Editing photos in iPhoto

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by dhokes, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2012
    #1
    I'm new to Macs, having just bought my first 27" and I was wondering if someone could help me with this issue.

    I've got a bunch of photos which I've imported into iPhoto. Now when I make changes to the photos such as rotate:

    1. Why don't the actual files rotate?
    2. If I make changes to the photos, where are the new files saved?

    Ideally, I don't want to make changes to photos in iPhoto and then not be able to access the modified files. Are there any other applications that would suit my needs better?

    Thanks
     
  2. macrumors 603

    Joined:
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    #2
    That is because iPhoto is not an 'image editor' - it is a Digital Asset Manager (like Aperture and Lightroom) that also happens to edit images. When iPhoto imports your images it puts them in a folder hidden from the user and opens a database entry. All of your edits, tagging, key wording, etc are then simply recorded in the database. The original image is never touched. This is called 'non-destructive' editing - and ensures that the valuable original image is kept safe. You can accidentally overwrite with an image you didn't mean to keep, for instance.

    What is different about iPhoto compared to Aperture and Lightroom is that it also keeps some edited versions of your images in a second folder structure within the hidden library folder.

    These folders are hidden because if you start changing the images outside of iPhoto you start corrupting the database. You might want to think about the database as being the index at the back of a book. It is only useful as long as the pages of the book aren't mucked about with. In the event of a catastrophic failure of iPhoto, these images are available for retrieval....so you don't need to worry about that. But it is much better to make sure you have good backup strategy.

    Have fun with your new Mac.
     
  3. r0k
    macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #3
    The first thing I do is turn off "copy photos to iPhoto Library". This means the only thing in the iPhoto Library file on my Mac are edited photos and metadata like faces, places, events and albums.

    For photo editing, I recommend using Seashore or Gimp, both of which are free. Otherwise, consider Photoshop Elements or Photoshop if you don't mind spending some money.
     
  4. macrumors 603

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    #4
    While this can work well for some people, it is not recommended for most installations. The risk needs to be weighed against the benefits. And to be honest, I don't know what the benefit is... but that could just be because I've never considered this as an option. The risk is that the iPhoto database becomes corrupted due to an inexperienced user moving and editing the images outside of iPhoto.

    Again...I'm not saying it is "wrong".... just not recommended - especially for someone who is not yet experienced with iPhoto.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2012
    #5
    Therefore I imagine the database can become very large in size.

    Are there any other recommended applications that don't create hidden libraries/copy of the originals and simply display the photos that I import?

    ----------

    Hmm, I might have to look at this option... I take it that if I delete all the photos from within iPhoto, then the hidden folder will empty?

    What are your views on Aperture?
     
  6. r0k
    macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #6
    What happened for me was that when iPhoto library hit 67GB it got very large and unresponsive. What I do now is I drag photos out of my monthly photostream (autocreated) events then I "re-import" them and delete the ones that were autocreated. This means that I now have an iPhoto library which manages metadata for 300+ GB of photos but the iPhoto Library itself is about 11 GB.

    The only risk to this approach is if I go outside iPhoto and start deleting files, iPhoto cannot find them. I have not had this problem as I somehow manage to keep my fat fingers off the delete key.

    I do like iPhoto but I'm not elated about the way it stores metadata in iPhoto Library and originals (if you let it). To see inside iPhoto Library right-click (or two finger click) it and pick "show package contents". You can now browse around inside iPhoto Library. The thing that gets corrupted is the xml file that indexes the photos and iPhoto is capable of rebuilding it. Still, I prefer to keep my photos outside iPhoto Library as I don't want to even think about dealing with a single "file" that is several hundred gigabytes in size.

    ----------

    Aperture uses the same iPhoto Library as iPhoto. So it has the same limitations. I haven't tried Aperture just yet as iPhoto, Gimp and Seashore handle all my photo editing needs.
     
  7. macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #7
    There is no reason to worry about this (although I admit that I did at first). The iPhoto (or Aperture) libraries are "packages". In Finder, you can select one and then do a "Show Package Contents" where you will find all the originals in a folder hierarchy sorted by date. You can select any number of photos within the program and do an Export of the originals to easily extract them to any location. Many programs are designed to access these photo libraries and if you don't use them you don't get that easy connection.

    Aperture gives more flexibility, including easily handling of multiple libraries (if you are concerned about having single large library) switching between them, merging them and creating new ones as subsets of existing. It also has a "vault" system for making backups that are incrementally updated. It handles large libraries with slowing down to the extent iPhoto does.

    Aperture has far more editing options that for me has eliminated the need to go with external programs except for some special cases (IR channel swapping requires Photoshop and I need an external program for stitching panoramas).
     
  8. macrumors 603

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    #8
    The database itself does not get large. It is just text entries. However, iPhoto also stores the edited images in a "previews" folder... which is what appears to be ballon the iPhoto Library folder. I haven't delved into Aperture yet to see how it handles things now that the Libraries are unified. Just because Aperture and iPhoto can use the same Library does not necessarily mean they do things the same way. I'm specifically thinking about iPhoto saving each edited version as well as the database entry. Lightroom simply notes the editing changes in its database. Aperture may be more like iPhoto or more like Lightroom. The easy way to check (what I will do when I get some time) is to simply start a new Aperture Library and import a single large image into it. Open the Folder and check the size. Then do some editing on the image. Also create a clone or two, etc etc. Then close Aperture and check the Library to see what has happened.
    :)

    Which is great for an experienced Mac/iPhoto user... but difficult for someone still getting their head around how iPhoto is supposed to work differently than their previous nested folder structure.
     
