iPhoto vs Picasa

One of the things I imagined would be a no-brainer when I started using my Mac was that all my photo work would be done on it. After all, Apple makes a pretty big deal that iLife (with iPhoto, iMovie, etc) is great for managing media like that. The reality is that it's been more difficult than I thought it would be.

For a non-professional photographer I take a lot of photos, especially when playing tourist. I have an excellent "Prosumer" camera: the Canon 30D, with a few decent lenses. I've got just over 19K pictures in my library and up to this point in time I used Picasa, the free photo management solution from Google.

Picasa has been wonderful for me. It does exactly what I need it to do which is ride herd on my photo collection. It tracks my folders just like I have them on disk, creates a huge contact sheet that I can scroll through very quickly and allows me to do quick and dirty editing. Most of my editing is removing the occasional red-eye and adjusting lighting. I'll sometimes use it to straighten out a picture or crop it too, but if I do much more than that it's off to Photoshop.

Getting the photos into iPhoto
I figured that I would simply blast those pictures into iPhoto and away I would go. My first step was to copy the 45GB of photos to my MacBook. Next, I imported them into iPhoto. It took a while to get that many photos in.

I was now using 90GB of disk space, not 45GB! The default installation of iPhoto takes the photos and copies them into a single large iPhoto library file. Once the files were in there I could delete them from my hard drive, but that meant that my photos moving forward would be stored in that file. I later learned that you can set up iPhoto to work nearly exactly like Picasa: leave the photos in their original location and view them in iPhoto. When I get a little time I'll move to that model.

One catch I experienced: Picasa leaves your photos in their original directory. If you retouch a photo it makes a copy under that directory and places the originals in there. When I imported the photos into iPhoto it also pulled in the originals.

iPhoto has two primary views: Events and Photos. I'm not sure what the significance is when it comes to how the pictures are broken up. It appears that both views categorize the pictures in the same way: they use whatever underlying folder structure you had to break up the pictures. Since I had a bunch of "originals" folders under my main folders, every other event had an adjacent "originals" folder. Not much could be done about that - just the nature of moving from Picasa to iPhoto.

I really do wish that iPhoto would break up the events into the days that the pictures were actually taken. Not the date/time stamp of the file but the date/time stamp embedded into the picture. That would really make it easier to find things.

What I Miss from Picasa
This list is surprisingly short: I miss the ability to zoom in on my previews while in iPhoto. If I am looking at all of my photos as a kind of contact sheet and double click on an item to make it expand to fill the window, I cannot zoom in further unless I switch into edit mode. There's a little zoom control in the lower right corner but it's disabled in preview. I am constantly tripping on that.

What I Like in iPhoto
Slide shows in iPhoto are excellent. It includes a "Ken Burns" effect that can be controlled very easily. I can add in music from iTunes or Garage Band and make something that just looks excellent.

The photo information can be edited in batch! That's great when your wife's digital camera runs out of juice for so long that it resets the date time to January 1, 2000 when she recharges it and every picture she takes has a date/time stamp from 7 years earlier.

While I haven't used it yet, the ability to have iPhoto just make a photo book for you is pretty darn cool. I realize that many online photo services like and Shutterfly have done this for years but the way iPhoto builds them is sweet.

Now that I've worked through my initial frustrations with iPhoto I think it's actually going to be able to replace my beloved Picasa.

Jan 5, 2009 NOTE: Now that Google has released Picasa for Mac I have an updated post that covers it: First Impressions of Picasa for Mac.


Milind said...

Hey thanks for the comment on my blog. Are you from the mac-forums? What's your ID there?

As for your iPhoto problems, I would highly suggest you get something more professional like Aperture or Lightroom. For such a large library you will definitely find the tools you need in Aperture (I prefer it over Lightroom).

iPhoto is great for family pics and such, but yeah, it can sometimes go a little against you. Although I don't know how it's using double the storage space..

David Alison said...

Hi Milind - yep, I post there very regularly. DAlison is the user name.

