Admit it. You have a lot of photos in iPhoto. Most Mac users do. iPhoto is a good repository and gives you a few color and image enhancement tools, but it’s really just a big, dumb, digital photo bucket aimed at the Mac masses.
Can you do better than iPhoto? It depends on how much money you have to spend and what you want. But alternatives to iPhoto do exist. Here’s one that’s decent but comes with a couple of caveats.
What Your Photo Bucket Also Needs
Sparkbox is an iPhoto-like app, but aimed more toward those who collect photos, manage photos, and need a few tools not easily handled in iPhoto.
On the surface, Sparkbox will look similar to iPhoto, but it manages photos, and doesn’t enhance photos.
The photo Library is in the left column. Instead of Albums, you create Categories in which to store your photos.
Sparkbox has an integrated web snap tool to capture online images. It handles all the basic Mac image formats (JPEG, PNG, PSD, TIFF, BMP, even ICNS).
All the images can be viewed in the Preview window with a click. Very handy is the Color Search Engine at the top. Click a color in the bar and all photos that match that color are displayed.
Sorting through photo collections is similar to that effort in iPhoto. Use the slider bar to increase or decrease the size of the images or photos in the viewer.
The Toolbar at the top is self explanatory. Click Categories to reveal the left sidebar of Library and your Categories.
Click Tags to add a tag, description or keywords to each photo. You’ll also see details on the image, including creation and modification date, file size and type, DPI, color model used, and more.
Images can also be labeled using a color scale similar to that found in the Mac’s Finder.
To help you collect images from the web, Sparkbox comes with a Safari extension. Think of it as a one-click way to grab a browser web page.
What I’d really like to see instead is a way to capture some of the images within a web page.
Sparkbox gives you a few enhancements for managing photos and images that you won’t get in iPhoto. Adding and modifying meta data is handy.
You can annotate right on the screen. Change the Library location on your Mac to take advantage of online storage and sync (as in Dropbox).
All things considered, Sparkbox is a good tool to manage images and photos. It’s fast, elegant, almost simplistic, and easily searched.
What’s missing? A competitive price tag for starters. And a few of OS X’s built-in image enhancing tools would be helpful. Automatic iCloud support and a comparable iPhone or iPad version (multi-device synchronization is all the rage these days).