Muse by David Teitsma

My attempt to understand and be understood.

iPhoto is a great program to use to manage your photo library. I've made some great photobooks and calendars in it. Unfortunately there is no (useful) instructions on how to switch to a different program. I recently decided to make this switch and was faced with this problem. There are a couple of different methods that blogs have described however they don't:

  • Preserve the Events (the groups of photos) but are instead organized by the date that the photo was taken.
  • Preserve tags or keywords. I've spent a lot of time tagging photos and don't want to have spend the dozen of hours re-tagging photos!
  • Make it easy. Other ways require too many steps and chances for error.

The method I used eliminates all these concerns. Here we go:
  • Download Aperture, request a serial number and install. This is only a 30 day trial but it is fully functional for those thirty days and you should only need it for a couple of days.
  • Import your iPhoto Library into Aperture. When you first open Aperture it will greet you with several options, including Import your iPhoto Library.
  • In the projects tab in the left pane click on Events under iPhoto Library. You should see all your photos in iPhoto in the main pane, if you don't go to View - Browser Only. Make sure no photos are selected, if they are click in the empty space in-between photos.
  • Create a folder where all your photos will be exported too (I put it on my Desktop).
  • Right click on Events and go to Export, then click on Versions.
  • Browse to the folder you created two steps ago. The Export Presets should be set to JPEG- Original Size. Choose how you want the folders organized, which probably is Project Name (this will create a folder for each iPhoto Event). Name format enables you to choose how each file is named. Current Version Name will keep the original file name that was used when it was imported into iPhoto. If you want to have it rename each photo, choose one of the other options.
  • Click Export Versions. Now Aperture will be busy exporting for a while. It took my computer about three hours to export 10,000 photos. Aperture will alert you when it is finished!

All your photos will now be in main folder separated into different sub-folders by Event (if you chose Project Name in the Export options). The tags were saved to the meta-data so your new software will (if compatible) be able to view and edit these tags.

One disadvantage about this method is that it exports only the current version of the image. If you made any changes to a photo (cropping, color balance, brightness / contrast, ...) only the latest version is available. In case I need an original (and I doubt I will), I'm backing up the iPhoto Library to my external hard drive so I can retrieve it later and also have an off site backup.

Now you're no longer stuck with iPhoto!