While I have a lot of photos my needs are pretty small since it's really just casual home stuff. When I look at some of the more advanced tools like Lightroom I get sticker shock over the price. The other tool that I did look at was FotoMagic - it actually looks like it will do more of what I want to do.

Thanks for stopping by!

Perry said...

Hi David, I just bought my folks an iMac. It is their first computer. My dad loves the Mac. He also is an avid photographer and has been goofing around with iPhoto a lot. At first, I was a bit disturbed about how the new iPhoto stores all the pics in a single binary file instead of the old way, which was folder and file based. I went back and forth about either using Picasa or iPhoto for him. On my old Dell PC I used to use a tool from Adobe to manage my photos. Since switching to my Macbook I've imported everything in iPhoto. No looking back now. Hey, where is the setting you mention above where iPhoto leaves the pics alone in their directory?

ubrayj02 said...

I hit a wall recently with iPhoto - I have close to 10,000 images in my photo library. iPhoto stopped loading fast, and everything in it started to chafe: organizing photos, fast keywording, etc.

I looked around, and found a few iPhoto-style "replacements". Then I found iViewMedia Pro.

It has taken a little getting used to, but man this program kicks ass.

iViewMedia Pro, with "A Better Finder Attributes" (to correct bad timestamp and EXIF data), and ExifRenamer - I've got an awesome workflow everytime I download several hundred new images.

Gunk said...

I've got about 6k photos in iPhoto and other than a slight lag at startup it's great. You might look at Keyword Manager . It provides an excellent keyword interface and very fast search in a non-intrusive way. I tag photos with names, objects, locations, etc and am able to quickly find the photos I am looking for.

Anonymous said...

I am totally with you, leaving Picasa behind has been the only bad thing from my PC to OSX switch. I am going to check out some of the suggestions here though.

David Alison said...

@Perry: You will want to go into Preferences / Advanced and remove the check next to Copy Items into Photo Library.

devburke said...

You can have iPhoto open and import your photos right from your camera rather than copying them to your HD and THEN importing them into iPhoto. In the preferences, just go to "Connecting camera opens" and choose "iPhoto".

Also, the single file your library is store in is actually a package, a folder disguised as a file (all your apps are like this too). Right click on it and click "Show package contents" to get inside the folder.

Tom said...

Events are new in the latest iPhoto, and I'm still working them into my now 6 year old library. They make more sense when you start importing from a camera directly, as it's an attempt to automatically do what everyone does, stuff an event into a folder. It's a shame it doesn't read the EXIF data for the date on mass imports like what you did though.

Once a new batch of photos are imported, it's pretty easy to split or merge events as needed, and name them. My clutter of manual folders on the left side of iPhoto has been slimmed down a lot now due to them.

Ed Bortoni said...

The iPhoto library is really not 1 file. it's a folder that "looks" like a file... right click it... show contents..

You can make aliases to that folders inside and put them in your home etc.

David Alison said...

@Ed Bortoni: Very cool Ed - I'm learning a lot today. Thanks!

Grant said...

Speaking as someone who switched last year, I love my MacBook Pro. However, iPhoto is one program I just cannot bring myself to like. It has some nice features and the events view is great, but I feel like it's always Big Brothering its way through my pictures. On the PC I had everything in folders according to date and event, but on the Mac they are just jumbled in the monolithic folder. Not a problem when using iPhoto, but a big problem when using another program that browses by folder structure. I haven't been able to view pictures on my new Tivo from my Mac, and I'm guessing that the iPhoto folder structure is the reason. I also hate, hate, hate how when you click on the Photos folder it now opens iPhoto instead of letting me browse the structure. That was a horrible change over the last version. I'll give the "don't mess with my pictures" option a shot, but if Picasa is ever released for the Mac, iPhoto is going in the trash so fast it will make my hard drive spin.

corsa said...

A tip for iPhoto: if you keep all your photos in the default iPhoto location, you can still easily get to the original file on your harddrive: just right-click on any image in iPhoto and choose "Show File" -- it will take you right to that image in Finder.

Also, apparently Google is bringing Picasa to the Mac later this year.

