Case in Point. As you will know if you’ve been reading my blog, or at least my last post; thank I just got back from Alaska. I took 3000+ photos and culled them down to a little over a hundred. They are now posted to SmugMug, my primary site of choice for displaying my photos these days. There are some under My Travels some under Concerts/Events and now there are some under Concert/Artists. that last section is why I am so happy with Aperture and SmugMug. There are 29 Galleries under Artist containing photos from the cruise and other concerts. I know what your thinking it must have taken countless hours creating and adding photos to each of those galleries, and you would be wrong. Below I will explain why.
I’ve been using Apple Aperture for several years, since the first release, before that iPhoto, and I tried to use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom a few times, but the interface just does not work me. For all you Lightroom fans, I will freely admit its not Lightroom, it me.
Somewhere along the way from Rel 1.0 and 3.1.3 Apple added a face detection feature, which I have to say is mediocre at best. However the feature inability to recognize people should not prevent you from using it. Being able to tag photos with the names of the people in them can come in handy and not just for the Facebook crowd out there. <br/>
Every night on the cruise we where entertained but some of the best Jazz artists and musicians in the industry, and every night I was in the theater taking photos of them (its what I do) while I enjoyed the music. When I got home I loaded all the memory cards onto my computer and imported them into Aperture. I did my usual workflow, flagged the ones I thought had potential, which knocked down the number of photos from about 3000 to less than 400. I then rated them (* to *****’s), which got me to about 130 images that I thought depicted the artists, events and places seen on the cruise.
This is where I started using the Assign Name (face recognition) feature of Aperture. iPhoto has a similar feature and Lightroom may as well, as do other packages out there. Although the face recognition feature is very handy it not particularly good recognizing people when the faces in the photos are not “facing” the camera, which is often the case in sports and event photography that I seem to do most of the time. However this was not a huge problem in the context of this assignment, since I was photographing a limited number of people that were well known and easy for me to recognize. Where the Assign Name feature really helps is in detecting the faces and sped of the process of adding the names to the photos. Once you add the names to the photos they become keywords, which are then included with the photos when they are exported from Aperture to SmugMug or whereever.
Aperture has a plugin interface which allows Aperture’s functionality to be extended or enhanced. Plugins can be used to enhance/edit photos or export photo to other systems. In this case I used the SmugMug Export plugin. When you export your photos to SmugMug, the photo go into a designate Gallery. The gallery can either be an existing gallery or one you create on the fly. In this Example I exported all my Cruise photos to http://ebharding.smugmug.com/Concerts/Events/Jazz-Cruise-to-Alaska-2011. This Gallery gives the viewer an easy way to view all the photos in chronological order. But, I wanted to create “Artist” galleries where you could jump to a gallery for a particular artist such as Chris Botti (I highly recommend you get his Chris Botti in Boston CD or better yet the DVD, you can find his music on Amazon or iTunes). Once the photos are on SmugMug you can create ‘Smart Galleries’ based on Keywords, and because the Assign Name function added the names of the artists as keywords, we can easily create Galleries for each artist. Creating the Smart gallery could not be easier. You just create a normal Gallery then edit the setting and select “Make this Gallery Smart”, which gives you a very simple interface to select keywords. The end result is a group of galleries dedicated to the Artists that appeared on the cruise (and elsewhere).
Pictured at the top are Jake Shimabukuro and Chris Botti playing together on stage during the Dave Koz and Friends at Sea Cruise to Alaska.
If you would like to see photos of the concerts on the cruise click here: Jazz Concert Photos or if you want to see the individual Artist & Musician galleries chick here: Artists. To see more pictures taken take of Tracy Arm Fjord during the Alaska Cruise click here: SmugMug.
Smugmug.com is a great place to host your photos & videos. You can get a $5 discount just entering this code “ttu8FA6fWf6mi” in the coupon field when signing up: SmugMug Sign-up. Also you can try Smugmug for 14 days FREE of charge and not even give them a credit card number.