After my experience in using Aperture 3 to make my first Apple photo book, I wondered, “Is there a difference in the quality of a photo book printed with iPhoto versus Aperture 3”?
Despite using iPhoto to organize all my photos, I have never used my iPhoto to make a photo book. I guess I just got used to making books with the first company I tried (MyPublisher), but since then, I’ve been venturing out a lot more (as you can probably tell).
Some things to note about the general differences between iPhoto and Aperture 3:
1) Aperture 3 offers much more advanced photo editing tools. You cannot compare the handful of basic iPhoto’s editing tools with the extensive options Aperture 3 gives you to make precise adjustments. iPhoto works fine for a quick fix of snapshots, but is not for the more serious hobbyist and definitely too limiting for pros.
2) Aperture 3 offers an easy way to edit your photos en masse. (A big advantage over Photoshop is how the workflow “flows” – I didn’t realize how tedious it was to open each individual photo in Photoshop in order to do edits. Multiply that over 300 photos and it can get very time consuming! It was nice to have all the photos right there and easily accessible to edit. A bonus was to be able to readily access the editing tools while working in the book design software.
3) Aperture 3 offers fully customizable layouts – a must for anyone who’s into making photo books like me – iPhoto doesn’t have that capability.
4) Aperture 3 does non-destructive editing – if for some reason you want to get back to your original photo (or photo book version), you can do that and easily backtrack and undo any edits.
5) You can save your book design in Aperture 3 as a PDF and upload it to any photo book company – you’re not restricted to printing it with Apple as is the case with iPhoto.
Aperture 3 is clearly the better program for editing and book creation (duh), but it is $199 more than the ole’ standby iPhoto which comes on your Mac, so you have to decide for yourself if the features are important to you. Try the free Aperture 3 trial to see for yourself.
But, I digress from the point of this post – if I print the same book but using two different interfaces – will I get the same book? (after all, I am comparing “Apple to Apple” right?)
-Books cost the same.
-iPhoto ’09 has some book types that are not offered in Aperture:
1) Large Wirebound Softcover
2) Medium Wirebound Softcover
-The books are all printed at the same production facility.
-As for print technology, Apple uses Xeikon, which uses dry ink, and HP Indigo technology, which uses HP ElectroInk. According to Apple, “these inks are not generally classified as archival because they do not penetrate and bond to the substrate (paper) fibers. Instead, the ink is fused to the surface of the paper.”
-For all books, Apple uses GPA paper stock that is ISO 9002 and ISO 14001 environmental
-I had read that iPhoto does a pretty aggressive downsampling or compression of photo book files as they are uploaded for printing, but that Aperture’s compression was less. I asked Apple’s customer support if that was the case, and while they didn’t give specifics, I was told that the compression rates for iPhoto and Aperture do differ and that there was no way to adjust that. However, the representative stated that the different compression amounts do not affect the print quality of their books, prints, calendars and cards.
So, now you know what I found out. I searched the Internet to find some of these answers, but gave up after not finding the detail I wanted, and decided to ask the source. The very specific information regarding print technology, paper and compression I obtained from Apple’s customer service. They were very prompt in responding and also answered my two follow up questions. However, to really know for sure, I’d have to try it myself – and that means shelling out another $100 for a copy of my Great Barrier Reef book, or perhaps creating a different book with iPhoto. Maybe at some point down the line. Maybe if you sweet talk me into it, I’ll take one for the team… 🙂
I hope this info is helpful and I look forward to hearing your comments. Anyone out there have firsthand experience? Please share your info…
If you’re interested, check out my earlier post featuring my detailed Apple Aperture 3 photo book review.
See my Aperture 3 overview.
These photos were taken of the new iPad we just got today and of course I had to see how my site looks on it! Hmmm…wonder what they’ll say about the iPhone later today???