Ben Long

Ben Long

Ben Long is a freelance writer, photographer, and videographer based in San Francisco. A long-time computer journalist, he has written hundreds of features, reviews, and how-to's for magazines such as Macworld, MacWeek, Macworld UK, MacUser, Computer Graphics World, Maximum PC, and eMediaWeekly. He is currently a Senior Editor for, where he writes a regular digital photography column. His most recent books include Apple's Pro Training guide for Aperture, Real World Aperture, Getting Started with Camera Raw, and Complete Digital Photography, 3rd edition.

As a photographer and videographer, his clients have included Blue Note Records, 20th Century Fox, the Pickle Circus, Global Business Network, Head Start, the Oklahoma Arts Institute, and the National Endowment for the Arts. You can learn more about him and his work at

The Canon EOS Digital Rebel T1i/500D Companion The Canon EOS Digital Rebel T1i/500D Companion
by Ben Long
July 2009
Print: $24.99
Ebook: $19.99

The Nikon D90 Companion The Nikon D90 Companion
by Ben Long
March 2009
Print: $24.99
Ebook: $19.99

The Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS/1000D Companion The Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS/1000D Companion
by Ben Long
November 2008
Print: $24.99
Ebook: $19.99

The Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/450D Companion The Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/450D Companion
by Ben Long
September 2008
Print: $24.99
Ebook: $19.99

Recent Posts | All O'Reilly Posts

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Sticky Query Fields

Aperture fummoxed me for a bit this morning. I have a project with a few hundred images in it. The project also contains several albums, just the regular kind that I have dragged some images into. When I would click... read more

Careful Deleting

You need to be very careful when deleting images in Aperture to avoid accidentally deleting an entire project rather than a selection of pictures. To delete an image, or a series of images, you first select them, and then choose... read more

HDR and Panoramic Workflow

There are a number of digital photography processes that involve shooting multiple frames of a subject. High Dynamic Range imaging allows you to combine and merge a series of images to create a final result that has extremely high dynamic... read more

One Library To Rule Them All

December 07 2007

Aperture allows you to keep multiple library files, by simply changing the Library setting in Aperture's Preferences dialog box. Many people use this as a way to get around the fact that Aperture limits the size of an individual Library... read more

Backing Up a Referenced Library

December 03 2007

Lately, I've been getting a lot of questions about using the Vault with referenced images. Because a lot of people still seem a little confused by the question of backup when choosing between managed or referenced images, I thought I'd... read more

New Camera Support for Tiger Users

November 16 2007

With the release of Leopard, Apple added raw support for a number of new cameras, leaving Tiger-based Aperture users wondering if they would be forced to upgrade to the new operating system in order to gain support for the new... read more

Apple Sneaks In Camera Support in Leopard

November 03 2007

A lesser-hyped feature of Leopard is its inclusion of a number of new raw formats. This page shows a complete list of all of the raw formats now supported in Leopard. A quick peak shows that Apple has snuck in... read more

Aperture and Leopard

October 26 2007

Leopard has some great new features for digital photographers. For example, QuickLook is an exceptional way to get a quick view of an image file in the Finder. Meanwhile, CoverFlow, a feature that I thought was a stupid thing to... read more

New Add-on: Publish for Approval

October 19 2007 has released a new add-on for Aperture that provides a sophisticated, automated way to get client approval of a set of images. The new Publish For Approval package is an AppleScript-based application that works as follows: • A web... read more

Launching a Photoshop Automation From Aperture

October 09 2007

In this posting of a few months ago, I showed how you can create an automated Aperture/Photoshop printing process using a Finder Folder Action. The idea was that, if you wanted to print using Photoshop - either because of its... read more

Remote Power

October 02 2007

In my previous post, I described the storage solution that I'm planning to use on an extended trip - sans computer - to Africa. This trip won't be the first time that I've gone on a shooting expedition without a... read more

Two Project Pane Clarifications

September 11 2007

There are a few things about Aperture's Projects pane that can be confusing to new users. What's great about the Projects pane is that it provides so many options for keeping even a massive library organized. The combination of Projects,... read more

Travelling Without Aperture

September 03 2007

I'll be leaving for South Africa this week to help Steve Simon with a shoot that he's doing there. He and I will work together for about a week-and-a-half and then I'll be on my own for another ten days,... read more

Teaching with Aperture

August 21 2007

In June, Steve Simon and I had the good fortune to teach a two week photography class to the photo students at the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute. Celebrating its thirtieth year, OSAI is a two week arts camp for 14... read more

Automated Printing via Photoshop

August 14 2007

While Aperture includes a fairly robust printing architecture, there will still be times when you want to print images in your Aperture library from Photoshop. Whether this is because you want to print using driver-generated color, (something Aperture doesn't allow)... read more

