Not Playing Nice with iPhoto

Comments 10 by Rebecca Bollwitt

I am more of a Windows drone that I lead to believe and I realized this tonight while dealing with iPhoto.

First of all, it keeps “Original” copies of your files, and when you modify, it adds another copy to the “Modified” folder. Then when you want to upload anything online you have to “export” and use that file (yes, the THIRD file of the SAME pic) to upload. Then when you want to sort your photos in iPhoto all is fine and dandy until you want to actually look up the FILES. Go to Finder > Pictures > iPhoto Library > and in 3 various folders you’ll have 3 versions of your photo.


My favourite part is that iPhoto sorts things into “Rolls” for me. So not only do I have a file in 3 different locations (what a WASTE of space) I now have “Roll 14”, which means 6 months down the road I’m supposed to remember that pertains to “pictures from the Canucks game”. Of course I could just import Roll 14 into iPhoto and name the album “pictures from the Canucks game” but god knows how many more files it will toss in however many more directories.

I am used to ONE file being in ONE location. I could edit, save, toss it in Flickr Uploader and be done. Magic. I can use a program to sort and make albums but I always know if I want to do anything with that ONE file it’s right where I left it. If I put it under 2007 > March, it’s going to be in the March folder, not in some far off location on my hard drive in triplicate.

It seems that some of these Apple programs make everything shiney and pretty meanwhile it’s making a mess of your files and folder systems on your hard drive. Is there something I not getting something here? Or is this just a Windows mentality that I just can’t shake?

Current Contests on Miss604
*All contests are open to residents of Canada only, unless otherwise stated. Contest timelines are published on each individual post along with entry methods. Some contests may only be open to those 19 years of age and older. Winners are announced on the contest blog posts. Contest policy »

10 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. John BollwittWednesday, March 14th, 2007 — 12:00am PDT

    Photo management. Not file management.

  2. Miss604Wednesday, March 14th, 2007 — 12:02am PDT

    But I like file management, everything in its place. Neat and tidy.

  3. DavidWednesday, March 14th, 2007 — 12:21am PDT

    iPhoto wants to replace the Finder (desktop) way of looking for things with it’s own view. This is a tough one for a lot of people who want to come up with their own organizing principals and layouts, or synchronize file structure with the structure within the program. There was a long-ish discussion on a recent Maccast podcast about this very subject, and the host recommended a whole bunch of alternatives for organizing your photos if dealing with iPhoto is just not going to work for you. Check out:

  4. Buzz BishopWednesday, March 14th, 2007 — 6:41am PDT

    I’m the same way. I use a very set file structure in Windows, the Mac wants to put things where it wants to put things – just like iTunes.

    I just rename the roll right away when i import something. Label it with a date and event and stick the same on the photos on that roll, that way it’s sort of like having my file structure.

  5. GusWednesday, March 14th, 2007 — 7:09am PDT

    Yeah I have the same problem. It’s hard to get use to iPhoto. I even went online and printed the “manual” for it and still have to play with it.

    What I have learned is when you are importing, label your roll right away. It saves alot of problems down the road 🙂

  6. DuaneWednesday, March 14th, 2007 — 7:48am PDT

    You realize you can drag thumbnails from iPhoto directly into the flickr uploader right? The only time I need the actual file is if I want to do something in photoshop with it (but you can drag it as well).

  7. KeithWednesday, March 14th, 2007 — 8:32pm PDT

    Amen, Rebecca.

    I’ve had the very same frustration around “file-management” vs. “photo-management”. I find myself doing the change-export-revert dance when I want a tweaked version of a file.

    iPhoto’s mechanisms have something to do with the fact that my Photos have “ballooned” to 4.8GB of my poor little 80GB disk.


  8. macheadTuesday, March 20th, 2007 — 6:49pm PDT

    I’m exactly the opposite – when I had a Windows box with my digital camera I had no idea where my photos ended up. I’ve got 4 years of photos and I now know where they all are. Plus making backups is so much easier. For me iphoto is one of the best things about the Mac OS.

    Say you were looking for a photo from that Canucks game – you’d probably remember the date of the game, or the month right? With iphoto you just scroll over the thumbnails and dates are superimposed on the screen as you’re scrolling. Very handy. Plus the cards and calendars you can make in iphoto rock.

    P.S. I’m not Steve Jobs.

  9. ChrisThursday, March 22nd, 2007 — 9:14am PDT

    The reason they make these duplicates and original folders is because iPhoto will allow you to revert to the original file when you want. Even if you exit the application you can always go back to the original. 10 years from now you can revert to the original.

    One of the things I have learned is any app on a Mac must be tweaked with in the settings and some type of process learned that works best for you… then the app will start making sense more than it will on day one.

  10. LoobyFriday, March 21st, 2008 — 11:50pm PDT

    I used the first versions of iPhoto on an iBook. Those early versions said you could put in thousands of photos, but after about 1,000, things started choking. iPhoto dumped my roll info and lots of meta-data. On two different occasions. The individual photos were all still there, but scattered in umpteen jillion separate folders in a way that was unintelligible. iPhoto was definitely not ready for prime time. A friend found an extraction program to get them all out, but I had to sort thru them one by one and reconstitute the “rolls”. Bottom line is things can and will go wrong, either from hardware, software, upgrades, or user mistakes. The files need to be in a structure that you can go in and understand and back up easily. Use iView Media Pro to read your own file structure. The one other program I want to check out is Lightroom, which I think can read your own structure. The only thing I use iPhoto for is to batch process many photos. I really, really want to like iPhoto, but that file structure has screwed me over one time too many.

    So if you uncheck the “Copy files to iPhoto Library folder when adding to library” option, will this just reference your own file structure and eliminate potential trouble?

Also on