Tag Archives: Aperture

Changing Unknown Camera Models in Aperture

I use Aperture to manage my photos, and like most people, I use digital cameras. These record all kinds of information in the image file when a picture is taken – camera make, model, date, time, GPS location (if the camera supports this), and so on. This information is useful when reviewing pictures later on. This information is usually referred to as EXIF info.


However, if you have an analogue camera, then this data isn’t recorded. After scanning the negatives and importing them into Aperture, selecting a picture in Aperture’s browser viewer shows “Unknown Camera”. What is worse is the data is not editable within Aperture – so I can’t add the necessary information at this point.

There is a way to do this. This tutorial assumes that you have already imported images into Aperture and want to change this information afterwards. You will need that Swiss Army Knife of graphic software – Graphic Converter – http://www.lemkesoft.com/content/188/graphicconverter.html. There is a command line tool for changing EXIF data if you like a lot of typing in the Terminal application. GC 7 provides a handy UI for this kind of thing.

I would recommend doing this on a project by project basis to help keep things organised.


Step 1 – select all the images in Aperture you want to change. Then, go to Relocate Masters… in the File menu. This will let you move the masters outside of Aperture’s library to somewhere where you can get to them. I’d suggest a temporary folder on your Desktop, but anywhere in your User folder should be fine.


Step 2 – In Graphic Converter, go to File>Browser. This will open up GC’s Browser. Locate the images you relocated in Aperture.


Step 4 – Select all the images and click on the Action drop-down tool, and select Edit or Add EXIF Data…


Step 5 – A dialogue window will open – add in the Make and Model of the camera. Click the OK button. Graphic Converter will then add this information to the file.


Step 6 – In GC’s Browser window, you can check that the EXIF data has been correctly changed by using the panel to the lower right of the window. Click on the EXIF tab to see the camera make & model.


Step 7 – Return to Aperture, and with all the images selected, right click on one and select Update from Masters in the contextual menu that appears.


At this point, your EXIF Info in Aperture should now reflect the camera make and model entered in Graphic Converter. You can always return to GC and add more data if you need to, remembering to Update from Master in Aperture again when you’ve done.


Step 8 – The final job is to bring the Master images back into Aperture. With all the image selected, got to File>Consolidate Masters…


You will be asked if you want to copy the files or move them. I use Move files. Click the OK button, and the files will be placed back into the Aperture library bundle. Any edits – retouches etc. should be preserved.

It’s also worth noting here that if you have scanned negatives and not yet imported them into Aperture, that you can use Graphic Converter to add the necessary EXIF data before doing so. If you are a true obsessive, you can add other information to the file as well.

Aperture 3.1 and Flickr – what?!?

Aperture 3.1 is here, and it has a few speed improvements. The thing which caught me by surprise is how it handles Flickr and FaceBook uploads. In previous incarnations of Aperture 3, you only got a list of sets/albums which you have created and uploaded from Aperture. That’s fine – I can handle that.

However, 3.1 grabs all your picture information from Flickr, and when you look at a set (I’ll use Flickr terminology from now on) it downloads them. Here’s the headache. I don’t really mind that that is what it does (though some warning would have been nice), but what I do mind is that the downloaded images are orphans within the Aperture library.

To explain: say I have a few photos in Aperture. I can bunch them together as a set and upload to Flickr. This becomes an album within Aperture, and the thumbnails in the set are proxies for the original image, which are stored elsewhere in a project library. If I edit that image in Aperture and resync with Flickr, that image will be uploaded and replaces the previous version. I like this – it is Good and is how it should be.

However, these downloaded non-proxy images are pretty meaningless within the library. I can’t edit them (and what’s the point – they are “web sized” – 1024 pixels at the longest dimension?), and even though they are based on originals in the Aperture library which were uploaded using other software or a plug-in, they have been disconnected from the originals. Ideally, Aperture should be able to guess or recommend matches for images (and given Apple’s attempts to recognise faces, this may or may not be a good idea). At the very least it should allow me to swap a proxy for an original – thus giving me full editorial control over the image. Unless this feature is buried somewhere in the UI, this functionality is not available.

So, at the moment, I have a two-class Flicker library. There are a few sets which are Aperture 3.1 derived, so the link between Aperture and Flickr is preserved. However, the vast majority of sets are pretty much useless. Yes, it’s nice to see what I have in Flickr, and I believe that I can drop new images into existing proxy-laden sets, but that would further compound the problem. I have no way of knowing what kind of images the sets contain without clicking on them to open them, and waiting for Aperture to complete the sync (which appears to involve a download of the images). I’d rather have kept is as it was before the 3.1 update. Let me control new sets and their content in Aperture, and keep the previous ones out, or at the very least label folders so I know what is what.