iPhoto tutorial

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Lodesman, Apr 29, 2014.

  1. Lodesman macrumors regular


    Feb 4, 2014
    Folkestone, Kent, UK
    I am sure this has been done to death but............

    Is there an online tutorial for using iPhoto ?

    In the 5 months since changing from Win to iMac (I hate to admit it but there have been times when I wish I hadn't) I have managed to learn to live with - and like - the differences but I have not been able to get on top of iPhoto. I now have folders and albums with photos everywhere (23,000 originals with goodness knows how many duplicates strewn randomly around).

    At the risk of offending the cognoscenti I am used to having simple folders, sorted by date/subject, and able to access everything where/when I want it.

    Can I do this with iPhoto? I don't want a smart**** program deciding what is best for me unless I can see definite benefits. This I have singularly failed to do with iPhoto.

    I hope there is some light at the end of the tunnel. All help gratefully received.
  2. BJMRamage macrumors 68020


    Oct 2, 2007
    Do you use iTunes?
    Thoughts on that?

    iPhoto is similar to iTunes.

    You can tell BOTH to just find/use the files you have in YOUR particular folder managed way. (wait, maybe that is Aperture only but I thought you could do that with iPhoto, sorry if not)

    And when you have the photos IN iPhoto (or songs in iTunes) you can make folders/projects/the like and have multiple files in different places. just like songs in playlists. Aperture is a great upgrade from iPhoto in management and ability to Edit, but at $80 and a new Aperture "on the way" (really nobody knows but that's the hope) this could be on hold. iPhoto is great as an import and simple edit collection. I used it for many years. I would start a new project on import as I liked to visually see thumbnails of groupings.

    There are good programs that can help you find duplicates in iPhoto/Mac OS.

    I am not sure I really helped you out on this...perhaps somebody in the Photography forum could also help.
  3. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I'm sure there is... and you can start here. This topic has been done repeatedly. Do a search on DAM and/or Digital Asset Manager on this forum - and don't worry if it includes Aperture or Lightroom. Though the 3 do things differently (though iPhoto and Aperture are very similar) they are all Digital Asset Managers (DAMs) and share the concept of being a database. I often weigh in on the "DAMs are the best thing since sliced bread" so you could search on my username on this forum to read why I think DAMs are so damn great and examples of why.

    Hope this helps.
  4. Lodesman thread starter macrumors regular


    Feb 4, 2014
    Folkestone, Kent, UK
    It certainly does, thanks. I'll read up as you suggest. However, initially, it all seems overly complicated for my needs.

    Would it be possible to move all my photos, in folders, to the pictures section ?

    Or is this still part of the database you mentioned.
  5. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    When you import photos into iPhoto - using the default settings - the images are moved into the iPhoto Library using a date hierarchical folder structure. The internal structure of the iPhoto Library is hidden from the user by design - though there is a way to look at it. It is hidden because if a user moves or edits a photo outside of the iPhoto interface then there is risk of damaging the database (meaning - iPhoto then looses track of that photo or that folder).

    The iPhoto database is a separate file that is merely a record of each photo and what has been done to it. When you in iPhoto and 'move' a photo from one Album to another, the photo does not actually move on your HDD - the database is simply amended to reflect in which Album the photo should appear. If you put a photo into more than one Album, you are not making copies of the photo… you are merely adding notes to the database that the photo should be displayed when those Albums are opened.

    This is what makes a DAM so powerful. If your friend Maria (who owns a Dalmatian) visits you at Easter in 2012 while you are visiting Paris you don't need to decide whether the photo goes into your folder that has all of your dog photos, or the folder for your trip to Paris, the folder for Maria, the folder for Easter events, or the folder for 2012… it can go into the Albums for all of these. And if you edit the photo - whichever Album it appears in - it will appear to be edited in each location. Unless you make virtual copy of it - in which case that copy is independent of the other copies. Perhaps you like to play with BW effects - so you make a virtual copy and put that into the BW Album and then edit it there.

    And if you are looking for all your photos of your friend Maria you go to the Maria Album. And if you are looking for a photo of a Dalmatian you go to the Dog Album. And if you want to see all your photos of Paris you go to the Paris Album.

    And we haven't even talked about Keywords or Smart Albums, flagging and ranking yet. Just taking the little bit of time during an import to put the photos into the appropriate Albums can make huge difference in locating photos and groups of photos later. Actually, it's the grouping of photos that makes a DAM so damn powerful… imho only of course…..
  6. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    Not an online tutorial but an excellent book - "iPhoto The Missing Manual". Explains how it works and why you want to organize pictures that way.