Flash Album Exporter

August 07 2007

Aperture's Web Gallery feature is very nice, and extremely functional. That said, it's hard not to look a little enviously at the cool Flash-based galleries that can be exported from Lightroom. However, while Aperture may lack built-in Flash support, it... read more

LensTweaker for Optical Corrections

July 20 2007

Why Aperture has a very nice collection of image adjustment tools, it lacks the ability to perform any kind of distortion correction. If you're shooting with a wide-angle lens that has trouble with barrel distortion, then you won't have any... read more

Highlight Hot Areas Threshold Preference

July 06 2007

Aperture's Highlight Hot Areas command (which you can access from the View menu, or by pressing Option-Shift-H) activates a highlight clipping display in the Viewer pane. This display shows any pixels that have clipped highlights. You activate this feature by... read more

Printing Light Tables

June 25 2007

Printing a Light Table is a great way to knock out a quick printed proof of a layout idea or presentation. Just select File > Print Light Table and the contents of the current Light Table will be printed to... read more

Light Table Shortcuts

June 14 2007

The Aperture Light Table is much easier to work with if you learn to drive it using its mouse and keyboard shortcuts. (Note: Wondering if the Light Table is even worth investing time in? Take a look at my previous... read more

Learning to Respect the Light Table

June 08 2007

Most Aperture users I know don't pay a lot of attention to the Light Table. I was this way once. I thought it was a silly feature for Apple to have devoted engineering resources to, when they could have been... read more

Rotating Multiple Images

May 07 2007

Aperture's Rotate tools, the ones that sit in the Toolbar at the top of the Aperture window, provide a simple facility for rotating images right or left. Select either the clockwise or counter-clockwise rotate tool and then click on any... read more

Exporting a Stack Pick

May 04 2007

One of the most powerful innovations that Apple introduced with Aperture was the stack. While it's very easy to think of a stack as a folder - and stacks can function very well as a container for related images -... read more

Multimedia Import

April 30 2007

I shoot almost exclusively with a digital SLR. I have a few different point-and-shoot cameras around at one time or another, mostly loaners for book or magazine projects, but I just can't stand using an LCD screen as a viewfinder.... read more


March 21 2007

Adobe Lightroom (excuse me, "Adobe Photoshop Lightroom") has some features I'd really like to have in Aperture, such as the Recovery slider, which lets me do highlight recovery without affecting the midtones and shadows in an image, and the Vibrancy... read more

Creating an Aperture Library with Matching Finder Folder Structure

March 08 2007

One of the nice things about Aperture is that once you're using it, you can spend less time hassling with the Finder. Thanks to metadata and Smart Albums, you can organize and sort your images by metadata tags, rather than... read more

Re-Installing Aperture

March 05 2007

I just recently purchased a new Core2Duo 15" MacBook Pro to replace the CoreDuo 15" MacBook Pro that I bought last year. While one could look at this as a testament to my pronounced level of nerdery, I prefer a... read more

Keywords and Multiple Libraries

February 21 2007

Many Aperture users are finding multiple libraries to be the key to their organizational woes. As Derrick Story described here, Aperture 1.5 provides a simple way to switch between multiple libraries. However you choose to make the switch from one... read more

Simultaneous Card Import

February 14 2007

With Lightroom looming on the horizon, we're going to see more and more comparison articles pitting Aperture head-to-head with Adobe's offering. Lightroom certainly has some very nice features, but it currently lacks one enabling technology that gives Aperture an advantage... read more

Better Interapplication Workflow Through Plug-ins

February 06 2007

We shoot still images for lots of reasons, of course. At different times, I've been hired to shoot for the usual print or web projects, but I've also had to shoot images for inclusion as stills in video projects, and... read more

Learning in Grayscale

January 26 2007

When I was growing up, learning photography was pretty much an exclusively black and white exercise. A color darkroom was prohibitively expensive - and complex - and black and white film was much cheaper than color. Nowadays, for the price... read more

Aperture Library Spanner

January 19 2007

With the ability to import referenced files, Aperture 1.5 makes it much easier to manage a large archive of images than it was under version 1. However, depending upon your storage strategy, you're probably also using the internal, managed library... read more

Opening Multiple Projects

January 18 2007

Over the last month, I've taken a look at a few of Aperture's comparison features (such as compare mode and stack mode). These features allow you to easily compare images within a project to determine which images you want to... read more

Hiding pictures

January 10 2007

An interesting Aperture question showed up in my email box last week from a user with a curious problem: several people use his computer, which means that if any of them launch Aperture, they stand a good chance of finding... read more

