iPhoto vs Picasa? Picasa mirrors the HD. How iPhoto do it?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by PicnicTutorials, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. PicnicTutorials macrumors 6502a

    PicnicTutorials

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    #1
    From what I can tell you have to import the actual photo into iPhoto in order to edit it, is that correct? So for instance I have 100GB of photos sitting on my external drive. Would I have to move all that data over to iPhoto (aka my internal drive) to edit the photos? Vs using Picasa you just point it at the photos on the external drive. Maybe I'm wrong? If so school me huh.
     
  2. onekerato macrumors regular

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    #2
    Yes, your understanding is correct. iPhoto only works on photos in its library (which requires importing) and Picasa works on existing folders. Picasa can also import from SD card or camera but ultimately just stores images in simple folders.

    BTW, "mirrors" means to duplicate, so the title is misleading.
     
  3. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    I believe what the above poster said is incorrect. By default iPhoto will import (copy) the photos to its own library, but you can change that in Preferences so that iPhoto will not copy the photos -- instead it will use links (pointers, aliases) to the location of the photos on the external drive (in your case).

    I'm using an older version of iPhoto (iPhoto '11 - version 9.4.3) but I'm sure this option still exists in newer versions. Go to iPhoto-->Preferences-->Advanced and uncheck "Copy items to the iPhoto Library".

    Obviously you won't be able to view/manipulate the photos when your external drive is disconnected.

    Another way to keep all your photos on the external drive is to locate the iPhoto library there, and then import them all into the iPhoto Library (with the checkbox mentioned above checked). That way iPhoto will keep everything nicely organized but you won't have to use your internal drive space.
     
  4. PicnicTutorials thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PicnicTutorials

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    #4
    Cool thank you I will try this in the morn and post back my findings...
     
  5. PicnicTutorials thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PicnicTutorials

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    #5
    So if I un click don't copy to iphoto when importing then what? It doesn't or doesn't physically take up memory space on my internal drive when I import all my photos?

    I'm trying to use iPhoto but need to work our this issue first. Issue being I don't want 100GB of photos on my boot drive.

    So say I move my iphoto library over to my external drive. Cool that works. But unless I'm wrong I would have to either move the location of all my photos into the iPhoto library or I would have to make a duplicate basically and put it in the iPhoto. I have to be missing something here?
     
  6. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #6
    If you set iPhoto to not copy the originals to the iPhoto library it will still put any edited images in the library. However you can move the library anywhere you want and have multiple libraries -- it doesn't have to be in your internal drive. Hold down the option key when you start and you can specify which library you want to use.

    In any case, I'd strongly suggest getting Aperture. It's easier to handle photo storage management.
     
  7. ApfelKuchen, Feb 19, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014

    ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

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    #7
    Yes, you're missing the point that you have a choice. Photos do not have to be stored in the Library folders. They can be elsewhere. By default, when you Import a photo, two basic things happen (I'm over-simplifying) - #1 - a database record is created for data about that image in the Library database (that data includes the location of the image file), and #2 - the image file is copied into the Library folder system. #2 is the default, which you can override, as the previous post described.

    So, you can "Import" an image stored elsewhere on your computer or network, and leave it exactly where it always was, and NOT make a copy of it in the iPhoto Library - you just have to change your preferences to do it. A database record will be created in the Library that includes the directory path to the image file, wherever it may be located.

    The assumption Apple is making is that your image files are safer inside the Library folders than outside. So by default, Imported images are copied. Once they're copied into the Library folders, you can delete the files on the "outside." In iTunes, this is called "consolidating."

    The iPhoto Library contains much more than image files - most important, the database records I mentioned earlier. So, if you move your iPhoto Library to another disk, you're moving the database records as well. Nothing will be stored on the original HDD.
     
  8. PicnicTutorials, Feb 19, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014

    PicnicTutorials thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PicnicTutorials

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    Dec 29, 2013
    #8
    Thanks bro. So.. Just to confirm... I can un click the bit that says "make a copy when importing", keep my photos on my external, and import all my photos into my iPhoto library (located on my internal drive) on my mac, and other then some photo meta data and etc, no real data (aka like many Gigs) will be transferred to my internal drive? Is that all correct?
     
