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Aperture 2: A workflow guide

An excellent resource for Apple Aperture users

in Apple Aperture , Thursday, February 19, 2009

Apple’s Aperture has nothing like the host of how-to books that have sprung up for Adobe’s Lightroom. The positive spin on this - and one which I would say has some degree of justification - is that it doesn’t need them. Aperture ships with a very good and complete manual, albeit only in PDF form since version 2, and a printed fully illustrated getting started guide, whereas Lightroom comes with only the lightest of lightweight getting started pamphlets. Aperture is also considerably more intuitive, at least in my opinion. The negative spin, also tenable, is that Aperture’s market share is so low that it isn’t commercially viable to publish books.

Well, at least Focal Press seem to believe there is a market for their recently published “Aperture 2: A workflow guide for digital photographers”, by Ken McMahon and Nik Rawlinson.


This is the book that Aperture 2 users need. It goes far beyond the fluffed up user manual, the Apple Pro Training Series: Aperture 2 book (which isn’t exactly bad, but is very short on detail). McMahon and Rawlinson’s book matches the best of the Lightroom books, taking a photography rather than computing perspective.  For example, the Pro Series book has about 1 paragraph on sharpening, and this basically tells you where the sliders are. Here, the authors dedicate at least 8 pages to explaining the various options, and how they interact.

They provide a very nice tutorial on how to extract maximum dynamic range from a RAW file, balancing the boost, exposure and recovery sliders (and more), really putting Aperture through its paces and revealing considerable hidden depths.

On the DAM side they are equally thorough, although in this case the Pro Training Series book does a pretty good job too. However, across the board, “Aperture 2: A workflow guide for digital photographers” either equals or considerably surpasses “Apple Pro Training Series: Aperture 2”. I haven’t read any other Aperture 2 books, but certainly as a general, in-depth guide, it is difficult to see how it could be beaten.

Highly recommended.