Extensive organization and file management options:

The strength of the Aperture 3 program rests in its library system. From the extensive keyword and metadata features to the photo stacking tools, the product has numerous organizational options. Some of the image file management options include tethered image capture, which will speed up your image handling, and vault creation, which provides additional storage alternatives. Pairing these features with the usual import/export, merge, and file location choices gives Aperture the leg up when it comes to file management. Plus, all of these possibilities operate in an easy and efficient manner once you master them.

Facial recognition and geotagging metadata features:

The facial recognition feature provides a quick and easy way to tag and organize your images by the bunch. You will have to go through a brief teaching/learning process with the program first, but it's well worth it. In addition to all of the usual catalog features, the Aperture library system also includes a location-based, GPS geotagging system with the usual pushpins in a Google Map.

Filter effects preview:

When you scroll through the effects options in Aperture, a mini-preview window fluctuates to show the changes made on an image before they are applied to the actual image file. The good thing about this feature is that it may save you the hassle of having to undo on a regular basis, which will prevent a number of potential headaches from happening in the first place.

Exceptionally detailed help articles and video tutorials:

While they lack in-person support, Apple delivers when it comes to their help articles and video tutorials by putting together an impressive collection of information to answer questions and serve as an overall guide. Explicit help articles are found as a part of the Aperture Online Knowledge Base,which also includes FAQs, a link to the community forum, and targeted video tutorials where you can gain a wealth of information by walking through the 'how-to' processes.

Nice selection of image sharing and publishing alternatives:

Sharing options are facilitated by including direct Facebook, Flickr, and Photo Stream integration into the product. Printing everything from custom presets to contact sheets, saving to Web galleries, operating slideshows, and ordering prints online are all part of the Aperture 3 package.

iCloud Photo Stream 30-day running image backup:

The iCloud Photo Stream is an online backup that keeps a running 30-day collection of your images on Apple's iCloud. You can upload, store, and integrate your other devices with iCloud so you will always have your latest photos at hand without taking up space on one of your devices. To get iCloud working, all you have to do is sign in and the automatic syncing will take place in the background as you work.


Limited photo editing options:

The image processing functionality, while still very effective, doesn't quite reach the professional level of the competition. Moreover, a lack of anything beyond basic photo editing is less than ideal when you believe you are purchasing a photo editing product. As a piece of stand-alone photo editing software, Apple Aperture fails to measure up to even basic software packages. However, for most photographers, it will function as good as or better than any other product when it comes to image organization and management, while still providing more than adequate image processing experiences for many users.

Somewhat confusing, although familiar, interface:

As you would expect, Aperture follows the traditional Apple interface path to the letter with the standard gray theme and minimalist approach. Unfortunately, this inflexible setup overreaches to the point that it can be difficult to find and execute specific tasks. Many simple actions are hardly what most people consider intuitive. Some of the functions that are performed automatically in other software packages can take multiple steps to complete in Aperture. However, the product does include a number of nifty features that simplify the process once you find them.

Comparatively weak image processing:

If you need strong image processing functionality, then Aperture 3 might not be the product for you. However, if your primary needs fall in the areas of image organization and file management, and you are not bothered by a comparatively clunky interface, then Aperture 3 provides solid functionality wrapped in a solid product.

No in-person support option:

Apple does not provide any in-person support contact (email, phone, or live chat) options for Aperture 3, which can be frustrating if you are having problems with the functioning of software or learning how to use it. They do offer an exceptional assortment of detailed help articles and video tutorials to address these concerns. However, this can take time to navigate and find what you need. If you value in-person customer support and think it may save you some time, you probably want to avoid using Aperture.

Zero digital painting/drawing capabilities:

Since Aperture 3 is primarily an image processing and file management software, it doesn't include any painting or drawing capabilities, which is not terribly unexpected for a product of this type. It is still worth noting that you will need an external program to handle these types of edits if you want to go with Aperture.


Free Trial N/A
Platform Mac
Price $79.99
Upgrade Cost N/A


  • 16-Bit Image Editing You can edit 16-bit images.

  • Advanced Color Image Operations You can perform color image operations such as color correction, color zones, color transfer, and vibrance.

