I just checked. iPhoto is stuffed with somewhere around 30,000 photos. Yes, iPhoto has been around that long (circa January 2002; iLife came a year later) and most of us have many thousands and thousands of photos. Here’s a good way to tame the photo storage mess. Multiple iPhoto libraries.
Easy Way, Cheap Way
Let me start with the cheaper way to create multiple iPhoto libraries. As it turns out, Apple has it built-in and it’s been there for years.
Hold down the Option key while you click iPhoto’s icon in the Dock. What you’ll get next is a popup dialog box with a few options.
One option is to Create a new library, or click to Open the current iPhoto library, or Search for another library.
That’s the easy and free way to create and use multiple iPhoto libraries. There’s just one problem with the free method.
How do you move photos from your giant, over stuffed iPhoto library into the new library? Trust me. It’s all a manual effort.
Or, you can use iPhoto Library Manager which is an app that manages multiple iPhoto libraries, and comes with real life bells and whistles which makes management much easier.
Just like the free Apple method of creating multiple libraries for iPhoto, iPhoto Library Manager does that, too. It’s an easier way to create multiple smaller libraries which are easier to manage.
What iPhoto Library Manager does different is let you browse photos without opening iPhoto, regardless of which library the photo resides.
Want to split a larger iPhoto library into two or three smaller libraries? iPhoto Library Manager does that with a few clicks. All the associated meta data gets copied, too.
Not only can iPhoto Library Manager create multiple libraries, and move photos into the new libraries, it also merges multiple smaller libraries into one larger library.
The search capability is handy but so is the option to find duplicate libraries, view dupes side-by-side, and then move or trash (I usually move dupes to a separate library). You can even drag and drop photos from one library to another.
If you’re serious about photo management, and iPhoto is still your app of choice, and time is money to you, then create and manage multiple libraries the easiest way possible.