iPhoto Smart Albums and Adding New Photos

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by MagnusVonMagnum, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. MagnusVonMagnum macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    #1
    I'm trying out iPhoto for the first time. I've been scanning and cleaning up old photo albums the past few months and I generally sync them to my Apple TV units and I noticed there's a sync from iPhoto option and while an image viewer like Xee is nice in some respects, it doesn't organize by folder or album so I can quickly scan for photos between directories, etc. I have to "open" a new directory. XnView (which is great on my PC) is still pretty much beta for the Mac right now. But it appears iPhoto can organize my albums any way I want it to and share across the network to another Mac, etc. so maybe it'd be a good way to organize.

    The problem I'm seeing offhand is that I can import my photo by folder/directory (I've been organizing them that way as I scan/edit) and according the docs I've read a "Smart" Photo album is supposed to update itself as your library is updated, a simple test of moving a new photo into a folder that was already imported in no way "updates itself" that I can see. If I added new photos to a directory, it appears I'd have to manually add those to iPhoto as I go, which could be a real hassle if I ever forgot to do it (basically it's like having to move/edit TWICE, once in the real world directory structure and then once more inside iPhoto.

    I was hoping iPhoto would be smarter than this. Any good photo viewer makes available any new pictures inside a folder and even iTunes KNOWS when I CHANGE a picture (say to remove dust specs) and sends the updated picture to Apple TV for me automatically the next time it's synced. But it seems like iPhoto doesn't care what you do with photos in your directory structure. It only cares about what's been imported into iPhoto (even if you select to NOT copy photos into the library... I don't know why you ever would WANT to do that as it just doubles the amount of space the photos take up on your hard drive and if that file ever got corrupted and you DON'T keep a backup in a regular directory structure, you could potentially lose all your photos due to one file corruption. Frankly, I don't see the point of importing anything into the library. I just want iPhoto to create albums around directories and watch those directories for changes. Mostly I'd want to use iPhoto to add comments and/or sort various albums for various reasons to view, which it seems it can readily do, but I have to be meticulous and make sure I tell it I've changed photos I guess.

    But since I'm new to iPhoto I could very well be overlooking features I simply don't know about. Is there an easier way to sort these things out?

    Also how does Photoshop Bridge compare to it?
     
  2. skybolt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Location:
    Nashville, TN, USA
    #2
    The easiest way to do what you want is to simply allow iPhoto to import the photos into its library, then use keywords and smart albums. Then you will have auto-updating of your albums, and you WON'T have double the space taken up on your hard drive. That is the way iPhoto is supposed to work. Organizing and keeping photos outside of iPhoto is duplicate work and is the exact antithesis of what iPhoto is meant to do.

    Yes, you would need to back up from time to time, but the "Burn" function in iPhoto makes it easy to back up to disk. Or you could get and external drive and use something like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper to clone your entire drive and have a complete backup.

    Let iPhoto do what it is intended to do and your workload will be highly diminished!
     
  3. MagnusVonMagnum thread starter macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    #3
    I'm sorry, but what you are telling me is that I should give up the ability to use any other program other than iPhoto to work with my photos to spare me work when in fact, it's iPhoto that should be 'smarter' and able to do its organizing without touching my photos. The idea of categorically dumping mhy photos into a giant library file that can easily be corrupted is just begging for disaster, IMO. I prefer to keep them separate. Maybe iPhoto simply isn't for me. Adding "keywords" sounds like more work than just importing existing files, for that matter. The point is that iTunes can easily recognize changs in files or additions to send to Apple TV, so why shouldn't iPhoto be able to have its 'smart' albums do the exact same thing? You should be able to set it to watch a directory and update itself every so often.

    I just tried out Microsoft's Media Expression 2 and it organizes by creating "catalogs" which can contain any organizational pattern you might like. It easily recognized my directory structure and made it all available without having to "import" anything other than the structure itself, which it saves as a database file. It can also organize music, movies, etc. for you and even lets you record dictation to describe a photo as you go through them. The reviews I read from Mac users seem to pan it because it's from Microsoft, but other than not "looking" Mac, it's pretty nice, IMO. It can also view full screen like a regular image viewer (slideshow setting with interaction) whereas Adobe's Photoshop "Bridge" program is fine for organizing, but not for viewing full screen unless you use a regular slideshow. Ironically, it DOES have a setting to check for changes every so often or manually.

