11 Replies Latest reply: Dec 1, 2013 3:24 PM by Terence Devlin
craigst2 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I used iPhoto for years and have done lots of work on the photos which I don't want to lose. However, now using Lightroom 4 and want to access those photos. When I go to the Masters folder in the iPhoto library, I try to choose "Make Alias" but it's not an option. Are there other ways to access these photo without having to copy or move them?

Mac Pro (Mid 2012), OS X Mountain Lion
  • LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (72,960 points)

    To switch to LR you need to export your photos from iPhoto and import into LR


    You do have to move them over to use them



  • craigst2 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I know that that is an option but that is exactly what I'm trying to avoid, since I have thousands of photos and don't want to duplicate them all or lose what work I've done in iphoto.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (135,505 points)

    Your problem is that you've chosen an App that has no upgrade path from iPhoto. So, you have to accept the consequences of that and make your choice:


    1. Start over from scratch. Export all your masters to the Finder, import them to LR.




    2. Pick up from where you finished. Export the edited versions.




    3. Export both and have duplicates in your LR Library.


    The one option you don't have: you can't run LR on the iPhoto Library or vice versa.


    If you chose Aperture instead of LR then you have a simple migration.

  • LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (72,960 points)

    Sorry that the only way is not the way you want - but it is what it is - LR can not use the iPhoto library - it does the same thing as iPhoto in a different way and there is no compatibablity between them


    Many people find Aperature as good or better than LR and it does share the iPhoto library so you lose nothing and duplicate nothing going ot it - maybe you should look at it



  • craigst2 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    "If" I were to export all my photos to LR, would all the metadata transfer? Also, would all the editing transfer? I don't want to lose all the work I've done on Faces and locations for example.

  • LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (72,960 points)

    The metadata will transfer if you export it correctly


    As to editing you have two choices - export the current version which is the edited version --  or export the original version which will be exactly what you imported


    Generally when you move to LR you are doing it because you have RAW photos and want more editing control - if you export the currect version you do not get the RAW



  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (135,505 points)

    "If" I were to export all my photos to LR


    If you're moving to LR then there is no "if", it's not a choice...


    This User Tip






    has details of the options in the Export dialogue.


    So, yes you can export will all the metadata - but again, you have to choose. Exporting Originals will get just that - the original file, with the metadata the original file had. But that won't have any metadata you added in iPhoto - like keywords, titles, faces and places. To get those you need to export to tiff or jpeg, as described in the linked article.


    Note: there is no way to move Faces. There is simply no agreed system to share that data among any photo apps. Best you can do for those is keyword, and use that to help you start doing the same process in the new app.

  • divingdonkey Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Actually?  There is a way to manipulate iPhoto directories directly in Lightroom.


    1.) Create a new Lightroom catalog ready for import.  Save it wherever you need it.


    2.) Open your copy of iPhoto.  Select a photo.  Go to File>Reveal in Finder>Original or Modified, whichever you'd prefer.


    3.) Finder will show the file in a child folder (under the Masters folder).  You can then use Finder to navigate to any folder within Masters.


    4.) Drag and drop any folder you'd prefer into your new Catalog and import the pictures.


    Note that your work in iPhoto will not be saved if you select your original files.  If for whatever reason you'd like to avoid exporting your originals from iPhoto, however, it is possible to use Lightroom to navigate any folder within iPhoto - as long as you use iPhoto itself first to reveal the file structure in Finder.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (135,505 points)

    If you're going to give advice then you have to warn people of the dangers of that advice. If you do as you say you risk damaging your iPhoto Library. The supported way is to export - which gets exactly the same options with the Masters and more options with the Modifieds and is risk free.

  • divingdonkey Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I've been doing this for months, if not years, and haven't ever had any problem with my Library.  I do go in and manually delete thumbnails from my iPhoto Library for any photos corresponding with original files I've moved or deleted using Lightroom.


    Have heard of others whose Libraries were corrupted and who didn't see thumbnails for hundreds of original files which were still intact in their Masters folders - photos iPhoto would skip if you were to try to directly export them. Personally, I'd rather corrupt my iPhoto library than lose irreplaceable original photographs. But, to each his/her own.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (135,505 points)

    Okay, so you've been merrily corrupting your Library for months, if not years.


    My point is that if your proposal is risking damage and dataloss, and yours is, you need to warn people.


    What I don't understand is why you bother using iPhoto at all?