Importing pictures in folders and subfolders to iPhoto?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Evangelion, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. Evangelion macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    So I convinced my co-worker that she should get a Mac. She bought a MacBook air, and now she would like to bring over her photo-collection from her old PC. But there's a problem: She has arranged her photos in folders and subfolders. For example, she has a folder called "trips", with subfolders for each various trips she has taken. And there are about 10.000 pictures in total.

    Now, we need to get those pictures in to iPhoto with the folder-structure intact. Is this possible? I don't have much experience with iPhoto, as I have used Aperture for the last few years. If this isn't possible with iPhoto itself, is there some third-party tools that could manage this, or maybe an Automator-script?
  2. nep61 macrumors 6502

    May 17, 2007
    I had the same issue when I bough my Mom a Mac Mini recently. The only way I found to achieve this is to create folders and sub folders in iPhoto .... Rename them as they were on the PC... Drag individual folder content from PC into correct folder on the Mac... If you drag the folder itself, you'll run into problems.
    It time consuming but it was the only way that I found which worked...
    I only had 5000 photos... It took about an hour.

    Good luck
  3. Evangelion thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    Hmm, that's not really ideal, since I think that there is multitude of folders...
  4. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Like you... I am not too familiar with iPhoto. I would think that you could do it through your own machine (and an external HDD) as follows:

    • Attach the HDD to your computer, launch Aperture 3 (A3) and create a new A3 library on the HDD.
    • Import the pictures into your "new A3" library using "File>Import>Folders as projects"
    • Close Aperture
    • Attach the HDD to your coworker's machine and transfer the library to her MBA, then disconnect the HDD
    • Open the library on her machine in iPhoto and let that be her new iPhoto library

    Is there any chance that you could convince her to get Aperture? 10K pictures is not a huge amount... but if she is serious about photography, it would be great to start in Aperture. iTunes gift cards will probably be on sale for 20% off fairly frequently in the next few weeks which will reduce the cost of A3 by $16 or so.

  5. colourfastt macrumors 6502a


    Apr 7, 2009
    Why does it matter how iPhoto manages the photo structure? Import (drag) one folder at a time into iPhoto; rename the new event to whatever you want; fill in the metadata (location, faces, etc.). Then when you need an image you can pull up the event, or by location, or by who is in each image.

    Nested folders of images are for anally retentive Windows users.
  6. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Yes. Colourfastt is entirely correct. Using iPhoto is using a Digital Asset Manager. It is supposed to do the hard work of managing things, not the user.

    Think of Albums as Folders.

    Better yet, work out a key-wording scheme that reflects her existing folder system.... except don't put the dates as part of the keywords.

    So for instance.... Keywords might be: Travel, Europe, Paris, Montmartre.
    Dates are already part of the image metadata.

    Now she can set up Smart Albums that can show her all the images she did while "Travelling" in March of 2012. Or just all the images of Europe. Or all the images of Paris in March 2012. Or all the images of Paris she has ever taken. Or just the images of Montmarte in all of the years she has been travelling to Paris.

    In each of these cases she doesn't need to do anything extra to the photos, except adding the 4 keywords above. If she imports folder by folder, the basic keywords are the same for all the images in the folder. She can then also add the specific keywords as necessary... the church name, the statue name, the name of the person in the photo ... whatever. But just adding the basic keywords will give her an immense immediate benefit in sorting her images, with no extra work beyond the keywords. Let iPhoto handle the files in it's default setting, it really does work better that way.
  7. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Aperture takes iPhoto one (major) step forward... and I would still recommend it.

    Albums are your friend (as evidenced by snberk103's post). In addition... you have lots more tools (stacks, stack picks, album picks, richer metadata, ratings, etc, etc, etc). It is a very powerful infrasturcture.

    Creating albums is "free" (they take essentially no space). Smart albums let you create nearly unlimited collections of your photos with very specific results (All pictures taken on the coast in the past 5 years rated 4* or better and containing our dog).

