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The new iPhoto

Quick thoughts on the new iPhoto in iLife ‘06. Nothing of Ars Technica calibre, but I felt it was cool enough to warrant a write-up. Michelle and I popped in the Apple Store yesterday while doing registry shopping and — what do you know — I forgot that I had wanted to buy the new iLife. So here we are.

iMovie, iDVD, GarageBand — all cool updates. GB especially has a pretty slick podcasting setup, including integration with iChat for audio interviews. iWeb is nice, but, well, I kind of know how to publish for the web and stuff. Michelle seems interested, though, and is keeping it around her dock for a while.

The main thing that got me wanting to write a review for iPhoto was that I spent like four hours yesterday (longer than I ever do with this stuff) and completely updated my digital photo collection. Yeah, this sounds geeky, but I have nearly 4,000 photos spread over nearly ten years. I use my photos for the the wedding blog, working on other wedding stuff, sending to friends, archiving both desktop and World of Warcraft screenshots, as well as the usual practice of keeping them for posterity. Since we’re obviously moving towards more digitization, not less, I’ll wager that 4,000 will pale in comparison with the amount I’ll have in a few years — which is why the new iPhoto purports to support up to 250,000 photos in this version.

iPhoto 6 Main Screen
iPhoto 6 Main Screen [1 MB]

And it’s pretty snappy — like, really snappy. I can whip through my thousands of photos really quickly, like they are laid on a large tabletop in front of me (and my arms are really long). A little popup displaying the month and year as they fly by is a big help when looking at a big view of photos. Thumbnails scale really quickly with the zoom slider, too.

The coolest new part about iPhoto, though, is the full screen viewing and editing. We’ve had full screen slideshows with auto or manual navigation for a while, but not just going all out with a single photo and working on it. I think that’s the biggest factor towards me redoing things — bright, vivid, full screen versions of photos as I was reviewing them, widescreen on my PowerBook.

Full Screen Editing
Full Screen Editing [2.3 MB]

Another new feature is full screen comparing of anywhere from two to eight photos next to each other. It came in very handy for when I had imported duplicates, or had a couple quick shots in succession that I wanted to pare down to just the best. The fact is, I started with over 4,000 pics and ended up with a couple hundred less when all was said and done.

Comparing Photos
Comparing Photos [924 KB]

The last thing I used heavily wasn’t really changed in the new version, but I ended up using it a lot from the momentum of the other cool stuff. I ended up tagging all of my photos with one or more keywords in the app, ranging from the place they occurred, to if they had me or Michelle in them, to if they were about pets, to if they were taken during a holiday. The end result is that in a few seconds, I can pretty much locate any photo. Whether it’s by date, keyword, or photo title, I can pull it up. Need all the photos I have of pets during holidays? Thirty-three photos. How about all the pictures of family while traveling? Only eight of those. Or maybe just pics of the family? There are 406 of those. It actually only took a couple hours of concerted effort to really make a dent in the organization of this stuff.

Photo Jogging
Photo Jogging [892 KB]

All told, this is a great update. It’s super stable, fast, and it got me motivated to really clean up my digital photo setup. I’ve got a great system for going forward and I can pull up all the photos I need really quickly. Good job, Apple.

{ 2 } Comments

  1. Joe | January 31, 2006 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    One thing that has concerned me about being more and more digital is my failure to back up my collections. To combat that, I wish there was a wonderful front-end (like iPhoto) for organization, and a web-server back-end (like Flickr) to enable easier sharing through email and webpages (and also for that server-redundancy thing).

    Does this exist?

  2. Justin | March 31, 2006 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    (Sorry for the late reply.)

    Not that I know of. There is a nice free tool for publishing iPhoto to Flickr, and some nice CD/DVD backup things within iPhoto, but not a great way to create “views” both on the desktop and on the server for redundancy as well as viewability. Google is rumored to be coming out with a service that lets you back up data on their servers. One thing’s for sure — if I use it, encryption will be my new best friend.