Exporting and publishing
Photo management is useless if it does not have ways to show your work to others. Export and publishing facilities are therefore crucial to the success of such an application. In this post, I examine how the two applications handle exports and publishing to public services such as picasa, smugmug or flickr, just as well as exports to personal websites or any other tool that I come across to share photos with.
Out of the box, Aperture comes with four buttons which help to share your photos with. Those are: Email, MobileMe, Facebook and Flickr. I don’t have a Facebook account nor a MobileMe account, so I tested the Email and Flickr option. Apart from those options, Aperture also offers the option of creating static websites and dynamic websites straight from one of your projects. I will focus on the exports to Flickr first (there isn’t much to say about emailing photos, except that the receiver needs an exceptionally large inbox) and then discuss the second option.
Exporting to Flickr is activated by selecting a set of photos and pressing the “Flickr” button on the toolbar. You will, of course, be asked to set up your account and authorise the Aperture Uploader to access your photos. The rest is easy. You type in the name of the album and then wait for Aperture to upload your photos to Flickr. If you have a lot of photos, this can take some time, but otherwise, the process is fast. Once you have created one or more Flickr Albums, Aperture shows these in the inspector tab. It is easy to add or remove photos or to actually change the title of the album. Also, you can adjust your photos (in the Flickr album) and you can also change the metadata for these photos. If you do so, Aperture will only change the photo that is uploaded to Flickr and upload the retouched photo again, if necessary. All of this happens in the background, so that you don’t even notice that you are working with a Flickr album.
Other options to share your photos to online services exist. These aren’t delivered with Aperture directly, but one can find plugins to get the job done. I have not further investigated these plugins, since that would take a lot of time and a lot of searching for the right plugins. It is unfortunate that Apple did not decide to add more exporting capabilities or add more of the plugins directly in the package. It is even more unfortunate that there is no good way of finding and downloading the right plugin: on Apple’s website you will mostly find the ones that will cost you extra money and the free ones are located on the different sites all over the place.
In case you have your own website, you might want to use website created by Aperture. To create such a website, you right click your project and choose New -> Web Page / Web Journal or Smart Web Site. I have uploaded examples of the Web Page, Web Journal and Smart Web Site. I particularly like the Smart Web Site option. That website keeps updating while you change your project. The other options are nice and I have uploaded one example to my website. In the same right click menu, one can also find the two options Book and Slideshow. The slide show can be configured and used locally only. With the Book option, however, you can create your own photo album which you can send off to print directly or can upload to your website (it grew around 100 MB, so sorry, no link for you).
When I opened up DigiKam’s export menu, I regretted that I started this article. In total, I counted fourteen options for exporting. Six of these were export directly to services like Smugmug, Flickr or Picasa. Three of these export to software you might be running on your own personal website, such as Gallery and Piwigo. Two others export to webpages (HTML) or online slide show (Flash) and one exports to remote computers and the last exports to your iPod. No doubt that digiKam has plenty to offer compared to Aperture.
I have chosen to test exports to Picasa, Flickr, export to Web Page (called HTML in digiKam, one example is here) and export to Flash. In general the process of exporting is very similar to that of Aperture. You select your photos, then you select what export service to use and digiKam does the rest for you. In case of exporting to Flickr, you just like with Aperture have to grant digiKam Flickr Uploader access to your Flickr account. Contrary to how Aperture handles the Web Page and Flickr exports, the exported album is not included in the explorer side panel. There are no further options to modify the export after the export has taken place. In practise this means that in case you want to change something on your online album, you either have to log in to the online service like Picasa or Flickr and change things there directly. In case of the Web Page or Flash export, you will have to redo your export.
Actually, there is very little to write on the export tools of digiKam. I wasn’t missing anything. The tools just did what I expected them to do and all of the ones that I tested worked without problems. One might remark that digiKam lacks the possibility to create a printed photo album (but you can create a Calendar in the Tools menu), as Aperture can, but that is all one can find to complain about! DigiKam can export to a large variety of photo sites, to locally hosted sites just as well as professional services and static websites. In summary, with digiKam you will have no trouble exporting your photos to any place you like!
It is fair to say that digiKam is a clear winner in this respect. Aperture exports to far few services, but does so in a very nice way. Aperture keeps track of what you have exported as long as you export it to one of the services mentioned before. Think about it: will you really never log in to your Flickr account? Even if you are managing plenty of albums? And are you never willing to change anything straight there? I doubt it and I rate the way Aperture manages your export as nice to have! Therefore, digiKam is the clear winner here: you are free to choose whatever service you like and digiKam will manage your exports without problems!