Aperture RAW+JPEG pairs

How to use Aperture RAW+JPEG pairs

04 RAW original

Aperture RAW+JPEG pairs

If you do import your RAW+JPEG files as pairs, you’ll see a small ‘R’ badge in the bottom right hand corner of the image thumbnail or viewer window (I’ve blown it up so that you can see it more clearly). This indicates that the image represents a RAW+JPEG pair and that the RAW file is being displayed and used as the original image you’re going to work from.

05 Change the original

Aperture RAW+JPEG pairs

If you want to see and work with the JPEG version instead, right-click the image and choose ‘Use JPEG as Original’… you can do this with multiple images too, by the way.

06 JPEG original

Aperture RAW+JPEG pairs

The badge in the bottom right corner now changes to a ‘J’ to indicate it’s still part of a pair but it’s the JPEG which is being used as the original. The RAW file is still there in the background, and you can swap them round so that it becomes the original again.

07 So choose your method

I would probably import RAW+JPEG files as pairs in case I ever wanted to compare the JPEG and RAW versions, but if I used one of the camera’s bespoke Picture Styles/Controls, I’d import the RAW+JPEG files as separate images because I’d almost certainly want to see and work with both at the same time. For example, if I shot using the camera’s mono mode, I’d get mono JPEGs and colour RAW files (don’t forget, third-party RAW converters ignore in-camera picture styles).

So far so good. Aperture’s system works pretty well because you get both files in your library but if you choose to pair them it only displays one – but you can swap between them easily.

But what if you import them as pairs and then wish you’d made them separate? Re-importing the images would be a pain, especially if you’ve already applied adjustments and metadata changes. What you can do, though, is create a new version from your RAW+JPEG pair, then set that to show the JPEG as the original and the other to show the RAW file. It’s not exactly elegant, but it’s a quick and simple solution.

See also

More Aperture tutorials

3 thoughts on “How to use Aperture RAW+JPEG pairs

  1. Hello Rob,

    Nice post. I am an amateur and have been shooting Raw exclusively with my DSLR. Recently, though, I’ve read posts elsewhere advocating switching to JPEG as the primary format. I am not ready to give up Raw yet, so posts like this one help in managing the workflow when adding JPEG pictures to the mix. I plan to try shooting Raw+JPEG for a while to see the results.

    By the way, I understand that one way to separate the Raw+JPEG pairs in the Aperture library is to export them with the metadata and then re-import them separately. I haven’t tried this so don’t know how well it works.

  2. It’s been a while since I’ve worked with RAW + JPEG pairs, so the feature is not fresh in my memory, but the issue I remember having was in being able to delete only the RAW part to a pair (I only wanted to keep the RAW version of my better photos). A year ago at least, I couldn’t find a way to do this within Aperture, and deleting the RAW version via Finder seemed a bit messy (not to mention harder to browse & identify the ones I wanted to delete). The same would apply if you wanted to delete the JPG version for some reason.

    My library is now bigger than my internal HDD so I’ve switched to referenced files and I relocate archived projects to a secondary HDD so I don’t need to worry so much about shooting & keeping RAWs for ever photo.

    If Apple made this possible in a future update I could be tempted to go back to pairs. I don’t need RAW for everything.

    1. Just as a follow-up post to my previous one, I came across this video which describes a workflow where you import only the JPEG files initially, review them, then pick out the ones that you want to edit in RAW, and import only those matching RAW files from the pair for the current selection/rating filter:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdkP3IrryAE

      I might start doing this because I just don’t have enough time to do laborious editing on every single photo I take…

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