    I got a free trial subscription to Lynda.com which has some good iPhoto and Apertute courses. I think it's worth the $25 per month.
  7. DewGuy1999 macrumors 68040


    Jan 25, 2009
  8. mtngoatjoe macrumors regular


    Jun 10, 2008
    Use iPhoto to manage photos

    I apologize in a advance for the length of my post, but this is my standard reply when this issue comes up.....

    So, you like folders and such. Great. They tell you exactly where your photos are, right? Ok, well try this. Pick up your hard drive, hold it in your hand, and point to you photos.

    That doesn't make any sense right? Why not? You said that a folder structure told you exactly where your photos are.

    It's important to remember that the Finder is just a graphical representation of folders and files on the hard drives. The Finder is basically the front end to a database that keeps track of files and folders. And it does a pretty good job. However, once you start dealing with tens of thousands of photos, the Finder just doesn't help you much. Hence iPhoto.

    If your only goal is to transfer you photos to your computer, file them by date, and then never use them again, then, yes, you can successfully use a folder structure. But, if your wife's birthday is coming up, for example, and you want to show every 4 and/or 5 star photo she is in, then a folder structure simply fails. Here’s another example: your anniversary is coming up, and you want to create a slideshow with every 5 star photo that contains the two of you. Will a folder structure help with that? Or, you’re hosting a dinner party and you want something to occupy that big-screen TV in your living room. Can a folder structure help you find every good photo that contains at least one of your guests? Nope.

    So, what can you do? The answer is easy: Events, Faces, Places, Keywords, and Ratings! It takes a bit of work, but if you want to do anything with your photos other than file them away, then the work is well worth the reward.

    Here is how I go about using these tools:
    1. Import photos.
    2. Delete junk.
    3. Split or combine events as needed. I tend to be an Event minimalist. For example, I don’t make the photos I took of my daughter at McDonald’s an event. Things like that get grouped into a “Winter 2014” event. Christmas photos often span a month or more, from cutting the tree to packing everything up, and they all get lumped into one of three “Christmas” events based on the branch of the family they relate to..
    4. Set Keywords. I try to keep my keyword list to a minimum. For example, I have a keyword for “Vacation”, but I don’t use keywords for the location of the vacation (that’s taken care of with the Places feature). Another example: I have a keyword for “Birthday”, but I don’t have keywords for the person or the year (those are taken care of with the Faces feature, and the fact that all the photos are dated already).
    5. Rate the best as 4 or 5 stars, and if I need to keep a bad photo for some reason, I rate it as 1 star. I don’t bother rating photos as 2 or 3 stars, but you can if you want.
    6. Name the Faces. I only do this with the people I care about and delete the box around people that I don’t care about (this prevents them from showing up as suggestions when you’re viewing a person’s photos).
    7. Set the location. This is very important for travel photos, but is also handy for others as well. If you want a really good reason to set the travel photos, pick a trip, do the work of setting the location of each photo, and then start the Travel slide show. The Travel slide show is really cool!

    Now, with all this info set (called metadata in computer parlance), I can use Smart Albums to great effect.
    • I have a smart album that contains all photos of my daughter that I’ve rated as 5 starts. This album is automatically synched to my iPhone, my wife’s iPhone, my iPad, and our AppleTV. Every time I import a photo into iPhoto and mark my daughter’s face and rate the photo as five stars, the photo is automatically sent to all our devices when we synch. Super easy!
    • I have smart albums with Christmas photos for each branch of our family. So, when someone comes over for the holidays, I can easily show that part of the family’s Christmas photos on the TV. We don’t just sit around and watch the slide show all night, but the photos are there if people want to look and they add a nice touch to an otherwise empty sheet of dark glass. So, the Jones Christmas smart album has photos from 1972 to present, and only contain Jones family Christmas photos.
    That's just a few things to keep in mind. I've found that combining Events and Smart Albums with Faces, Places, Keywords, and Ratings, I rarely need to create traditional folders or albums. And finding photos to suite the moment is not nearly as difficult as a folder structure would be.
  9. Lodesman thread starter macrumors regular


    Feb 4, 2014
    Folkestone, Kent, UK
    Well, thanks to you all for taking the time and trouble to help me on this.

    I fully intend reading all your responses and getting my ageing head round the matter.

    I'm sure there is a way I can use iPhoto, it is just a question of keeping my cool and understanding the basic principles. It will take me some time but I will get there and, in the end, I will see the benefits of the system.

    I do appreciate your assistance, many thanks again.

