iPhoto storage strategy

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ChelseaFC, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. ChelseaFC macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2008
    I have researched and thought about this a lot, but have been unable to find the proper way to store photos with iPhoto. I am new to Mac, but want to learn.

    OK - So I just migrated all of my photos from a PC to a mac and I have a folder with lots of subfolders that are basically events. My question is should I store this folder of all my photos in the Pictures folder or in a seperate location?

    I have imported all of the photos into iPhoto and they are sorted into events based on their original folder structure and that is fine. The iPhoto library is of course in the Pictures folder. So at this point are there 2 versions of the photos or 3? I would think two with one being the original photo in my original folder and the other being the one stored in the iphoto library.

    Now going fwd when I import new pictures into iphoto they will go into the library, but where will the actual file go? iphoto library? If this is the case I will be unable to put it in my original picture folder...

    Also- photos downloaded from internet: what should be the Mac way of storing them? Just import from downloads folder?

    Am I thinking from PC point of view where I feel that I need to hold onto to my original folder structure? Should I have just imported from an external drive?

    I realize this is a very confusing question, but I hope that someone understands what I am trying to ask.
  2. skybolt macrumors 6502a

    Feb 20, 2005
    Nashville, TN, USA
    If you hold onto the original folder (that your brought over from your PC) you will have duplicated the use of your disk space. That folder is not necessary once you have imported your photos into iPhoto. In the preferences, if you check "add to library when importing" -- or whatever the verbiage is, your photos will be put into the iPhoto library and that is where they should stay. You will ultimately have two folders in that library -- one for "originals" and one for "modified". The "modified" folder contains any photo that you have altered in any way -- rotation, cropping, color correction, etc. iPhoto keeps the originals intact so that you can always revert to the original if you want to start over.

    The best advice I can give is to do nothing to/with your photos from within the iPhoto library in finder. Just forget that that folder is there, and do anything you want to/with your photos from within the app itself. iPhoto (as well as iTunes) has its own way of organizing, and is not happy if users mess about with its files. There is never a need to go into the iPhoto library in finder.

    Welcome to the mac world!
  3. cheapa55 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2007
    I had the exact same problem when I migrated almost 2 months ago. I still have my extra "photo" folder on the desktop along with my iphoto folder in finder. I guess I'll delete the desktop folder then.

    I do feel "weird" when deleting that since I feel I'm losing my originals. I guess I'm still stuck in the PC world.

    As for backing up all the photos, should I go into the finder and copy that folder into an external drive? or how do you guys back up (besides time machine, I like to take a portable copy along with me)
  4. MrGeePee macrumors regular

    Dec 1, 2007
    I had the same problem when i got my new Mac. Same with iTunes.

    I had 80GB of music on iTunes and another 80GB in a folder lol.

    I had no idea iTunes/iPhoto automatically duplicates the file(s)
  5. tibi08 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 17, 2007
    Brighton, UK
    I too have had exactly the same problem, but nobody has really answered your question.

    There are essentially four solutions:

    1) Uncheck "Copy items to the iPhoto library" in the advanced settings. This means that no files are stored in the iPhoto library, and you can save your photos in whatever file structure you like outside of the library. I would strongly advise against this option, as if anything goes wrong with the iPhoto library (which only contains aliases, and not files) it's impossible to repair it.

    2) Import to the iPhoto library as you've already done and delete your old library. This means all your files are stored in the new library, and you minimise disk space usage.

    3) Import to the iPhoto library as you've already done keep your old files, and accept that new files will in future only appear in your iPhoto library.

    4) Import to the iPhoto library as you've already done but import future photos to the old file structure on your Mac prior to importing them to iPhoto. This is what I do. It means you have a mirror image of all your photos in your own choice of file structure. To enable this to happen, I use the Image Capture application (which is set to the default application when I connect my camera) and once downloaded I drag and drop the files to iPhoto. No doubt you could use Automator to set up a script for this.
  6. aross99 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
    I use Method #2. It's too confusing to keep multiple copies of your pictures around. Just make sure you back up your iPhoto library from time to time!

    When you take new pictures, let iPhoto import them directly into your library for you, and remove them from your camera.

    I've been doing that since iPhoto came out, and it works great.

    I do the same thing for iTunes. If you have a file to import, then drag it into iTunes and let iTunes file it away, and then toss the original file. Just make sure you backup your iTunes library...
  7. ChelseaFC thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2008

    Thank you for your responses!

    I think I am just going to import into iPhoto and back up my library each month or so.

    Not to change gears here midthread, but does this mean the same for iTunes? Based on what I read above it seems to be same setup as Itunes.

    I have been holding off on importing my music into iTunes. I did import 3 songs just to test things out and noticed that it put them in it's own iTunes folder, which basically means I have two versions of those 3 songs now.

    This will mean the end of having a mp3 folder :eek: lol

    I had iTunes on my pc, but just never did much with it. I was soooo used to using winamp

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