Best way to deal with large photo library?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Forgeron, Oct 6, 2009.

  1. Forgeron macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    #1
    I have an iPhoto library with 15.000 photo's and videos and I cannot stand the way iPhoto organizes all of them. :(

    The photos are spread out through about 100 events, which would be fine if they were set up as a "text-tree" in the side bar like in Aperture (like here http://speirs.org/blog/2008/1/8/organising-projects-and-folders-in-aperture.html which is a BEAUTIFUL way to do it) but as you all know, they are spread out in a 100 tiles as if my camera sneezed them all over the place, thanks to iPhoto.

    To get my photo's organized in a decent fashion I came up with the following ideas:

    1. Switch to Aperture. (But Aperture does not accept videos, so that won't work for me.)

    2. Use albums in iPhoto. (But the events are still under events, albums just create a shortcut.)

    3. Switch to Picasa, but it seems like it is hard to get all the metadata (keywords, geotags, etc) correctly exported out of iPhoto.

    None of these seem to work for me. How do you guys deal with your large photo libraries?
     
  2. devburke Guest

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2008
    #2
    I don’t think I understand exactly what the problem with just using albums would be. You don’t ever have to use events if you don’t want, you can use the “Photos” list to see all of your photos in one place without being split into events.
     
  3. Forgeron thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 22, 2008
    #3
    So than every time I import a new set of photos, I make 1 event, and an album in which I put a shortcut to the photos in this event? It sounds like a risky thing to do since there is no way to ensure that all the photo's are put in albums. If I were to ever forget putting an event in an album, those photo's would be really hard to find back.
     
  4. devburke Guest

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2008
    #4
    I’m not sure what you mean by a shortcut to the photos. Just put the photos in the album. In fact, the easiest thing to do would just be to drag the event down to the albums list and drop it there. A new album will be created with the same name and photos as the event. This won’t organize albums by date, but you can create folders for that if you like. And if you forget to create an album, that shouldn’t be a problem, because your albums will be identical to your events, so you can just go back to the Events list, find it, and create the album.

    Also, as for this statement:

    Create a smart album with the criteria “Album is not any”, and any photos that AREN’T in any albums will show up there.

    Hope that helps!
     
  5. Forgeron thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 22, 2008
    #5
    Thank you. I understand the work-around. I wish it was possible to just see the events in the sidebar, and organize them there. :(

    What I don't like about it though, is that the place where the photo's are physically located (in the events) would still be a mess. A perfect organization of shortcuts (the albums) is not going to change that.
     
  6. devburke Guest

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2008
    #6
    They’re physically located on the HD :D

    What do you find such a mess about the events though? You can make them bigger or smaller if you prefer, and have them sorted by date, title, or manually (I think date is default).

    Screen shot 2009-10-06 at 7.23.50 PM.png

    Edit: OK I think I get it, it’s cuz you can’t put events into folders. But even though the photo is actually kept in the event folder and referenced by the album, there’s really no effective difference to the user.
     
  7. Forgeron thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 22, 2008
    #7
     
  8. Forgeron thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 22, 2008
    #8
    I was thinking: maybe should I consider managing my photo collection with aperture and the videos I shoot with a separate piece of software? Anyone who does that?
     
  9. devburke Guest

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    Oct 16, 2008
    #9
    Yeah I mean if the “workaround” isn’t doin it for you, I think maybe you wanna consider using a different program, cuz that’s as close as iPhoto’s gonna get you to that behavior. You’d like Aperture, since that’s what you’re using as your example. I don’t know what Picasa’s like, but maybe that’d be worth checking out.
     
  10. Forgeron thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    #10
    I wonder if maybe the next Aperture is going to support movies, or whether that would be unlikely.

    If so, I could just sit this iPhoto mess out until Aperture 3.0 comes out, although nobody knows when that would be I guess.
     
  11. kraftzwerg macrumors regular

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    Jul 8, 2005
    #11
    How about using Aperture for your photos and leave only the movies to iPhoto? (I assume there aren't as many movies as photos.)
     
  12. Forgeron thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 22, 2008
    #12
    There are indeed more photo's than movies, but pretty much every event has at least one little clip in it, so that would still mean 100 events in my iphoto.
     
