At this point in Aperture’s life-cycle, and with the release of Lightroom to stir up the pot, my thoughts have been turning more and more to things I’d like to see in the next version of Aperture. A few weeks ago, I blogged wanting live two way XMP support of IPTC metadata. It might be a bit ambitious, but it’s something that would be useful to me if all of my applications supported it. In the last week or so, there’s now a new feature has come to mind that would also be incredibly useful: Being able to export develop settings for a single file.
In Aperture 1.5, the best way to move photographs, their metadata, and their development settings such as Exposure and levels adjustments, from one Aperture library to another is to export a project. However, what if you want to export just a collection of your picks to another Aperture user and send along all of your image adjustments? Right now, it seems that the only way to do this is to drop them into a separate project and export that new project out. That sort of violates the grouping abilities that projects give you. It’d be much simpler if you could just export out a set of photographs, either individually or as a group, in a form that could be imported by another user of Aperture. Once imported, they’d have access to the full information in your RAW files, and they’d start out with just the adjustments you left off with.
Why would you want to do this? I can think of several scenarios. The first is for when I ship photographs from an assignment to a client. Most clients are happy with JPG files and don’t want the complexity of having RAW files around. However, there are a few that are interested in having the original RAW files because of later repurposing that they might do to the images for various uses. In the cases where this has come up before, I’ve created a separate project so that I can keep the out-takes that I want to keep out of the set I send the client.
A second scenario would be in a press situation. Increasingly, news organizations want to have the ability to make sure an image hasn’t been tampered with. I’ve heard anecdotally that some organizations have started requesting RAW files from the field so that at least they can see the original sensor data as it was captured. If I were reporting from Iraq, I’d be happy handing off my RAW files to my editor if that were part of the gig, but I would want a way to do this that would keep the cropping, levels, and other basic adjustments I might have done. A photo editor might override my choices, but I’d at least want them to start where I left off.
This is a feature that’s already present in Lightroom and the rest of Adobe’s software suite thanks to XMP metadata that can be either shipped as a sidecar to the original file or embedded into a DNG that contains the original RAW information. For example, in Lightroom you can export a photograph as a DNG. Then another Lightroom user, or a Photoshop user even, can open up that DNG and start off where you left off. It’s like being able to ship your digital negatives off to somebody else along with the complete recipe of how to recreate your intended image.
Or maybe there’s already a way to do this in Aperture that I haven’t found. You never know :)