Questions about iPhoto

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Live Steam, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. Live Steam macrumors regular

    Dec 30, 2007
    I have decided to make the effort in organizing my pictures library, many pics taken prior to owning a Mac. I would like to use iPhoto, but have some questions.

    • When importing will IP produce duplicate files of these pics or will it just remember the location on the disk from where they originated?

      If I import everything all at once, what will make it easier to sort the pics by my specifications?

      Is there another app or script I can use to help with this task?

      Is there a good reference or site I can look at for help with this?

    Thanks in advance for your help!
  2. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    In preferences in iPhoto (I think it's the "advanced" tab) you can choose to load the photos into the database, or just reference them. If you just reference them, you have to be sure to NOT ever move or rename the folders or files again. Ever. iPhoto does not really play well w/external folders. It's best to let iPhoto manage them.

    There are a bunch of different ways to organize photos. I believe there is a way in preferences to imported photos to sort into events according to capture date, and I think you have some control over this (one event per day, one per week). I think it will just boil down to a couple of hours of manual sorting, and then smoother sailing moving forward.

    Not sure if there are any scripts out there to help you out.
  3. achewlim macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2008
    hi there..i hav a some doubts on IP as well..

    basically im using IP to manage all my photos as its very easy to use n manage...
    so whenever i plug in my CF card..IP would automatically keep a copy of all my new photo in RAW format...

    so now my concern is that im using adobe CS4 for post-processing all my photos..basically i just drag 'em from IP and drop it into my CS4..and when it appears in's already in JPEG nv prompt me any about convertion btwn RAW->JPEG or let me adjust any i was wondering is this normal/correct way to edit my photos???i shd i drag the RAW files from the IP directory and drop it into my CS4 so that adobe camera raw wuld comes out and prompt me for the conversion?

    thanks in advance
  4. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    Anytime you drag a photo out of iPhoto, it's always a jpg. However, you can set up iPhoto to use an external editor, without dragging out a photo. Here's how:

    Open up iPhoto preferences, and see the option that says "edit photo in" (the choices are full screen, separate window, etc.). There is also an "external editor" option. Choose CS4 for the external editor. Now click on the "advanced" tab of preferences, and you'll see an option that says "use RAW when using an external editor." Select that option and close preferences.

    Now, right-click on the photo you want to edit, and choose "edit in external editor" iPhoto will now pass the raw photo to CS4, and allow you to edit.

    What I am not sure is how it passes the photo BACK to iphoto. I am assuming it passes a jpg back to iPhoto. iPhoto always keeps an original of your photo PLUS it keeps a jpg of the "current version." So, if you make edits, the original (whether RAW or jpg) remains untouched while the "current" version is always jpg.

    Try it out with a couple of photos that aren't that important to you, and tell us how it went.

    One tip>>> If you set "double click allows editing" in your preferences, but you DON'T want to ALWAYS use CS4, and sometimes like to adjust in iPhoto, then AFTER you've set up the external editor for CS4, go back and set "edit in" to full screen or separate window or whatever. Now, when you double-click on the photo, you will edit in iPhoto, and when you right-click on the photo, you can choose edit in external editor, giving you to choices for editing with just a left or right click.
  5. achewlim macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2008
    man thats brillant! really appreciate ur reply..helps me alot!! thanks:D
  6. Live Steam thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 30, 2007
    Well I did a bit of reading about using a "reference database" and it sort of reminded me of the problem I have with iTunes. I hate how it creates multiple references and multiple files for music. So I chose to import my entire photo library into iP and live with the consequences. I hope I didn't make a mistake. It's difficult for an old PCer to relinquish control over files. I now need to find a suitable editing package. I'm not into a huge learning curve. I never inderstand how people are able to manipulate photos as well as they do using a mouse for creating layers ans such. Maybe I need to invest in a tablet. Any suggestions for a good editor under $100?
  7. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    Photoshop Elements 6 is pretty neat, though it's got a bit of a learning curve. If you do family/group shots, though, it's got a fantastic "merge" feature, which allows you to take 2 or more shots, and select the best parts of each. For example, let's say you take 3 shots of a group (at the same time, with the same background, etc.). But, one person's blinking in photo 1, in photo 2 a different person is yawning, and in photo 3 a yet different person is looking away. Just by squiggling on their faces, PSE6 merges the best faces into a single photo. Very cool.

    I use iPhoto for my basic edits (saturation, red eye, exposure, levels, tint, white balance, etc.) I also use iPhoto for noise reduction and sharpening, though PSE6 will do this better. I just can't usually be bothered for most of my shots.

    Here's a trick that's pretty cool. Go to iPhoto preferences and set "double click the picture" to edit and set edit to "edit in full screen" I really like the feel of that environment. When you are in edit full screen, you can hit command-I to bring up the exif data, and type the letter "A" to bring up the adjustment tool pallet (hit the same key strokes to make them go away again). While in full screen view, go up to the menu, and pull down the "view" menu. At the bottom of the menu is "thumbnails" and then "always hide thumbnails".

