I went to the 2008 Seattle Auto Show this week and grabbed some images with my Panasonic LX3. I am still shooting JPGs since there is no RAW Aperture converter. That said, the LX3 is so good even in JPG mode that I don’t mind.
I wanted to see if I could download, select, adjust, convert to B&W and upload to a web gallery in 25 minutes. I used these photos as a test case. Let’s see what happened.
I shot about 45 images at the show. I wasn’t shooting everything that moved. I tried to make good images that I knew I’d like to keep.
I came back to my office and installed my SanDisk Ultra II 8GB card into the Hoodman USB 2.0 UDMA Reader and in no time, had my images imported into Aperture. I used Aperture’s powerful import feature to caption, keyword and name the images in a way that would make it easy for me to publish them.
Then I used Aperture’s compare and select tools to weed down from 45 images to 14 I really liked. For me, the workflow goes something like this. I hit the “9” key in Aperture when I get to an image that I know I don’t want to publish. This “rejects” the image, and takes it off the screen. This doesn’t mean I’ve deleted the image. It just means I can’t see it using the standard Aperture search criteria, i.e., unrated or better.
Then I award four or five stars to the remaining images. The five-star images are for sure keepers. The four-star images get a second look before they’re either promoted or rejected outright.
Once I have my final keepers, I make basic exposure adjustments, add some detail using the Definition slider, check to make sure I have details in the highlights and the shadows using the Recovery and Black Point sliders, and make any required Levels adjustments.
Then the fun begins. In this case, I wanted to make all of the images monochromatic. For some reason I find myself really enjoying working in black and white lately.
I used Nik’s amazing Silver Efex Pro plug-in for Aperture to do the conversions. (Nik also makes this for Photoshop.)
One of my favorite Silver Efex Pro features is the ability to bring in and process multiple images at once. I just selected all 14 images in the image browser and then picked IMAGE > EDIT WITH and the Silver EFEX Pro plug-in. All 14 images were loaded into the plug-in interface. Then I used a variety of presets, including both factory and personally created settings to modify each picture. When I had applied the different effects to each image, I selected the SAVE ALL button and the Nik plug-in processed each image according to the presets I had selected. It’s important to note that I used a different preset or combination of presets and small adjustments on each image. Nik sorts all that out for you and applies the corrections accordingly.
When the plug-in was done, I was returned to Aperture where I applied Edge Sharpening to one picture in the group, then using the Lift & Stamp tools, applied the same sharpening to all 13 remaining images.
Elapsed time: 23.5 minutes.
You don’t have to spend a great deal of time fussing with your photos in order to share them. The tools are out there. All it takes is a few good shots, 25 minutes, and you’re ready to show the world your photographic prowess.
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