  10. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    To answer one of your original questions - YES, you can organize your photos by date, exactly as you wish. You simply make Albums and Folders in iPhoto, rather than folders in Finder. As it is, Events does much the same thing.

    The beauty of iPhoto is that you can organize the same photos in other ways as well. There will be just one copy of the master image (saving disk space), and that one image can appear in many albums at the same time. You can make multiple versions of the same image (different cropping, etc.) and you'll still have just that one master image.

    Now, if by "access everything when/where I want it" you mean you want to access your images by opening the file browser in your word processor, or across a network, then iPhoto is probably not for you. iPhoto becomes the gateway to your images. If you want to add an image from iPhoto to a document, you'd Export the image from iPhoto - that creates a copy of the image, in whatever size and quality you need for the purpose. In my case, the ease with which I can locate an image in iPhoto/Aperture more than makes up for the other steps in the process. Your mileage might differ.

    If you want to do more than organize photos, iPhoto and Aperture also provide photo editing features. Like the text editing tools in email programs, you may find the tools provided by iPhoto be enough for some purposes. Aperture steps that up substantially, but you may still need the equivalent of Word or Pages (Photoshop) for others.
  11. matrix07 macrumors 601


    Jun 24, 2010
  12. dconrad3 macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2009
    But what about if you "outgrow" iPhoto

    I have an active thread where this is one of the big concerns I had - being used to using a folder structure and having the tool manipulate those files (e.g. Lightroom).

    There are some great points in this thread that address my own heartburn with the iPhoto "black hole". Perhaps any referenced tutorials would answer this but what if you want to decouple photos from the iPhoto library? I'm guessing they can be written out to disk or uploaded to Flickr or the like. Would that take care of the decoupling.

    Also, I'm sure there's an easy way to migrate to Aperture if you "outgrow" iPhoto but what about Lightroom?
  13. MCAsan, May 9, 2014
    Last edited: May 9, 2014

    MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Define "easy". ;)

    In iPhoto and Aperture you can import your original/master files into the database structure (i.e. managed library) or import them to a set of folders and subfolders (i.e. referenced library).

    Note that LR only does a referenced library...on originals hidden inside a database catalog.

    In either case if you move from iPhoto to Aperture, Aperture can use the iPhoto library. If you want to import all the masters to LR, and have used a referenced library.....just tell LR where the files are located. Note it will important the originals; however, it will not know anything about the edits you have done to the originals (i.e. versions) that are inside the Aperture database.

    Early this week I imported 56,002 files from my LR referenced library into Aperture. It took less than an hour (while I watched TV). Aperture saw all the original jpg and raw files. It also so and imported any of the PSD and TIF files that resulted from editing with plugins. It did not see the edits done only in LR where the adjustments are hidden inside the LR catalog.

    I would bet the same is true if you import an Aperture referenced library into LR. It would see all the masters and any TIFs that were the result of plugin edits. It would not see the edits only made inside Aperture.

    This should be an exciting year for Mac-based photography. LR 6 should be out this year. And we can hopefully see a new version of Aperture from Apple at WWDC. As soon as OS 10.9.3 is out the newest rMBPS and Mac Pros will be able to do 4K at 60Hz. The new Aperture may be waiting for 4K.

    Anyone can join the Appleseed program and download the 10.9.3 beta. I did it. I don't have the latest rMBP or new Mac Pro or a 4K monitor. But if someone does I would think they would want to get the beta and try out 4K at 60Hz.

  14. andyp350, May 27, 2014
    Last edited: May 27, 2014

    andyp350 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2011
    Digging up an older thread here but just wanted to say to anyone unsure how to organise your photos in iPhoto this is the best post I have ever read. I've recently gone from having my photos on a windows machine in a "folder by date" structure as you mentioned at the beginning of the post. After switching to Mac (best computing decision I have ever made) and investing time in iPhoto I decided it was time to get them organised properly.
    I wish I had read your post before I started but in the end it is literally exactly what I have done by my own decision anyway. I am currently going back historically and adding keywords to all my old photos (having already finished faces, places and events). Now after reading your post I realise I would also greatly benefit from using the Rating feature so I'll have to go back through and do that when I've finished key wording!

    I would also like to add that I second what is said about grouping similar events in a similar timeframe, such as 'Christmas 2013" spanning anything Christmas related rather than a folder/event for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Christmas Dinner etc. Too many events makes it cluttered and confusing and if you get your keywords and faces done correctly, you can easily find the Christmas photos you want even if you have several 100 or 1000 in the event. For examples filter by keyword 'Christmas Dinner' and date '2013' will easily reduce the album down to your dinner photos, you don't need a separate event.

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