strange workflow in iPhoto leads to problem

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by uncleMonty, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. uncleMonty, Feb 18, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013

    uncleMonty macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2012
    I have been scanning old family photos at high quality resolution which takes my scanner about 4-5 minutes per scan. So to save time I am scanning 5 or 6 photos at a time (they are quite small, as old photos tend to be). Here's my workflow: I take the huge scanned image file with 6 photos and I duplicate it 5 times on my desktop. I then import all 6 copies to iPhoto (clicking "yes", I do want to import them even if they're duplicates). Then as I browse this set of imported files in iPhoto I edit each one by cropping to a different photo from among the 6. I also make any adjustments at that time. I end up with an iPhoto folder containing what looks like 6 separate photos.

    But behind the scenes iPhoto considers each photo to "really" still be the huge multi-image file, each with a different crop area. Each photo as cropped down is a few MB. But along with each finished photo iPhoto is storing a huge (~30 MB) file.

    Is there a way to get iPhoto to discard the huge file and just keep the cropped versions as the only copies? I'm not afraid of losing any data, as I have a copy of each of the huge files. It's partly an issue of memory and partly that I'm afraid I'll accidentally undo any editing, and revert to the huge multi-image.
  2. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    You have two options, I believe.

    One - is to do the initially cropping in Preview. It may even be possible to do a Selection on a photo and Copy, and then Create a New File. I think there may be an option to create the New File from the contents of the clipboard. This will give you 6 different photos (using your example) in iPhoto that correspond to the 6 original images.

    Two is to import the scan just once, and then create 5 or 6 "Duplicates" and then crop each duplicate. A Duplicate made inside iPhoto is not the same as Duplicating with, say, Finder I believe though I haven't tested to be sure.


    What iPhoto is doing is exactly what it is designed to do. Once a photo is imported (in your case you are importing a single photo that is made up of a scan of a whatever happened to be on the glass.) - anyway, when a photo is imported iPhoto tucks the original away for safekeeping, and doesn't alter that master photo. All edits, including crops, are merely recorded as notes in database so you can always go back and "reset" the edits to recover the original. This is how iPhoto is designed to work. It just isn't what you need for your workflow ... since iPhoto is in fact saving 6 identical large master photos.

    Personally, I would use Preview to crop, and then import the individual images. It's safer I think as it preserves the original individual images should the iPhoto database ever be corrupted.
  3. mtngoatjoe macrumors regular


    Jun 10, 2008
    Try better scanner software

    You could try other scanner software. Just google it. Some software will see multiple images on the scanning bed and save them as separate files. My Epson software does that.
  4. uncleMonty thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2012
    You wrote: "[...] do the initially cropping in Preview."

    Well, today I learned you can crop within Preview. I didn't think it could do any kind of editing.

    The workflow you suggest (copy a selection from Preview then create new file from clipboard then import to iPhoto) is perfect for my needs. Thanks.

    You wrote: "[...] to import the scan just once, and then create 5 or 6 "Duplicates" and then crop each duplicate."

    I was about to say you must have a newer iPhoto than me, because iPhoto 9 doesn't have a duplicate option. But then I just found it - not under the edit window, or file window where other programs have it, but under the Photos menu.

    And: "What iPhoto is doing is exactly what it is designed to do."

    Oh, I know. I'm being lazy and trying to get iPhoto to do what I'm trying to do instead of the other way around. Thanks for your reply.


    Huh. I will look into it. My HP software is not even smart enough to recognize when there's one small photo in the scanner bed surrounded by a featureless white expanse - it laboriously scans 2 MB of photo and 28 MB of the inside of my scanner lid. Thanks.
  5. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Yeah, I know all about hopeful thinking :) ... glad I could suggest some useful options.
    I don't know HP software, but you can probably Select the area you want to scan. Just try dragging the cursor after you've done the preview. Failing that, Apple's Image Capture may recognize your scanner.... make sure your HP software is well and truly Quit before firing up Image Capture. It will at least allow you to scan only the selected area.

    If you need some serious scanning software try out VueScan. The GUI is, um, "going to take some time to get used to"... and you will need to experiment heavily and read the manual thoroughly... but it is a very powerful package. There is also a product from Silverfast that I trialled once-upon-a-time.


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