  9. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #9
    If you edit an image, even if you don't import originals, the edited image will be in the iPhoto Library. The thumbnail image and one the size of the display used for previews will also be in the iPhoto Library, taking up space. If you want to keep everything on the external drive, create an iPhoto Library there.
     
  10. PicnicTutorials thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PicnicTutorials

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    #10
    Ahh! ok I got it. So un click the copy to iPhoto. Move iphoto to my external. Import all photos to iPhoto. So the beginning duplicate data on my external will be a matter of a gig or two of meta data. And over time as I edit photos it will grow prob to a few gigs. But not the 100GB unless I edit every single photo. Is that all correct? So hard lol.
     
  11. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #11
    The thumbnails will take about 50KB for each image, even if you don't edit them, but that's far smaller than the originals!

    If you do lots of editing Aperture would be far better as it saves the steps you make in editing rather than the edited images which makes it more space efficient. It also has better organizational features and handles multiple libraries much better. I've got 140 GB of RAW files and the Aperture library (which does not contain them) is 10.5GB. Because I've got many scanned photos I also have an Aperture library for all my processed images of all kinds (might be strange but it works for me) that is 7.5GB with files (not in the library) 38GB. Much greater "overhead" with the compressed JPEGs rather than the RAW files.

    In either case, if you import the images, they are still accessible without the program if you do an "Open Package Contents" on the library and go to the Originals folder. From my experience with Aperture and iPhoto if I were to start over I'd just import all the images into the library. Aperture makes it easy to merge and split libraries as well as make archival backups.
     
  12. mtngoatjoe macrumors regular

    mtngoatjoe

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    #12
    I get the feeling there is an important point here. If you don't copy the images on import, and then edit a photo in iPhoto, the edits won't be available in the original folder, correct? To get an image with the edits, you MUST go back to iPhoto and export the image, right?
     
  13. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #13
    Yep and yep. But exporting is no big deal, IMHO, and in many ways is more convenient than going through Finder since you can pick the images based on criteria and (at least with Aperture) can resize on export.

    In iPhoto, the edited images can also be accessed by going into the library (which is just a folder hierarchy) and grabbing the photos, so even if you lose iPhoto (say you need to access the disk from a Windows PC) you can still get at all the edited images. As I stated previously, the originals are equally available in iPhoto library and in Aperture library as well.
     
  14. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

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    #14
    Right.

    A fundamental concept of both iPhoto and Aperture is that it's non-destructive editing. That means the original is never modified, and the edit information is stored as instructions (the equivalent of a video edit decision list), elsewhere in the iPhoto/Aperture library. Those instructions are only applied when necessary (live display during the editing process, Export, and Print, essentially).

    While it's true that reduced-resolution versions of the edited image are created for the sake of speeding display in the image browser - those are not meant for final output, so I don't count them as "images." I ignore their impact on storage, because the alternative, especially when you shoot RAW, is much slower browsing (we don't worry about our web browser caches on a day-to-day basis, for the same reason).

    The key thing to remember about storing your original images outside of the iPhoto Library is that you can't move them around without consequences - iPhoto/Aperture is dependent on the fact that the directory path to the image does not change. Move the photo to another (physical) folder, and you'll have a broken link (web designers should be very familiar with this issue). If you're going to organize your originals in a folder structure of your own design, don't Import to iPhoto or Aperture until after those images are in their final location. If you do move the originals (accidentally or intentionally) Aperture has decent tools for fixing that issue, iPhoto does not.
     
  15. mtngoatjoe macrumors regular

    mtngoatjoe

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    #15

    Yeah, this was the red flag for me. I copy on import, so I've never had to deal with this, but I thougt it might be important to point out to the OP that even if you don't copy on import, you probably shouldn't muck around with the files in their folders. Browsing, editing, and organization are better done in iPhoto. I've been doing the right thing all along, I just didn't know why until now.
     
