iPhoto is a good organisation tool. You can use Events, Albums, a combinaton of both, keywording and Smart Albums and so on.
15k is a small library these days. iPhoto 09 is good for 250,000 items.
You can easily keep your personal and professional material separate by tagging them with keywords. Or you can create a second library. Using two apps to organise your photos is only adding complexity to little advantage.
As for the slowness - how much Ram do you have? How big is your HD and how much free space on it?
Thanks for your reply.
I will definitely look into creating a second library.
As far as the amount of Ram/ size of HD according to the "About This Mac" tab it reads:
Memory 2 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
(not exactly sure what that means)
My iPhoto has been slow from the beginning. It often freezes and gets the beachball, so I try to avoid it as much as possible! I am wondering if there is a way for me to somehow redownload it and reorganize my photos from scratch?
Well now we know that the speed problem is in your old library. Repair it.
Back Up and try rebuild the library: hold down the command and option (or alt) keys while launching iPhoto. Use the resulting dialogue to rebuild. Choose to Repair Database. If that doesn't help, then try again, this time using Rebuild Database.
If that fails:
Download iPhoto Library Manager and use its rebuild function. (In Library Manager it's the FIle -> Rebuild command)
This will create an entirely new library. It will then copy (or try to) your photos and all the associated metadata and versions to this new Library, and arrange it as close as it can to what you had in the damaged Library. It does this based on information it finds in the iPhoto sharing mechanism - but that means that things not shared won't be there, so no slideshows, books or calendars, for instance - but it should get all your events, albums and keywords, faces and places back.
Because this process creates an entirely new library and leaves your old one untouched, it is non-destructive, and if you're not happy with the results you can simply return to your old one.
Time machine will back up, yes. Just be sure it's set up correctly.
Most Simple Back Up
Drag the iPhoto Library from your Pictures Folder to another Disk. This will make a copy on that disk.
Slightly more complex:
Use an app that will do incremental back ups. This is a very good way to work. The first time you run the back up the app will make a complete copy of the Library. Thereafter it will update the back up with the changes you have made. That makes subsequent back ups much faster. Many of these apps also have scheduling capabilities: So set it up and it will do the back up automatically. Examples of such apps: Chronosync or DejaVu . But are many others. Search on MacUpdate