Aperture’s Light Table; Layout And Picture Stories: A Newfound Tool For A Lost Art Page 2

This still leaves your Light Table area much too large--the "Scale to Fit All Items" button matches the screen magnification to the Light Table area, not the area taken up by your photographs.

The solution is to ctrl-click on a blank area of the Light Table and choose the "Minimize Size" command from the contextual menu. Your Light Table now returns to a manageable size.

Your Light Table will look a lot neater if your images are aligned and distributed evenly. Here, for example, there are four images arranged vertically but rather "loosely." The first step is to select them all, either by clicking on the first and then shift-clicking on the others, or by dragging a marquee around all of them. The next step is to ctrl-click any one image to display the contextual menu. The images can now be aligned by any edge or by their centers.

Images can be distributed evenly at the same time, either vertically or horizontally. In this instance they need distributing vertically. Aperture will leave the top and bottom images in their current position and distribute the other two between them so that the spacing is even.

This menu also has an "Arrange" option. If you use this, Aperture will gather together the selected photographs to make it easier to arrange them as a group. This could be useful if related pictures have ended up separated from each other.

Aperture saves Light Tables automatically. All your layouts and arrangements will still be there if you shut down the program and start it up another time--there's no need to save them separately.

But you can print them if you want to submit reference layouts to publishers, or just for your own visual reference. You might, for example, want to create and compare two or more Light Tables to see which arrangement works best.

Aperture's Light Tables can take a little getting used to, particularly the spontaneous re-sizing of the table area. But they offer a unique way of visualizing photo layouts and stories, and it's a reminder of how photographs can be made to work together to produce a narrative structure or a bigger and more complex "picture" than single images can provide.

For a free download trial of Aperture, useful only for those with Macs, go to www.apple.com/aperture.