Removing the photographer's pain points with Aperture

by Dominique James

The first time I heard and paid attention to the term "pain points" was at an Aperture conference held in Cambodia. I was part of a group of hand-picked professional photographers from different Asian countries. We were selected to attend this conference so we can share knowledge about real-world and actual use of Aperture.

I remember feeling very excited because I'd get the chance to meet and interact with my colleagues from different Asian countries, and learn first-hand how each one of them are managing their workflow with Apple's Aperture as a post-production tool. I was very much looking forward to picking up and learning a few tips and tricks here and there so I can refine my own workflow with the aim of making it more effective and efficient.

Well, I was not disappointed. Photographers are mostly outgoing, and once you get them started on a particular topic, the discussion is bound to go on forever. I said a few things myself but mostly I listened to what others said. I was fascinated to hear them talk about their actual work experiences with Aperture. I must have asked a lot of questions. Maybe it shouldn't be so surprising by now that each photographer actually have a somewhat unique workflow style. Still, I couldn't help but somehow feel really surprised at the innovative ways different photographers use Aperture. No one was shy in sharing what exactly they do and how they actually push photos out of their ateliers' doors. It turned out to be a fantastic learning experience.

Apple's Aperture conference in Asia nicely coincided with the annual Ankor Wat Photography Festival. I enjoyed viewing the many exhibits of featured international photographers with subjects spanning from historical to contemporary images. And on the side, we had the chance to explore a couple of places in Cambodia. First, we took an interesting "sunrise" look at the majestic, inspiring and tragic sprawl of the Angkor Wat ruins. Next, we experienced the painful and forlorn beauty of being afloat in the middle of the endless Tony Sap lake at sunset.


In Cambodia, I found myself caught up in the vortex of the old and the new. In this modern world, we continue to "live" the history of the past. There are, of course, valid reasons why we should look back to our past and reminisce. Philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist George Santayana was the first to say, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." From the historic perspective of Cambodia, remembering the past means side-stepping the "pain points" that might again happen.

To me, as a photographer, I hope to keep remembering the past in order to get away from it, to move away from it, and even to escape it, so that I can fully appreciate what is new, and do things in a better way. We may not appreciate it as much as we did the first time around, but, the technology of Apple's Aperture has truly and radically altered the way we do our post-production work. I feel that this software was designed to remove a lot of the "pain points" we have to deal with on a day to day basis. Aperture has simplified enough the process for us so we can achieve our photographic vision and deliver the results to clients with minimum fuss and on time.

Apple's Aperture puts into the hands of digital photographers today some of the most important tools of our trade. We may be deceived into thinking, for instance, that the image enhancing and editing tools are quite simplistic and almost like a child's play, but underlying that simplicity are technologies that does the job. For me, this is one of the ways that Apple have removed "pain points." To make it easy to do. Many photographers all over the world have amply demonstrated the power and beauty, and the ease, of the many built-in enhancement and editing capabilities of Aperture.

Almost with certainty, the new major version release of Aperture, when it is announced, will contain new and interesting features. Whatever these new features will be, and in whatever way these new features will be delivered to us, we will welcome them. I just hope that Apple shall continue to look back at their fine tradition with Aperture of removing "pain points" for photographers like you and me.


Chris R
2007-11-20 05:18:23
I'm confused. Was this conference in Cambodia or Laos? All the places you mention seem to be in Cambodia, but you keep saying "in Laos.."
David Day
2007-11-20 10:14:35
Your points are well taken, wherever you were :-)

Yesterday I tried to use another RAW processor 'cause my new camera is NOT supported yet in Ap...and we all know it will take a long time :-( But, when I started to work, it became apparent that once again I was back in the "computer care & feeding" mode, rather than simply working on my pictures...I had to think about where to put the various files in various formats and worry about what "module" I was in before deciding how next to edit my shots....yuck. Ap has changed the world for me, and that's why I'm still "in the camp".

Having said this, the "major" release we all hope is coming needs to get here soon...Adobe is a nimble competitor and the LR product is pretty good...many of my Ap colleagues have abandoned the fold for those greener (?) pastures. I need RAW support to produce the work that is up to my standards for clients...and hacking around with two or three other apps just so I can use Ap, ain't gonna happen.

Dominique James
2007-11-20 20:42:18
Chris R, thank you for pointing out the geographical error. Information in the blog has been updated. We certainly don't want to lose our way! Thanks again.