Afraid to point iPhoto 08 at my NAS store of photos

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by donmei, May 1, 2008.

  1. donmei macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2007
    Hi all. I posted a similar question in the Mac Beginners section a couple of weeks ago and did not get an adequate response.

    I'm hoping some of you pros can assist.
    In a nutshell, I am an amateur photo enthusiast. I went digital (to some degree) in 2001, although I still do some film.

    I've got my pictures and my music on a NAS that is backed up regularly.
    I have created a very organized folder structure that allows me to find photos reasonably quickly. I MUST preserve this structure.

    When I got the Mac I pointed itunes at the root folder where all my music is stored. It built an index but did not change any of the actual data.
    The benefit of this is that I maintain 1 store of music and am able to access it from my mac via itunes or a Vista MCE PC, or even an old xp machine I have in the office.

    I'd like to accomplish the same thing with photos. But nothing in apples documentation distinguishes whether iphoto just builds an index of the files where they are, or if it actually moves the files.

    Another question is if the metadata that is added to pictures in iphoto exists in the index or is actually added to the photo file. And if so, is it a standards based metadata that can also be read by a windows machine (Exif?)

    My goal is to be able to use the clever cataloging features in iPhoto08 while preserving the integrity of my manually created folder heirarchy, and by extension preserving the ability to access the photos from any network attached device in my home, be it Mac, windows, linux, or even ethernet picture frame.

    So, what is the story? how does iphoto work. Thanks for your help.

  2. AxisOfBeagles macrumors 6502


    Apr 22, 2008
    East of Shangrila
    iPhoto will make a copy of everything in your current folders, when you 'import', and re-create those images in the iPhoto library. The original folders will still be there.

    That's the good news. The bad news is that you now have a future workflow problem. Do you take new images, organize them into that current folder structure, and then import again? Or, do you import new images into iPhoto, and then save a copy of each new image into the separate folder structure? And d you back up one, or both? In either event, you're facing a little additional work - and the potential for inconsistent catalogs.

    Suggestion: import the current catalog into iPhoto, then play with organizing it all the way you want in iPhoto - by naming events, using keywords, etc. Then see if maybe iPhoto can replace the current folder directory.
  3. donmei thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2007


    In short, iPhoto will never replace my current folder system. Why?

    Because I dont want to be tied to a particular product/architecture/brand.

    A manually created folder structure on NAS can be accessed by anything.

    What happens with my iphoto indexed and metadata'd (not a word, I realize) photos if in 5 years I decide to not stay with Apple?

    Photos are something that I want to be able to access for years and years to come. Standards based is the only way to go.

    Its too bad, iPhoto has 90% of the editing features I need every day.

  4. aLoC macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2006
    By default it will make it's own copy of the files in Pictures folder in your home dir, but if you go to iPhoto preferences, in the advanced tab, you can tell it not to.
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Apple uses the term "referenced" to means that the files are not copied into the library. Pick "Referenced" in the preferences panel

    I'm not sure about where iPhoto keeps metadata but I'm 100% sure that Aperure "does it right" and keeps all that data inside the actual image file but also has the abilty to export it to a "side car" file using Adobe's "standard". (Yes that is the problem with standards - there are so many of them)

    You say you can find photos in a set of nested folders. I don't doubt that. So I'm courious how have you solved the "organization problem" For example let's say you shot a photo of "Mary with her dog in Montana in 1982" Do you file this under /dogs/mary's_dog/1982/Montana or is 1982 the top level folder. If I were looking for a photo of Mary' dog I would never remember that I shot it in 1982 and might have to hunt over a decade of photos. I lot of people have decided that this problem is un-solveable and have just given up with nested folders and gone over to keywords.

    Public libraries have the same problem and solved it long alog by using multiple card catalogs where each catalog has a different sort order. iPhoto and aperture use this model except that with a computer you can have any number of specialized card catalogs
  6. donmei thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2007
    thanks alot. I'll try this "reference" setting on some test directories I've set up.

    re finding pictures. Right now its just chronological, by folder.
    I have a .txt doc in the root of my photos folder where I record events.

    It is very far from perfect. I dont add metadata to the pictures. Maybe I should.

    In thinking about it, I guess I wouldnt mind adding apple proprietary metadata, since it cant "break" another system I'm using.

    While my .txt doc seems primitive. (it is), it is also simple and effective. Most of the time I open the doc in word and can <ctrl> <f> to find the topics that I'm looking for.

    In general, I can find the pics I'm looking for in a couple of minutes. Again, not perfect, but acceptable. And, any network attached device in my house can access the photos.
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    "Apple proprietary"? I don't think Apple has a metadata format. iPhoto uses EXIF and Aperure can use EXIF, IPTC, and XMP.

    EXIF is the stuff your camera or scanner writes into your files, IPTC is from
    the International Press Telecommunications Council, and XMP,is the "Extensible Metadata Platform" developed by Adobe. EXIF, IPTC, and XMP are all industry stanadrds and widely supported.

    Almost all media aset managers will use these metadata formats. they they also HAVE TO keep their own databases oe how else can they search for a photo. It would simply take tolong to open up each of 20,000 photos and read the data from inside. So they all cache this information n one central place.

    On the Windows side, Adobe Bridge whould be able to read and index keywords that you make using Aperture. Bridge is not bad for browsing images and selecting them based on keywords You don't need that text file, even on Windows.
  8. donmei thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2007
    Thanks a lot.

    Like I said, I havent really used any metadata tags with my photos yet. I also realized tonight, when I looked at my exif data that it seems to be solely centered around the technical details of the photo, shutterspeed, asa, aperture, etc.

    I went into Iphoto and found the following:

    Select or deselect “Copy items to the iPhoto Library.”

    Deselecting this option means that iPhoto will not duplicate photos when importing them into the application, but will leave them in their original files on your computer. When you edit these images in iPhoto, however, the edited versions will be saved in the iPhoto library, not your original files. Your original files remain untouched.

    I couldnt find anything regarding a "reference". But I think this is what you were talking about, right?

    The only down side to this is if I do any editing, I cant re-save it to the NAS

  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Looks like Apple is using better terminology now or I'm remembering how Aperture works.

    You would have to save your edited photos and specify a folder on the NAS is as the destination.

    Actually Apple has exactly what you want but the price is to steep for most users. Final Cut Server is not just for video. It can store anything It works over a network and has both PC Windows and Mac clients. It allows multiple users on both mac and PC workstations to add and "check out" media files and search and modify the index files.
    The $1,000 price tag will limit its use to only those who really need it.

    It is unrealistic to even concider buying this but it is fun to look at the totorials just to see what can be done

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