    I will disagree a bit (and only a little bit) about the importance how/where you store the pictures. In Aperture... all photos live in one (and exactly one) project. As you create collections of your pictures (albums)... if you create the album within a single project... then you can restrict the operation of that album to that one album. This constraint simplifies life a bit. For example... we took a 2 week trip to Ireland with another couple and we had 4800 pictures from multiple cameras. I choose to put all of the Ireland pictures into a single project... and created 4 smart albums (one for each camera). The main purpose was to calibrate the internal clock of the 4 cameras so all pictures were displayed in correct time sequence. This took a few key clicks to accomplish. We then rated the pictures (we chose 3* for slide show material, 4* for photo book material, 5* for selects) Then, we used stacks to auto-group and choose the best picture of each particular topic... which greatly reduces the clutter when dealing with thousands of pictures. From there... our 4800 photos of Ireland were stacked, rated, geo-tagged, key worded, etc... so with one click... we could create a fantastic slide-show with just the best 300 images... or a collection of just the photos to arrange in printed photo books.

    Aperture (and to a lesser degree iPhoto)... gives you amazing tools to manage your digital assets. The above is just a simple example of things that you can do.

    The comment earlier by Colourfastt (Nested folders of images are for anally retentive Windows users) while being a bit snarky... is spot on. I like to think of it as the difference between storing pictures... and using pictures. Move to Aperture (or iPhoto) and learn how to use photos. The difference is nothing short of amazing.

  8. Evangelion thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    I don't think so. She's not a "serious" photographer as such. And it turns out it was not 10.000 pictures, but about 5.000.

    Well, as we tested this, we noticed that iPhoto automatically turns those folders in to Events as they are impoted, which almost accomplishes what she wants to do here. No, we don't absolutely need to have "folders" as such, we need to have the pictures grouped, and Events seems to accomplish that.

    What still remains is to see if we can get them nested (as anal retentive that might be). For example, she might currently have folder called "XXXXXX's wedding", and under that folder she might have folders called "bachelor party", "ceremony" and so forth. What can I say, she has had this scheme for years, and she knows where her pictures are thanks to it. I did tell her that she has some new tools at her disposal now, like tags and face-recognition. But for now she needs this arrangement, until she can learn the ropes of the new system.

    Yeah, she could tag the pictures as they are imported. But I'm trying to make this transition as low-barrier as possible for her. After we have imported the pictures, she could then tag any new pictures, and go throuhg her libary and tag the older pictures at her leisure.
  9. colourfastt macrumors 6502a


    Apr 7, 2009
    As far as I'm aware you cannot nest events inside events. Each folder imported into iPhoto will be its own event.
  10. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    No, I don't think you can nest Events - as colourfastt has pointed out - but you can nest Albums into Folders. So, Import a folder - it will become an Event. Select All the images in the Event (learn to use the keyboard shortcut - you be doing this a lot) Then - create a New Album - there is a keyboard shortcut for this too. Name the New Album. Repeat for the next folder.

    If you do it in that order, the New Album will pick up all of the selected images from the Event, so you don't have to drag and drop the images into the New Album.

  11. CrickettGrrrl, Nov 14, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012

    CrickettGrrrl macrumors 6502a


    Feb 10, 2012
    B'more or Less
    You can't nest Events, but you CAN nest Albums within individually named Folders.

    Big sigh. I have to constantly try to explain how iPhoto works to my SIL but she can't bend her brain around it even though folders look like little folder icons. Visual icons and visual organization mean nothing to her as she prefers List view as per Windows XP, etc. That's just the way some people process info I guess.

    Selecting All within a folder really speeds loading pictures into iPhoto btw.

    Edit: Forgot to add that Yes, you can "split" and "merge" Events folders and rename them. For example, everything shot on one date goes into one Event, but there are photos of the park, a birthday party, and something else etc. You can select a group of those images (I think they have to be contiguous) and then select Split Event and name it, --and can keep splitting & naming.

    Attached Files:

  12. NewToMac2013 macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2013
    following up on guidance

    Hi Guys,

    I'm another MS to Mac converter and after nearly 20 years of using MS I am now trying to get my head around the different 'rules' of MacWorld.

    I've follow the above but have some basic questions.

    1. If I import 40,000 photo's into iPhoto. Am I creating duplicates? Somewhere along the line iTunes duped my music and I just had to get rid of 66gb of duplicates. Kinda keen for that not to happen with 40,000 photo's.

    2. Where is the instructional video for newbies like me? I've hit YouTube and found it very hit and miss, and none of it really planned and laid out, do you know how long it took me to find the BLOODY RIGHT CLICK!!!

    3. Like the colleague of the guy above, I have my photo's in the following order (decades/years/country). What is the difference between folders and events, and the relationships???

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