    The only thing I've seen thus far from iPhoto that I really like is the ability to organize layouts manually for photo albums if you like by dragging them around or by setting sort patterns and it'll remember them. Well, that and I like the network 'share' function which is nice if you have another Mac in the house to view photos on a central server without having to directly access the filesystems (ala iTunes shared libraries).
     
  4. skybolt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Location:
    Nashville, TN, USA
    #4
    Well, iPhoto DOES have smart albums, but they are based on keywords. Yes, it is a lot of work to go back and keyword photos, but going forward it should be quite easy to do each time you import. You can batch assign keywords, by the way, making it a bit quicker. Then your smart albums will update each time you keyword a photo.

    Your library will not become corrupted if you stay out of it, and a backup will prevent loss. So simple.

    As far as editing, in preferences you can set Photoshop or some other editor to be your external editor. Then when you click on a photo to edit, Photoshop will open, you can edit, and when you save the edits, the photo will go back right where it belongs.

    You are really trying to make iPhoto work the way windows does, and it is not made for that. iPhoto is an organizing and management tool, and it does its job beautifully. It really is an easy piece of software to use, and works great. You just have to let go of the micromanagement of the windows world and let it do its job.
     
  5. MagnusVonMagnum thread starter macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    #5
    The only problem with your "Windows" assessment of my current setup is that I did the entire scanning/organizing process entirely on my PowerMac. Instead of trying to make Mac/Windows comparisons, you might edge towards Apple/Everyone Else comparisons.

    The point is if I'm importing photos (be it from my digital camera, my scanner with photo albums or a Kodak Photo CD for my SLR film camera), it's a SIMPLE matter to put the photos into a directory inside the Pictures directory. In fact, I can't imagine pooling them into a jumbo free-for-all and then trying/hoping/praying to sort them out later on. Your idea of using "keywords" to "clue in" iPhoto so it can keep track of things sounds FAR more time consuming than simply dumping new photos into a labeled directory.

    Now I might want to add some comments or the like to some photos later on (before I forget what who the heck is in some photos, preserving them for future generations or my own loss of memory), but I think this is a different process. I'm not sure how I would accomplish that inside iPhoto. Expression Media 2 lets me dictate voice-over comments for photos that will playback during a slidehow (pretty nice, IMO) and makes full use of my Logitech 9000 web camera's excellent microphone (the PowerMac had no microphone input). And it doesn't care if I want to use keywords, directories or manually combine whatever to create a "catalog". Adobe's Bridge seems similar, but has less useful viewing options, IMO and I don't see any voice-over options offhand (I haven't explored every option though). But once again Apple seems to take the "do it our way or the highway" attitude, which means I will probably not be using iPhoto in the future. I WANT to keep my files available for easy access through the Finder. I don't want them stored only in some insanely large single file. I don't want to spoonfeed it information to tell it when I've added a new photo to a given directory (e.g. "Misc. Files" gets a lot of new photos over time as I cannot or do not want to try and classify them under their own "scene" type heading). Click/Dump is faster than Click/Type.

    More importantly, having files available means I can use any program I want at any time (I can boot up Media Expressions or Adobe Bridge or just plain Xee or XnView and view any of my photos. iPhoto only means iPhoto ONLY). And while iPhoto will sync to AppleTV, forget about Xbox Media Center or Media Link. They can't read it either. Of course, iPhoto will happily work without lumping your photos into that database file as you seem to prefer, but I'm going by your comments that tell me that's how it's "supposed" to work. I don't see it that way. Regular photo albums in iPhoto work fine with external files, etc. except for the lack of automatic updating. I'd just need to remember to add the new photos to iPhoto at the same time as importing them into a file directory.
     
  6. skybolt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Location:
    Nashville, TN, USA
    #6
    Well, it DOES sound like iPhoto is not for you. It is too simple for your wishes. It works great for my needs, though.

