Help make an ex-Windows user comfortable with iPhoto!

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by jdr999, Aug 12, 2007.

  1. jdr999 macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2007
    Hi gang.

    I've had my first Mac, a 17" MBP, for about 4 months. I've just started playing with iPhoto '08 and am having a hard time becoming comfortable with what I can't see! :confused:

    In Windows I had a directory called "Photos" with all my pictures (10,000+) grouped neatly into subfolders. I always knew where everything was and I wasn't tied to one program - I could load up those pictures in any program I wished. When I wanted to back them up it was easy -- they were all in one place just as I left them.

    And yes, I can be a neat freak. I've been known to compulsively defrag my Windows boxes every night! :eek:

    Now comes iPhoto and the system I knew now is vastly different.

    I've heard many users complain of library errors and loss of meta-files leaving only a cryptic filename that makes little sense. So I carefully named each directory "01-01-1990-Fishing" and added that to each filename such as "01-01-1990-Fishing-0001.jpg" That way I'll always know what each picture is. A little crazy? Maybe :rolleyes:


    Do I want to have iPhoto copy the photos to its own library and forget about my "Photos" folder?

    Do I want to import directly into iPhoto from the camera and lose control of my filenames?

    Can I trust iPhoto to back up my pictures in a universal format if I ever decided to ditch iPhoto?

    Can I backup iPhoto in such a way that I can easily restore all my iPhoto meta-data in case of disaster?

    What exactly is the best way to back up iPhoto? I do use SuperDuper but I'd also like to burn them to DVD. (I also have Toast).

    I suppose if I import directly from my camera or make edits in iPhoto my "Photos" folder will be a thing of the past and I'll have to completely immerse myself into iPhoto. Is that really a good thing?

    How does everyone here use iPhoto with pictures they can't afford to lose?

    Can iPhoto be 100% as safe as having my own read only photo folder that I have complete control over as in Windows? I'd hate to accidently change or delete something in iPhoto without knowing..

    Also, I've got a MBP and my wife has an iMac. I'd like both iPhotos to be the same. How does everyone here do that? ChronoSync?

    Thanks a bunch!
  2. 66217 Guest

    Jan 30, 2006
    iPhoto is much like iTunes. You only focus in seeing and modifying your photos trough iPhoto. You'll have to forget about the Finder.

    -I would recommend you to let iPhoto organize your photos.

    -As for back-up, I just prefer moving the entire iPhoto folder to an external drive.

    -iPhoto won't make your images loose compatibility with PCs. Images would be still JPEGs.

    -Every time you connect a camera, you can either let iPhoto import them to your library, or import them using Image Capture to the finder, and then moving them to iPhoto.

    -iPhoto is very safe. If you ever delete an image from the library, it goes to the iPhoto trash can. So no problems of accidentally deleting an image.

    -iPhoto creates a modified version of every photo you modify, so you can always right-click and select "revert to original".

    It takes time to get used to iPhoto, but I highly recommend it.:)
  3. tardinha macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2007
    This might be of no help to you... but use Adobe Bridge :)

    Of course, I say this being a web designer, and having CS3 installed for my work.

    I got my MBP last week, my first Mac since 1995, and I am, like everyone else, a bit suprised by the lack of any good image software. But I think worse than that is Finder. We're used to Explorer which is quite customisable.

    I used to use ACDSee quite a bit, which is why I don't mind Bridge. Before CS3 though, it was painfully slow, but that was on a PC. On my Mac, it's the perfect solution (for me), and fast.

    The main thing Bridge has over anything else, is it doesn't need to import your photos into it's own library. Like you, I have all my files (Music, Photos, Videos etc) all sorted into logical structures, making everything very easy to find. I've never needed meta data or search capabilities.

    For me, iTunes and iPhoto (and anything else like them) are really just obnoxious applications trying to bully me into doing things their way.

    Looking at the Adobe site, Bridge only seems to be available bundled with other applications, which is a bummer.