  • Audio Editing You can perform basic audio editing within the software.

  • Black-and-White Conversion You can convert a color image into a black and white image using any number of methods.

  • Blur You can soften the detail of an image.

  • Color Adjustment Tools You can use a tool to replace missing color or match existing colors.

  • Color Management You can maintain color quality as an image moves from device to device.

  • Color to Grayscale You can convert a color image into a black and white image using this specific method.

  • Effects You can add general effects to an image.

  • Exposure Adjustment You can adjust the exposure of an image.

  • Filters You can use any of the standard filter types to alter images.

  • Image Correction You can brighten shadows, fix unwanted flash, and repair backlight effects.

  • Image Zoom You can enlarge or shrink the view of the image, in part or in total, as needed.

  • Nondestructive Editing Environment You can make changes to image without altering the original version.

  • Post-Processing Effects You can create effects after processing to include framing and vignetting.

  • Reshaping, Manipulating, and Resizing You can enhance, enlarge or reduce images, cut images to predefined or custom formats, and measure and mark image content.

  • Retouch Brush You can remove blemishes, dust and other unusual elements from images while maintaining its integrity.

  • Saturation/Warmth You can control the strength and warmness of a color

  • Selection Options Once you have made a selection, you can set aspect ratios, adjust selection sizes, move selections, turn the selection into a mask and/or add feathering to the edges.

  • Sepia Enhancement You can add a sepia (brown-gray) tone to an image.

  • Shadow and Highlight Adjustment You can control the levels of shadow and highlights in your image.

  • Sharpen You can enhance the detailed edges within an image.

  • Watermarks You can create savable, personalized, and usually semi-transparent watermarks for your images.

  • Add Grain/Noise You can add graphical identification metadata to your images.

  • Blend You can blend areas of an image together.

  • Collage You can create a collage of images.

  • Control Points You can use control points, a series of small squares placed on the edges and corners of a rectangular selection, to modify a selection by dragging the small squares as needed.

  • Distortion Control/Correction You can reduce pincushion and barrel distortion effects.

  • Generate Mosaic Images You can create a single large image made from a number of other smaller images.

  • Gradients You can create smooth transitions between adjacent colors.

  • Layers You can make changes to images on individual sheets that can be stacked to form the combined image. Each layer can be adjusted without changing the other layers.

  • Masks You can protect certain areas of an image from being modified.

  • Photo Text Entry You can type right on the image you are working on and see the text in real time.

  • Selection Tools You can use different tools to select an area of the image to work on, including the circle, square, wand, and/or lasso.

  • Support for Custom Palettes This software supports custom color palettes.

  • Templates You can create project or metadata templates.

  • Text Effects You can add effect to text, such as drop shadows, 3D, perspective, curved text, and path text.

  • Transformations You can trim, skew, scale, flip, mirror, rotate, and/or add perspective to an image.

  • Color Mixer You can mix and save colors for later use.

  • Custom Brush Options You can change your brush options, including size, shape, and type.

  • Drawing Modes You can enter into different drawing modes within the software.

  • Floodfill Options You can fill in an enclosed area with your choice of color.

  • Layer Blending Modes You can control how different layers blend with one another.

  • Mix Brush You can have multiple colors on one brush.

  • Paint Brush You can paint color in several ways, such as airbrush, watercolor, and oil brush.

  • Papers You have a choice of paper options on which to draw.

  • Pencil You can use a pencil tip for more detailed painting.

  • Pen Tablet Connection You can use pen tablets to control specific drawing actions within the software, including pressure, direction, orientation, and more.

  • Shapes You can create different shapes, such as dots, lines, ellipses, rectangles, circles, and Bezier splines.

  • Tools You can use multiple tools such as stencil, crop, panorama, and distortion.

  • Configurability You can modify and/or expand the overall interface to fit your needs.

  • Customizable Workspaces You can modify individual workspaces within the interface.

  • Dual Monitor Support You can work on this software on multiple monitors.

  • Filter Preview You can preview filter changes in real time before applying the filter to the image.

  • Scriptable File Management The software provides a method to script the program.

  • Support for Pen Tablets You can use pen tablets to control general actions within the software.

  • Tethered Capture You can save live images on your camera directly to your computer.

