The iLife series, #3: What you can do with iPhoto

The iLife set of programs is designed to manage the entire collection of photos, music, movies and multimedia projects on any Mac. In the beginning, this can be quite confusing for people who are used to the simple file-and-folder type organization. But once you get used to having your media categorized and tagged in every manner you need, there’s no going back.

The application that performs this function for photos on the Mac is iPhoto.  This iPhoto Tutorial will help you understand the best ways to utilize iPhoto to help manage your photo collection.   As a photo manager, it will help you:

  • Store photos in a library
  • Group photos according to “events”, for example “X’s wedding”
  • Group photos by date – this is done automatically, by reading the photo’s metadata. When the metadata is not present, it works by import date.
  • Create custom albums, books, calendars and slideshows for print and virtual publication. These can be printed out using Apple’s own service, which delivers the hard copies by post.
  • Rate photos on a scale of 1 to 5 stars
  • Create “smart albums” that group photos according to any parameter – date, ISO, rating, faces, names, location and many more

Elementary photo editing can also be done on iPhoto. You can see your available options on the bottom of your screen, as well as in the menu that appears on clicking the “adjust” button.

Name edit rotate etc

Adjust menu

These options include:

  • remove red-eye
  • retouch
  • apply preset effects – sepia, matt etc
  • enhance color with one click
  • adjust brightness, contrast, RGB balance, sharpness, temperature, tint and more

Photo edit menu

One thing needs to be clear, however. iPhoto is meant for consumers, not passionate or professional photographers. It is no substitute for the big guns like Adobe Photoshop, but it works just fine for people who want to polish up their photos before saving them.

The next area of this iPhoto tutorial will help you understand how to quickly share your photos from iPhoto.  For people who share photos frequently from their computers, iPhoto’s flawless integration with Flickr, FaceBook and Apple’s own Mail and MobileMe can be a lifesaver.
When you click on any events or folders in your iPhoto Library, you will see buttons for these 4 applications on the bottom right of your screen. Simply click on the one you need, enter your login details(for Facebook or Flickr), et voila!


Any events or slideshows that you create on iPhoto can be shared across all your Apple-iances (pardon the wordplay!) by clicking on the “Export” button on the bottom right. This exports the project into a format recognized by iTunes, so that it works on your iPhone or iPod touch as well as the iMacs and MacBooks.

To create a new slideshow, book, calendar or card, all you need to do is to click the photos you would like to use, and click the button on the bottom of your screen. Holding down the Cmd(Apple) key while clicking lets you select multiple photos.
Apple has provided a commendable collection of backgrounds and themes for slideshows, cards, calendars and books, just as it has done with the iDVD themes. The themes can also be customized to a great extent – the background color, page layout, border type and image order can all be changed at will.

Whether you just want to keep your precious memories nicely organized, want a homemade project to gift a loved one, or want practice for your life as a professional photographer, iPhoto is a great program to help you do it.

Have additional helpful knowledge on how to get more from iPhoto?  Be sure to let us know in the comments!