Article from Ars Technica

Paul said...

I later learned that you can set up iPhoto to work nearly exactly like Picasa: leave the photos in their original location and view them in iPhoto. When I get a little time I'll move to that model.

Don't do it.

To use iPhoto properly, you have to trust it. Really. Fight it and you will have nothing but trouble. Do all file management inside iPhoto. This is a good thing. Really. Try to give up the necessity of worrying about individual files, folders, and their organization. You'll get used to it soon and it will all seem natural. Give it time. It will be a better experience.

The iPhoto library is *not* a single binary file. It just appears as if it's a single binary file. It's what's called a package, which is a folder that masquerades as a single file. The complexity of the contents are hidden from view so that users don't go in there and mess around with things. Yes, I knew that you were thinking of doing just that. Please resist the urge.

If you are curious to see what's inside the iPhoto library, Ctrl-Click on the library and choose Open Package Contents. Now you will see the reality of what's in there. It's just .jpg files inside folders inside folders, nothing at all proprietary or binary except for the indexes.

Again, don't move, delete, or otherwise mess with any of the files in here or you will be sorry. Do all file management inside iPhoto. This also goes for other Apple software like iTunes and Aperture.

If you really want a really powerful photo manager, try Aperture. It's iPhoto for the professional, light years ahead of Lightroom, because like iPhoto, it never makes you worry about where individual files are located.

It's a different world. It takes some time to get used to it. Give it time and don't fight it.


David Alison said...

@Paul: Thanks for the tips. As a techie I like to understand how things work but as a software developer I appreciate that it's best to use software as it was designed to be used. I've had a strategy that's worked for several years with Picasa and I've been trying to adapt it to iPhoto.

I am going to continue to look around. I read a post in Mac-Forums from a very happy FotoMagic user that manages her photos much like I want to. It may end up being the solution for me.

MagerValp said...

The two primary views (events and photos) being the same for you is an artifact from importing a large directory structure. When you import images directly from a camera, iPhoto automatically sorts the pictures into events, based on image date stamps.

As others say just trust iPhoto to do its magic, it usually gets it right.

Pecos Bill said...

I really cannot understand why someone would want to actively manage 6000 files or however many 45G equates to. Some may call that big brother, but I call it an app doing its job to make my life easier.

Granted, iPhoto doesn't make it easy to transfer over from Picasa (or other folder structure) which is very unfortunate. There's a delightful battle going on between Apple's Aperture and Adobe's Lightroom with the user being the winner. You may want one of those instead as you're a prosumer. I don't have as many photos, but I strongly prefer how iPhoto handles the grunt work of file management over Picasa. The editing is pretty good but I still want the latest Photoshop Elements (6) once I can preview it before upgrading. I have that set as my external editor and invoke with double click, or use the full screen button for iPhoto editing.

Suggestions (from memory as I'm on my Winbox at work): Use QuickLook (press space with photo highlighted to get a larger image. You can also click on the full screen icon which is the third from left at bottom. This can be used to do editing but won't unless you activate any editing tools (or click edit?).

Next, I suggest you open your single "import" Event and start splitting them into something meaningful. The metadata in the files such as date are still there and can be searched. There might also be a way to change the folder structure so it is more to the importer liking. That would mean trashing your iPhoto library, changing things, then reimporting.

Once you have things organized, if you want to copy specific photos out of the library, just find them in iPhoto and drag them to the destination in the Finder.

The only thing I like about Picasa is that it's free -- and doesn't suck. I thought it had a retoucher but doesn't.

David Alison said...

@Pecos Bill: It's really more of a time issue for me than anything. Between writing about my Mac experiences, writing the Startup 101 series and actually starting a new internet company I only seem to have time for short, focused tasks and getting everything into iPhoto will take some focused time. I'm a victim of "too many projects" syndrome!

Pecos Bill said...

@David: Corsa is setting you up for failure. The package is a database as you know. If you were to point aliases into the package contents, you could inadvertently change the database and hose iPhoto. Best to use iPhoto for most stuff. If you need to look at the files, use the context-click on a photo to pull up the orig or new.

