Using Apple Aperture to manage the screenshots and images for your website

Apple Aperture, like Phase One Capture One Pro and Adobe Lightroom are image editors with a DAM (Digital Asset Management) component integrated into the application. You use them for photographic work, but with a bit of imagination these apps — and Aperture especially — are excellent desktop DAM systems for managing screenshots and illustrative images you use on a website, iOS/Android app or any online publication that illustrate their content with images.

I used to create my image reductions and crops for web pages such as the one you’re reading, in Adobe Fireworks, but Fireworks is better suited as a web design prototyping app than as simple web image editor. I found out you can work faster with the combination Apple Aperture / ImageOptim.

Aperture

The Loupe

Reverse its use. Instead of magnifying, reduce the image to 50% or smaller to see how it will look when used as a thumbnail or a “featured image”. This doesn’t work perfectly, but it will do the job and is especially useful for when you want to quickly know which part of the image to crop.

Maps

For newspapers, blogs and magazines it can be interested to show readers where in the world exactly an image was shot. You could integrate Google Maps for this purpose, but pages will usually load faster when Google’s dynamically generated map is not used. Aperture has a map feature that you can take a screenshot from to show where your illustrative image was shot.

Crop

With crop presets, you can quickly create crops for different purposes in Aperture. Cropping is also faster and more intuitive than it is in Fireworks. As an added bonus, Aperture is non-destructive, so you can keep the entire screenshot or image intact and reuse/repurpose it later with different crop settings, or cropping to different parts of the image.

Output

Create output presets once, then export with the speed of lightning. JPEG and PNG presets are already present in the customisable list of Aperture export formats. You can also have presets with a watermark for your images to prevent theft of your creative work.

Compression

OK, so Aperture and its siblings aren’t good at compressing to the smallest possible file size. In fact, the other day when I took a screenshot and saved it to another file name in Aperture, the file grew with almost 2K.

But image quality is the best you can hope for. Therefore output a high quality image to whatever file format you use on your pages, then quickly run it through ImageOptim before uploading to your website. If you are one of the many millions of WordPress users, you can also compress images online using EWWW Imager, for example. But doing it on the desktop may be quicker.