04 RAW original
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
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
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.
More Aperture tutorials