    I recently completed a scanning project whereby I scanned about 35 gigs of 80 - 90 year old family photos, and some hard copies of my grandsons (taken before digitals became the norm). I took the time to organize them by subject and approximate date before I scanned them. Then I scanned each portion at a time to folders on my desktop. When I imported that folder to iPhoto, it kept its structure and organization. Each import was a new event. I then worked within that event to date, label, clean up, add keywords, notes, comments, etc. as I wanted. Very organized and simple. I then used iDVD to create DVD's of various files to give to other family members. They were delighted!

    Anyway, I wish you luck with your photos and whatever software you decide to purchase.
     
  7. Pomeroy macrumors 6502

    Pomeroy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Location:
    Arkansas
    #7


    skybolt some people find it hard to give up using folders they have put a lot of time and thought into. I know I was one of them. I couldn't see why people thought iPhoto was go great, I knew I was smart enough to make folders and subfolders do what I wanted. I could find any photo I wanted in just a couple minutes and open in the editor of my choice. I sure didn't want MY photos all in one big messy folder that was hidden away from me and hard to get into, but it was getting harder and harder to remember where I had put photos a few years ago and when I did find them did I still want them in that subfolder or another folder somewhere else, did I want to move it or make a copy and put in the new place? I knew iPhoto could place photos in more than one place without creating a larger file, so I looked at it again and gave it a bit more thought. I found that between Events, Smart Folders and Keywords I could find any photo in just a few key strokes, edit in any editor I wanted, send a pic by email and resize without leaving iPhoto. If I wanted to see a photo in Preview or Xee for some reason I could just drag the photo out of iPhoto and drop on Xee's icon on the dock and BAM there it was. Boy does iPhoto make some nice Slideshows too. The more I played with Slideshows the more I found the good stuff it could do.. I think ( haven't tried this yet ) I could even add voice over by recording while watching the slideshow and then adding just as I would a music background..
    Just as I can't see ever going back to a windows machine, I can't see any reason I'll ever use folders to keep my photos..
     
  8. MagnusVonMagnum thread starter macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    #8
    What's wrong with doing both? There is no reason you cannot organize with iPhoto and still keep your photos in a basic folder structure (simply do not import the pictures into the library). Some day you or future generations may not have iPhoto available to sort it out for you. It just seems to be something as important as long time photo archiving should be platform independent at the core level.
     
  9. Pomeroy macrumors 6502

    Pomeroy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Location:
    Arkansas
    #9
    Maybe I should explain. I don't import the photos directly into iPhoto from the camera. They go from the camera to a FOLDER :) and there I use Name Mangler to give them all a name. From there I back them up to 3 other places off my computer. Next I import them into iPhoto, then delete them from the FOLDER :D, from there they get backed up with Time Machine again. So I feel like I am pretty well protected in case Apple ever comes in with guns blazing and take iphoto away from me :mad:
     
  10. WolfieNZ macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    #10
    Folders and iPhoto

    Sorry I'm a recent switcher to Mac (and I love it!), so I might be wrong - but the iPhoto library contains folders, eh! :)apple: Leopard and iPhoto 09).

    In finder I do "Show package content" of the library file and see nicely organized folders there :), untouched originals, edited files, years etc, and I can access single files if I want to, I do not have to go through iPhoto to access them.

    At least that's what I remember to have seen the other day at home - here at work I have to use Windows 2000 :(

    But I agree, all this thinking in folders and single files is a Windows thing.


    Wolfie
     
  11. Pomeroy macrumors 6502

    Pomeroy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Location:
    Arkansas
    #11


    There are folders inside iPhoto and they only show in iPhoto, not in finder and for the life of me I can't find a good reason to use them.:) I guess you could use one for a temp folder to hold photos you want to do something to later, but to organize I don't think they are worth much, I don't think you can even make subfolder in iPhoto 09.

    If you do a "Show package content" and start messing around there you could have a mess on your hands and have to start over with iPhoto. Apple put them in there to stop people from messing up iPhoto, there is nothing in there that you can't use from inside iPhoto.. Never really a reason to go poking around in there.. Once you go inside "Show package content" and mess something up you will promise yourself you will never do that again.:mad:

    I use Smart Albums and Keywords to organize iPhoto and just a few keystroke in the Search bar at the bottom of iPhoto will bring up any photo in want almost as fast as I can type (Slow Typer):D
     

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