Some Mac applications have improved to the point where there’s not much that they need. iPhoto, a part of the iLife suite and free on each new Mac, is good at storing photos, sharing photos, but not at printing photos. iPhoto needs Portraits & Prints.
Mac360 once ran a reader poll on the most used of Apple’s iLife application suite. For most users, iTunes came in #1, followed by iPhoto, then iMovie, iDVD, and GarageBand. That’s not a surprise. Music, for most of us, takes a higher priority than fooling around with digital photos, or making movies or DVDs.
iPhoto has matured (jumping from 2.x to 4.x to 5.x almost overnight; ok, over a couple of Macworld Expo’s) and is stable, dependable (mostly) and does a good job of cataloging, holding, and displaying your digital photos.
Sharing is the cool new word in iLife and iPhoto lets you share photos with ease. Printing? That’s a different story.
We continue to demand more of our Macs and, consequently, more from our Mac applications and iPhoto is no exception. While it holds photos, allows for fast finds, and has a bucket of capabilities, there’s also a few things it doesn’t do well.
Exporting to web pages is no picnic. It’s not difficult. The resulting pages are just boring. Fortunately, there are a number of great photo gallery applications which complement iPhoto.
Touching up photos and getting them ready to print? Well, iPhoto doesn’t do that too well. Actually, barely at all. Just as iMove is a very good application with LQ Graphics’ Photo to Movie (for converting still photos to movement), iPhoto becomes a much better application with Econ Technologies Portraits and Prints.
The title says it all. PandP makes Portraits and Prints that you can’t get from iPhoto.
Yes, iPhoto will print x-number of prints per page, crop, tweak, rotate, and fix red eye. And not much more. Color saturation changes, fixing under exposed photos (common problem), and setting up a gazillion ways to print portraits (and landscapes) is painful for iPhoto.
All that and more can be handled in a couple of clicks with Portraits and Prints.
Just as PhotoToMovie provides a simple interface that almost any Mac user can get the hang of (yet it provides stunningly smooth results that would impress any professional), Portraits and Prints gives iPhoto that extra oooomph that makes for a truly outstanding experience when you want to print, send, or save digital photographs, in ways not handled by iPhoto.
No, Portraits and Prints isn’t Photoshop, or even Photoshop Elements. It does what you’d expect. It takes iPhoto photos and gives you a handful of tools that make the results of printing greater than the sum of the parts.
Econ also makes the popular ImageCaster software; a web cam application on steriods. Portraits and Prints is not on steroids. However, it’s an application that lets you do more with iPhoto.
For example, printers these days make absolutely superb color prints, often as good or better than you’ll get at the photo development store. Using your Mac gives you more control. Portraits and Prints lets you drag and drop photos from your iPhoto collection directly to the canvas (actually, more of a catalog).
The tool bar above has simple tools for brightness, sharpness, contrast, saturation, red eye reduction (nukes red-eye), cropping, rotation and more. Once you’re done applying modifications to the photo, poof, it can go right back into iPhoto.
“Portraits and Prints does to iPhoto what PhotoToMovie does to iMovie. These are the features you’d love to have in iPhoto.”So, first you get more tools that are easier to use than iPhoto for doctoring, coloring, improving, enhancing photos. Add more photos into the catalog, group them however you want. Enhancements get stored in the catalog so you can use them on new photos.
Unlike iPhoto, Portraits and Prints “remembers” your settings and can apply those same settings to additional photos with just a click. You never destroy the original photo (unless you want to).
We took some family photos at a local shopping mall photo shop. You dress up, they take a bunch of photos, you select what you like, they print them out, and give you the CD.
With the original JPEG images, I was able to make additional prints that were actually better than those we paid the photographer. Printing costs these days are nominal so we sent extra prints to relatives.
Enhancements in Portraits and Prints are substantial yet easy. It’s when you move to printing that the fun begins. In iPhoto you get a number of ways to print, but about 10 times that in Portraits and Print.
The onscreen Templates will show you exactly how the photos are to get printed (about three dozen Templates to start, others available from other Mac users at Template Exchange). If you want to print 3 across and 6 down, OK. One 5×7 and a bunch of smaller prints, OK. There’s more Template selections than you’ll have need for.
Captions? Did I fail to mention captions?
Yes, captions can be added to the prints. What a great idea. A little comic relief never hurt anyone.
Portraits and Prints does to iPhoto what PhotoToMovie does to iMovie (not from the same developer). You want more features in iPhoto? Try the demo of Portraits and Prints.
Think of this $30 application as the perfect companion to iPhoto.
Click Here to view the Portraits and Prints feature page. There’s also a working demo you can download.
As with any quality Mac application, Portraits and Prints will take some time to nail down all the features, and get to where you can print better than the local photo developer. The tools are straightfoward, yet powerful. The photo templates make for attractive prints of your digital photos. Crop, shrink, zoom in. Play around. Tell me what you think.
Check out the features when you Click Here, then download the demo.
A word about the developer, Econ Technologies. Generally, most Mac users extend a degree of trust to Apple, Microsoft (the Mac Business Unit), Adobe, Macromedia and other developers. Their products are world class and the stable for Mac users.
Econ is one of those developers that “gets it.” You’ll know what I mean when you try their other applications; ChronoSync, ImageCaster, and Daychaser. Click Here for the list. Econ understands quality, functionality, user interface, dependability, and value.
Tera makes sure we track down those developers that just “get it” and give them credit where it’s due. We also track down crummy developers and expose their worthless Mac applications. Fortunately, there’s more of the former and few of the latter.