Aperture 3 – My Initial Thoughts

Many photographers are excited about Aperture 3 and all the new features. I am one of those people. I spent the weekend going through Apple’s new software wonder for photographers and I am quite impressed. Many of the new features help cut down the need to go to Photoshop for post production and the ability to import and edit video in the same application you edit photos is outstanding! But, there is a downside – Aperture 3 is EXTREMELY resource hungry.

As a Lightroom 2 and Lightroom 3 Beta user, it was really nice to see Aperture outfitted with some Brushes. You can do a lot of little retouching tasks right there and save yourself a trip to Photoshop. You can retouch skin, remove dust spots and blemishes, brighten eyes, dodge and burn, whiten teeth; basically all the same things you can do in Lightroom. It’s really great.

The import dialog is a little different than Lightroom, but all the same features are there. You can specify how and where images are imported, back them up to a second location, add metadata, and even add adjustment presets to images as you import them. That last feature alone can save you a TON of time in your workflow if you aren’t doing that already with Lightroom and have a common starting place for all of your photos.

One of my favorite new features is the Full Screen mode! WOW! Seeing your images fill your screen like that is just incredible! You can bring up the Heads Up Display (HUD) which allows you to make the adjustments you need and likens the Adjustment Panel in Lightroom. Imagine your whole screen being filled with your photo while you work your magic! The thought of it is pure excitement!

I haven’t yet taken the video processing and editing for a spin yet. I’ll have to get to that at a later time. From watching the videos on Apple’s website it looks to be pretty promising and you can export them to Final Cut Pro for serious video work.

There are some challenges considering my Lightroom workflow is so engrained in my brain, but overall I am incredibly happy and satisfied with Aperture 3. There is one little thing that perturbs me, and that’s the fact that Aperture 3 is very resource intensive and my MacBook Pro lags while making Brush adjustments with my image at 100 percent. That drives me nuts! My MBP has 4GB of RAM and 512MB of dedicated video memory (VRAM) so I shouldn’t have any problems, but Aperture 3 sure sucks up resources. Don’t get me wrong, Lightroom certainly isn’t “light” on resource consumption either but it’s not this bad.

If you have gotten to check out Aperture 3 (there is a 30-day Free Trial), feel free to drop me a line in the comments and let me know what you think. I don’t think the resource issue is going to go away anytime soon, but you just can’t beat working on your images while they fill your whole screen!


10 thoughts on “Aperture 3 – My Initial Thoughts

  1. I’m also a LR and LR3 Beta user checking out the 30-day trial. It’s helpful to read what other people are thinking. My initial reaction was that the program seems clumsy and clunky–but now I’m thinking that’s just because I know my LR shortcut keys and I’m not so quick with Aperture.

    However, I AM a little put off by the processing requirements. I am disheartened to hear that you are having issues with 4GB of RAM. As others are saying, I would pretty much need to buy a new computer to use Aperture 3 effectively and that’s just not happening. (I have an iMac and a MBP–both with 3GB of max RAM.)

    Ah well.

    • Well Meghan, the good news is that Aperture 3.0.1 was released on Wednesday and I’m going to give it another go around. I’m trying hard to give it a chance because I am REALLY impressed with the new features, but not so much with the performance. Supposedly this update will fix the memory issue, so we’ll see. I’ll be sure to post my thoughts so check back with me!

      All the best,


  2. Hi Stephen
    I see you mentioned teeth whitening. I am new to Aperture 3 and would really appreciate it if you could explain to me how I could do this. I am trying to fix some photos in which one person has very yellowed teeth and I want her to look her best.
    Thank you for any help you can give me.

  3. Thanks! When I couldn’t find it, I went in and did just what the tutorial taught 🙂 Sometimes it’s good to just have to figure things out! You are very kind to get back to me so fast, though.

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