Working with plug-ins in Aperture
Aperture is very good in terms of being able to add effects to photographs and because it was made with the photographer in mind, generally the effects are quite subtle. Certainly they are subtle in terms of comparison with things like HDR High Dynamic Range photography. One of my passions in photography is HDR and for this I use an application called Photomatix Pro and I have been using it as a stand-alone application for some years. It has recently been updated to version 5 and it was a paid upgrade. While I was in the process of upgrading on the Photomatix Pro website I saw that there was another version available that would work as a plug-in to Aperture. It also works with other photo applications such as the one from Adobe, Lightroom. It didn’t cost anything to get this other version on account of the fact that I am a paid user of Photomatix Pro, so I got it and installed it. I have done all of this since I upgraded to Mavericks OS X.
Same sort of thing with the application Snapheal and getting an upgrade to Snapheal Pro, although it did cost me €18 to get the upgrade to the pro version. I find that it is well worthwhile to be able to work directly from Aperture rather than having to open up a separate application. I have all of my photos within Aperture and it saves me having to export a file out, do some work with it and then bring it back into Aperture. It is much better to have the files dealt with in one app and not have files scattered across the hard drive that need to be tidied up afterwards. It is also much faster working this way.
Similarly I have gone with the pro version of Intensify as this will gives you access from Aperture to stronger adjustments for your photos. The adjustments within Aperture are mostly available across the whole photo, although there are some which allow more specific changes to the parts of photo. With Intensify Pro there is much more granular control over effects available, for example with the vignette it is possible to move the centre of the vignette to wherever you want it in the image.
So now when I am working with photos on my Mac in the application Aperture I have access to these three photo manipulation tools directly and I get a much faster workflow with the photographs. When I want to make a HDR photograph I can select the three photos and choose to work with the plug-in Photomatix Pro and do all of the necessary adjustments to get the look that I want. As soon as I save it there, it is immediately available in Aperture and the next thing I might want to do, is to work on it in Snapheal Pro. With Snapheal Pro I can take out an object within the photograph that is at present spoiling the composition or the general look of the photo, or to generally clean it up. That would be one workflow and the other possibility would be that I would first work with Intensify Pro and then start to use Snapheal Pro.
Creativity is all about choices and how you combine them.
There are numerous photo editing and manipulation tools available for the Mac and this combination of Aperture plus Photomatix Pro, Snapheal Pro and Intensify Pro is working very well for me at present. This setup is giving me lots of choices so that I don’t end up having all my photographs looking the same. As you can imagine using the grunge setting in the Photomatix Pro app would get old very quickly.
There is a certain amount of overlap between some of the effects that are available. I can go subtle by staying within Aperture or I can go into either Intensify Pro or Photomatix Pro for more overt and dramatic effects. There is a preset within Intensify Pro that is quite like a HDR photo. A lot of it depends upon the photograph and what I imagine could be the best solution for enhancing it before I share it.
I am not one of these photographers that likes to hold on to the photo being a visual truth. I would much rather see my final photograph as a piece of art that ultimately might not have anything to do with what I actually saw with my eyes and my camera. It is most certainly possible to go over the top especially with Photomatix Pro and Intensify Pro. Sometimes less is more and it would be a shame to spoil the inherent beauty of the scene as captured at the location. You makes your choice and you then have to live with it. So now I think it is time for me to go and get my Sony NEX-6 Mirrorless and go off and take more photos. I can then come back home and my iMac and have some fun altering the photos to get them just the way that I like them.