Aperture Tip – Always Add Keywords On Imports

by admin on February 18, 2010

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The goal of this blog is to help you use Aperture in a productive manner. When used properly, Aperture gets you away from the computer quickly so you can get back out to take pictures.

And that means keeping your image library in order.

The best to keep control over your image library is to keyword all your images. By adding keywords, you won’t have to know exactly where every photograph is within the Aperture library.

Sometimes things just end up in funny places, and you have no idea why. Just this week all my live music photos disappeared out of my live music folder. This is almost certainly a result of me working late into the night while sipping rum & ginger ale.

My own Aperture library isn’t perfect. I’m still cutting out unnecessary crap and rearranging folders, and that means that not everything is where it should be. I don’t always import everything into my library in the most logical manner, but by keywording all my images, I can always find what I’m looking for by searching by keyword – those live music photos somehow ended up in the Brooklyn folder, so all was not lost. A simple search by music found them in a second.

These keywords will also be converted to tags when you upload photos to applications like Flickr, so it’s one less thing to worry about! This is also big for stock photographers, who need to keyword everything extensively so photo buyers will find their pics.

And I can tell you from experience that there is no better time to keyword images than when you import them. You have the freedom to add keywords to images at any time, but doing it on import is much more sensible. Chances are you’ll forget to do it later, or simply get lazy and put it off – I know I did when I first bought Aperture.

Here’s how to do it.

1) First, bring up your import screen. Here’s mine:

2) Next, look at the bottom right hand of the screen, where it says Add Metadata From: IPTC. If you scroll down the data field, you’ll come to keywords:

3) Add in all your relevant keywords here – where the picture was taken, who is in it, and just about anything else you can think of that would help you identify it down the road. You can add plenty of other data here as well, such as photographer name, contact info, captions, etc.

On a related note, with the new Aperture 3, you have the ability to add image-processing presets on import. So within a few minutes, you can have 200 new pictures properly keyworded and post-processed (black & white, exposure boost, etc.) within your Aperture library.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Thomas Boyd April 26, 2010 at 1:02 pm
Mike April 26, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Cool, thanks!

Esben June 30, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Hi Mike.
I’ve been using this method for years and if you remember to do it on every import half your work is done already. But do you have a good method for removing some of the keywords again? Upon import I add whatever keyword comes to my mind for the entire photo assignment I was just out shooting. But in one assignment you can often have several different locations, subjects, themes, etc. So how do you narrow down the keywords that you have already added to the photos?

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