Can I move photos between libraries on different volumes in Aperture?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by macbook123, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. macbook123 macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    I often run out of space on my laptop and need to move photos between my laptop's hard drive and an external drive. Will I be able to do this if I have Aperture libraries on both media?
  2. rebby macrumors 6502

    Nov 19, 2008
    The short answer is, yes. You can accomplish this in a few different ways though. Personally, I like using multiple libraries. It's not that difficult to move files around from library to library and it allows me to use managed files throughout.

    I'm managing this via the "export XYZ as Library" feature. I actually have 5 libraries at the moment.

    • Video Library - I just moved all of my video data into a dedicated library. I never did any consolidation work between my videos and images anyway. Moving videos to a dedicated library had made it much easier for me to catalog the few video files that I have. I'm not sure how this will work long term for me though, I may end up scrapping this library and merging the contents with the relevant library detailed below at some point in the future.
    • Archive Library - This is an archive of my digital images dating back to the late 90's (when I first got a digital camera) and as recent as 2005. I also have a few film scans from that date period in this library as well. This library is for archival purposes. I reference it when I need an older image for whatever reason. I'll also visit it from time to time to add image metadata (including locations and faces). This library is roughly 700GB in size.
    • Recent Library - This library contains images from the last 5 years (ie: my recent work). At the end of each year I'll export various projects/albums/etc that are 5+ years old to a new Library and merge that with my Archive Library. I will then delete this exported data from my Recent Library. For example; in January I exported all of my projects/albums from 2005 and earlier to a new library and merged that new library with my Archive Library. Once the merge was complete, all vaults were updated and all backups were complete, I went ahead and deleted those projects/albums from my Recent Library. My Recent Library is roughly 250GB in size and I like to keep at roughly this size (mainly for local storage on my MBP).
    • Working Library - This contains my most recent works and is a new library for me. I really only keep things in my working library for 3-6 months (depending on project). The primary goal of my Working Library is to keep things small and fast. I never let this library get any larger than about 20GB. Any larger than that and it really starts to eat into the SSD on my MBA (yes, I share this library between my MBP and my MBA). The size of this library will be even more beneficial in the short term future as I'm planning on migrating my MBP to a SSD/HDD configuration instead of the HDD RAID0 that I'm running on now. By keeping the majority of my active work in a small library like this, I can take full advantage of the speed provided by the SSD.
    • Export Library - Rather than keep my Working Library in full sync between my MBP and my MBA, I'll use an export library from time to time. This library contains a few smart albums (that I use as part of my workflow) and minimal projects/albums. The sole intent of this library is work on a few select images that will later be merged back into my Working Library. For example, if I go on a trip, I'll use this Export Library along the way (since I have no need for my full Working Library while on a hunting trip, for example). At the conclusion of my trip, I'll merge this entire Export Library back into my Working Library and, ultimately, scrap the Export Library at the end of the day. I also use one of these Export Libraries when visiting a client. This masks any other data that I may keep in my Working Library while still giving me full master/version/editing access to my client's images (which, once again, can be merged back into the Working Library).

    I'd really love it if Aperture supported a "fragmented library" framework (by being able to open/work with all 5 libraries at once and drag/drop between them) but, alas, that's not the case. At least not today.

    I've seen other solutions that work somewhat like mine using a single library and a mix of managed/referenced files. Personally, I like to keep my files managed (so I can treat the entire library as a single file and move it around at will), your mileage may vary. Using a mix of managed/referenced files (or all referenced files) is a fine solution as well. Unfortunately, I can't help you much with that solution...
  3. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    Thanks a lot Rebby!!

    Indeed I was imagining having multiple libraries as well, and my question was about the ability to move photos/movies around between them. Can you tell me a bit more about the process of moving photos/movies around? Let's say for simplification that I have one library on the external drive and one on the Macbook, can I simply drag and drop the photos within Aperture?

    You make me worried that I can not do this when you write that "I'd really love it if Aperture supported a "fragmented library" framework (by being able to open/work with all 5 libraries at once and drag/drop between them) but, alas, that's not the case. At least not today."

    If you can NOT drag/drop, how else do you move files around?

    Thanks again..
  4. rebby macrumors 6502

    Nov 19, 2008
    No drag/drop, that's what I'd like to see which would require being able to open multiple libraries at once.

    In the mean time, we have "Export XYZ as New Library" and "Import Library/Project". MacCreate had a really good article on doing this, check it out. Be sure to practice this on a few test libraries at first to get comfortable with it before giving it a go on any of your master libraries. Also make sure that your backups/vaults are always current before attempting a merge. It works well but you can be never be to safe.

    To make things easier on me, I keep my library structures very consistent from library to library. That way things merge very cleanly and I don't have to move things around after the fact. I find that it requires a little bit more forethought at the beginning but makes things far easier in the long run.
  5. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    Thank you. It is pathetic that they can't simply do a drag&drop. Apple advertises this as one of the main advantages of Aperture over iPhoto (actually I don't think there are any other advantages). As far as I know iPhoto has the same export and import ability Aperture has, i.e. simply export a folder, then open iPhoto to a different library, and import said folder. What is Aperture doing that iPhoto isn't?
  6. Leathersmithe macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2010

    In an attempt to speed up a bloated Aperture library, I used the First Aid application. I think it was doing so that increased my 90+gb photo collection to 230gb. Seems unlikely, but that's how big it became & now my MPB 500gb HD hasn't enough room to allow Aperture to open at all. It freezes as soon as I start it and offers only the spinning beach ball, curse it. I've used Time Machine overnight to try & restore the photo database & will try to open it again today but i'm pessimistic. Is there a way to restore my photo library from the proprietary Aperture library and use some other photo program to work with them? I fear some tangle of Masters & Versions that would take years to sort out. How does one migrate Aperture's library to a usable condition without being able to use Aperture to do it?

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