Understanding iPhoto

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by jfoley89, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. jfoley89 macrumors regular

    Sep 1, 2013
    So I wanted to finally organise my digital photo library and I have decided to use iPhoto, just had a few questions.

    Once I import my whole photo collection into iPhoto, is it safe to delete all my photos as they will be stored in the iPhoto Library?

    If I ever decide to stop using iPhoto, how do I get them back to normal files in folders, if this is possible, how will they then be stored? In the folders created in iPhoto or just in one folder as a huge mess?

    If I wanted to send a photo to a friend, can I do this straight from within my iPhoto Library? Even if my friend doesn't use iPhoto? Or would I have to somehow extract that one photo from the library? If that's even possible?

    If I decide to start using a different program like Aperture (my belief is Aperture is just a beefed up iPhoto) is it as simple as just importing my whole iPhoto library and off I go?

    Thanks in advance for any replies and sorry if these questions have been answered before.
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Yes, but be sure to validate everything is ok in iPhoto before deleting them. Also be sure to have a good back up strategy. Personally I'd just archive the originals somewhere, i.e., back them up.

    It will probably be a tad messy but all you need to do is select everything and then go to File>Export and then select originals if you wish.

    The library will probably be too big to email, and he'll need to have iPhoto to access the images. He may be able to open the container file (the library) and grab individual images but that may be slow and problematic.

    Aperture shares the same library structure so its quite seamless to start using Aperture, there's no importing needed, just point Aperture to the iPhoto library.

    I prefer Aperture as it has more tools to manage, and organize my images. I use iPhoto for stuff that Aperture doesn't do, like create calendars.
  3. jfoley89 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 1, 2013
    Thank you for your quick reply, I think if I do start using iPhoto I will just double check every photo is there and delete the original as I have limited space for backups, sucks about the sending a photo part but I'm sure I can work something out, thanks a bunch for your help.
  4. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

    Jul 28, 2006
    There are a few ways of doing this such as:-

    1) In iPhoto there is a share button, so select the photos you want to share then press it and then choose the option you want such as mail for sending them as an email. You can choose some options such as the photo size. It will send the photos in the email as standard jpg files which pretty much anyone should be able to open.

    2) In Mail (and other applications) you can add the photos as an attachment. In the file selection dialogue if you scroll down below your Favourites and Devices is the Media section, from there you can choose Photos and then browse your iPhoto library and choose the photos to insert from there. This is done without needing to open iPhoto at all.

    3) In iPhoto you can choose the photos you want to send, then go to File > Export, choose the options you want and then export the images to somewhere, for example your desktop. You can then attach them to an email, or do whatever you want with them.
  5. iRock1 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 23, 2011
    Just to add a few details:

    I'd just delete the originals. When an image is imported to iPhoto, it's automatically copied into the iPhoto's library, so there is nothing to be afraid of.

    Just make sure that you have the right option activated (Preferences > Advanced > Copy items to the iPhoto library), otherwise you will lost your precious images.

    OP, be aware that this will cause the loss of any additional information/comments attached to your photos.

    Personally this is a deal breaker to me, since lots of my pictures contain valuable information related to the context in which the photo was taken. Tags and geolocation seem to fine though.

    I think the OP was referring to individual photos. In that case you just can count on the simple share button, as Dark Dragoon said.
  6. jfoley89 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 1, 2013
    Thanks guys, so pretty much I should be fine as long as I don't try to stop using it after organising everything :) thanks for all your help
  7. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    There are some excellent reference books available that will help you with how iPhoto does things. Some people have trouble with understanding iPhoto's events and albums and how they're used. The one I used and liked is "iPhoto - The Missing Manual".
  8. jfoley89 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 1, 2013
    ok so I have played around with iPhoto for almost a hour now and have a few more questions.

    Is there a way to put a photo in a folder so it only appears in that folder? That way when I'm organising my photos, when I have put it in a folder it disappears from my "Photos" tab, that way I know I have already put it somewhere and don't have to worry about it?

    Also, is there a way to get rid of the "events" tabs in the "photo" section? I don't see myself using this feature and would rather it not get in the way


    ok figured out how to get rid of the event titles, still wondering about the photos in one place tho, and thanks glenthompson i will check that book out :)
  9. FrancoisC macrumors 6502a


    Jan 27, 2009
    Montreal, Qc
    Folders are not really folders, you have to see them more as playlist. Your original will always stay in "events", and when you make album and folders it just links to them, so even if you have the same picture in 1000 albums, it won't take more disk space.
  10. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

    Jul 28, 2006
    I think you may be going about this the wrong way. Essentially the iPhoto library consists of:-

    - Events inside of which your actual images are located. You can't remove them from here unless you want to remove them permanently from your library.

    - Photos is just a list of all the Events and images in your library. You can't remove them from here unless you want to remove them permanently from your library.

    - Albums (which can be inside Folders) are like music playlists, so images from various Events can be placed into as many Albums as you like. They are just links back to the images inside Events and so removing images from Albums doesn't delete them from the Events/Library. As they are just links you cannot have images only appearing in an Album.

