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Old Jul 6, 2009, 7:17 PM   #1
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Default Storing photos on a mac

I just switched to a Mac from a PC and I've been playing around with iPhoto. It seems to me like if you use iPhoto to store photos, they all go into some massive library file. From what I gather, you always have the option of exporting the original file from iPhoto. I'm used to storing all my images in their original files in Windows organized how I like them, which I could also do with a Mac. For those of you using Macs, do you use iPhoto at all or just store photos how you like them as the original files? Or both?
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Old Jul 6, 2009, 8:13 PM   #2
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iPhoto does what many photo organizors do. It stores the photos in its own, obscure, cryptic folder structure. You can find the photos on your own, and move them where you want, but the next time you run iPhoto, it will put them in a new, obscure, cryptic folder.
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Old Aug 3, 2009, 5:55 PM   #3
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Default iPhoto and Photo Storage

I just read this a few weeks later so maybe you've already figured it out, but just in case ...

iPhoto has its own organizational structure, which isn't excessively complicated. If you go to your User folder and find the Pictures folder, inside it is iPhoto Library which is a package. Packages are special folders that aren't normally opened; to open it control-click on it and choose Show Package Contents.

The main folders inside are the Originals, Modified and Data folders, which contain about what you'd expect. Inside each are folders corresponding to years; those contain folders corresponding to Events (usually a daily organizational level), and inside those are the photos. The Originals contain the original photos; the Modifieds contain versions of your photos with any modifications you make. Note that while I'm cautious and always make a duplicate before editing, iPhoto does always keep the original intact. The Data folder contains thumbnails.

It's a bad idea to move anything inside the iPhoto library on your own unless you know what you're doing; you could do something that causes corruption in your library.

On the other hand, you can keep your own organizational structure, and you can have multiple iPhoto libraries among other possibilities. For example, to keep your own organizational structure, in iPhoto Preferences, go to the Advanced pane and uncheck Copy Items to the iPhoto Library. Now iPhoto will just create an alias of the file in the Originals folder.

There are disadvantages to doing this. To learn more, do a Google search, or find one of the available references available. My favorite is Adam Engst's iPhoto '09 for Mac OS X: Visual QuickStart Guide. You can actually find much of what I wrote above on pages 19-20, as well as lots of other useful information. In fact Adam and Tonya's related Take Control series of downloadable and fairly inexpensive PDF publications are a great way to learn about all sorts of Mac related topics; they've helped me on many occasions! A quick search will take you to their web site; I recommend it highly.

I hope that's of some help to you,
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