2 Replies Latest reply: Apr 23, 2010 11:53 PM by LarryHN
liquidmice Level 3 Level 3 (750 points)
I would like to use iPhoto to arrange, organize, tag, and otherwise un-mangle my family photos taken within the last ten years. However, I have never so much as launched an instance of iPhoto! I have a couple of technical questions that I'm hoping can be answered by a forum guru.

1.) I love the idea of iPhoto tagging and organizing my photos via places, faces, events etc. How does iPhoto store the metadata which allows it to organize as such? Is this data added to the photo files as additional EXIF data? Or is there an iPhoto database file/files which needs to be maintained?

2.) When "importing" photo files into iPhoto, I'm assuming that additional thumbnail files are created and stored. Does it store additional "full" versions of the photo files by default (as iTunes will do with MP3s if you are not careful?) And when you start creating smart albums et al, I'm sure something similar to iTunes Library files (.ITL, .XML etc) are also created. What are the important files and directories created in the process?

Perhaps these questions can be answered appropriately by addressing my third question...

3.) Can someone point me to a whitepaper, article, webpage or discussion of iPhoto which goes beyond the available Apple.com tutorial? I know there must be a book available, but I really don't have the time to dedicate to a full book on the subject. I'm extremely lazy and still haven't finished the copy of Ulysses I purchased ten years ago. Just need some quick and dirty explanations...

~( ):>

Message was edited by: liquidmice

MacBookPro 17" Core 2 Duo, 4GB DDR3, e-SATA Xpress card, ., Mac OS X (10.6.3), 2 MacPro Quads (work systems) running Windows Server 2003, 160 GB ipod, 80GB Classic, 16GB Nano
  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (128,910 points)
    IF you're not too lazy to read the replies:

    1.) I love the idea of iPhoto tagging and organizing my photos via places, faces, events etc. How does iPhoto store the metadata which allows it to organize as such? Is this data added to the photo files as additional EXIF data? Or is there an iPhoto database file/files which needs to be maintained?


    This metadata is stored in the iPhoto database. It can be written to the files on export. Prior to Export there's no need to. I have no idea what you mean by "iPhoto database file/files which needs to be maintained?"

    2.) When "importing" photo files into iPhoto, I'm assuming that additional thumbnail files are created and stored.


    Correct. They are what you see in the iPhoto Window in Organising mode.

    Does it store additional "full" versions of the photo files by default


    Yes.

    And when you start creating smart albums et al, I'm sure something similar to iTunes Library files (.ITL, .XML etc) are also created.


    No there aren't. Again, this is all stored in the iPhoto Database.

    What are the important files and directories created in the process?


    There's only one you need back up. It's the iPhoto Library in your Pictures Folder.

    At a guess this question:

    Does it store additional "full" versions of the photo files by default


    suggests you don't want this to happen.

    You can run iPhoto in Referenced Mode where this won't happen. I strongly urge you not to, expecially as you haven't a clue about iPhoto and are very lazy.

    *How to do it:*

    Simply go to iPhoto Menu -> Preferences -> Advanced and uncheck 'Copy Files to the iPhoto Library on Import'.

    *What Happens:*

    Now iPhoto will not copy the files, but rather simply reference them on your HD. To do this it will create an alias in the Originals Folder that points to your file. It will still create a thumbnail and, if you modify the pics, a Modified version within the iPhoto Library Folder.

    *Some things to consider:*

    1. Importing and deleting pics are more complex procedures. You have to to put the files where they will be stored before importing them. When you delete them you'll need to remove the files from the HD yourself.
    2. You cannot move or rename the files on your system or iPhoto will lose track of them on systems prior to 10.5 and iPhoto 08. Even with the later versions issues can still arise if you move the referenced files to new volumes or between volumes.
    3. Most importantly, migrating to a new disk or computer can be much more complex.
    4. Because iPhoto has no tools for managing Referenced Files, if, for some reason, the path to the photos changes then you could find yourself resolving aliases for +each photo in the Library+ one by one.

