Chapter 12. iPhoto File Management

When you don’t have to buy film or pay for processing, photos have a way of piling up very quickly. Apple says iPhoto can hold an unlimited number of photos and, technically, that’s true (as long as you have enough memory and hard drive space). But in fact, once you go much above 25,000 pictures, iPhoto winds up gasping for RAM and acts as if you’ve slathered it with a thick coat of molasses.

For some photo fans, this comes as a distressing bit of news. You downloaded the software, entrusted your best work to it, even bought a book about it—and now you learn it’s going to cop out on you in another couple of years.

Fortunately, a little knowledge—and a handful of blank, recordable CDs or DVDs— can keep you happily in iPhoto at reasonable speeds. The trick is learning how to manage iPhoto’s library files—wisdom that will also serve you when you want to transfer photos to another Mac or when it comes time to backing up your photo collection.

This chapter covers both iPhoto’s behind-the-scenes filing system and what’s involved in backing it up: swapping photo libraries, burning them to CD, transferring them to other machines, and merging them together.

About iPhoto Discs

iPhoto CDs are discs (either CDs or DVDs, actually) that you can create directly from within iPhoto to archive your entire Photo Library—or any selected portion of it—with just a few mouse clicks.

The beauty of iPhoto’s Burn command is that it exports much more than just the photos themselves ...

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