Is it possible to have enable editing photo metadata (keywords, rating, stars, color) in both Aperture and Photo Mechanic if the files are stored in Aperture as "referenced" files?

I did a quick test, and some data is transferred/shared, such as the "caption" and "keywords", but the stars are not shared, nor is the color rating.

And if the files are managed as JPEG+RAW (NREF), how does that factor into the equation?

I'm looking for the ability do seamless super fast browsing of images with further tweaking in Aperture, and minimal duplication of files/data.

I've seen recommendations for doing an initial sort of photos after "ingesting" into PhotoMechanic, and then copying the files to an "Edit" folder for importing into Aperture, but that seems awkward to have the photos in both places, but maybe that's simply the best solution to store a "reference" set that is only downloaded and has some initial metatdata, and then to do more in Aperture with the chosen photos. Plus, this would enable placing the "desirable" photos on a local, faster driver, rather than an external, thunderbolt drive. The big disadvantage I see is later updating metadata in aperture, or the photo-mechanic ingest folder, and having the meta-data not shared between the edit set and the ingest set.

Here's an interesting article on this topic: http://www.quora.com/Margaux-Yiu/answers/Digital-Photography

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is Aperture and Photo Mechanic a requirement? I was wondering if maybe you can use Lightroom or some other software instead. Personally I use that, it can handle RAW+JPEG and lets you organize and keyword to your hearts content, including creating automatic collections where your pictures as found as soon as you give them a keyword. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alendri
    Aug 13, 2012 at 10:24
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I really like both Aperture and Photo Mechanic for what they do well, and I just purchased Photo Mechanic 5.0, so yes, that's the requirement. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 13, 2012 at 18:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does Aperture support XMP? If so, then you should be able to use XMP sidecar files to transfer metadata edits (including rating) between the two products (although not with them both running simultaneously, I suspect.) \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    Jun 16, 2013 at 1:45

1 Answer 1


It can be done. It is not trivial. See this thread:

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3280339 Note the reference to the applescript aperture document. Also in the replies further down some sample scripts. This question has been around for over a year. I'll take a kick at it with an incomplete answer.

Rating is an aperture specific field. These fields are normally not written to exported files, however they are accessible under applescript.

If you want work with files already in aperture, you would need to do something like this:

  1. Convert your library to referenced files so that PhotoMechanic can see them.
  2. Write out metadata to masters. (This command works on selected masters only. So select the entire batch.
  3. Run a script to write out ratings to XML sidecar files or other format that PM can read.
  4. Do your work in photomechanic.
  5. In aperture refresh metadata from masters. This will pick up all your new keywords.
  6. In aperture use another applescript to read ratings out of PM sidecar files to update aperture. OR If Aperture has the ability, you may be able to read one of the XMP ratings and transfer it to the Aperture database.

Sorry I don't have a perfect working answer for you.


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