Traveling with Aperture 3: Importing New Images Only
If you're on the road with Aperture on your laptop, you may not want to clear your cards between shooting sessions like you normally would. Back at home or in the studio, you likely shoot, import, and then before shooting again, reformat your cards (by then your desktop backups are all completed, of course). However if you're traveling, especially more casually (such as on vacation), you might be inclined to leave all the photos on your cards, even after import, until you get home, so the only copy isn't the one in Aperture.
Aperture offers the feature “Do not import duplicates” in the import dialog, which should make it easy to see what hasn't been imported yet, but unfortunately if you rename your files on import, then this option becomes useless. Once the photos are renamed, Aperture no longer sees the previously imported photos as duplicates, and so wants to import them again. D'oh!
It's easy enough in Aperture to just import a selection of photos off the card, but the real challenge becomes “where did I leave off?!”.
Fire a black frame
This is an old trick I've talked about before, but I think it's worth repeating. All you need is a visual indicator of your last import on the card, and the easiest way I can think of to do this is to fire a black frame. Leave the lens cap on, switch the camera to manual exposure and manual focus (so you don't shoot a 30 second exposure or wait for the camera to try to find focus), and fire a frame. Now when you insert the card after another day of shooting, you'll be able to easily find where you left off — just look for the last black frame, and import everything after that!
In the next post, I'll talk about managing that mobile library, with the assumption that you'll be merging it with a larger library back home, and give some workflow tips on making the process of importing just these new photos as quick and easy as possible.