing system. I’m going back to Lightroom.

  5. Like that Oh Snap we may give it a run down under. Yes, Aperture & Photoshop are with me likely forever. Love using them.


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