After the shoot
The event is over, and I still have all of those RAW+JPEGs on my SD cards. Now it's time to move the Raw files into my Aperture library for some high-quality post production. I open Aperture and connect my SD card to the Mac. In the Import dialog box, I make sure that the RAW+JPEG Pairs option is enabled. If not, I need to click the Import Settings menu and select it.
I select "Raw files only" from the Import popup menu. I then bring in all the images from however many SD cards I have. For example, if I've been on vacation for a week, I might have half a dozen or so.
When Aperture asks me if I want to keep or delete the files on the memory card, I choose Keep. For the moment, they are my backups. Once I've run the Vault in Aperture, or archived the library via Time Machine, I can delete the images off the memory card.
The numbers game
You might be wondering why I don't like keeping Raw files on my iPad. Primarily, it's a numbers game. Here's how the megabytes stack up.
For my Canon 60D, each Raw file occupies approximately 21MB of space. So as little as five images would consume over 100MB of precious iPad memory. Those JPEGs, on the other hand, are configured in the camera as Fine/Small, so they each take up about 1.3MB of memory. So if I were to leave the JPEGs on my iPad, I could get over 75 images for the same 100MB of storage. That's a big difference.
Archiving the Photo Stream
If you use iCloud, as I do, for this workflow, plenty of images will be flowing through your Photo Stream. The capacity is 1,000 of your latest images. I recommend that you set up Aperture or iPhoto to archive your Photo Stream so as older images are pushed off, you still have access to them.
If you use Aperture, go to Preferences > Photo Stream, and check the boxes next to My Photo Stream and Automatic Import. Since I use Aperture for my everyday work, I prefer to have iPhoto serve as my iCloud archive. The setup is the same in iPhoto as in Aperture.
Variations on the workflow
You could shoot just JPEG or Raw and everything will work fine. This all depends on your personal style of working. For example, if you're a JPEG-only shooter, then the process is simplified. Take your pictures, copy the ones you want to the iPad, have fun with the selected few, and when you get home, transfer everything on the memory cards to your Mac for safekeeping.
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