After music CDs and iTunes, the most popular application in Apple’s iLife ‘05 suite is probably iPhoto.
For many Mac users iPhoto is the place to store digital photographs. Is it the only application for photos? No. What do you use?
For now, I use iPhoto. It works. It’s non-destructive (most of the time) to my photos, and gives me the tools I need to manage photos.
For example, creating Albums and Slideshows is a breeze, as is mailing photos to friends. Now at version 5.x, iPhoto is more stable and faster.
Many Mac users also use the free Kodak EasyShare. In many respects, EasyShare is similar to iPhoto.
It’s free, it works, it’s relatively stable, and the feature set is similar.
Other Mac users have grown to like Adobe Photoshop Elements because it handles photos and provides a great array of tools to enhance images.
The Mac version of Photoshop Elements is stuck at 3.0 while the Windows version has already moved to 4.0. Elements is not very fast at managing thousands of digital images, but great at enhancing the images.
At the high end of digital photo management are applications such as Extensis Portfolio. $199 gets you a set of digital imaging tools, a photo catalog manager, and more.
How much more than iPhoto or EasyShare? That’s a good question. Still, there’s a need for managing more than just photos.
iView Media Pro also weighs in at $199 and takes a different approach to managing digital photos.
MediaPro seems to store anything; over 100 different image formats, and allows you to annotate original files (dangerous but fun).
There’s a long list of batch processing options, organizational options, and catalog capabilities. What I like about MediaPro is the ability to view, review, organize, and compare all digital media, not just images.
The newest version has a Lightbox, customized catalogs, direct import from camera, and web gallery options with FTP capability. It’s nice and less than half the price of Apple’s upcoming Aperture (due about the end of November).
Another one of my favorites is Kavasoft’s Shoebox. It’s really just like a digital shoebox (that place where we used to keep photos and negatives) and comes in a $29 version that does more than iPhoto, and a $79 professional version.
Shoebox, similar to other photo managers, lets you organize digital media, categorize as you choose, import, and import from iPhoto, camera, and elsewhere.
It also lets you burn photos to CD/DVD (almost mandatory for a photo management application, eh?)
What’s your poison? What do you use to store and manage your digital photos on your Mac?
There’s a big difference between managing digital photos and manipulating digital photos. iPhoto carries a number of enhancement tools which help doctor an image without destroying the original.
Photoshop Elements may be the best of the relatively inexpensive applications to really enhance digital photos, but it’s not the only one.
We’re also seeing some blurring of the lines between media files. For example, iPhoto can handle most digital image files (JPEG, etc.) and now manages to store QuickTime movie files, too. So does iTunes.
iView MediaPro and others also go beyond JPEGs and store nearly every image or media file available on the Mac, hence the disparity in price from the free iPhoto and EasyShare to $199, to $499, and beyond.
For now, I’m content to keep my digital photos in iPhoto, though I’ll look closely at Apple’s Aperture.
Barbara Marie Hambi
I use Photoshop Elements and Portraits & Prints for image processing, but I keep all my photos in iPhoto. For now. Aperture looks sweet but I’m not sure I can justify the price.
Carol Mary Miller
Sorry, I have to go with iPhoto, but I also use iPhoto Library Manager because I need to keep family photos separate from business photos. I’ll look at Aperture, too. I tried iView MediaPro but found it too confusing. It’s just photos.
iView MediaPro all the way. iPhoto is for amateurs. I’ve got photos, movies, and graphic images of all kinds, many left over from Windows days (The Dark Years), so I need more than iPhoto.
Tera Jean Patricks
I’ve got everything in iPhoto now. About 8,000 photos saved through the years. What’s Apple’s Aperture?