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Sorting Images by Import Session

Thomas Boyd's picture
March 18, 2012 - 2:07am

Most of the time, we do one import of the all the photos to a particular project. However, there are times when we go back and shoot the same subject more than once and import several times to the same project. 

I was recently asked by a photographer friend if it was possible to sort images based on the import session. My first instinct was that it wasn’t possible. I was thinking of the sort properties in the sort pop-up menu and I knew that wasn’t one of the choices.

But, like all organizational needs in Aperture, the answer is most often solved with the powerful Smart Folder.

I use Smart Folders all the time for all kinds of problem-solving, but I had never needed the “Import Session” rule. Well, it’s there and with a couple clicks, it will populate any one of your import sessions.

Here’s how to sort by import session

1. Create a Smart Folder and select “Add Rule”.

2. Select “Import Session”.

Add the rule “Import Session” to the search box.

3. Click the box of the import session you wish to see.

Select the import session you want to view.

When you click the dated import session box, photos from that import session will populate the viewer. If you will need to navigate between each import session more than once, you can take this to the next level and create one smart folder for each import session.

As I was making this tutorial I discovered a way I could have used this recently. Over the course of my kids’ basketball season I shot about five games. I dumped all those photos into one project. This is a messy way to do it, but I just needed a quick dumping ground for about 3500 photos. At the end of the season I wanted to make medium-sized book for by daughter’s team. I went though the trouble of selecting just her games in the viewer and manually dragged them to an album. I could have done this very quickly by using smart folders as I described above. In fact, the screen shot with all those import sessions is from that very project.

You can also do this not only with a Smart Album but also using the search field.

Apple Aperture
Thomas Boyd

This is very interesting and something I haven’t thought of, but might be of some use! Thanks!

I use this feature all the time. It’s very handy for personal projects that repeat many times over the year. I suppose you could do the same thing by creating a folder and putting the separate import sessions in separate projects in the folder. It would get the same results in the end. I prefer the smart folder method.


I do this using a smart album. I have a project called “In 2012” where my Images go before the keepers are tagged and sent to the archive. Have a smart album for ratings and all the fabulous searches available. Calendar is another favourite search.


Thanks Thomas from down under (Queensland, Australia) Seems I sure need to brush up on my import methods or I will have ’ black holes ’ every where.

Saving the world one photograph at a time

Welcome, Tom, to AE. I’m sure I speak for many in that we are looking forward to more articles from you in the future


Florian Cortese

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