iPhoto can be simple to use and pretty straight-forward for beginners. It can also be extremely bloated, slow, and obnoxious if you have a large amount of pictures. Also annoying is the hidden maze of folders where your actual photos are stored. This brings up the question: What do you do with your digital camera’s pictures if you don’t like iPhoto?
Use OS X’s other included tools:
Apple didn’t just create iPhoto as the only game in town for digital picture management. Three other incredible tools are included with OS X. Those tools are Preview, Image Capture and Quick Look. The shameful little secret about iPhoto is that it uses the same instructions to import, edit and view pictures as these three lean and agile programs.
Picture Management without iPhoto:
1. File management with the Finder:
First, we’ll need to create a system for storing our digital photos. Sure, you can dump everything into one folder and it will be fine.. until your picture collection grows to an unmanageable and confusing size. The following system works for me, here’s what you do.
– Create a folder in your Pictures folder and name it “Import”.
– Create a folder with the year and month for the title – “2009-04”.
Note: We use the year first because OS X automatically sorts the folders by name. We want to sort by date and not lump all the months together.
– Continue to create as many folders as you need for each year / month.
Your camera will time-stamp all pictures it took and we’ll use this to figure out which photo goes where.
2. Importing pictures with Image Capture:
Image Capture is one of the many incredible little features of OS X. It’s really simple to use.
– Plug in your camera and quit iPhoto if it automatically opens.
– Look in the Applications folder, find, and open Image Capture.
– Click on the drop-down menu next to “Download To:”.
– Choose “Other…” and navigate to your newly created Import Folder.
Note: This is where you will send all new pictures. After importing, move them into the appropriate year/month folder.
– Choose either “Download All” or “Download Some…”.
– If you chose “Download Some…” a screen will pop up with all the pictures on the camera.
– Like in iPhoto, you will select the pictures you want to import.
– Once selected, click on “Download”.
Some advanced features of Image Capture are under the “Automatic Task” drop down menu. You can quickly build a slideshow or automatically crop all imported pictures. While this is pretty cool, since these are your originals I would recommend importing them exactly as they are.
3. Viewing / Printing / Editing with Preview:
Preview is an all around image editing utility. You can view, print, resize, adjust the color, rotate images and more.
– Enter the folder with the pictures you want to work with.
– Preview will load multiple pictures so select them all and double-click.
– To Resize, Click “Tools” from the Menu Bar and choose “Adjust Size”.
– To Crop, click on the picture and adjust the squares.
Note: If your mouse pointer is a hand, you are in the Move tool. To select for cropping it must be a crosshair for the select tool. Click “Tools” on the Menu Bar and choose “Select Tool”.
– Click on “Tools” from the Menu Bar and choose “Crop”.
– To Rotate, click “Tools” from the Menu Bar and choose “Rotate Left/Right”.
– To Print, click “File” from the Menu Bar and choose “Print”.
– To Email the photo using Mail, click “File” from the Menu Bar and choose “Mail Image”.
– If you’d like to see a slideshow of the photos loaded into Preview, click “View” from the Menu Bar and choose “Slideshow”.
Also Note: You aren’t limited to Preview for editing your photos. Now that you have a clear location to the pictures, you can use applications like Photoshop or Gimp to do advanced digital editing.
4. Easy Image Navigation with Quick Look:
Preview is nice for viewing the pictures but what if you are looking for a specific photograph and want to quickly look for it?
– Open the folder of pictures and select one.
– Press the space bar to activate Quick Look.
– Use the up/down arrow keys to quickly scan through the folder.
While iPhoto is fine for a beginning user who wants a basic “do everything for me” experience, if you want more control over your pictures, have a large photo collection, or just don’t like iPhoto, you’re better off ditching it.