One of the problems with Apple is that they never say no. The updates they post are mostly free, but having to readjust and relearn whatever you’ve just made yourself used to can be a royal pain in the posterior. Anyway, in May, Apple released a free update to iPhoto, version 1.1.1. This new, way-cool little miracle allows you to send photos using the OS X Mail application, as well as create desktop backgrounds using your images, as well as search through your photo library easily and run touch-ups on photos by altering contrast and brightness. It’s not for photo pros, but if you want something simple, it’s a super freebie!
Installation takes less than a minute, and there was no need to restart. Once it’s installed, iPhoto automatically launches and prompts you to import pictures from most USB-formatted cameras. iPhoto then automatically groups each batch of images in a Roll, which it automatically labels with an import date while numbering each photo.
Importing JPEG and TIFF files onto iPhoto is a snap. It can also import low-resolution files from the old Apple QuickTake camera and convert them to higher resolution TIFF. Beware, however, although it will allow you to import PICT, they will crash if you attempt to convert them!
Working with iTunes is easy. All you need to do is click the Photo Library icon, pick out the desired thumbnails and drop them into Albums. Should you need a single, particular photo, find it by viewing Rolls. I would add that going beyond this—say editing images to suit before printing—you’re shit out of luck unless you’ve also got Photoshop. iPhoto is limited: crop, rotate, remove red-eye, and convert to black and white. That is all!
On the other hand, iPhoto rocks when it comes to prints. OS X’s Quartz graphics automatically matches the colors you see on your camera. Thus, when you share your digital pics with friends and family, it’s easy-peasy to upload photos, or to pass on the old-fashioned way, ordering prints right from iPhoto. Prices are reasonable (49 cents per 4×6-inch print), and your prints come out way superior to anything from an inkjet printer.
The bottom line of all of this is about saving money. Managing, editing, publishing and storing digital photos, was still an expensive proposition a couple of years ago, especially if you were into putting together Christmas and birthday-type gift albums. Software packages and photo help services like the Photoshop image editor ($65.24), FileMaker Pro database ($281.99), the free QPict slide-show maker and the free Photo-to-Web service are all still great products, but they all cost big bucks to get full value out of them. Meanwhile, Apple iPhoto lets you organize sets of photos into virtual albums, from which you can view a multimedia slide show, print photos, or order a hardcover book of photos and is free! free! free! Plus it utilizes the same functions, happens to be way simpler and, did we mention this, is FREE!