Apple Aperture 3

It was two years, almost to the day, from the announcement of Aperture 2 to the recent release of Aperture 3. We’re glad to say that the new features and general improvements in Aperture 3 were worth the wait.

Though targeted primarily at professionals, Apple has put considerable effort into making Aperture a more natural, easy upgrade for all photographers who find themselves outgrowing iPhoto. To this end, the interface has been tweaked to include bigger buttons in the main menu bar, adding links to share automatically via MobileMe, Facebook and Flickr, and calling out new features like Faces (facial recognition) and Places (GPS tagging).

These enhancements, while noteworthy in themselves, aren’t the big news in Aperture 3. Most important for all photographers is the ability to make selective, localized adjustments. Aperture 3 also adds support for HD video clips from your DSLR. In all, there’s over 200 new features, making this upgrade well worth the $99 for existing users. List Price: $199 (full version).

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Advanced Slideshows And HD Video Support

One of the most exciting new features is the ability to import, manage and include HD video clips in photo slideshows. Though your ability to edit the video clips is limited to trimming start and end points, combining HD video clips, still photos and up to three sound layers to your slideshows makes them truly multimedia presentations. We’re impressed with this new capability and excited to see Apple introducing their expertise in video editing to photographers. See video-enhanced slideshows created using Aperture at



Want to make selective, localized adjustments? The new Brushes tool lets you apply nondestructive adjustments only where you need them. Control the brush size, feature and effect intensity, and select Detect Edges to have Aperture analyze the image as you brush and keep your strokes within the bounds of your subject. There are 15 Quick Brushes for common corrections and enhancements, including dodge and burn, skin smoothing and detail sharpening.

Adjustment Presets

Adjustment Presets

In addition to all of the global adjustment controls in previous versions, Aperture 3 includes a variety of presets to apply a combination of effects for instant enhancements like converting to black-and-white, color toning and cross-processing effects. Another great part of this new feature is the instant preview that displays what the image will look like if you apply the adjustment. Like all enhancements in Aperture, applying presets is nondestructive, meaning you can back out of them at any time.


Using facial recognition technology that improves accuracy with experience, the new Faces feature is an intuitive, automatic way to add subject metadata to your images. Aperture starts by asking you to identify people, and begins to learn who’s who, automatically recognizing individuals you’ve already named and asking you to verify. When you need to find a person later, just type a name and Aperture searches across your entire library or in a specific project.


Like Faces, Places is a new approach to adding metadata to your photos. If you’re shooting with a GPS-enabled camera, Aperture automatically uses the coordinates recorded for each shot to plot individual shot locations and your overall path of travel on an in-app map powered by Google. Or, you can import GPS locations from a GPS tracker or iPhone, and Aperture automatically will apply GPS data to images based on time stamp. (Be sure your camera’s time and date are matched with the time and date settings of your GPS device.) If you don’t have a GPS solution, you simply can drag photos onto the map. Now when you need to find a photo from a particular place, you can search by place name.

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