Using Aperture 3 with Scanned Film Images

by Mike on April 11, 2011

(the first film image I’ve shot in years)

Yesterday, I broke my born-again film virginity by running a roll of Kodak Portra 400NC through the Mamiya 645 Pro system that I picked up from Adorama over the weekend.

I had the film processed and scanned at a local photo lab, and then imported the scans (which are in JPEG format) into one of my Aperture 3 projects.

So as it turns out, Aperture 3 handles scanned film photographs just fine. There’s no metadata other than that of the scanner, so I added keywords relevant to the shot on import. You are keywording all your images on import, aren’t you?

Here are the gear-related keywords that I added to the above image:

2.8, 80mm, 80mm 2.8, 400nc, 645, 645 pro, film, kodak, kodak portra, kodak portra 400nc, mamiya, mamiya 80mm 2.8, mamiya 645, mamiya 645 pro, portra, portra 400nc, pretty sunset, shot on film

Aside from the usual stuff (location, subject matter, etc.), I made sure to add any information I may look for in the future if I’m curious about how a particular shot was made. So I stuck in stuff like film type (Portra 400NC) and lens (80mm 2.8).

The actual exposure information isn’t really relevant – the lighting on a landscape is never really the same twice, and whether this was shot at 1/60s or 1/125s is something I won’t ever worry about.

And of course, you can use all of Aperture’s editing capabilities and plug-ins to further enhance your images.

So far, I’m loving being back to shooting film, a topic I’ll be discussing more in the future.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

steveo April 12, 2011 at 1:10 am

Hi Mike, Just wondering why you would create multiple & combined keywords such as: 80mm, 2.8, 80mm 2.8, Mamiya 80mm 2.8, etc. I would have thought that if the single keywords were in place then a search of these keywords would find exactly what you were looking for (e.g. searching for individual keywords: Mamiya, 80mm, 2.8 should find the image, without resort to creation of a combined keyword: Mamiya 80mm 2.8. or am I missing something? Cheers!

Mike April 12, 2011 at 10:18 am


I use multiple variations just to ensure that all my bases are covered, especially when my images are uploaded online and those keywords are converted to tags. Besides, it doesn’t require any extra effort on my part.

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