iPhoto 1.1 brings Apple’s classic elegance and simplicity to editing, saving, organizing, sharing, and enjoying your digital photos. And if you own a recent Mac running OS X 10.1 or higher, you either already own iPhoto or you can download it for free at apple.com. (Tip: If you own 1.0, it’s definitely worth your time to go get the updated version.)
But, simple as iPhoto is, you’ll still want some guidance to make the most of this program. Unfortunately, iPhoto comes with only the barest online help -- and no printed manual. Adam C. Engst and Peachpit have remedied that, with iPhoto for Mac OS X 1.1: Visual QuickStart Guide.
This slim volume covers just about everything you can do with iPhoto, from capturing your photos to ordering prints, and beyond. Engst walks you through all five of iPhoto’s “modes”: import mode, organize mode, edit mode, book mode, and share mode.
You’ll start with a thorough review of bringing your images into iPhoto -- including some handy tips (iPhoto 1.1.1 lets you move your iPhoto Library folder to a different location, and access it via an alias. That makes it easier to share your photos with other users, or other Macs across a network).
Next, you’ll walk through iPhoto’s formidable organizational capabilities. Engst shows how to create, duplicate, rename, rearrange, and add photos to albums; arrange photos within an album; and assign titles or comments to individual photos. You’ll even learn how to assign keywords that will make it easier to search for individual photos years from now.
Engst then moves on to iPhoto’s editing tools. These aren’t the program’s strongest feature; you might want to supplement iPhoto with, say, Adobe Photoshop Elements (iPhoto will gladly coexist with third-party editors).
But the editing features you’re most likely to need most often are here: zooming, rotating, and cropping; converting from color to B&W; adjusting brightness or contrast; and reducing red-eye in portraits. (Unfortunately, “iPhoto’s approach to reducing red-eye tends to make people look as though they have black eyes.”)
The book then moves from iPhoto’s weakest features to its strongest: its support for creating “books” of customized and annotated photo albums that can be professionally printed and bound. With their linen covers and heavy glossy paper, these are unforgettable keepsakes.
There’s a full chapter on sharing your photos -- everything from custom slide shows complete with music, to emailing your photos, to ordering high-quality prints, to publishing your photos on your web site, to exporting to QuickTime movies.
While iPhoto’s pretty darned reliable, there’s a full chapter on troubleshooting. You’ll learn what to do if iPhoto crashes on launch (it might be a corrupted file in your iPhoto Library folder; Engst walks you through fixing that). If you ever get a dialog box indicating that the photos you’re importing are damaged, Engst offers a laundry list of suggestions (chances are the problem isn’t a damaged photo).
Think your iPhoto Kodak prints are too dark? Could be that Kodak’s tweaked its equipment for PC monitors, which use a slightly darker gamma (iPhoto won’t color correct, but you can get a better sense of what your prints will look like by temporarily adjusting your display preferences to match those of PCs). Finally, pointing out that iPhoto “isn’t a speed demon in the best of times,” Engst offers a checklist of things you can try to speed things up, at least a little.
Simple, friendly, and useful, like iPhoto itself, this book neatly bundles all the iPhoto help you’ll ever need. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.