Importing lots of photos into Aperture

I have about 150gb of photos from 1988 to the present: scanned images from film cameras, and images from digital cameras. I had been using Adobe Lightroom to process — but not to manange — my photos.

Once I’d gotten my iMac, my Infrant NAS (photos) and had decided on Aperture as my management tool of choice, it was time to … procrastinate. It’s a daunting task, but I’m working my way foreward from 1988 as well as back from now, just to keep things interesting.

Today, I imported Montgomery photos from 2006, about 9000 photos in all, generally grouped in folders by week. Aperture has a feature to import folders as projects, and I used this, leaving the files in the original location (i.e not importing into the aperture library). Aperture creates albums under each project, containing all of the images in the project. Interesting default configuration, except that would double the number of entries (no, they need not all be visible, of course). I just delete the albums to keep things neat.

I was reviewing my folders as well, on my other screen. As I was going back and forth between the two, I hit delete, confirmed … then watched as one of my NAS folders started losing files… I’d started deleting the wrong thing! I stopped it in the middle or so, and may have to review from flickr to see what I missed :/

This had the additional problem of causing some database issues within Aperture. When it prepares to import, it creates entries for each of the files. If the files are missing (i.e. the user deleted them), you’re asked to rebuild the Aperture database. Instead, I elected to open the Aperture package, and just remove the offending aplibrary files. And then I had to remove their greyed-out entries in the app itself.

From this I learn couple of interesting things:
– I don’t actually have a backup of my photos for the inadvertent deletions. Sure the NAS protects against mechanical failure, but not from personal failure 🙂
– Confirmations screens are useless, since the user typically agrees without thinking at this oft-repeated step (at least according to the UI books I read). Better to make the action reversible … which it would be if it weren’t on the NAS!

So I suppose I should do a backup of my NAS. Conveniently, its OS has backup software, and in fact, I can back it up to itself. I just have to read what kind of format it stores the backup in — something reasonable, or some sort of compressed file which is relatively useless for retrieving a few specfic files.

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6 Responses to Importing lots of photos into Aperture

  1. Henrik says:

    I can feel the panic you had! I keep my photos on DVD and on at least 2 separate HD:s. I don’t thrust backup programs.

  2. Mike Franklin says:

    I got the NAS so I didn’t need to do backups in case of mechanical failure. I’ve just not worked out the best solution to prevent against operator failure!

    The NAS came with EMC Retrospect for backups, and I’ve scheduled a nightly backup of my iMac (and I do one infrequently of my macbook). I endeavor to keep “data” on the nas, and only applications on the macs. but the problem remains of deleting that data on the NAS — I don’t have a backup of it. But hey, 600GB free, I should have room …

  3. Henrik says:

    Do you run the iMac 24 h around the clock?

  4. Mike Franklin says:

    It’s turned on while I’m in Vermont; it goes to sleep after some number of minutes of inactivity. It’s turned off while I’m in Boston

  5. Henrik says:

    >it goes to sleep after some number of minutes of inactivity

    haha! that’s me!

  6. Really nice site you have here. I’ve been reading for a while but this post made me want to say 2 thumbs up. Keep up the great work

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