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How to Import, Organise and Edit Your Image Collection With Aperture

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There comes a point in every budding photographers life where iPhoto just doesn't cut it anymore. Sure, iPhoto is great for basic image editing and organising snapshot upon snapshot, but if you want more control over your images and wish to step your photography up a notch, then Aperture is the next logical step.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to import, organise and edit your image collection with Aperture, and merge your entire iPhoto library in just a few clicks.

Aperture Explained

Aperture is an image management application developed by Apple. With Aperture, you can import your entire image collection, organised by Project, Place and Face, and non-destructively edit each photograph.

Similar in style to iPhoto, Aperture is marketed towards amateur and professional photographers, and yields more control over each image than its beginner-friendly counterpart. It is currently available to purchase for £54.99 in the App Store.


First, I will show you how to import your image collection into Aperture and name each Project accordingly.

Click Import.Click Import.Click Import.
Click Import.

Click the Import icon.

Select the images you would like to import.Select the images you would like to import.Select the images you would like to import.
Select the images you would like to import.

Select the images you would like to import by checking the checkbox below each one.

Name your Project.Name your Project.Name your Project.
Name your Project.

Enter the name of your Project in the Project Name field under Import Settings. Here, you can select the destination of your images, as well as the location to store each file.

Click Import Checked.Click Import Checked.Click Import Checked.
Click Import Checked.

When you are ready to import your images, click Import Checked.

Aperture library.Aperture library.Aperture library.
Aperture library.

Your imported images will be stored in your Aperture library, automatically categorised by Project name. Each Project includes a thumbnail image displaying a key photograph that changes in sequence when skimmed to reflect its content.

Merge Your iPhoto Library (Optional)

Alternatively, you may wish to merge your iPhoto library with Aperture to view previously imported images in one application. Here's how.

Click Other/New.

Click File, Switch to Library and then Other/New.

Click Choose.Click Choose.Click Choose.
Click Choose.

Select iPhoto library and then click Choose. Your iPhoto Library will then merge with your Aperture library.


Aperture is able to organise your image collection by Project, Place and Face using geotagging and face recognition.

Organise by Place

Info pane.Info pane.Info pane.
Info pane.

Highlight a Project and then click the Information icon in the right-hand corner of the thumbnail to display the Info pane.

Click Assign Location.Click Assign Location.Click Assign Location.
Click Assign Location.

Click Assign Location.

Enter a location.Enter a location.Enter a location.
Enter a location.

Enter a location, adjust by clicking and dragging the pin around the interactive map and then click Assign.

Click Places.Click Places.Click Places.
Click Places.

Click Places to view a map displaying the location each image was photographed.

Organise by Face

Click Faces.Click Faces.Click Faces.
Click Faces.

Click Faces.

An unidentified face.An unidentified face.An unidentified face.
An unidentified face.

Aperture will display a number of faces for you to identify.

Identify a face.Identify a face.Identify a face.
Identify a face.

Click Unnamed to identify a face and then press the Return key on your keyboard to finish.

Faces pane.Faces pane.Faces pane.
Faces pane.

Click an identified face to view every image containing that particular person.


For the purpose of this tutorial, I will edit the following photograph of Penmon Point in Anglesey, Wales. Feel free to do the same by downloading a high resolution copy of the image or, alternatively, choose your own.



I will start by straightening the horizon of my image. Straightening a crooked horizon will ensure that your photograph closely resembles the scene it has captured.

Click Straighten.Click Straighten.Click Straighten.
Click Straighten.

Click the Straighten icon.

Click and drag.Click and drag.Click and drag.
Click and drag.

Click and drag your image to straighten using the grid as a guide.


Cropping is used to improve the composition and aspect ratio of a photograph. I will crop my image using its original aspect ratio to give a tighter composition.

Click Crop.Click Crop.Click Crop.
Click Crop.

Click the Crop icon.

Select an aspect ratio.Select an aspect ratio.Select an aspect ratio.
Select an aspect ratio.

Click Aspect Ratio to select an aspect ratio from the menu, or create your own by entering a Width and Height then press Apply.

Click and drag the selection rectangle.Click and drag the selection rectangle.Click and drag the selection rectangle.
Click and drag the selection rectangle.

Click and drag each corner of the selection rectangle to resize, or drag from the centre to reposition. Click Apply once again.


Retouching is the art of digitally removing any unwanted blemishes from an image. Here, I will remove several puddles to make the scene look less distracting.

Click Brushes.Click Brushes.Click Brushes.
Click Brushes.

Click the Brushes icon.

Select Retouch.Select Retouch.Select Retouch.
Select Retouch.

Select Retouch from the menu.

Adjust the Radius, Softness and Opacity.Adjust the Radius, Softness and Opacity.Adjust the Radius, Softness and Opacity.
Adjust the Radius, Softness and Opacity.

Adjust the Radius, Softness and Opacity of the brush by moving the slider.

If you prefer, you may use the Clone tool instead by clicking Clone. Hold down the Option key and click to define a source point, then proceed to the next step.

Click and drag the brush.Click and drag the brush.Click and drag the brush.
Click and drag the brush.

Click and drag the brush over each blemish to remove.

White Balance

Remove any colour casts present in your image by adjusting the white balance.

Click Adjustments.Click Adjustments.Click Adjustments.
Click Adjustments.

Click the Adjustments tab.

Adjust the white balance.Adjust the white balance.Adjust the white balance.
Adjust the white balance.

Click Effects, White Balance and then Auto.

Modify the temperature.Modify the temperature.Modify the temperature.
Tweak the temperature.

Tweak the temperature of your image by adjusting the Warmth slider


Boosting the contrast, definition, saturation and vibrancy of your image will result in a punchier finish.

Enhance your image.Enhance your image.Enhance your image.
Enhance your image.

Adjust the Contrast, Definition, Saturation and Vibrancy of your image by moving the corresponding slider.

Noise Reduction

As my image was taken with an analogue camera using 800 speed film in low light, it is inevitably rather grainy. Noise reduction will help clean up any noise present for a more professional finish.

Click Noise Reduction.Click Noise Reduction.Click Noise Reduction.
Click Noise Reduction.

Click Add Adjustment and then select Noise Reduction from the menu.

Tip: Look closely and you will see a bullet symbol alongside various tools listed under the Add Adjustment menu. This is to remind you which adjustments you have made to your image to ensure that they are not needlessly repeated.


Sharpening will turn a soft, slightly blurry image, tack sharp and make the subject pop.

Click Sharpen.Click Sharpen.Click Sharpen.
Click Sharpen.

Click Add Adjustment and then select Sharpen from the menu.

Move the slider.Move the slider.Move the slider.
Move the slider.

Tweak the Intensity and Radius by moving the slider.


Once you have finished editing, you are ready to export your image.

Click Version.Click Version.Click Version.
Click Version.

Click File, Export and then Version.

Click Export Versions.Click Export Versions.Click Export Versions.
Click Export Versions.

Choose a location to save your image, enter a filename in the Custom Name field and then click Export Versions.

You Did It!

Before (above) and after.

In this tutorial, I have shown you how to import, organise and edit your image collection with Aperture, and merge your entire iPhoto library. Are you unsure about anything in particular? If so, leave a comment below.

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