Digging into iPhoto – Scanned Images

iLife logoiPhoto doesn’t have a facility for scanning directly into the photo library and that’s probably a good thing. Your scanning process shouldn’t be any different that it was before using iPhoto. But, once you’ve finished scanning, you will want to “import” your scanned images to iPhoto to organize and catalog them.

Before you start importing, check your iPhoto preferences – the Advanced panel – to be sure the Copy items to the photo library option is NOT checked. Otherwise you will be creating duplicate copies of your image files and if you are scanning high-resolution archival images, that could eat up disk space quickly.

iPhoto treats an import as an event. The school of hard knocks taught me that importing a day’s worth of scanned images as “Old Family 326” was not helping my organizational efforts. Now I scan a group of related items, then import them with an event name that provides a bit more description than “Old Photos”. Using common event names – like Old Family – can get you into trouble too. If an Old Family event already exists, iPhoto will add an index number to the new one.

You can divide a grab bag event into several smaller events using the Split Event command. First select the images you want to split off into a separate event, then choose the Events > Split Event command. Those selected images become their own event called “untitled event”. Rename it and you’re done. Conversely, you can combine multiple events into a new event. Select (Cmd + click) the events you want to combine, then choose the Events > Create Event command. A new untitled event is created holding the contents of the selected images. All you have to do is rename it.

Scanned images aren’t the only thing you can import to iPhoto. If you noticed in last week’s edition, I have a separate library for “Graphics”. This is where I organize most of my scrapbooking elements – both the purchased ones and those I’ve created. I import each kit as a separate event and use keyword tags to identify items as papers, frames, embellishments, etc. Tags can also be used to identify use restrictions, if necessary. Most kits come with a “cover graphic” showing their contents and I use that as the key photo – the photo that appears in the Events window. In the event, select the image you want to be the key photo, then choose the Events > Make Key Photo command. Now I can see at a glance if this is the kit/graphic collection I want.

Next up – putting iPhoto to work in other applications.

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