Also, iPhoto builds a database of thumbnails for speedy scanning (as do most). It may ask you to rebuild it form time to time so be sure to say yes. If you run into ubrayj02's problem, you ought to try rebuilding the thumbs (or more). There's info at how to tell it to do it.

David Alison said...

@Pecos Bill: Thanks man - I do appreciate the comments. At some point I hope to have the time to really focus on this.

Grant said...

"Best to use iPhoto for most stuff. If you need to look at the files, use the context-click on a photo to pull up the orig or new."

You just explained the reason why some of us would like to manually manage our photos and folders. iPhoto is great as long as you're only using iPhoto or a few other Mac programs to manipulate and view your images. But it falls apart when you try to look at them on other devices.

I have a drive full of pictures that I need to view from my MacBook, my wife's Windows machine, my Tivo, etc. Stuff looks fine and dandy in iPhoto, but when viewed from other devices it's a mishmash of directories (if the device can even read the "package" at all).

I would much prefer it if iPhoto would just browse and retouch my images but let me handle the folder structure. It wouldn't even have to be the default behavior if it were at least an option, but it's not.

Computer programs should adapt to the user's preferences, not vice-versa

Anonymous said...

I think you all seem to be forgetting that, in Leopard, no matter what app you're using, if you go to the File > Open File... menu, you can access everything in your iPhoto, Photo Booth and Aperture libraries, without actually opening/running any of those apps.

So, even though your iPhoto files might be wrapped up in a Package, you can still get to all your Events, Albums and Smart Albums simply by going to Open File. Look in the source list on the left and you'll see a new entry called MEDIA. Beneath MEDIA is Photos.

datpete said...

I also suggest that you take a look at GraphicConverter from Lemkesoft. Almost free, and with a zillion features, including a nice browser, slideshows, editing, batchprocessing, support for ~300 file formats etc. etc. Mac only!

Anonymous said...

I'm a pro who has NO NEED for Aperture - iPhoto is phenomenal for organizing - but you need to install iPhoto Library Manager (Freeware!). I make a new library for every assignment and then store on external harddrive by year as soon as I finish postproduction.

Of course, I also use photoshop and it is easily accessible from within iPhoto. It works great!

Proofsheets are better in Photoshop, though, so I export finished edit to folder on desktop to make them. Aperture & Lightroom aren't worth the trouble.

Jeff said...

The originals issue at import is a huge deal to me. I'm currently working on resolving the issue for my parents 10k photo lib (12k w/ originals).

Nico D. said...

Still there is something that simply can't be done in iPhoto: geo-tag.
I've recently bought a Mac and am trying to figure out how to combine iPhoto amazing organization ability and Picasa geo tagging and other features.
I have thousands of photos in Picasa, most of them with the geographic reference set by Google Earth. When I imported those photos to iPhoto and tried to test the upload to Picassa Web Albums I found out that the geo tag was missing.
I even set iPhoto not to move the photos into the library and that didn't work either. I would be amazing if iPhoto could just use the tags written into the original file. I've tried modifying captions in both programs and they don't see the changes the other made.

I'm not quite sure whether to use one or the other, but will definitly still be looking into it.


Dan Field said...

I just installed Picasa on my MacBook. It's the Windows version of Picasa, installed using Darwine. It seems to work just fine on first blush, except that it doesn't seem to see inside the iPhoto "folder".

I haven't tried aliasing a path into there for it because I'm afraid that if Picasa starts writing in there, it may mess up iPhoto. I was wondering if anyone has tried this out and knows what actually happens?

Andy said...

Dan, I just became a macbook owner, but love Picasa, did you get the results you were looking for? I want to use Picasa in windows through parallels but there are things in iPhoto that I want to use as well. Can we import from Camera through Picasa and still use iphoto stuff?

Anonymous said...

