Organizing photos on a mac
September 23, 2006 9:39 PM   Subscribe

Handling digital photos and movies on a mac. Ex-PC user here!

I know there have been other questions on the topic, but I have some specific questions I need help with.

On a PC, I used to copy my photos into a folder, delete those I didn't like, and batch rename those I kept. All videos stayed in the folder with photos from the same event or photoshoot.

On my new Mac, it seems like I should import directly into iphoto since I have to trust iphoto to organize my photo library. But when I rename photos in iphoto, it does not change the name of the actual file. So this makes it difficult to find the photo later outside of iphoto.

So here are my questions:

- Do I have to let iphoto organize my photos for me? Can I do it myself and still use iphoto?

- Does it make sense to keep movies in iphoto, and let iphoto put the movies in the folders with the photos?

- Is it possible to rename just one photo in iphoto without going through the steps of a "batch change"?

- Is there a way to get iphoto to rename the actual file?

posted by kdern to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: One other question... I have photos from the 1980s that are coming up under my 2006 folder in iphoto/originals. I did a batch change in iphoto to change them all to 1981, but they're still coming up under 2006. This makes them impossible to find outside of iphoto. Any advice??
posted by kdern at 9:42 PM on September 23, 2006

Response by poster: One more point - when I change the date and then go to Get Info, it does not show a photo date, just a date for import and modified, both of which are 2006. How do I put in a Photo Taken date so iphoto will organize the pics the way I want?
posted by kdern at 9:43 PM on September 23, 2006

I have successfully used jhead to batch-edit the EXIF timestamps in jpgs. If you use it before importing, perhaps it will solve your problem. There appears to be a mac version.
posted by alexei at 9:44 PM on September 23, 2006

So this makes it difficult to find the photo later outside of iphoto.

Well, the theory is that you should never need to access the photo from outside iPhoto. If you want to use it somewhere, just drag it from iPhoto.
posted by smackfu at 9:54 PM on September 23, 2006

Response by poster: I've only had my mac a week and already I've had a dozen occasions where I've looked for a photo in the finder instead of in iphoto.

Perhaps if I organize the folders myself and turn off iphoto's feature to copy the photos to the iphoto library? Then I can name and organize them myself?
posted by kdern at 9:58 PM on September 23, 2006

If you want to work with files directly, the best piece of software to do that on the Mac is i-view media pro.
posted by ernestworthing at 10:26 PM on September 23, 2006

iPhoto 6 does have an option in its advanced preferences which prevents it from managing your photo library. Using advanced options when importing from a hard disk (that link should work in Mac OS X if you're using Safari and have iPhoto installed.)
posted by nathan_teske at 11:15 PM on September 23, 2006

It is by no mean required that you use iPhoto, there's lots of alternatives. You can also just not use any organiser and go back to creating your own folder structure like you did on the PC.
posted by doctor_negative at 1:58 AM on September 24, 2006

Forget the files, PC person. Let iPhoto manage it all, and if you want to use a given file somewhere else, drag the photo to the desktop from iPhoto. It's far better than using the finder -- extra metadata, search, versioning -- and it integrates with all the other Apple apps.

If you get really serious and start using RAW, think about Aperture, which is very good indeed, and imports iPhoto.
posted by bonaldi at 7:59 AM on September 24, 2006

You can think of iPhoto as one big folder for your photos. You can use Albums and Smart Albums to organize things as well. You can drag photos in and out of iPhoto... search by file name... duplicate... copy and paste... attach to an email... drag into photoshop... pretty much anything.

I used to manage my photos in folders on my Mac and only put the "good ones" in iPhoto. But, after a while, it just becomes a mess. You forget about a lot of the photos you have sitting around in folders.

I highly recommend Keyword Assistant to easily create and manage keywords- which is the easiest way to find a picture of "Bob." Just assign the keyword Bob to every photo Bob is in. Yeah, it takes a while, but it's worth it once you have all your photos keyworded. You can even search for all the pictures of Bob AND Jane together.

The alternative to the Keyword Assistant is to create your keywords in iPhoto, hit the little key icon to show your keywords, and drag the photo or photos onto the keyword to assign (or assign them in Get Info).

As for movies, I assume from your digital camera: I just keep mine in iPhoto. I think iPhoto automatically assigns the keyword "Movie" to them to make them easy to find. You can also create an Album (or Smart Album) to keep track of them.
posted by starman at 8:02 AM on September 24, 2006

If you want to bypass iPhoto altogether, you can use the built-in application Image Capture instead, which will handle simple things like rotating images while leaving organization up to you in the Finder.
posted by bcwinters at 12:03 PM on September 24, 2006

Response by poster: Update for future users: I never use iPhoto. I use a folder hierarchy, like I did on the PC, and edit photos in Graphic Converter or Photoshop. Works fine for me.

iPhoto turns me off because of the file duplication.
posted by kdern at 12:46 PM on September 12, 2007

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