iPhoto – Not up to Snuff

I’ve officially abandoned iPhoto for photo management. It’s sad, really…Apple pushed out an absolutely amazing product that’s perfect for consumers. Unfortunately, iPhoto is analogous to a bunch of shoeboxes and photo albums filled with snapshots loosely organized with Post-It notes. What I need is the digital equivalent to a negative filing system.

Consumer Heaven

Since iPhoto’s intended audience is consumers who want to print or e-mail the occasional snapshot, the original raw files are hidden behind the scenes. When an image is retouched, the original gets filed away into an Originals directory and the new files are JPEGed. Even a simple rotate will and up re-JPEGing an original, resulting in quality loss (iPhoto does not yet support lossless rotation).

If you want to edit the image in Photoshop, selecting Edit or Export results in opening the new JPEG, not the original raw image. To open the original raw image, one must manually trudge through the iPhoto directory structure. Even the Locate Original AppleScript only finds the new re-JPEGed version.

Portfolio What?

When I was originally doing graphic design a few years ago for my Father, our indexing tool of choice was Extensis Portfolio. I’ve gone back to my old ways and tried using Portfolio again the other night. The feature set was increased exponentially and all of my gripes about the interface have been addressed and fixed!

Over the past few evenings, I’ve been slowly tracking down all of my raw images that were imported via Image Capture and deleting the corresponding iPhoto galleries. For images that were mistakenly imported using iPhoto, I underwent the painstaking task of slogging through every single directory and reassembling the original raw images into a hierarchal directory structure that uses my file naming standard.

What Next?

Everything has been isolated and cataloged with Portfolio. Next comes the nightmare…post-processing every single image in the catalog and renaming everything. Unfortunately, I haven’t decided on a final naming scheme yet. I need to use something that will work for digital photos, scans, retouched images, final exported images, etc., as well as taking into consideration iterations and versions of images.

Yes, I’m a geek. But we have approximately 30,000 photos in our library and only half of them have descriptive names. Let’s see you try to search for that one particular cat photo when every single image in the library is named with an ever-so-informative name like IMG_1943.JPG.

0 thoughts on “iPhoto – Not up to Snuff”

  1. Thanks for the pointer, but I’m already running Gallery on my Web servers (click on Raw Images under Simulacrum in the left column on this site). Unfortunately, the data format that they use doesn’t allow photos to be easily moved from gallery to gallery. It also tends to dislike 20MB JPEG files. Yup, not 200K. Not 1MB. 20MB JPEGs. When you start out with a 400MB TIFF file, the JPEGs are quite large.

    Also, no batch renaming. No advanced keyword features. And, when I say advanced, I mean ADVANCED. So, Gallery is perfectly acceptable for presenting my final images to the world, however it just doesn’t fit my needs for indexing raw images.

  2. Have you looked at Cumulus? I checked it out a few years ago — while working at a newspaper, no less — and I remember thinking “this is bigger than I ne3ed”, but you might be their target.

    OT: thanks for the WebGUI multi-site set up notes; I’ll be hammering that nail this week; do you object to an occasional stupid question?
    — j

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