  13. Razeus macrumors 601

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    Jul 11, 2008
    #13
    What I do with my general photos (meaning what I take with my P&S Cameras for nights out with friends, birthdays, Christmas, etc and not what I take with my DSLR 50D), I make 1 Library for each year. And then I'll have Events for whatever moments I'm capturing for that year. That's how my OS level folder structure is setup anyway (I organize by Year, then a subfolder for each Event) so iPhoto works well, BUT only if you divide up your libraries. If you maintain that 1 library year after year and take alot of photos, iPhoto becomes a mess and you'll end up with 100 events from all over the place (unless you prefix year Events with the year and sort accordingly). I think what you should do is divide up your photos by Years and make a library for each year. Use smart albums to do this, then export each year to your desktop, make a Year Library then reimport.
     
  14. Forgeron thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 22, 2008
    #14
    Thank you for this idea!

    Dividing up libraries has come to my mind. It would definitely make the mess a little more manageable. It's too bad though that you have to switch libraries every time you want to see last years pictures. I'm assuming you are annoyed with that. :)

    Why would Apple not just add an event management tree-feature such as found in Aperture I wonder? It cannot be normal that users are bothered with splitting up libraries, or constantly making album shortcuts to get a decent overview of their collection.
     
  15. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

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    Aug 29, 2006
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #15
    Yeah, certainly when considering iPhoto doesn't really "support" videos anyway! They don't even play in iPhoto, clicking them just sends you to Quicktime.

    So based on the fact that iPhoto doesn't even PLAY videos I'd quit worrying about the videos and use a photo organizer you like for your photos. So use Aperture and forget about the videos.

    For videos I use iTunes. I have yet to find anything better. Certainly not a photo organizer, none of which regard videos as something worthwhile.


    And for the record I STILL can't figure out why you don't like iPhoto Albums for what need.
    Aperture has LIBRARY -> FOLDERS
    iPhoto has EVENTS -> ALBUMS

    That's the same thing (they just use different names) but you seem to love one and hate the other. I'm not too clear on that.
     
  16. Forgeron thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 22, 2008
    #16
    I don't need Aperture to play my videos, I just want him to index them, like iPhoto.

    The difference between aperture and iphoto is that with Aperture you can physically organize your photo's the way you want to in many different levels (level 1 for 2008, level 2 for Vacation, and level 3 for Europe). With iPhoto everything is level 1 (events). You can indeed make shortcuts by using albums, and then organize those by level, but the physical location of the photos is still in the events.

    I think what iPhoto wants you to do could be compared to having all your music in iTunes in one big list, and then make a folder "michael jackson" and a subfolder "thriller" and then make shortcuts in that. Where is the fun in that every single time you download more music?

    Or in iPhoto terms: should I every time I plug in my camera create 1 event, and then drag it into an album to make a shortcut? I would still end up with 100s of events that are unorganized. Organized shortcuts don't make me feel that much better...

    Do you understand what I mean? Or am I wrong somewhere?
     
  17. Razeus macrumors 601

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    Jul 11, 2008
    #17
    As far as managing multiple libraries, I'll make it even easier for you...

    http://www.fatcatsoftware.com/iplm/

    You can even think about making a a "Best of" Library contain all your best photos across the libraries.
     
  18. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

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    Aug 29, 2006
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #18
    That's what I'm not clear on. My events are in chronological order.

    The Aperture photo you posted shows all those folders in chronological order.

    So I'm having trouble seeing the difference between my iPhoto events and your Aperture screen shot. I mean, you can colapse those 'year' folders, so I guess that makes scrolling faster, but I don't think you made this whole thread just because you want to "scroll faster." Right?

    In other words, my Events are very well organized. I'm still not understanding why yours seem to be such an unusable mess.
     
  19. Forgeron thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 22, 2008
    #19
    Well organized? How can you do that when you cannot subdivide a 1000 picture event from a vacation in for instance 10 different activities you did that trip? How do you quickly find something?

