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Best way to organize a large photo library on a 10.6.8 Macbook?

917 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Dec 10, 2012 9:18 AM by Old Toad RSS
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Dec 8, 2012 8:00 AM

I have an older Macbook pro- version 10.6.8. 


I am looking for the best way to organize my large library of photos (approx. 15,000).  I have both personal as well as professional photos that I would like to organize and keep separately. I currently use iPhoto'09 version 8.1.2 but it has become very slow and I would like to find a solution that uses better organization.  I am considering keeping my personal photos in iPhoto and my professional photos in another organization app.  I was thinking about purchasing Aperture, however it is only available for Mac OS X version 10.7.5 or later and the same goes for the latest version of iPhoto. 


I am a little confused about what my options are.  Can anyone recommend anything?  I am looking simply for a good organization tool, I am not interested in photo editing or anything beyond that.

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,725 points)

    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?

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,725 points)

    Well you have the bare minumum of Ram there so nothing will be be speedy on that machine.


    How big is the HD? How much free space on it?

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,725 points)

    Well you're fine for disk space.


    As a Test:



    Hold down the option (or alt) key and launch iPhoto. From the resulting menu select 'Create Library'



    Import a few pics into this new, blank library. Is the Problem repeated there?

  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (113,210 points)

    If you can up your ram to at least 4 GB you'll experience a very noticeable increase in speed for your system and applications. has very good prices and has good memory.



  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,725 points)

    Well now we know that the speed problem is in your old library. Repair it.


    Option 1

    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:


    Option 2

    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. 


    Backing Up:


    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






  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (113,210 points)

    Occasionally restore the iphoto library (select Keep Both when you do)



    and check to make sure the backup copy works as it should.  Then you can delete the restored library and continue working with the original one.




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