356 iphoto ’08: the missing manual
keep all your photos together in one place—one icon that’s easy to copy to a backup
disk of any kind.
That all-important icon is the iPhoto Library, which resides inside the Pictures folder
of the Home folder that bears your name. If your user name (the short name you use
to log into Mac OS X) is Casey, the full path to your iPhoto Library ﬁle from your
main hard drive window drive is: UsersÆCaseyÆPictures.
As described in Chapter 5, the iPhoto Library contains not just your photos, but also
a huge assortment of additional elements, including:
To prepare for a disaster, you should back up all of these components.
To perform a complete backup, copy the entire iPhoto Library icon to another location.
Copying it to a different hard drive—to an iPod, say, or to the hard drive of another
Mac via the network—is the best solution. (Copying it to another folder on the same
disk means you’ll lose both the original iPhoto Library and its backup if, say, your
hard drive crashes or your computer is hit by an asteroid.)
Note: Of course, you can also back up your photos by dragging their thumbnails out of the iPhoto window
and into a folder or disk on your desktop, once you’ve dragged the iPhoto window to one side.
Unfortunately, this method doesn’t preserve your keywords, comments, album organization, or any other
information you’ve created in iPhoto. If something bad happens to your Photo Library, you’ll have to import
the raw photos again and reorganize them from scratch.
Managing Photo Libraries
iPhoto can comfortably manage as many as 250,000 photos in a single collection,
give or take a few thousand, depending on your Mac model and how much memory
But for some people, 250,000 pictures is a bit unwieldy. It makes them nervous to
keep that many eggs in a single basket. They wish they could break up the library into
several smaller, easier-to-manage, easier-to-back-up chunks.
If that’s your situation, you can archive some of the photos to CD or DVD using the
Burn command described earlier, and then delete the archived photos from your
library to shrink it down in size. For example, you might choose to archive older
photos, or albums you rarely use.