06 November 2007

Improve your Workflow with Aperture Part 3

Part 3 - Create your own Metadata Views

This is the 3rd part of a series of articles to improve your import workflow with Apple Aperture. After we achieved organizing libraries and created a library structure, we need to optimize our metadata tools. Getting the use of metadata right, will not only improve your import workflow, but will also assist you in the future with finding specific images in Aperture.

Metadata, allows you to attach information to your images, like time and date of capture, copyright, keywords etc. Some information is automatically attached to your image by your camera (exposure time, time and date of exposure etc.). You can other data manually. Adding keywords to thousands of images manually would be a harsh punishment and contradict what I believe in. Luckily, you can add the same metadata to more than one image at a time with Aperture and you can also automate the process to a certain extent. Creating your own metadata view is the first step.

Automation works great when you have to add the same kind of metadata to your images again and again. If you want to assign a copyright notice to all your images, you can work with metadata presets in Aperture. Once more, you have to work hard in preparing the presets, but the rewards are so sweet that you will actually enjoy the process.

Think about what kind of images, you work with on a regular basis: Are you mostly shooting weddings, portraits, cars, landscape or children? Whichever field you work in, adjusting your metadata to your needs will reward you with an import workflow which makes you so much more efficient and allows you to do the things you rather would be doing, like installing Leopard on your Mac. :)

In case you want to learn more about metadata, Wikipedia offers some interesting articles:


These articles will supply with far more information that you need to work with Aperture.

It’s time to get to work. Open Aperture, go into any of your projects or albums and select a random image. Ctrl D will open the Metadata side-panel.

On top you see a drop-down menu called Metadata View. Select All IPTC. Your side-panel extends to a very long list of empty fields. If you choose EXIF - Expanded, you see a list with camera related data.

Go through the metadata views and look for a view your really like. Keep in mind that changing the view does not change the data assigned to the images. A view just filters what you see. Make a note of your favorite view. You will need it in the next step.

Let’s create our own view. Next to the Metadata View drop-down menu, you find a star with another drop-down menu. Click on it and select Manage Views. Yes, there is an option for New View, but that would build a view from scratch. We want to save on our workload... After opening Manage Views, you see a list of all existing Metadata Views. Select your favorite. I selected IPTC - Basic. Then click on the + sign on the bottom of the screen. A copy of your selected view is created. Give it an easy to remember name. I called mine Import Standard. Click OK. Now select your freshly created metadata view in the Metadata View drop-down menu. To add an extra field to your view, go to the bottom of the side-panel and select IPTC. A new list from the bottom up appears. Make sure to unselect Hide Empty Tags on top of that list.

Adding a new field to your custom view is as easy as ticking the box next the field name. In my case, I decided to select City and Country Name.

Your Metadata View is automatically saved. You don’t need to do anything else. Congratulations, you just created your first personalized Metadata View.

Tomorrow, we will create our own presets after creating some personalized keyword settings.
That's, where things become interesting and we will be ready to import our first project.

Yesterday, I got a bit carried away and announced writing about keyword settings for today’s entry. Please forgive me for that.

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