  16. PicnicTutorials, Feb 21, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014

    PicnicTutorials thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PicnicTutorials

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    #16
    All in all it seems pretty complicated to me for some reason. Simply mirroring the hd as Picasa does it makes much more sense to me. For the time being I moved iPhoto into my external drive and unclicked copy on import and I believe I will just continue to use Picasa for now and simply use iPhoto to sink with icloud (photosync) and other devices. Picasa serves my needs for now. Off the bat I don't see anything iphoto does better. Only seems to convolute things a bit. I use photoshop for any heavy lifting and only use iPhoto or Picasa as family photo organization. But thanks guys for all the info. I at least have a stronger grasp on the inner workings of iPhoto.

    As an aside... I'm sure sure this thread will bring a lot of readers looking for the same answers. So I'll plug a service I use with great success to organize, backup, and view on all devices. For this I use phanfare. $99 year. Photo and video. Each year I organize into family photos, family videos, and special occasions (like Christmas, vacations, special events). The special occasions section serves to let us relive those special moments in a organized fashion. Then in Picasa I just organize by year and video or photo. Takes some work but it's better than my moms harddrive with 4000 separate folders all over her computer lol.
     
  17. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #17
    That's certainly what I thought at first. A platform change (Windows to Mac, and both at once!), disparate sources for images (scanned slides and prints as well as digital camera JPEG and later RAW) and a hodgepodge of processing programs (most of which I've forgotten) made it so that a folder structure was the only way to go.

    However now I'm moving toward having Aperature/iPhoto (I do use both) manage the source images because its easier! I've also had enough experience (about 6 years with Aperture, more with iPhoto) that I trust I won't lose any images, which was the major reason to be scared!
     
  18. kelub macrumors regular

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    #18
    I used Picasa for years, and even after moving to Mac, I continued to use it for a while because it was what I knew. I finally started dabbling in iPhoto before quickly realizing I wanted more functionality and moved to Aperture, and decided to just "trust" the software to manage my pics.

    I will say that, in MY opinion, it's ultimately easier/more convenient this way. I can import the images into the library, manipulate them however I want (knowing I can undo anything at any time in the future since the original is always secure), move the library wherever I need, and I have search/metadata functionality as well. Once I've narrowed down images from a photo shoot that are worth keeping, edit them, and finalize them, THEN I can share/export them. (The "smart album" functionality is very useful in dynamically narrowing down your pictures without deleting or destroying anything.) It's all rather simple and "clean" because the only loose image files are ones I've exported for a specific reason.

    I don't even really export images to loose files that often anymore unless there's a very specific purpose; most of the time I use shared photostreams as albums and upload the pictures to those. From there they're accessible from my mobile devices, I can share them, whatever. If I want/need prints I can export the images to jpg's and upload them to a site, or I can use Aperture's built-in options (like building a photo book etc).
     
  19. mtngoatjoe macrumors regular

    mtngoatjoe

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    #19
    Yeah, for storing photos, using the Finder is fine. But if you actually want to manage your photos, then iPhoto (or the like) is required.

    I think that people forget (or don't realize) that the Finder is just a graphical representation of files on a hard drive. It's basically a generic database that works with all files. On the other hand, iPhoto is a database optimized for photos.

    When I import photos, I do the quick work to tag them as needed with Faces, Places, Keywords, and Ratings. With that work done, I can easily share my photos across my devices: 5-star photos of my daughter, latest vacation photos, holiday photos, etc. Also, iPhoto makes it easy to find my yearly calendar photos (a big deal in my family). A lot of this could be done in the Finder, but not nearly as easily.
     
  20. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    #20
    Excellent post. Finder is a way to "STORE" photos (think the final scene of Raiders of the Lost Arc in that government warehouse)... but a DAM (like iPhoto/Aperture/LR) is a way to "USE" photos.

    Personally I think Aperture is the best of the lot.

    /Jim
     

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