    Again, I've only had my Mac for about a week, and while I've only checked a few apps that I've found on these forums, I'm sure there must be something out there that does the trick.
  4. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    Respectfully, my guess is that until you've had a chance to play with iPhoto and figure out the answers to those yourself, you're never going to feel really comfortable. So make a read-only backup of your photos somewhere safe and then put iPhoto to the test, knowing that even if you manage to botch something, you're covered.

    I've had 11,000+ photos and a few hundred movies in iPhoto since iPhoto '05 and haven't had one problem with it mangling anything.

    Each time you import something from your camera (and create an Event in iPhoto), iPhoto creates a new folder and dumps all of the pictures in it. If you want to, you can CTRL-click on your "iPhoto Library", chose "Show Package Contents", click on 'Originals' and see all of your pictures for that event. They're in different folders (named after whatever you told iPhoto the Event was called) just like how you were doing it manually. Inside those folders, iPhoto doesn't prefix the name of the folder onto the pictures, though. It simply keeps the name that the camera gave the photo, which you can rename thru iPhoto later on.

    So you'd see a folder called 1990, then another folder called Fishing, then the individual photos (in their original format .. JPG or whatever).

    The way that Apple suggest you backup your iPhoto library is to simply copy the "iPhoto Library" file (which is in your Pictures folder) to another drive or DVD.

    Since your photos are contained there in their original format, if you ever decide to ditch iPhoto, you can simply tell iPhoto to export all of your photos, or if you manually want to do the work, you can CTRL-click, "Show Package Contents", and grab the folders/photos yourself. Just remember that iPhoto keeps photos you've editing in a separate folder (so that you can always revert back to the original).

    You also have the option of using iPhoto and NOT having it manage your folders/names at all. It'd be more than happy to use the folders and filenames you created. in Preferences, under "Advanced", turn off the "Copy photos into iPhoto" option. You could then use the "Image Capture" program to manually copy photos off of your camera into whichever location you want.
  5. tardinha macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2007
    See now, Roco made some very great points. And I am all for all of it. My only question, is why do these applications need to import your data into their own libraries? Why not give us the option (like iTunes does, but not by default) to either use our existing structure, or, use theirs.

    Having said all this, I'm sure it won't be long before I give in on my insane whinging and just let my Mac look after me as he sees fit :)
  6. tardinha macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2007
    ok, all my arguments have been debunked. i'll happily shut up now :)
  7. kiwi-in-uk macrumors 6502a

    Sep 22, 2004
  8. jdr999 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2007
    So basically I should do an import into the iPhoto library, burn my originals and just delete them from my hard-drive -- as they'll never be current again..

    I should also trust iPhoto to import from my camera and stop being picky about the actual filenames - I think it's title I can change, right?

    For backups just drag to my external drive? Easy enough. Does that also backup the meta-data for me to restore in case of disaster?

    BTW, this may seem silly but when does dragging something Copy it, and when does it actually Move it? I know I've tried to copy things in the past only to find out I really moved them.

    With the previous version of iPhoto I found it very easy to accidently modify a picture while viewing it -- there's no "Save/Cancel" options as in Windows -- just a "Done". Does the new edit window help make those things clearer?

    iPhoto seems to be a core application on the Mac and it'd be hard to call myself a convert without looking past my DOS/Windows background and actually doing something the easy way for once! ;)

    Thanks for the advice everyone!
  9. apfhex macrumors 68030


    Aug 8, 2006
    Northern California
    Yup, just don't worry about where the files are and what they're named, it's much easier.

    The iPhoto Library folder contains everything you'd want to have.

    Dragging and dropping a file copies it when it's to a different volume, or from a read-only folder or volume (like a CD).

    iPhoto '08 has defaults to a "view" mode instead of the Edit mode, however you can't zoom in with this new mode and any click anywhere brings you back to the thumbnails. The Edit mode is pretty much the same, no Cancel button (I agree there should be).
  10. 66217 Guest

    Jan 30, 2006
    In fact, you can tell iPhoto not to mess with your photos. In preferences select Advanced and then un-check the "import to iPhoto library" option.
    The problem here is that if you move a photo in the Finder, the iPhoto won't track the photo, so it is not very convenient to make this.