  • Viewing Options You can view images in multiple ways.

  • Change Default Templates The set of templates at startup can be changed.

  • Create New Transparent Image You can create a new image with a transparent background.

  • Dockable Panels You can dock and undock individual panels from the main interface.

  • Editable menu shortcuts You can edit menu shortcuts.

  • Panels The software consists of paneled units, such as a color picker, tools, or gradient panel.

  • Screen Capture You can capture (save) an image from your screen.

  • Virtual Memory Management The software manages the virtual memory of the computer so as to not over-stress the entire system by taking up too much of the resources.

  • Help Articles A set of detailed articles are available to help learn and understand the software.

  • User Guide A user guide is available to help learn and understand the software.

  • Video Tutorials Video tutorials are available to help learn and understand the software.

  • Webinars Webinars are available to help learn and understand the software.

  • 32-Bit Image Editing You can edit 32-bit images.

  • Base-Level Image Operations You can perform adjustments to the image, such as demosiac, highlight reconstruction, exposure controls, and base curve.

  • Basic Video Editing You can perform basic video editing functions, such as creating a still image, picture control, trim, and save.

  • Blur Adjustment Tools You can use tools to perform actions, such as Gaussian Blur and Unsharp Masking, in order to adjust the detail of the image.

  • Chromatic Aberration Tools You can automatically detect and correct chromatic aberrations, which are colors on the boundaries between dark and light areas.

  • Content-Aware Tools You can use tools that automatically adjust to the content that you are working with.

  • Gamma Correction You can adjust the middle tones of the image.

  • Histogram Correction You can use the information from the software's histogram to help color-correct your image.

  • Noise Reduction You can remove noise and grain from an image.

  • Spot Removal You can correct a zone in your image by using another zone as a model.

  • 3D You can add 3D effects to your images.

  • Animation You can create basic animations from your images.

  • Compositing You can splice together separate images or parts of images, in order to form one combined image. Panoramas are a specific type of compositing.

  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) You can combine multiple photos at different exposure levels into a single photo.

  • Image Post-Processing You can adjust your image after processing through split toning, high pass filters, low pass filters, lowlight vision, and/or bloom.

  • Image Scaling Methods You can resize your digital image with scaling methods, such as nearest neighbor, bicubic smooth, bicubic sharpen, and lanczos in order to address the inherent tradeoff between efficiency, smoothness, and sharpness.

  • Image Slicing You can cut up your image in any number of ways.

  • Layer Management You can copy, link, edit masks, and/or group layers.

  • Lens Correction You can adjust your image for lens defects.

  • Panoramas You can create panoramic (wider) images from a series of individual images attached side by side.

  • Perspective Control You can correct a certain type of distortion where an object that you know to be a straight line appears curved in an image, by automatically adjusting the curve back into a straight line.

  • Professional Color Image Operations You can perform color image operations such as channel mixing and color profile management.

  • Special Effects Filters You can add special effects to the image through the use of vignette filters, metallic filters, distortion filters, Orton filters, and/or custom filters.

  • Tone Image Operations You can modify the tone of an image through tools such as tone curves, levels, fill lights, zone systems, and tone mappings.

  • Trim to Shape You can trim, or punch out, the area of the image that you want to work on with a specific shape or edge.

  • Books You can create a photo book with the software.

  • CD/DVD You can save your images to a CD or DVD.

  • Cloud-Based Storage You can publish (upload) your finished images to a cloud-based service for storage or sharing.

  • Preview Your can preview your images before publishing them in some form.

  • Printing You can print your images.

  • Screensaver You can create your own screensaver.

  • Send via Email You can create appropriate images and send images via your email.

  • Slideshows You can create slideshows.

  • Web Galleries You can create HTML or Flash-Player-compatible galleries with your images for upload onto the Internet.

  • 8-Bit Image Editing You can edit 8-bit images.

  • Brightness You can lighten or darken an image.

  • Color Balance You can adjust the colors of your image so that the more neutral colors are correct.

  • Color Depth You can adjust the color range possible in an image.

  • Contrast You can adjust the level of difference between the bright elements and dark elements of your images.

  • Crop You can trim an image to a specific size or focus on an area of the image.

