You know how to import your photos off your digital camera into iPhoto, and you know how to create a slideshow with your photos. What else can you do with it? Here is a list of 5 things I do with iPhoto that you may not know about.
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1. Emailing your photos if you’re not using Apple Mail
In the iPhoto window, at the bottom right, there’s a button for emailing your photos. If you use this button, it will attach your selected photos to an Apple Mail email.
But what if you don’t use Apple Mail for your email? What if you use Entourage, or another email program? Here’s how to change the default email program.
- Under the iPhoto menu at the top, choose Preferences.
- At the top, select General (which is probably selected already, but just make sure.)
- Under “Email photos using” click to get a dropdown list. Here you can select which email program you’re using.
You only need to do this once. From now on, when you click the email button in the main iPhoto window, the photos you’ve selected will be attached to an email in the program of your choice.
2. Making books as gifts
When I go visiting friends and relatives, I find an ideal housewarming present is something I send afterwards-a custom-made book of photos from my visit. It’s also great as a memento of a special event, like a birthday party or a reunion of old friends or classmates.
For my mother’s birthday, my brother and I made a book of photos of us, including some baby photos, some long-ago family trips, recent vacations with spouses, and photos from his wedding. We took all those photos and made a classy hardcover. But for other friends, I’ve made the tiny wallet-size booklets (you get 3 for $12, so you can give one to each person who was present at the event).
The great thing about iPhoto and bookmaking is that they have templates to choose from, so you don’t have to be a designer yourself, but within that template there is a lot of freedom to create different page layouts. And it’s easy.
Tip: If you want to use a special font in your iPhoto book, you can create the text in Word, using the special font, and then cut and paste the text into iPhoto. Voila, your original font style will be preserved.
Tip: I have found that my photos look somewhat dark when printed in book form, so I always alter the color on my photos by doing Awesome Thing #3:
3. Quick color correction
I’m no expert with Photoshop, and I certainly don’t know how to adjust all that RGB stuff, but I’ve found a few tricks that make my photos look better without taking too much time.
Color correction can be done through the editing area. To get to the editing area, select a photo and then click the “Edit” button at the bottom left (the pencil icon). You’ll see the options at the bottom: I never ever use “Enhance” as I think it doesn’t work that well. Instead click on “Adjust.” The adjust palette pops up.
Don’t overdo it with the sliders unless you’re going for a photo that looks dreamlike or just plain weird. Instead here’s what I do:
- Move the exposure slider just a bit to the right, to see if it brightens things up nicely without washing everything out.
- Then use the sliders under the colored Levels graph at the top-move the left-hand slider
to the right until it’s just underneath the place where the colored graph line starts to rise from 0. Move the right-hand slider to the left until it’s just underneath the place where the colored graph line dips down to 0.
- Click Done.
This way, the blacks should be very black and the whites should be very white, and you’ve got the range of colors between.
Tip: I find photos that look good when printed often look too bright when onscreen. So often I will make a duplicate of the photo before I color-correct it. Then I have one copy with original color, and one copy with brighter color for putting into a book.
4. Smart Albums
If I want to pull up all the pictures with my brother in them, for example, I can use the Smart Album feature. Smart Album automatically pulls all photos that have whatever characteristic you specify, whether that’s a keyword tag, a date, a title, your rating–even the camera you took the photos with.
To create a Smart Album, click on the “+” button at the bottom left of the screen, and then click “Smart Album” from the icons at the top of the window.
Of course this requires that when you import the photos, you tag them with names and keywords of anything you might want to make a Smart Album with later.
Tip: Two new features of iPhoto ’09 eliminate the need to add certain tags to your photos:
- Faces uses face recognition software to automatically find all the pictures of, say, my brother in my entire photo library.
- The Geotagging feature means that if you take pictures with an iPhone or a GPS-enabled camera, each photo automatically gets tagged with the location where it was taken. (If you’re taking photos with a regular camera, you need to manually tag your own photos by location.)
5. Inspiration and reference albums
You can use iPhoto for way more than just storing and organizing your own photos. You can also use it as a way to store and sort images of any kind that you want to use on a project, or for inspiration, or for reference.
For example I do knitting, sewing, and crochet–and while surfing the net I come across images of scarves, handbags, sweaters, shawls, and tons of other handmade items that are inspirational, or give me ideas for future projects. So I’ve created a few albums in iPhoto specifically for craft inspiration.
When you see a photo online that you want to keep for reference, here’s what you do:
- Right-click (or hold down the Option key and click, same thing) on the image.
- From the pop-up menu that comes up, choose “Add image to iPhoto Library.”
- Open up iPhoto and from the items on the left-hand side, choose “Last import.” The photo you just found on the web should be here. Click and drag that image into any photo album.
You could use this system for storing photos of interiors (if you’re thinking of redoing your living room), or images of business card designs (if you’re looking for inspirational material for your own business cards), as just two examples. This system works great in tandem with Google Images (http://images.google.com/) — search for photos on Google Images and then save and store them in iPhoto for reference.