iPhoto where are the pics stored?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by captain frys, May 16, 2008.

  1. captain frys macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2008
    So I would like to know if there is an actual physical folder housing all my iPhoto Library pics or is it literally just in the application? And is there a way to make it so I have them in a folder but iPhoto can still access them without putting two copies of every pic on my computer? thanks a ton!

  2. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    In Your Pictures folder if you show contents of the iPhoto Library package.
  3. jodelli macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2008
    Windsor, ON, Canada
    "user name"/Pictures/iPhoto Library, insert your own username/home name
  4. skybolt macrumors 6502a

    Feb 20, 2005
    Nashville, TN, USA
    The library in finder IS the location. They are not kept in the app itself. iPhoto references those photos when you use the app.

    Do NOT do anything to/with your photos in the library in finder! You will corrupt and/or lose photos. You can look, but do not touch!

    If you have iPhoto manage your photos in its library, you will not have 2 copies on your computer (unless you just want to). How are you importing so that you have 2 copies? If they are in your library in finder, they don't NEED to be anyplace else. Having said that, iPhoto does keep the original photo so that you can always go back and start your editing again. It keeps the modified photos in a different folder, so in that instance you do have 2 copies -- but they are different from each other. There are apps that will remove the original of an edited photo, but I personally would not recommend that. Too much margin for human error.

    Just leave them alone in finder, do your organizing, etc. from within the app itself.
  5. MiniLifeCrisis macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2008
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Captain Frys,

    I feel your pain. I recently switch from PC to iMac. I discovered the cool tool known as iPhoto which has lots of cool features that I like. But like you I sat there and wondered what happens to my files after they are stored in the iPhoto Library? At the moment I have gobs of JPGs and TIFF files stored on my HDD. From what I read elsewhere, iPhoto puts all of the photos in a proprietary format for its library. I'm personally not a big fan of this. I've never been a fan of proprietary formats and thus that is why it was easy for me to port over my gobs of photos from my PC to my iMac.

    I have a feeling that iPhoto will be coming off of my toolbar and replaced by some like like "Br" (Bridge from Adobe Photoshop Elements).

    3Ghz iMac
  6. jodelli macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2008
    Windsor, ON, Canada
    ^^^The photos are stored in the folder user/pictures/iPhoto library as jpgs and tiffs that are readable files.
    I know this because I upload literally hundreds of files to Flickr from iPhoto without modification.
  7. netnothing macrumors 68040


    Mar 13, 2007
    iPhoto doesn't do anything to the images themselves. Like others have posted, iPhoto will simply copy all the images to it's Library folder which to OS X makes it look like a single file. It's really a package which is like a folder.

    If you go to your homefolder/Pictures and CMD+click or right click on the iPhoto Library, you can select Show Package Contents. This is allow you to see all of your images in their original form.

    NOTE...like skybolt said, you really DO NOT want to be poking around in here. Any changes to this folder through Finder and your iPhoto library will become corrupt.

    But rest assured, iPhoto isn't taking your JPG and TIF file and making them some proprietary format. It's doing the organizing and cataloging for you.

  8. Justapersona macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2008
    This is helpful, but I can see (all over the web, it seems) knowledgeable iPhoto users dancing around the obvious ex-PC users' basic concern / question:

    How do I keep control over my photos? If I'm reading through the lines correctly here, iPhoto users are saying:
    a.) don't *worry,* just give in to iPhoto. Your photos will all be there when you want them
    b.) no, you don't actually need or want to know where the files themselves are, or have an ability to manually move/copy/insert whole directories.

    If that is the case, it seems odd to me. Imagine if KeyNote kept your presentations hidden somewhere, and if you dared to remove or touch one of them, a "KeyNote Library" would become corrupt.

  9. johto macrumors 6502


    Jan 15, 2008
    The concept is same with the itunes. The "Apple" way is to have your music in itunes, photos in iphoto etc... you can access these media inside every program...and if needed, you can always drag a copy of the picture from your iphoto to desktop if needed in a random way...

    And no, you cant compare "keynote" with this concept. Keynote file is a DOCUMENT but there are many "flavours" of documents, so that would get messy. Your picture is just a picture. You keep documents inside your document directory, simple eh? :)

    Btw, its very nice after you start following the apple way. Example when you have your pictures inside iphoto, you can access your media(pictures in this case), by opening them very easily from any program's open dialog:

  10. krishna1978 macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2008
    I am a mac newbie and has the same kind of problem. What i did was to import all my iPhoto into Aperture sometime back (with the trial version of Aperture). Now the Aperture trial has expired. Meanwhile i decided to buy Adobe Photoshop Elements 6. I tried to browse my photos with Bridge and bring it up; it just does open up iPhoto. If i directly try to open photos with PSE, the color ball appears and it dies. I tried to create an alias of iphoto or Aperture but did not workout. The problem is that i can't figure out where the photos are getting stored in Mac HDD. Any help is greatly appreciated.
  11. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    In the Pictures folder of your home folder, you should see an Aperture Library file. If you right-click on it, you should be able to Browse Package or something like that. You should find all of your pictures in there.
  12. skybolt macrumors 6502a

    Feb 20, 2005
    Nashville, TN, USA
    However, just because you CAN see the photos in there, does not mean you SHOULD go there. Do not do anything to your photos in that library! You will render iPhoto useless.