    This gives you a really max view of your pictures. If you move your mouse to the top, the thumbnails drop right down, and you can command-i and command-a the floating tool bars in and out as you need them. You can also use the left and right arrow keys to navigate the photos without the thumbnails.

    Also try this: move your mouse up to the thumbnails and select a photo then, holding CTRL down, select another photo. Now you have a "2-up" view of photos. You can select more if you want -- 3, 4, 5 how many ever you need.

    Then, in the "2-up" mode, select one of the photos so it's highlighted in yellow, and use the zoom slider at the bottom. Select the other photo and use the zoom slider. See how easy it is to compare two photos side by side?

    I know there are better programs, but I just find iPhoto so light and easy to use. I just wish the would give people a manual. It would really find more fans, if people were given something so they could learn how to use it.

    Good luck.
  8. Live Steam thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 30, 2007
    Say thanks bking. That was a nice tutorial. I'll try employing some of your suggestions. I actually have PS3, but it is way more than I am capable, or should I say willing to learn at this time.

    One question, when I edit in iP, does this create a new jpeg or is the original changed? If the former, does the image get saved to the same folder or can another be specified? I guess I should play around with it and some of your tips to get a better feel for it. Thanks again for your help.
  9. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    iPhoto will create a new jpg, based on the adjustments you've chosen. It stores both the original and the new, adjust jpg in it's library. The library is actually a large folder, but only appears like a single file to you. If you right click on the library and select "show folder contents" you can see the actual structure of the library folder, including the folder of original pics and modified copies. BUT DO NOT alter the contents in that folder. If you do, you will end up with broken links and you cry in your oatmeal about why iPhoto suddenly isn't working right ;-)

    Rather than me typing all this in, spend some time doing this: go to the apple support forms ( and go to the iPhoto 8 general discussion and read all the helpful postings for people who say they can't view their pictures, or their pictures seem to just be blown-up thumbnails or all they get is a gray exclamation point. The responses mainly are around the structure of iPhoto and how to correct it.

    There are two reasons iPhoto can have issues: 1 is people get into the library and move files around and the other is disk permissions get corrupted (which can happen for a number of reasons). If you stay out of the library folder and keep your disk permissions clean (which you should do routinely on your Mac anyway -- make sure you have your maintenance scripts set to run), you'll not have any issues with iPhoto, so don't be too scared by those folks with issues.

    In the apple discussions forums is a responder named Old Toad who has created an easy script to back up your iPhoto library database. It's easy to run, and very helpful.

    Also, google iPhoto Library Manager, which is a nice little program if you want to manage more than one iPhoto library.

    My short take on iPhoto: it's a great little program, but much like everything else about Apple, it demands that you learn how to use it on it's terms. Add to that the lack of documentation, and it can sometimes be frustrating, but it is a nice little environment to manage and do basic edits to your photos.
  10. Live Steam thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 30, 2007
    I almost spit my oatmeal out while reading this :eek::D

    Thanks again. That is a lot of info you provided to me. As an old PCer, I still have difficulty with how apple software manages things. It's like driving a British car with the controls all on the opposite side of where you are accustomed to seeing them.

    I have had my Mac for a year now. Since that time I have made a mess of my iTunes library and really didn't play with iP because of the same fear. I better get used to it because I'm not going back to Windows :)

    Thanks and have a great holiday!

    PS I just checked the link and there is nothing for iPhoto. I'll snoop around for something.
  11. Live Steam thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 30, 2007
    One other question bking - should I create an album for each event I want to edit and then edit the pics in the album? I'm not really sure about the relationship between "Events" and "Albums". I suspect that an album would be used for compiling pics form different events or even the same event, in order to share them.
  12. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    Don't feel bad. I think this is a very common response. I know I felt the same way -- I'm just ahead of you on the learning curve by about a year. I think Apple's main weakness is they don't really believe in documentation. I've found some friendly iLife videos on the Apple site. Here's the "find out how" series on iPhoto:
    Here's one on the Mac in general:
    and iTunes:

    Here's the direct link for the iPhoto 08 forums boards on apple:

    The one difference about PC vs. Mac -- Mac programs pretty much want you to adapt to them. PCs are more flexible in many ways, as the data and programs are not so married to each other (which is also one reason why you can make such neat little trojans and viruses for PCs).

    Hope those help. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year!
  13. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    That's a good question. Albums pre-existed events in iPhoto (that is, prior to iPhoto08, events were "rolls" as in rolls of film, and then you'd organize things into albums). I spent a lot of time manually managing my photos into albums, but after a year, I got tired of managing BOTH events and albums. The issue is that events are one of the key ways OTHER iLife applications (like iMovie and iDVD) look at iPhoto. So, if you aren't managing events, you are missing some integration with other applications.