    I wonder if I'm missing something. It seems as if I am the only one frustrated by iPhoto. :)
     
  20. Razeus macrumors 601

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    Jul 11, 2008
    #20
    You can pull pictures out of an Event and make those pictures its own Event by highlighting the pictures you want to seperate, then dragging them over to the Event icon over on the sidebar. For instance, iPhoto put my San Antonio trip into 1 event. But I went ahead separated those photos into other Events called Alamo, Sea World, Six Flags, & Riverwalk. Then I made an Album from these 4 Events that featured the "Best of" photos from the trip. This is all under my 2009 Library because I have a different Library for each year. This keeps my iPhoto Events from becoming too cluttered as the years go by the photos grow in number.

    You might say: Well if I keep a separate Library for each year, what about when I want to make something that shows my kid(s) growing up over the years? I answer: This is easily done by keep yet another Library. I call mine "Son" and as each year passes, I can take each years best photos of him, export it to the desktop, then import it to my "Son" Library. Great thing about it is that I only have to do this once a year so it's not like it's a tedious process, especially now that iPhoto contains Faces that easily let's me export all of his photos to my desktop, then reimport to my other Library. So now if I want to make a slideshow of my son to show his grandmother, I can just load the Son Library and do my presentation. Another plus is that I won't have to mess around with photos that he's NOT in as the Library only contains photos of him.

    I think were alot of people of trouble with iPhoto is that they are to ingrained with a traditional file structure and can't get their heads passed this. It's best to think of iPhoto giving you more options, instead of limiting you. It really gives you great options for organizing your photos, sharing them and making stuff out of them, all in one easy to use interface. Think different.
     
  21. Pomeroy macrumors 6502

    Pomeroy

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    Sep 27, 2008
    Location:
    Arkansas
    #21
    I don't care for Events either, so the first thing I do for every photo I import is give it a Keyword and it will go to a Smart Album if one is set up for that Keyword. Every photo gets at least one keyword, some have 4 or 5. Then I drag them from "Last Import" to the Folder I want them in or create a New Folder for them. I hardly ever even look at Events except to give them a name or to Merge 2 together.

    You CAN have folders inside folders just as your Aperture photo shows as well. I also make sure if there is a person in the photo that it has the correct name in Faces. Faces makes finding a person so easy with just a few key strokes in the Search box at the bottom of iPhoto that I don't use names as a Keyword or in the title anymore.

    By using Keywords, Smart Albums, Albums and Folders you can organize you photos and have them appear in the side bar just about any way you want. With just a little fore thought you will be able to find any photo or group of photos you want with just a few key strokes in the Search box.
     

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  22. Forgeron thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 22, 2008
    #22
    You hit the nail on the head: I cannot get over the idea of traditional file structure. And the more events I get, the more I want them to be in traditional structure.

    I might be able to live with the way you do it, but I am wondering: aren't you worried that at some point, when you decide to switch to other software than iPhoto you are going to have to re-organize everything?

    I think about that a lot, since iPhoto is (as far as I know) the only photo management software that does not use traditional file structure.
     
  23. Forgeron thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 22, 2008
    #23
    It sounds and looks great, except from the fact that now you will be bound to iPhoto forever since importing your library to other software will take your events, not your albums. I guess that does not have to be an issue, especially since you use keywords and would be able to make new folders fairly quickly. Interesting... I'll consider this.

    Are you ever worried there are some photos which got lost and are floating around in your events, but you never made a shortcut for in your albums?
     
  24. Razeus macrumors 601

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    Jul 11, 2008
    #24
    I've edited my original post, just so you know.

    To answer your question. No. If I left iPhoto for something else, I would just make a folder for 2009 and have iPhoto export to that folder. I simply take each Event and export them to a subfolder with the same name as my Event. I can do this with Albums as well (though that will just give me a duplicate file). Viola, a traditional file structure is there again.
     
  25. Pomeroy macrumors 6502

    Pomeroy

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    Arkansas
    #25
    I'm not worried about being bound to iPhoto at all, I have no plans to ever go back to Windows and I expect if Apple ever stops updating iPhoto the will have some way to easily export to another App.

    As I said before, the first thing I do is give every photo a Keyword as it is imported. Even if you miss some all you have to do is select "Photos under Library and sort by Keyword, the ones without a Keyword will be First or Last in the list, depending if you sort by Ascending or Descending.
     

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