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 dotPhoto.com 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.
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.
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..
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!
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.
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.
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.
You can make aliases to that folders inside and put them in your home etc.
Also, apparently Google is bringing Picasa to the Mac later this year.
Article from Ars Technica
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.
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.
As others say just trust iPhoto to do its magic, it usually gets it right.
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.
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 support.apple.com how to tell it to do it.
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
There is also iPhoto Buddy.
I love this application for creating different libraries.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..?
I've also covered Picasa for Mac in more detail in this post. Hope it helps.
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.
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