Get Your Head Around Aperture 1.5 Reviewed

by Josh Anon

Chances are, if you've ever searched for help on Aperture, you've found Steve Weller's, aka Bagelturf, website. Here, for some time now, Steve has posted a wide range of well-written Aperture articles dealing with everything from high-level topics, such as the viewer, to technical subjects, including export plug-in development. Recently, he bundled up the plethora of articles on his site into a self-published, $24.95 PDF called Get Your Hear Around Aperture 1.5. I've been fortunate enough to have a review copy, and I have to say that I'm impressed with how much work he's has done!

There are a number of excellent Aperture books on the market (shameless plug: including the one that Ellen and I co-authored, Aperture Exposed) designed to expose the reader to everything in Aperture; they're written as reference/how-to guides to help you learn all about the program while providing some workflow suggestions and troubleshooting tips. Steve has taken a different approach. In the PDF's introduction, he explains that everything here is from a personal perspective. Rather than taking a comprehensive, reference manual approach, he's written about what he considers worth covering, what what works for him, what he's discovered, and what problems he's had. Furthermore, he explains that this PDF is "simply a large number of articles classified into sections, roughly organized into a sensible order. It's a dip and skip book."

Be aware that this means that some topics, such as processing RAW images and advanced image adjustment, aren't covered while other topics, such as going from iView to Aperture, are. This also means that you should take some of the sample workflows for just what they are--samples that you'll want to customize to be more appropriate for your shooting style (this is true with every suggested workflow, though!).

What really impressed me is the amount of detail Steve has discovered and documented in many parts of Aperture. I blogged recently about finding new features in Aperture. Reading his articles will give you a head start into discovering what buttons to poke! For example, most of us know about using folders to help organize our library. Yet did you know that folders that organize projects and other top-level content are blue while folders that organize the content inside a project are brown? In "Brown Folders In the Aperture Library," with many descriptive screenshots, Steve describes the differences between the two, explains what type of folders you end up with when you import projects, explains how to move the files to get the organization you want, and more.

These articles, including "Brown Folders In the Aperture Library," are available for free on Steve's site (there is a donation link, if you want to thank him for his work), and you could save them each as a PDF if you don't want to purchase the full collection. However, having an organized, searchable PDF is quite handy for when you want to read about Aperture without having an Internet connection or want to quickly search for a topic. Furthermore, the $24.95 price includes a year of updates to help prevent the book from going stale.

If you're looking for a gentle introduction or comprehensive reference to Aperture, this isn't the right book for you. However, if you're looking to learn more about how Aperture works--what goes on inside a vault and a library, ideas to make Aperture work better in your workflow, and how to do some non-obvious tasks (especially with metadata), I'd recommend Get Your Head Around Aperture 1.5.