    My own opinion:

    I've yet to see a good reason to run iPhoto in referenced mode unless you're using two photo organiser

    If disk space is an issue, you can run an entire iPhoto Library from an external disk:

    1. Quit iPhoto

    2. Copy the iPhoto Library as an entity from your Pictures Folder to the External Disk.

    3. Hold down the option (or alt) key while launching iPhoto. From the resulting menu select 'Choose Library' and navigate to the new location. From that point on this will be the default location of your library.

    4. Test the library and when you're sure all is well, trash the one on your internal HD to free up space.

    If you're concerned about accessing the files, There are many, many ways to access your files in iPhoto:

    *For Users of 10.5 and later*

    You can use any Open / Attach / Browse dialogue. On the left there's a Media heading, your pics can be accessed there. Command-Click for selecting multiple pics.

    Open dialogue
    Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!


    You can access the Library from the New Message Window in Mail:

    New Message Window
    Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!


    *For users of 10.4 and later* ...

    Many internet sites such as Flickr and SmugMug have plug-ins for accessing the iPhoto Library. If the site you want to use doesn’t then some, one or any of these will also work:

    To upload to a site that does not have an iPhoto Export Plug-in the recommended way is to Select the Pic in the iPhoto Window and go File -> Export and export the pic to the desktop, then upload from there. After the upload you can trash the pic on the desktop. It's only a copy and your original is safe in iPhoto.

    This is also true for emailing with Web-based services. However, if you're using Gmail you can use iPhoto2GMail

    If you use Apple's Mail, Entourage, AOL or Eudora you can email from within iPhoto.

    If you use a Cocoa-based Browser such as Safari, you can drag the pics from the iPhoto Window to the Attach window in the browser.

    *If you want to access the files with iPhoto not running*:

    For users of 10.6 and later:
    You can download a free Services component from MacOSXAutomation which will give you access to the iPhoto Library from your Services Menu. Using the Services Preference Pane you can even create a keyboard shortcut for it.

    For Users of 10.4 and later:
    Create a Media Browser using Automator (takes about 10 seconds) or use this free utility Karelia iMedia Browser

    Other options include:

    1. *Drag and Drop*: Drag a photo from the iPhoto Window to the desktop, there iPhoto will make a full-sized copy of the pic.

    2. *File -> Export*: Select the files in the iPhoto Window and go File -> Export. The dialogue will give you various options, including altering the format, naming the files and changing the size. Again, producing a copy.

    3. *Show File*: Right- (or Control-) Click on a pic and in the resulting dialogue choose 'Show File'. A Finder window will pop open with the file already selected.

    You can set Photoshop (or any image editor) as an external editor in iPhoto. (Preferences -> General -> Edit Photo: Choose from the Drop Down Menu.) This way, when you double click a pic to edit in iPhoto it will open automatically in Photoshop or your Image Editor, and when you save it it's sent back to iPhoto automatically. This is the only way that edits made in another application will be displayed in iPhoto.

    Note that iPhoto sends a copy+ of the file to Photoshop, so when you save be sure to use the Save command, not Save As... If you use Save As then you're creating a new file and iPhoto has no way of knowing about this new file. iPhoto is preserving your original anyway.

    Regards

    TD
  • LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (61,345 points)
    1.) I love the idea of iPhoto tagging and organizing my photos via places, faces, events etc. How does iPhoto store the metadata which allows it to organize as such? Is this data added to the photo files as additional EXIF data? Or is there an iPhoto database file/files which needs to be maintained?


    The data is kept in the iPhoto database - when you export a photo the metadata can be associated with the photo in the EXIF and IPTC fields

    2.) When "importing" photo files into iPhoto, I'm assuming that additional thumbnail files are created and stored. Does it store additional "full" versions of the photo files by default (as iTunes will do with MP3s if you are not careful?)


    Yes - the full photo is copied to the iPhoto library by default (and it is highly recommended that you do not change this) and a thumbnail is created - as any edits are made (including auto-rotation if you camera had that feature tuned on) also creates a modified version

    And when you start creating smart albums et al, I'm sure something similar to iTunes Library files (.ITL, .XML etc) are also created. What are the important files and directories created in the process?


    All albums (smart or otherwise) are database entries and do not take additional space


    LN