    If you want to use Elements or some other third party editing program, go into the iPhoto preferences and set that program as your external editor. Then, when you click open a photo in iPhoto app to edit, that editor will open, you can edit, and when you save, the photo will be saved right back where it should be so that iPhoto can find it next time. Users are not meant to be doing anything to/with the library in finder. Use the app for everything!
  13. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    The gist I got from his post was that he wanted to get his pictures out of the Aperture library and over to someplace neutral (i.e. not in a library) where he could use Adobe Bridge, with the issue being that he can't simply export the pictures from Aperture because the 30-demo has expired.
  14. krishna1978 macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2008
    You are absolutely correct. This was my problem. Thanks to Mary for the tip and now i can link the edit feature in iPhoto to PSE app. This helps me temporarily to edit my photos. But the previous question remains. How do i export back my aperture library back to another place where i could browse it directly with Adobe Bridge? If i uninstall the aperture app, will all my photos be gone?
  15. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    There's probably a more elegant way than this, but this seems to work.

    In iPhoto, click on File > Show Aperture Library. Drag 'n drop 'All Projects' over to iPhoto. That should copy you files, but it plops them all into one iPhoto album. That's the part that sucks.
  16. WillBurt macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2008
    Lakewood CO
    What to do with photo edited in PS?

    OK, I see where I can open a photo that's stored in the iPhoto library, from PhotoShop. So I have some serious editing to do on that photo, and then save it. Where do I save it, so that it gets back into the iPhoto library. Must I save it to an "external" folder, and then suck it in from iPhoto?
  17. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    If you open iPhoto and go into the Preferences, there is an option to set an external editor. I'd set that to Photoshop. Then in iPhoto, click the picture, click the edit button, edit it in Photoshop .. any changes you make should show up in iPhoto.

    Obviously, test that with a quick edit before you spend an hour or something. :)

    If you did edit it as you described in your post, I'm not sure of any automatic way of having iPhoto know you changed it, short of deleting the picture and reimporting it.
  18. WillBurt macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2008
    Lakewood CO
    Thanks, I'll do that. I'm still trying to figure out the workflow options....
  19. newbie123 macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2009
    So what if i keep my photos on an external drive? Does Iphoto copy them onto the internal drive?
  20. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    I think, by default, if you import a picture into iPhoto, it makes a copy of the picture (and stores it in the "iPhoto Library" file) on your internal drive.

    For external drives, you have two choices.

    1, in iPhoto preferences, you can uncheck the "Copy items to the iPhoto Library" setting. Then, when you drag files into iPhoto, it doesn't copy them. What it does is make a link to where the original file is. So if your original was on the external, you're good to go. Huge however --- if you ever move the original, then that really screws up iPhoto.

    2, You can move the whole iPhoto Library file to an external drive. Once you do that, the next time you start iPhoto, hold down the OPTION key while you click iPhoto, and it will give you the option to open another library. Point it to the location on the external drive, and from that point on, it should open the one on the external drive.

    I have my iPhoto setup to always copy in the files, and then I delete the original one (which is almost always from my camera). I have moved my iPhoto library to an external drive before and didn't have any problems. My current Mac has enough space internally, so that's where I run it now though. :)

    If iPhoto is driving you crazy, Google has a Mac version of Picasa. It doesn't integrate into the other Mac apps like iPhoto does, but some people seem to really like it.
  21. daveinla macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2010
    A few problems with the "Apple" way

    I have a few problems with the Apple way that seems to disrupt the way I handle my photos

    1 - I use a service called MY DROPBOX. With it, anything that goes into a folder called MY DROPBOX DOCUMENTS automatically syncs with a cloud server. Then I can access these documents from any of my other computers...work computer, home computer, laptop, iPhone, etc. Without having to think about it I keep all my files on all comptuers up to date. And if any ever crash...no big deal, I can always just sync with the online DROPBOX.

    It's been a great way to have all my photos available to me all the time on multiple computers. But now that I've switched to Mac, the pictures all go to this iphoto library file/folder, and I can't keep it in my dropbox so they automatically sync. Any way around this that doesn't involve going into this folder every time, copying the pictures I just imported, then moving a copy into my dropbox, etc.?

    2 - I use photoshop to create mini versions of my photos for facebook, web, etc. When I automate shrinking and adjusting photos, Photoshop places the new photos within the current folder, in a new folder it creates called JPEG. Well now iPhoto has folders of all my events and then it has about 300 JPEG folders, since those folders were originally placed in the event folder by photoshop.

    3 - I love that I can upload photos to facebook or web through iPhoto, but is there a way to specify that the photos should be shrunk and how? If I take a hundred photos that are 5MB each, I don't want to upload half a gig of photos to facebook.

    If someone can give me help on these three items, I will be won over by the "Apple" way!!!
  22. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    iPhoto's facebook uploader does the resizing for you. No need to resize them prior to upload.

    There's your second concern eliminated and third answered.
  23. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    There is an iPhoto preference that tells it not to move your original picture into the iPhoto Library file.

    You might try setting that preference, putting your originals in your "MY DROPBOX DOCUMENTS" folder, then importing them into iPhoto.
  24. daveinla macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2010

    Thanks for the advice and quick responses! I'll try your suggestions.
  25. sneakyzeal macrumors member

    Sep 21, 2009
    New Zealand
    Awesome thread

    My first mac is currently shipping; in preparation I have a question about photos / iPhoto from a data migration perspective.

    I think I understand the directory structure of the mac (excuse the PC terms - 'folder structure' on a mac perhaps?) in terms of photos (but do correct me if I'm wrong). So my question now is..

    1. Are files at the "username > Pictures" level completely separate and unrelated to the files at the "username > Pictures > iPhoto" level?

    In other words, can I migrate my PC files to the Pictures folder and slowly import them over time from there into iPhoto (which would then copy them to the iPhoto folder if I had that setting checked, allowing me to delete them from the Pictures folder)?

    And on a somewhat related note..

    2. Is this the same for iTunes, and could someone describe the directory structure for this please?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts :)

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