Stack Mode

January 03 2007

In my last entry, I extolled the virtues of Aperture's Compare feature, which makes it simple to compare a group of images in a project to find the one you like best. As I stated then, I've been very surprised... read more

Comparing Images

December 27 2006

A friend called a couple of weeks ago with an Aperture workflow question. As we worked our way through her problem I finally realized that part of what was complicating her methodology was that she wasn't using one of Aperture's... read more

Aperture Alpha Channel Aberrations

December 13 2006

A lot of Aperture's functionality comes not from Aperture itself, but from Core Image, lower level operating system features that Aperture can tap into. For example, the Mac OS has built-in routines for opening and displaying various file types such... read more

Abandoning Aperture

December 07 2006

I don't actually think you should stop using Aperture. In fact, in my own work, I've pretty much abandoned all of my other workflow tools and am using Aperture exclusively. However, people keep asking me questions about renaming master files,... read more

More Renaming

December 02 2006

In my last two entries I outlined a few strategies for renaming master files during import into Aperture. However, if you've already got files in your Aperture library and didn't rename the masters on import, and now find that you... read more

Renaming Master Files - Part 2

November 22 2006

In my last post, I detailed some ways that you can rename your master image files from within Aperture (I also ranted and raved about why you don't really need to to this if you're an Aperture user, and got... read more

Renaming Master Files - Part 1

November 15 2006

Every time I give a talk or class on Aperture, someone asks this question: "is there any way to get Aperture to rename my referenced master files when I import?" The short answer is: there's no built-in way to do... read more

Additional Raw Support For Aperture

November 07 2006

Photographers who have been shooting raw for a while know that there's no standard, accepted raw format. While Adobe has offered the Digital Negative Specification in an attempt to establish a single, open-source raw format, camera vendors have not jumped... read more

Portable Library

November 02 2006

With Aperture 1.5's ability to import files as references, you can easily keep your images on a portable, external drive. If you regularly move between a laptop and desktop computer, this is the easiest way to quickly move data back... read more

Recent Posts | All O'Reilly Posts

"If you own a Nikon D 90 this book is a must! And, if you are new to DSLR cameras it is a double must. Of all the camera, computer and tech device related books I have seen, this is without a doubt the most skillfully written. "
--George Hawkins, COMP Communicator - Computer Operators of Marysville and Port Huron

"Are you using the Nikon D90? If you are, then this book is for you! Author Ben Long, has done an outstanding job of writing a book that offers a complete class on digital photography."
--John R. Vacca,

"Technical savvy blends with specialty photography tips in a survey important for any Canon DOS Digital Rebel camera owner."
--Diane Donovan, The Bookwatch - The Photography Shelf

"The Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS 1000D Companion serves as a full-on photography class built specifically around the XS and explains clearly all the functions and conrols of the XS, how to recognize a good photo and how to use the XS's controls to represent that subject as a compelling image. "
--Stan Ashbrook, PSA Journal

"If you have purchased a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS/1000D, you owe it to yourself to get a copy and tuck it in your kit bag."
--Dennis Hays, Photo News Today

"The book is well-designed and well written and attractively laid out. It covers more advanced areas such as white balance and gray cards. As well as the understanding and use of the camera's histogram."
--Gordon Cook, Cook's Collaborative Edge

"...a great aid for the Canon photographer. As a teacher Long is excellent. You will learn how to take superb pictures with this well-written camera guide."
--Tim Boxer, 15 Minutes Magazine

"...easy to follow explanations without being condescending. As I thumbed through...all I could think was that's exactly the advice I'd give!...This is how you should spend the money you're no longer spending on film. "
--Geoff Fox, PC Magazine's Gearlog blog

"Long's companion book is the type I would recommend to students in my digital photography workshops because it reveals camera features often overlooked by most novice photographers...This companion book is a fine introduction to digital photography and those purchasing the Canon Rebel for the first time. It might also be a good refresher guide for intermediate photographers as well. "
--Bakari Chavanu, MyMac Magazine

"Ben Long’s The Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/450D Companion is the manual that "should have" shipped with the camera...Throughout the entire book, he manages to keep a friendly patter going, with some asides, as if he were with you. He does this without pandering, in a voice that’s easy for both the novice and the advanced user...there is enough here to satisfy all."
--Dennis Hays, Photo News Today

"You need a very good book that not only teaches you how to use the XSi but also shows you how to make really good photographs. The Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/450D Companion, subtitled Practical photography advice you can take anywhere, is one such book. "
--Chris Malinao, Studio Lighting

"This unique account teaches you how to use different Digital Rebel features to make great photographs: author gives his easy-to-follow lessons, a complete class on digital photography, tailored specifically for people who use this camera. "
--Nadia Russ, Wonderpedia