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I am looking for some good advice on naming conventions for organizing and naming projects in Aperture.

I recently switched from using iPhoto to using Aperture, and am really having trouble developing a consistent workflow for keeping my projects list organized.

In iPhoto, each set of pictures is organized into an Event, and Events are listed in a special view in reverse chronological order:

iPhoto Events View

This gives me a very easy way to remember when my projects occurred by visually scanning them.

I am trying to organize my projects list in a similar way, but keep butting my head up against the wall trying to develop a consistent workflow. I really want the projects list to be organized chronologically, but Aperture lists projects alphabetically. So this forces me to break projects up into subfolders by year. For example, here is a sample of my projects list:

  08 - Vacation in Aruba
  12 - Merry Christmas
  01 - New Years Day
  01 - Life at the Party
  02 - End of February
  02 - Valentines Day

As you can see I am following the following naming convention:

  MONTH - ProjectName

This gets a little cumbersome because, since Aperture lists projects in alphabetical order, events in the same month can occur out of order. For instance, in the 2009 events above, "02-End of February" and "02 - Valentines Day" are in alpha ordered not chronological order.

I could go so far as to name each project with the full date:

  02-14 - Valentines Day
  02-22 - End of February

However this seems like overkill to me. This kind of project organization feels like a basic feature to me, and one that is built into iPhoto and Picasa.

My questions are:

  1. Am I trying to bend Aperture to my will too much?
  2. Should I try to adopt a different workflow that isn't based upon chronology and just use the "All Projects View" for searching through time?
  3. What project naming conventions are other people using?
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

IMO you've got a bit of #1 going on, although being able to sort the sidebar is by no means unreasonable (and I encounter this issue in a lot of Apple apps)

However, As you mentioned, if you click the "All Projects" button in the toolbar, it brings up a grid listing of your projects which does show them chronologically. I don't use iPhoto but to me the two views look pretty similar. I've never really liked this view myself as I regularly add new photos to old projects in my workflow so the dates are a little bit "off" for me (the date used for sorting is the date of the earliest shot in the project) but it sounds like it'll work for you.

I'd personally avoid putting dates in the project name because its simply redundant. I do this only with recurring events like "Disneyland July 2007" and "Disneyland July 2009" or "Club Meeting June-09, Club Meeting July-09." To keep things organized, I'll then add those to higher level folders (Summer Vacations, Club Meetings).

The real power of a photo system like aperture though is tags. If you get in the habit of tagging batches of photos as you import them, you'll find its much easier to locate a shot later on.

Lastly, see if some of what you want to do can be done with smart libraries. There are the built in "last week" and "last month" ones, and they're fairly flexible.

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Thanks David, I will give your workflow a try. Thanks! – Nick Haddad Jul 16 '09 at 2:04

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