    So I have an Event for each event that I've taken photos of, for example I have separate Events for each set of holiday photos I've taken. When you import photos from your camera iPhoto automatically creates events based on the time the photos were taken.

    Sometimes I want to be able to gather together various photos from several different Events, so maybe I would like to see all my favourite holiday photos together. For that I create an Album and drop the holiday photos I like from the various events into it.

    This is of-course just one way of using iPhoto, you could for example leave all your photos in one big single event and then just use Albums to organise.
  11. jfoley89 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 1, 2013
    ahh k makes sense now, thanks
    is there a way to show all duplicate photos together? after over 10 years of having a messy photo folder and several attempts to try and organise them, I've ended up with quite a few dupes of several photos.. or do i have to do it the old fashioned way and just go through them all and delete them one by one
  12. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

    Jul 28, 2006
    Unfortunately iPhoto doesn't have a duplicate finder built in, so there are really two choices here:-

    1) Manually sort through your images.

    2) Use some third party software to scan for duplicates, there are various ones available some for free (such as Duplicate Cleaner For iPhoto which I have not used myself) and others paid for. I haven't run one of these programs on my iPhoto library, however I do use both Gemini and PhotoSweeper (both of which are supposed to work with iPhoto, but aren't free) for locating exact duplicates and partial matches respectively.

    If you do decide to use some third party software, make sure your iPhoto library is backed up first just incase it messes it up.
  13. jfoley89 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 1, 2013
    sweet thanks, I think I might wait till I can afford another external before I go and do that then :D
    thanks everyone for your help, if I run into more problems you'll be sure to hear from me :)
  14. mtngoatjoe macrumors regular


    Jun 10, 2008
    iPhoto Tips

    Here is a copy and paste from other threads with similar topics. Generally, people often ask why they should use iPhoto instead of folders in the Finder, but I think the info can be helpful to new iPhoto users as well. I think you already understand why you should use iPhoto, so please excuse the tone.

    I'll also add that when you export photos from iPhoto, you can choose to export the "Original" image, or the "Current" image. The difference is that the original won't have any of your edit, while the current will.

    Ok, here's the longwinded post....

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Use iPhoto to ORGANIZE your photos. And the key to organizing your photos is Faces, Places, Keywords, and Ratings.

    But you like folder structures, you say. Well, what is a folder structure other than a graphical representation of a database that tracks your photos as bits on your hard drive. Using folders doesn't tell you where your bits are. On the Mac, the bits are converted to a graphical representation (folders and files) by an application called the Finder. The whole idea behind the Finder is to help you keep track of your files (or photos in this case). And the idea works pretty well if you don't have too many files. But after a while, it doesn't matter how organized you are, you still have to remember the paths to your files, or increasingly improve your organization over time as you add files and folders. Enter Aperture and iPhoto.

    With the advent of digital photography, the number of files (i.e. photos) on our computers has increased exponentially. I have over 25,000 photos on my Mac, and I'm not even an avid photographer! How could anyone manage that many photos in any useful manner using a folder structure? And by useful, I mean more than to store them on your computer and never look at them again. The simple answer is, you can't.

    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 tree “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 the 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.
  15. Razeus macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    I would archive those photos after you import and NOT delete them. Then make sure you back up BOTH sets of photos. Yes you use more hard drive space for the same photos, but I rather keep the copies before they entered Apple's ecosystem as a just in case.

    I personally see no advantage of using iPhoto over storing them in folders in the Pictures menu. Once I finish a set of photos, I email, post, and print, then they just sit there on my hard drive. It's not like I need to sit there an look through my photos all day everyday. I may make a slideshow of the year's photos at the end of the year, that's it. So maybe use both system; Finder's Picture folder for storing, iPhoto for doing creations like slideshows and posting to Photostream. You know longer need iPhoto to post pictures to social networks and its usage gets less and less with each Mac OS X update.
  16. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

    Jul 28, 2006
    But equally you could just store them in iPhoto anyway, if neither way offers any advantage over the other.

    Personally I use both approaches depending on the images I'm working with, but iPhoto (and Aperture) is generally a lot nicer for organising and browsing/showing photos to other people. Then there's the basic editing functions which are built in, instead of having to load your photos into a separate image editor.
  17. Razeus macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    Dropbox (or Copy or Box or SkyDrive or Google) puts my photos in the cloud. iPhoto does not. Only when Apple allows me to put "iPhoto in the Cloud" will I once again heavily use iPhoto. Other than that, it's only for photos that need slideshows or Photostream.
  18. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

    Jul 28, 2006
    Thats true, though personally I want to keep my photos stored locally,
    if Apple made iPhoto only work in the cloud that would be the time I would stop using it.

    Mainly because I don't much fancy uploading GB's worth of images on a slow connection and then having to pay a subscription to store then.