I'm a recent switcher; can someone please answer this for me? I tried importing my photos into iPhoto with the "copy items into library" option OFF, but the resulting library is over 15GB. Showing the contents, I can see that some (definitely not all) of the images were in fact imported, despite the setting. What is going on? It seems dishonest, for lack of a better word. Can I delete them from the package, or will that damage the library? Yes, some of the bulk is thumbnails.

From my perspective, "just trusting" iPhoto isn't an option. I will have to continue using Boot Camp and VMWare to run XP, off and on, for the foreseeable future. In order to work on the other side, I need to keep my images on a shared partition. That is a given. But it would be fun to use iLife for personal stuff, and I can already see that the entire iLife suite stubbornly won't work with anything other than iPhoto.
Thank you!

David Alison said...

@Anon: This is one of the things that drives me crazy about iPhoto; it will sometimes place the photos into the library even if the option is set NOT to do that. Case in point; if you edit any file it gets pulled into your local iPhoto store. While that makes sense in some ways, the problem is simply opening a picture and ZOOMING in is considered editing by iPhoto and the file gets added into the store. I personally cannot wait for the Mac version of Picasa. I've learned to get around the iPhoto quirks in large part because I just have a fairly large amount of disk space at my disposal.

Melissa said...

Thanks for the informative post. I am trying to find an alternative to iphoto.

My iphoto library is 10.11 gig and continually crashes. We also have lots of gray boxes instead of pictures which means that the photo file is corrupt or missing.

My guess is we have too many photos, I am not a professional we're just organizing family photos.

I am now looking at transferring my photos to light room or aperture.

The frustrating part is I have spent so much time organizing all the photos with key words, added descriptions, etc. And now the challenge will be to transfer the pictures without loosing everything.

From what I have read the best thing to do is picturesync.

If you have any insight let me know.

goDog said...

Picasa for Mac is out!

David Alison said...

@goDog: Thanks - already kicking the tires on it. Interesting so far.

corsa said...

And the new iPhoto '09 is being demoed as I type this... things are getting interesting. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one. Just switched from Windows to Apple last week(Macbook Pro... so sweet!). Love my Picasa, but expected to be blown away by iPhoto....I have to say I was underwhelmed too. But I paid so much $$ to switch to Mac that i feel obligated to like iPhoto. I'll feel guilty for continuing to use Picassa. I'm going to give iPhoto a chance to grow on me. I'm hoping the overall integration to iDVD etc. will make it worthwhile. Thanks. Great Blog for a new Mac user with amature/casual photo needs.

Michael said...

okay.. for those of you who want "folder" organization in iPhoto, my advice is not to worry at all about events. You don't even have to use them. It's something new in the last iPhoto. Before that we just used Albums; Albums are like Playlists in iTunes. You can set them up exactly how you want. Albums act just like Folders do. I'm not crazy about events because some times you can have several events in one camera sync, and sometimes you're just taking snapshots of people. Thats not an event. I pretty much treat events like albums. but it's double work.

Anonymous said...

"I'm a pro who has NO NEED for Aperture - iPhoto is phenomenal for organizing - but you need to install iPhoto Library Manager (Freeware!)."

There is also iPhoto Buddy.

I love this application for creating different libraries.

Nicole (Colin's Mom) said...


Has anyone had a problem in iPhoto where you click on an image and it doesn't appear in the edit window? I just get the death spiral.

Kim A said...

I've recently migrated from a PC, and I'm still trying to get my head around the non-heirarchical structure iPhoto uses. I like the way Events work, but I wish I could have events within events: for example, the Celtic Ensemble's trip to Quebec is one event, but each city they visited should also be a sub-event. I guess I can use folders and albums to accomplish that organization (but when you put a bunch of albums in a folder, and then select the folder to view, it still just shows all the pictures in chronological order, regardless of the order of the albums).

It's also really frustrating to try to share my photos with non-Mac users. My mom wants a CD of our family photos from 2008. I created an album of selected pictures, but I wanted to identify the different events, so I created a 2008 folder with a bunch of albums of each event. When I burnt it and then tried reading it on my PC, not only was the organization nothing at all like what I had created; but iPhoto burned both thumbnails and original versions of each picture. What's the point of that?

