chapter 15: iphoto file management 351
or years, true iPhoto fans experienced the heartache of iPhoto Overload—the
syndrome in which the program gets too full of photos, winds up gasping for
RAM, and acts as if you’ve slathered it with a thick coat of molasses. And for
years, true iPhoto fans have adopted an array of countermeasures to keep the speed
up, including splitting the Photo Library into several smaller chunks.
Now that iPhoto can manage 250,000 pictures per library, such drastic measures
aren’t generally necessary.
Nonetheless, learning how iPhoto manages its library files is still a worthy pursuit.
Its the key to swapping Photo Libraries, burning them to CD or DVD, transferring
them to other machines, and merging them together.
About iPhoto Discs
iPhoto discs are CDs or DVD that you can create in iPhoto to archive your entire Photo
Library—or any selected portion of it—with just a few mouse clicks.
The beauty of iPhotos Burn command is that it exports much more than just the
photos themselves to a disc. It also copies the thumbnails, titles, keywords, comments,
ratings, and all the other important data about your Photo Library. Once you’ve burned
all of this valuable information to disc, you can do all sorts of useful things:
losing all your keywords, descriptions, ratings, and titles.
iPhoto File
352 iphoto ’08: the missing manual
photo albums in their own copies of iPhoto.
rent Photo Library at a trim, manageable size.
your iMac) into a single master Photo Library.
Note: One thing an iPhoto disc is not good for is sharing your photos with somebody who doesn’t have
iPhoto! Page 355 has the details, but the bottom line is this: An iPhoto disc is designed exclusively for trans-
ferring pictures into another copy of iPhoto.
Burning an iPhoto CD or DVD
All you need to create an iPhoto disc is a Mac and a blank disc.
You can hand-select some photos (page 114), click a Source list icon (Event, album,
book, or slideshow), or click the Photo Library icon to burn your whole photo
In any case, the photo-viewing area should now be showing the photos you want
to save onto a disc.
A dialog box appears, prompting you to insert a blank disc. Pop in the disc; the
dialog box vanishes after a few moments.
Note: If you plan to use this feature a lot, install the Burn button onto the bottom edge of the iPhoto window
by choosing View
ÆShow in ToolbarÆBurn.
Take a look at the Info panel at the bottom of the iPhoto window, as shown in
Figure 15-1; the little graph shows you how much of the disc will be filled up. If
the set of photos you want to burn is smaller than 650 or 700 megabytes (for a
CD), 4.3 gigabytes (for a DVD), or 8 gigs (for a dual-layer DVD), you’re good to
go. You can burn the whole thing to a single disc.
If your photo collection is larger than that, however, it’s not going to fit. You’ll have
to split your backup operation across multiple discs. Select whatever number of
photo albums or individual pictures that will fit on a single disc, using the indica-
tor shown in Figure 15-1 as your guide. (Also shown in the figure: the Name box,
where you can name the disc you’re about to burn.)
For example, you might decide to copy the 2005 folder onto one disk, the 2006
folder onto another, and so on, using the calendar feature (page 146) to round up
your photos by year.
About iPhoto Discs

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