The other day I posted one of the techniques I use in Aperture 3 related to projects. I use them to organize around an output goal even if they don't contain any images. A lot of that has to do with keeping things together based on the reason I'm doing them. A closely related thought is that of saving your work products for potential re-use, just to keep track of things you did, ideas you had, whatever. Today I wanted to share a similar thing that I do using Aperture albums.
If you think about it, you make thousands of varying selections of images for thousands of different reasons. Sometimes it's a manual selection, sometimes automated based on EXIF info, or rating, or color label, or flags. A heck of a lot of the time it's a combination of both. Automation via some set of search criteria and then a manual refinement. This is work product. What seems like just something done as a matter of course actually takes work. Sometimes only a little and other times significant amounts of consideration. You would like to think that the ratings and everything else you do saves you a lot of time down the road – and it does but all the metadata in the world doesn't stop you from having to make case by case decisions for what you are trying to do today.
A long time ago because I was using Aperture and albums are free I started saving every single image selection or grouping of images I ever did in an album with some sort of name pertaining to what that album was and why I might have grouped those images together. There's countless reasons you do this day after day week after week. Let's cut to the end. You may not believe this but collecting that work in the form of albums has saved me massive amounts of time over the years.
Sometimes it's as simple as the need to re-create the same thing I did before for a client with the same images in the same order. Sometimes it's reuse for a completely different reason but a similar or identical selection and grouping of images. Like I said countless reasons. Take a look at the top. I haven't done any real work on this session I shot of Katya back in the fall of 2013. Check out the idiotic number of albums. There's more of them just not in this project but in output specific projects. If it gets crazy and unwieldy I group the albums into whatever makes sense in folders under the containing project. Aperture's ability to select multiple items at a time in the project inspector makes short work of this.
Combine Aperture's awesome albums (far more capabilities than I can describe in a single quick-tip post) with the ability to search by name and you'll start to see why it's hard to live with any other similar tool out there.