iPhoto is not my favorite Mac app. It’s utilitarian. Useful for the masses. Devoid of professional tools to enhance photos. Devoid of a reasonable workflow.
The latest version of iPhoto is not an improvement for me but comes loaded with useful functions to enhance your digital photo experience. All the basics have been improved and expanded. A few are pleasant surprises.
6 Full Screen Enhancements
By far, my favorite feature in iPhoto ‘11 is the new Full-Screen Mode. Full screen is the way to go because photos demand pixels. Full-Screen mode comes in Events, Faces, Places, Albums, Projects, and Editing.
Events will look much the same as Events in iPhoto versions of the past.
Faces is still a cork board of all the faces iPhoto can find among your thousands of digital photos. It’s not bad.
All the tools for each function are place in a row at the bottom of the full screen. In the center are Events, Faces, Places, Albums, and Projects. Only Editing is treated differently.
Places seems, well, out of place. Who travels all over North America and Europe. If you’re like most Mac users, your travels are limited, and most of your photos don’t come with any specific location (unless you enter the information—tedious at best).
Albums are improved remarkably and look like the albums in the iPad, making it easy to skim through the stacks of photos and click to view in a slideshow.
Apple’s use of the book shelf metaphor extends from iBooks to iPhoto Projects. What are projects? Books and cards—what used to be the kind you’d create and have printed (which you can still do) now reside on a shelf so they can be viewed like Albums.
Alas, Photoshop is in no danger from Apple’s lack of love for photo enhancements. Editing is still anemic but much easier to use. Click to change a single photo (there’s that workflow problem again) to black and white, sepia, antique, or give it a matte, vignette, or edge blur. Click to saturate with color, too. It’s easier. Not enhanced.
Sharing And Slide Shows, Oh My!
Finally, iPhoto shares better. There’s Facebook integration—to and from. Share a photo by publishing directly to your Facebook Wall (or album). When friends comment on your photos, you see the comments in iPhoto.
Adding a name via Tag Faces in iPhoto also shows up as a Facebook name tag. And iPhoto remembers what you’ve shared to Facebook without having to go to Facebook.
Sharing efforts are enhanced with Emailing Photos, too. No longer just blah-lah photos in an email, iPhoto comes with attractive themes so you can customize an email message specifically for—here it comes—MobileMe, Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, AOL, Hotmail, and Apple Mail. The templates are drag and drop and striking.
Ditto for the Cardstock and Postcard options. Think postcard. Think announcement cards. Think quality paper without the tree suffering. The Collage option is more limited useful for relatives who to know where you’ve been and what you did. Or, didn’t do.
My least favorite new function is Slideshows. Instead of using old iMovie-like themes, Apple relied on six simple basics. Holiday, Reflections, Vintage, Places, and Origami. Instead of six there should be dozens.
The Books feature is an enhanced version of Apple’s previous Books functionality.
Grab a bunch of photos and drop them into pre-designed hardbound book templates.
Nothing new to see here. Move along to the Letterpress.
Letterpress Cards are custom cards with photos and text. Premium paper, meeting digital photography. There are over one dozen themes with envelopes and they are drop dead gorgeous.
iPhoto isn’t my favorite Mac iLife app, but it’s continually improved without being over complicated. The new Full-Screen Mode, which moves tools to the bottom of the screen, makes it easier to view, and easier to create albums, projects, and easier to share.