    So, I've come to this method: I now use events for loose groupings of photos (Spring 2008, Trip to Washington 2007, etc.). Then I apply keywords to all my pictures, and I set up smart albums against those keywords. Smart albums are like robots that will troll all your events and gather together pictures based on your criteria (e.g. all photos with keyword "dad" and "england" in 2009 - no manual sort needed. It's fully automatic).

    Now, when I import pictures I keyword everything, and I can find just about any picture very quickly.

    Check this posting, which helps to explain keywording (and it also saves my fingers from typing by just linking to it). Look at post #3:
  14. YMark macrumors 6502a


    Nov 7, 2008
    Are you saying that the original is left untouched and the "adjusted photo" is the one shown in the iPhoto library? So essentially there are 2 copies of the photo in the library, but only the modified is shown when opening iPhoto?

    If the above is true, what is the correct method for editing the original a second time, without upsetting iPhotos links?

  15. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    This is my understanding.

    I think the point is that it is non-destructive editing, and that you don't edit the original, so you can always roll-back to it. Remember, jpg is a lossy format. Everytime you save a jpg, the IQ degrades a bit. So, iPhoto has the master to make your changes to and the new version is always rendered off the master, with the adjustments you want.

    If, after making some adjustments, you don't like what you did, you can do one of two things: hit command-a and bring up the adjustments display, and choose "reset" which puts all the adjustment back to the beginning, or right click on the photo and choose "revert to original" which discard all changes, and starts over.

    I suppose if you want to edit the original you should either do that before importing into iPhoto, or you could go into the library and copy the photo out and edit it externally, then either re-import, or you could replace the original as long as you don't change the file name and put it back in the EXACT same place you copied it from.

    All things considered, though, I'm still not understanding why you'd want to edit the original photo.

    If you are looking to do SERIOUS versioning on photos -- where you have many linked or stacked versions, where you can see a text-based history of the changes, and where you can more selectively roll back changes, then I'd suggest Aperture or Lightroom over iPhoto for that kind of work.

    Hope that helps.
  16. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    While this may not be the only way, it's the way I do it.

    If I want to retain the original edit, I make a duplicate of the photo and reset one of them back to the original. Then I make my edits on the newly copied photo. I do this when I want to edit a photo is a specific way, like making a B/W version or cropping for a different size. Although in iPhoto'08, the print dialog box actually gives you a final chance to crop/zoom before printing.

    If I don't want to retain the edits, I just revert to original and re-edit. I don't do this as often.
  17. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    I didn't know "duplicate" preserved the ability to go back to the master. I just tried it, and it certainly does. Thanks for the tip. That's going to be very helpful. Now, if they'd just support stacks in iPhoto, that'd be golden.
  18. YMark macrumors 6502a


    Nov 7, 2008
    Thanks. I like to do this for the reason you wrote above. Sometimes I want different renditions of the same photo. I don't actually edit the original, but edit a copy of the original. That is why I want to know how to call the original back up.

    Bking1000, thanks for the help as well.
  19. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    It can work either way. You can choose. But believe me, you really want iPhoto to copy the images into it's library. That way iPhoto manages the location of the files and the number of way that you can screw up are greatly reduced

    What you will need to do is add "meta data" to each image file. But before you do work out a "system" and write it down. Writting it down forces you to make it clear and also means you will remember the rules you made years later.

    Rules might cover ratings. What deserves 5 stars and what is 3? In my system to get 4 stars an image has to be of interest to peope with no connection to the subject. So that rules out even good snapshots of my own kids. 5 stars is publishable in pprint media. 1 is "ugly but provides a record of something andmight be the only record of it..

    Then you need to come up with a set of keywords like landscape, portrait, cityscape, verticle, architectur, family,..... I asign several ketywords to each image. Most files get at least three. But the set of words needs to be kept sort, a few dozen at most.

    Then I use cations/comments to desscibe the better images my "my dog Spot at Greenbelt Park"

    This will take a long time but after you are done the images are in effect sorted. You can make smart albums and folders and as you add new images they will place them selves in the correct albums. Note that an image can be inside any number of albums but still takes up the same amount of space of=n the disk.

    For example my "dog in the parl" photo is in a album that says "Feb 2003" and in my "three stars or better" album and in the one called "Spot" and in "Greenbelt" and "animals" and "sports". But there is only one copy of the image file.

    Get the Wacom "Bambo Fun". It fits your budget and omes with a copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements. It's not the current version but is fully upgradable. If you look at the Wacom site that have some very god upgrade options that are cheaper then if you go trough Adobe directly. Wacom is the only tablet manufacturer that you should concider. They also offer a Bambo tablet without the sioftware bundle for abut $35 less. Get that only if you aleady have the current version of Adobe PSE.

    And don't worry about files, file names and folders. Once you have thousands of images, any system of nest foldrs and files becomes unworkable. No file system could work well you have to depend on searching tagged files

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