  9. macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
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    #9
    Aperture saves only the original, the editing changes, and a preview of the edited image in a size you can specify -- so if you are editing a 10MP image you only need to save a preview thats much smaller (and typically matches your display size). Once you settle on the image on the display, it will repaint from the original + editing changes so that the live editing of the original resumes. If you "round trip" an image to Photoshop, for instance, the returned TIFF image is saved, so round tripping is generally bad for disk usage but is needed since there is no way Aperture can regenerate the TIFF. Additional editing is based on the TIFF, which effectively becomes a new master image.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2012
    #10
    Thanks for all the replies. Much appreciated. :)

    I think I'll continue with iPhoto for now and play around with it and leave the options as they are. If I feel more adventurous, I'll check out Gimp and Photoshop Elements.
     
  11. macrumors 603

    Joined:
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    #11
    That's good to know. That is pretty much how Lightroom does it, which is what I use primarily now. It was only recently that I learned that iPhoto does things differently under the hood. Since I tutor people in iPhoto I'm comfortable with the interface, but I never needed to know how things work in the backend.

    Thanks for the Aperture update.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 5, 2012
    #12
    Is there anyway at all to be able to delete the source file when deleting an image in iPhoto?
     
  13. macrumors 68000

    James Craner

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    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #13
    For an external Photo editor take a look at Pixelmator for most users will give you 90% of what you need Photoshop for at about 5% of the cost. I don't use it myself but I know people that do and they rave about it.
     
  14. macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #14
    Cmd-delete will put the edited image (and its source) into iPhoto's Trash. When you empty the trash it is completely gone.

    ----------

    I'd like to point out that if you go to the vendors' websites you can get 30 day free trials of Pixelmator, Photoshop Elements (or full Photoshop), Lightroom, and Aperture. So there is no risk in trying them all out. GIMP is a free program.
     
  15. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2012
    #15
    The source is still in its original folder. :confused:

    When I double click on it in Finder, it opens in Preview and has locked next to it's file name at the top. Could that be why and if so, how do I 'unlock' it?

    Thanks for the tip regarding trials.
     
  16. macrumors 68030

    Dave Braine

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    Warrington, UK
    #16
    The only problem with turning that off is, if you import from an external device, then you will have to connect that device everytime that you want to view those photos.
     
  17. macrumors 68000

    James Craner

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    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #17
    Good tip, unfortunately Apple no longer offer a trial of Aperture, only available from the App Store now.
     
  18. macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
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    #18
    I just went and checked -- when I delete an image and empty the iPhoto trash the photo disappears from the original folder (in the iPhoto Library package). I would expect if the photos are referenced ("import items into iPhoto Library" not checked) instead of managed the file would be untouched. I don't have any referenced masters to check that out, but I know that's the way it works in Aperture. Referenced masters are *never* altered in any way, including deletion.
     
  19. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2012
    #19
    Sorry, I'm a bit confused now. I've got photos saved in the 'Photos' folder and I've imported them all into an iPhoto library and "import items into iPhoto Library" is checked.

    So when I delete photos from within iPhoto, should the actual files in the 'Photo' folder get deleted? This hasn't happened (possibly because the file is locked?)
     
  20. macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #20
    Ah ha!
    1) You have saved your photos in the Photos folder.
    2) When you import them into the iPhoto Library (with the check box checked) copies of the image files are made in the library.
    3). When you delete in iPhoto, the copy in iPhoto is deleted. iPhoto will not delete any files outside the library, ever.

    Once the photos are imported into the library, you could manually delete all the photos you had saved in the Photos folder and rely on just the copy in the iPhoto Library. Your originals outside the library are redundant.

    I don't know why the files are locked. If they are locked, you can unlock them by selecting them all, do a Cmd-Option-I and click the Locked box to clear.

    I'll add that no matter what you end up doing, make backups, and keep at least one "off site". You can never tell what might happen to your pictures no matter what program(s) or computer(s) you use!
     
  21. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2012
    #21
    Hmm. I think I'll delete all the photos in iPhoto, go through all my photos that are in the Photos folder in Finder and delete the ones I don't want and then re-add them to iPhoto and start fresh. :)

    Again, thanks for the replies everyone.
     
  22. r0k
    macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
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    #22
    I just have one caution. Deleting is something I try to avoid doing. Are you deleting the ones you don't want just to make it easier to import them? Remember you only have to import them once (or maybe twice) but deleting files just to make import faster and easier runs the risk of accidentally deleting something you wanted.
     
  23. thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 5, 2012
    #23
    Ah, no, I want to delete them because they are very poor quality images.
     
  24. r0k
    macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
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    #24
    [​IMG]

    That makes this thread one exception to my never delete anything just in case you might someday possibly need it again rule. :D
     

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