Any solutions to burning a CD that will be useful to PC users?

One more annoying thing: is it not possible to have a caption that is different from the file name? Sure I can put a description in the file info, but then I can only see it when I select the photo.

I'm trying to trust iPhoto, but I have to agree with Grant: a program should let me do what I want to do, not tell me what to do.

Jince said...

Hi Dave, I went though your blog and it is all simply amazing posts. You answered so many of my questions. I am a new MAC user- just got my new macbook pro. It has been hard getting used to i-photo. Like you, I too am on a quest of the "one" photo software. I really like the way Creative memories allows to tag and place one picture in multiple categories like "family" and "holiday". which I don't think i-photo or picasa allows. I wish the three softwares would merge!!! So finally, what are your thoughts comparing i-photo and picasa for mac after having used it for a few months now?

David Alison said...

@Jince: Thanks for the nice comments on the blog, I appreciate it. I've got Picasa for Mac installed but to be honest I never run it. While I love the file handling in Picasa I just can't get over the UI. It's basically a non-standard Windows application running on OS X. As I've become more Mac oriented over the last year I'm becoming a huge advocate of standardized Mac oriented UIs and the little UI widgets and presentation model for Picasa breaks that.

iPhoto '09 doesn't allow the tagging in the way Picasa does. You can however create keywords for groupings of photos, though it's not as clean as I would like. The Faces feature in iPhoto '09 is a big help in organizing pictures though after the novelty of trying it out I don't really use it that much any more.

jungkyoon said...

Thanks for helpful tips. My impression is that Picasa is good for storing and managing a large collection of photos with limited functionality for organizing and editing. iPhoto seems better at more sophisticated organizing and categorizing functions but inept at storage management. My solution is that I keep track of all my photos in my Windows or iMac by means of Picasa and from time to time I transfer a folder of photos with which I like to play iPhoto to my MacBook via the local network. Then I delete the transferred original files from my MacBook only leaving iPhoto's library files. So far so good.

rootlesscosmo said...

simply blast those pictures into iPhoto and away I would go. My first step was to copy the 45GB of photos to my MacBook. Next, I imported them into iPhoto.

You've already lost me. How do I "blast" the Picasa albums into iPhoto? How do I copy them to my hard drive? If there's a Copy command on the Picasa page I can't find it.

Lee said...

I never liked the way iPhoto treated my photos or my library, plus the interface was a little clunky compared to Picasa. So i was ecstatic when Picasa came out for mac. I won't ever switch back to iPhoto.

Jack said...

One thing you can't do in iPhoto is have two managed databases. One on your removable hard-disk and one on the local machine. If this functionality were introduced it would far outstrip picassa.

Willsco said...

Hi. I have just read 18 months worth of this thread with interest. I am just about to jump from 20 years of being a Windows user to Mac. The only thing that is making me waver is handling photos. I have around 10,000 from the last 10 years or so and they are all managed in Picasa. My concern was how will I manage them on a Mac. I have now learnt that there is Picasa for Mac - but there are pros and cons vs Mac's native photo manager - iPhoto. Has Picasa for Mac settled down now - are most of the bugs ironed out? Should I ignore iPhoto and go with Picasa for Mac?
Also, I naively thought that Aperture was a large photo-library management application. I had intended to make the switch and have Aperture installed and use that in place of Picasa and iPhoto. But many of the comments seem to infer that Picasa or iPhoto is still needed for library management. Is this the case? Many thanks in advance. MW.

David Alison said...

@Willsco: While I was initially excited about Picasa for Mac I've rarely run it after initial install. When I switched to Mac one of the things I really enjoyed was a consistent look and feel to the Mac oriented applications; Picasa is a port from the Windows version and looks a little odd. This is fairly subjective so you may want to try it out before tossing it out based on that recommendation.

The reason I've stayed with iPhoto for over 1 1/2 years is that I've learned to deal with it's idiosyncrasies, which mostly revolved around how photos are physically stored on disk. With a 10K photo library this may be a concern of yours so you will want to look into how that storage model works and whether that's going to cover your needs.