    After organizing all your photos, you'll find how helpful iPhoto is to find photos, and you'll never have to search in the Finder.
    I have almost finished tagging all my photos. So if I ever type "Me" or "Mum" or "Dad", etc. All the photos where those people appear would appear.
  11. tardinha macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2007
    thanks for the tips. i'll have a proper play and see how i go :)
  12. benoitgphoto macrumors 6502

    Jul 19, 2007
    Question about external editors...

    I'm new to Iphoto and to the Mac being a switcher from a PC a few months ago. What about if I want to use Iphoto to transfert photos from the camera, view, manage and organize the files only. I love the integration with Iwork and other applications.

    The thing is that my actual workflow is to convert RAW files with Capture NX and finalize the post processing with Photoshop. Is Iphoto able to track the files and the changes made to them and / or the different files created with the other editors ?

    My guess is that I would have to add manually to Iphoto library the final files edited with PSCS3. Am I wrong or is there a more simple way of doing things ? Also, I'm still not sure if it's better to check or uncheck the option "Copy files to Iphoto library forder".

    Many thanks in advance for your help.
  13. 66217 Guest

    Jan 30, 2006
    No, iPhoto won't live update your photos. I think Aperture does it, but not sure.
  14. jdr999 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2007

    I have given in and committed to iPhoto. But I'm still unclear how I'm going to back up my data.

    My camera can take still photos and short videos. So naturally I have both in my iPhoto library.

    I'm also using the new "Hide" feature in iPhoto as there are many shots I don't need to see often but don't want to delete.

    When I drag from iPhoto all that is carried over is the cryptic filename -- not the title. This is not a good way to protect my data.

    When I use "Export" I can retain my titles which is a good thing. BUT video and hidden photos are skipped. So if an event has 51 items in it an exported copy will have 51 *minus* video *minus* hidden. This is also not a good way to protect my data.

    I think I'm going to have to get back to using Image Capture and rename each picture before importing into iPhoto -- I can't even drag a photo and have a coherent title when using iPhoto to import from my camera.

    Am I doing something wrong or is this REALLY the way its supposed to work? I can't drag photos from iPhoto without renaming them and I can't Export a complete backup of my library.. ??
  15. mdifazio macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2007

    Thought I'd jump in on this discussion. I just switched from Picasa on XP to iPhoto. I have roughly 12,000 photos that reside on a 1T Lacie external drive configured for RAID 5. This covers me well for mechanical disk failure but not for accidental erasure or malicious intent. My photos are haphazardly organized in files. They were read only. Burned DVDs every so often and sent them out to grandparents.

    I had been using Picasa cause I liked the GUI, the smart backup features, and the editing functions.

    I am motivated to switch by the wonderful combination of Apple TV streaming off the LaCie over FW 800 through an iMac with iTunes open output to a 60in HDTV in my living room. The smart events are awesome for organizing by keyword or date.

    Last night I watched slideshows synced to music in my iTunes library for photos organized into smart events by quarter (2001Q2 for example). This is a profound experience compared to sitting in front of a pc with Picasa to look at the photos, something that I didn't do all that much.

    I imported my master folder to iPhoto so now I have two copies on the RAID. At some point, when comfortable, I imagine I'll delete the non iPhoto folder.

    I'm looking at backing up by right clicking the iPhoto library package, showing package contents, and getting to the originals, then copying groups of folders by year to multiple DVDs. I don't like the idea of multiple libraries limited to the size of a DVD. This would limit the Apple TV concept. So far lag on opening is acceptible.

    Some have mentioned creating an alias of originals to limit the muck factor of opening a package. I need to check to see if one can make original files read only within the package itself without causing a crash. Should work I think.

    Ideally, one would like the facility to keep track of what has been previously backed up (Picasa let you name backups so you could make sure each grandparent was made whole in my above scenario).

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