    Just different needs, you obviously don't need/want iPhoto whereas for other people it can be very useful.
  19. jfoley89 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 1, 2013
    alright guys, its been a while now and I'm really getting the hang of this iPhoto thing, starting to believe it really is a great program, my concern so far is...I
    It seems to not save a *face* every now and then, every time I import I go through and put the photos in the albums they need to be, and i assign the faces on every single photo, but when I go through them later on, some of the faces tags have been removed...

    with the fact the faces get removed, I don't entirely trust the fact that they are still all in their allocated albums/folders

    also, is there a way to view all unnamed faces? what happens when I don't want to save someones face? I delete the box in all the photos, but when I go back to them later, there is a new box around their head saying click to name...

    thanks for your help once again
  20. eRondeau macrumors 65816


    Mar 3, 2004
    Canada's South Coast
    Just a quick non-sequitir: TRUST THE SOFTWARE. It will not let you down. I've been using iPhoto pretty much since v1.0 and it's never let me down. The only time you'll have a problem is if you try to outsmart it. The actual .jpg's are hidden away from us for a reason. Don't overthink it and you'll be fine.
  21. Big Stevie, Feb 18, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014

    Big Stevie macrumors 6502a

    Big Stevie

    Jun 20, 2012
    Some great advice above. I absolutely love iPhoto and after seeking help on here I find it so easy to use.

    I don't bother creating folders (Events) to store photos, I just leave all my photos where they are. This may seem disorganised but stick with me. The secret is to spend a few minutes organising your photos at the point of importing them from your camera. I go through each photo and tag them with a relevant Keyword or Star Rating etc.

    So, let's say I've taken some photos of my son playing rugby. When I get home ill import the photos and tag them with the Keyword 'Rugby'. Any really good ones will also get given a 5 Star Rating. The photo date is stored automatically.

    Then, when I want to find a particular photo I just search for a certain Keyword, and those photos appear. Or, I create a Smart Album to include photos with that Keyword. Once I've finished viewing the photo I delete the Smart Album.

    Storing photos into relevant folders is a Windows thing, and once you get your head around this new way of organising, you'll find its brilliant. I also have a Smart Album permenantly running that includes all my 5 Star photos of my son, which I then set as my MacBooks screen saver.
  22. Big Stevie macrumors 6502a

    Big Stevie

    Jun 20, 2012
    If you click 'Information' you can remove the Face facility by clicking on the triangle.
  23. mtngoatjoe macrumors regular


    Jun 10, 2008
    I've also noticed some weird behavior with Faces. I haven't spent the time to figure out the exact behavior, but it seems like sharing photos with FaceBook can lead to odd behavior with Faces. I think if someone tags a face in FaceBook, that tag will make it's way back to your iPhoto library. I've also ended up with a lot of double-tags, which I think might be my tag plus the FaceBook tag.

    Maybe someone can shed some light on this as well.
  24. maiden666 macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2013
    I usually save my photos on my mac in the pictures folder,after editing them with photoshop.
    But i would rather open up the folders/albums in iphoto,because in a pictures album you have to open up each photo,where in iphoto you can just slide your mouse to change picture.
    The thing is if i have say a 1gb folder in my pictures folder,which i then drag into iphoto and use to create albums for viewing have i then just made an extra gig worths of photos for my imac?

    And then if i say have another 20 new photos i want to place in the album in iphoto,if i also place these in my folder in the picture album which is the original folder,have i again just doubled the amount of photos?

    i would like after editing my photos to be in a folder in finder-pictures on the mac.
    But also in iphoto album has i would prefer to look at them through this.

    Hope i kinda made it clear,would love to hear some suggestions.

  25. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

    Jul 28, 2006
    Before I say anything regarding iPhoto, maybe there is a better way to view your photos without the need for it.

    So although I use iPhoto a lot I also have a lot of images in folders in Pictures, the way I view them is either:-

    a) Go to a folder full of images and press [Command] + [A] to select them all or make a selection manually, then press [Space] to view them in Quick Look you can then use the
    keys to go through your selected images, you can fullscreen Quick Look, there are also options for viewing all the images you have selected so as to switch to another image quickly, as well as a basic slideshow function.

    b) Go to a folder full of images, click on one so that it is highlighted then press [Space] to view them in Quick Look. You can then move around the folder if in icon view using [Up], [Down],
    to change images. However you can't do this fullscreen.

    c) Go to a folder full of images and press [Command] + [A] to select them all or make a selection manually, then double click on one of the selected images to load them all into Preview. You can then change images with the [Up] and [Down] keys or swipe/scroll with your mouse/trackpad, or manually using the list on the left. You can also switch to fullscreen.

    So it might be worth trying one of those methods before loading all your photos into iPhoto.

    By default iPhoto will copy photos imported into it thus doubling the amount of space taken, additionally if images are modified in iPhoto (or another editor via iPhoto) the originals are preserved alongside the edited version.

    Now I've not used this feature, but in iPhotos settings in the advanced tab you can deselect the option to "Copy items to the iPhoto Library". This should stop it from making copies of your photos.​

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