  • Flip You can invert the image either horizontally or vertically.

  • Red Eye Removal You can automatically replace the red pixels with black pixels in photographs where red eye has occurred.

  • Resize You can make your image smaller or larger.

  • Rotate You can rotate your image.

  • Undo You can go back in your process one step at a time.

  • White Balance You can adjust to correct for the effects of different light on the colors in the image.

  • Drawing Tools You can draw or paint colors onto your image using a brush, pencil or other tools.

  • Picture Frame You can add a simple picture frame or border to an image.

  • Shapes You can add basic shapes to an image, such as a circle, a square, or a rectangle.

  • Audio/Video Playback You can play video and audio files with the software.

  • Create Albums You can create albums in which to sort your images.

  • EXIF Overview Data You can use the image metadata, such as the date, GPS information, resolution, and other camera information that is included with the image file.

  • Favorites Folder The software has an easily accessible, designated folder where you can include select images.

  • Image Labels You can label images.

  • Image Ratings You can rate images.

  • Image Search You can search for an image with a dedicated tool.

  • Image Viewer You can view images inside the program.

  • Metadata Tags You can use, read, create, adjust, and save metadata (text-based information related to your image) that travels in the image file.

  • Offline Photo Management You can manage your software when offline.

  • Thumbnails You can create thumbnails of your images.

  • Automatic Collections The software uses metadata that automatically determines which collections your images may be sorted into.

  • Batch Editing You can edit files as a group rather than just individually.

  • Contact Sheet You can create a contact sheet of your images.

  • Event-Based Image Management You can organize your images around events.

  • Facial Recognition Tagging You can have the software automatically determine the identity of people in your images.

  • Geotagging You can add graphical identification metadata to your images.

  • Image Caption You can caption your images.

  • Image Conversion You can convert images into other file types.

  • Import and Edit RAW Files You can import and edit RAW files.

  • Location-Based Organization You can organize your images around sites or places.

  • Slideshow to Video You can save your slideshows in a video format.

  • Create Image Lists You can create lists of you images.

  • Extended GPS Support You can use GPS information beyond simple geotagging.

  • Image Analysis You can perform a detailed quantitative analysis of your images.

  • Side-by-Side Image Comparison You can compare images side by side.

  • Automatic Image Backup The software automatically backs up your images, either locally or in the cloud.

  • Batch Processing You can process files as a group rather than individually. Usually this occurs when loading images in bulk.

  • Compare to Last Saved You can compare the current selected image with the last saved version.

  • Image File Transfer You can transfer images from multiple sources, such as digital cameras, video cameras, scanners, card readers, flash drives, and/or upload them to the Internet.

  • Renaming Template You can create a template to organize the naming of the images as they are processed.

  • Scriptable You can write scripts to deal with file management.

  • File Export Preview You can preview the image before exporting the file.

  • Image Read Support You can use this software to read specific image file types.

  • Image Write Support You can use this software to write specific image file types.

  • Video and Audio Read Support You can use this software to read specific video and audio file types.

  • Video and Audio Write Support You can use this software to write specific video and audio file types.

  • Archive Read Support You can use this software to read specific archival file types.

  • Archive Write Support You can use this software to write specific archival file types.

  • Other File Formats You can use this software to read other file formats.

  • Palette Import You can import Palette file types with this software.

  • FAQ Page The company has a dedicated FAQ page.

  • Online Forum The company hosts an online forum.

  • Online Knowledge Base The company has a dedicated online knowledge base.

  • Email The company has an email address.

  • Live Chat The company has live chat available.

  • Phone The company has a phone number to call.

  • Social Media The company has active social media accounts to post questions or comments.

  • Facebook The software can integrate with Facebook.

  • Flickr The software can integrate with Flickr.

  • Google Earth The software can integrate with Google Earth.

  • Adobe Flash Player The software can integrate with Adobe Flash Player.

  • Microsoft PowerPoint The software can integrate with Microsoft PowerPoint.

  • Twitter The software can integrate with Twitter.


Aperture 3 costs $79.99, and there is no free trial available. However, the retail price includes access to the iCloud Photo Stream, a 30-day running image backup and disseminator.

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