The big advantage to me for iPhoto is the integration with OS X and other iLife applications. If I'm in iMovie and want to toss in a photo from my library I have immediate access to the edited photos (red-eye corrected, etc) without having to hunt them down in the Finder.

That aspect is something you may not appreciate until you've been using iPhoto for a while so it's worth trying it out and seeing if you can adjust to it.

Willsco said...

Thanks for this - yes storage will be an interest to me - but I am prepared to be flexible.
Where does Aperture fit in? - Is it like Photoshop is to Picasa? - somewhere you go when you want more than red-eye removal?
Does Aperture copy it's own library of yours thereby doubling up on storage?
Apologies for Aperture question in this thread - Is there a more suitable thread..?

David Alison said...

@Willsco: I'm not all that familiar with Aperture so I don't know if it uses the exact same storage library that iPhoto does. iPhoto has decent consumer level editing tools but to handle changes on a larger scale (adjustments to multiple photos at once for example) you should consider Aperture. You can get a free trial from Apple so it's no-risk to try it out.

I've also covered Picasa for Mac in more detail in this post. Hope it helps.

Willsco said...

Ok - thanks. I have most (25Gb+) of my own content backed-up using one of those on-line services ( If I change the file structure - say by going to iPhoto - then this may mess up my on line system. As Picasa will, so I understand, preserve the file structure - then maybe I will try that first. I think I just need to take the plunge, buy the iMac and just start adapting [evolving...? ;-)]. Anybody want to buy a Sony Vaio Laptop - there will be one going cheap soon! - Wish me luck!

anon said...

I am a recent switcher. I just bought a new widescreen iMac. I used Picasa under Windows to manage ~34,000 photos/videos; about 450GB. My initial experience with iPhoto was a bit negative. When importing my photos iPhoto froze. Then the system froze. It was messy after rebooting, but I did get everything cleaned up. Until I have more experience with iPhoto I will stick with Picasa. For me the deciding factor is the risk of using a closed library(iPhoto) versus using an open file system (Picasa) to organize files. The file system approach is a more conservative (less risky) solution.

Willsco said...

well I just picked up my 21.5 inch, 1 terrabyte iMac at lunchtime - can't wait to unpack it and fire it up tonight - wish me luck!

Stu said...

I'm gonna pipe up on this old thread because its super relevant to my current decision and maybe there are more up to date opinions.

I just got my first MBP. Running iLife '11. I was a fairly heavy Picasa users on both Windows and Linux, and I have paid for the extended Google storage (200GB for $50/year). I've easily face tagged over 10K of my 15K photos and I really love having that information. I've done some really cool things as gifts for people by being able to call up all my pictures the person is in.

I WANT to want to move to iPhoto, but I just keep finding reasons not to.

1. Tagging. I dont' see a solid tagging feature like Picasa's in iPhoto. I can't say I've poked that hard, but honestly, should I have ot poke hard to find a feature like this?!
2. Backup to Picasa Web Albums. PWA gives me the ultimate way to a) backup my pictures in the "cloud", and b) Share pictures and videos with a super flexible approach. I can send links out for an album, a person, an individual picture, etc. etc. Its great. And people can download full resolution version of the pictures I share.
3. Open data format. All the picasa information is encoded in hidden files within each individual folder. Its easy to move a photo collection, and if I really wanted to I could write scripts to get at teh face/star data and export it to another format.

I'm normally not comfortable with submitting my data to non-open formats, but I'm willing to in the case of iLife products to make my whole multi-media management, and creation activities really take flight. But the points I mention above (among others) are preventing me.

I'm sure I can achieve similar functionality on a mac with iphoto, but I can't see how it can be done more affordably and with less hassle.

Anonymous said...


iPhoto stores photos in the regular file system it is not a close library.
Just right click on the iPhoto library and choose "show package contents".
Like the MAC applications it is just a package.
The chances of corruption etc are identical to having your photos stored in files and folders.
I tire of this misconception.. sigh