Some Mac applications are just great and don’t need much in the way of enhancements. iPhoto, much faster and more stable in iLife ‘05, has some shortcomings.
Enhancements to the rescue: Portraits and Prints.
We ran a poll recently on the most used of Apple’s iLife suite of applications. For most users, iTunes came in #1, followed by iPhoto, then iMovie, iDVD, GarageBand. That’s not a surprise. Music, for most of us, takes a higher priority than fooling around with digital photos.
iPhoto has matured (jumping from 2.x to 4.x almost overnight; ok, a year or so) and is stable, dependable (mostly) and does a good job of cataloging, holding, your digital photos.
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 no difficult. It’s just boring.
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. It 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 just not in the cards for iPhoto.
All that and more can be handled in a couple of clicks with Portraits and Prints.
Just as Photos to Movies 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 dealing with digital photographs.
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.
“Portraits and Prints does to iPhoto what Photo to Movie does to iMovie. These are all the features you’d love to have in 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.
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 when you’re ready to print.
Unlike iPhoto, Portraits and Prints “remembers” you settings and can apply them to additional photos with just a click. And you never destroy the original photo (unless you want to).
Enhancements are substantial yet easy. Then you move to printing and 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 (20 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.
Portraits and Prints does to iPhoto was Photo to Movie does to iMovie (not from the same developer). These are all the features you’d love to have in iPhoto. No, you won’t find these features (particularly, the printing ones) in other applications such as the new Adobe Photoshop Elements.
Think of this $20 app as the perfect complement to iPhoto.
Click Here to view the Portraits and Prints feature page. There’s also a working demo you can download. Mac software at its best.
You can never have too many favorite Mac applications. Portraits & Prints comes from a favorite Mac developer, too. Everything they create for the Mac is top notch.
Jack D. Miller
I no longer use iPhoto to print photos. P & P’s got great pre-sets, more options, more templates, and more control. The balloon text is a great addition.
Tera first came upon Portraits & Prints in earlier versions. P & P continues to improve. If you want quality prints, a variety of print styles, and plenty of simple-to-use options, give the free, fully working demo a try. I don’t use anything else when printing a bucket load of prints.