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Tuesday: August 22, 2006

Five iPhoto enhancements I would like to see.

I love using iPhoto to organize all of my digital photos. I recently decided to give Picasa a spin and discovered that there are some neat little features I wish iPhoto had. After using the two programs side by side there are some other features that would be nice to see in our favorite little photo application for the Mac.

  1. Better Spot Focus Feature and Other Photo Manipulations spot focusing in picasa

    I'm a big fan of this tool in Picasa (and some of the other photo manipulation tools - we'll get to them later). It can be handy for giving a new look to a photo or even to spruce an older picture into a desktop wallpaper (see desktops to find some examples of this from me). However, this feature is nowhere to be found in iPhoto. Closest thing to that kind of manipulation is the Edge Blur tool but it doesn't let you pick a particular spot as Picasa does. There are some other neat image functions in Picasa I like as well, such as the 'Focal Black and White' tool which basically removes color to any given area. Again, a feature not found in iPhoto. The other glaring advantage of Picasa over iPhoto is that you can choose the area you are looking to 'spot' rather than just the edges of a picture (I am referring to the Matte and Vignette features found in iPhoto).

  2. Style Photo Tagging style photo tagging

    I don't tag my photos nearly as much as I could because I feel that the process is slightly annoying in iPhoto. You have to go to Preferences, define your keywords and then drag a photo into that particular created keyword. If you have a photo with multiple keywords you want to tag, it makes the process even more of a pain. There must be an easier way to do this. I'd really love to see a place in the application where I can type any given tag (or tags plural) to a given set of photos. If I have entered a tag previously, iPhoto would populate a list of previously used tags - a la - as a possible suggestion. In my opinion, part of the ease of use in the phenomenon is this kind of quick tagging ability. It's quick and painless. Apple should pick up on this and run with it. Ya know, just to make me and the other photo tagging population happy.

  3. Better Spotlight Integration

    I also think there should be some tuning up of the iPhoto search. Currently, there are some aspects of Spotlight integrated into the software (real time searching as you type; which is great - but only if you've assigned keywords or comments diligently enough) but not some of the more advanced tricks that would make for better power searching. For example, sometimes I am just looking for photos that were taken at a higher resolution setting. This feature is handy to me because I enjoy making desktop wallpaper and posting it for other people to (I hope) enjoy and download. If a photo isn't of a high enough resolution, it can make for an ugly pixelated mess when ported to your desktop. Having a method to sort the high resolution photos from the low res ones would speed things up in that regard.

    spotlight integration

    Searching by particular EXIF data would be nice to include as well. A feature could be included based off of the time a photo was actually taken to show pictures shot during the day or at night. Click a button to see your day shots, click a button to see your night shots. Basically, just a little something to make organizing a little easier and also add some fun to the mix.

    Again, I am aware that some of these kinds of power searching can be done from an advanced Spotlight search (with some clever tweaking) but we are talking about application specific features that would be easier if integrated directly into the software. Who knows, maybe Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) will include this feature.

  4. Collages, not just for Prints and Books collages

    Another Picasa feature I feel that could be 'adapted' to this software is the ability to make a collage from a given set of photos. Basically, I am referring to the neat drag and drop ability of book creation tool. Apple has some neat tricks up their sleeves with Core Animation and Core Image. They could very well build this feature if only to add the ability to add a 'Buy Poster' function. Until then, if you're looking to make a wall collage of your photos you'll have to follow the Mike Matas Life Poster tutorial.

  5. One Click Backup Solution backup

    As someone who has inadvertently lost copious amounts of personal data in the past (both photos and various other documents) adding a feature like this would be a ray of sunshine. Just give me a button that says 'BACKUP' that takes my photos and burns them to multiple DVD's. Really, I have a whole stack of them that are just begging to be used as backups. Now for the technical savvy, I am fully aware that you can just drag your Pictures folder from your home directory and burn a backup that way. But try telling that to someone who barely understands the concept of double-clicking (like your parents). It would just make life easier to know the option is there. Photos are a very precious thing. This was the one thing that really resonated with me while watching the WWDC keynote (Scott Forstall portion of the show). Of course, he would later go on to unveil Time Machine which will probably alleviate this request. However, I still think having a dedicated hard copy backup solution for iPhoto is a smart idea. Even a warning message letting you know upon new import of photos to give a reminder that you haven't backed up recently (although potentially annoying - nothing an on/off switch couldn't fix). You may think this a rather paranoid request but you have no idea how special a particular photo is until you lose it. Cheesy, but this really is a true statement.

Anyone have any other iPhoto enhancements they would like to see? Talk amongst yourselves via the comments.

Posted to Verbose filed in Apple @ 3:09 PM | Tags (3) | iphoto | enhancements | photography |  | Discuss (0) |  | facebook | twitter | 0 Clicks | Posted by Vin

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