Section 7.3. Working with Your Photos

7.3. Working with Your Photos

All right: You've gotten the hang of the Source list, the Library, and film rolls. Enough learning about iPhoto alreadynow it's time to start using it.

7.3.1. Scrolling Through Your Photos

Browsing, selecting, and opening photos is straightforward. Here's everything you need to know:

  • Use the vertical scroll bar to navigate through your thumbnails. (Pressing your Page Up and Page Down keys work, too. They scroll one screenful at a time.)

    Tip: If your photos scroll by too fast for you to find the ones you want, try using iPhoto's Slow Scroll mode. Hold down the Option key while dragging the scroll box in the scroll bar. You get a much slower, smoother scroll, making it easier to navigate to a specific row of thumbnails.
  • Scrolling can take awhile if you have a full library, especially if you haven't collapsed the film rolls you're not using. But you can use this standard Mac OS X trick for faster navigation: Instead of dragging the scroll box or clicking the scroll bar arrows, Option-click the spot on the scroll bar that corresponds to the location you want in your Library. If you want to jump to the bottom of the Library, Option-click near the bottom of the scroll bar. To find photos in the middle of your collection, Option-click the middle portion of the scroll bar, and so on.

    Note: By turning on "Scroll to here" in the General panel of your System Preferences, you can make this the standard behavior for all Mac OS X scroll barsthat is, you won't need the Option key.
  • Press Home to jump to the very top of the photo collection, or End to leap to the bottom.

  • To create the most expansive photo-viewing area possible, you can temporarily hide the Source list at the left side of the window. To do so, drag the divider bar (between the Source list and the main photo-viewing area) all the way to the left edge of the window. You've just hidden the Source list.

    To reveal that panel again, grab the left edge of the iPhoto window and drag it to the right.

Tip: You can speed up iPhoto's scrolling by turning off the Drop Shadow option in the Appearance section of iPhoto's Preferences window.

7.3.2. Size Control

You can make the thumbnails in iPhoto grow or shrink using the Size Control slider (on the right side of the iPhoto window, just under the photo-viewing area). Drag the slider all the way to the left, and you get micro-thumbnails so small that you can fit 200 or more of them in the iPhoto window. If you drag it all the way to the right, you end up with such large thumbnails that you can see only one picture at a time.

Tip: You don't have to drag the Size Control slider; just click anywhere along the controller bar to make the slider jump to a new setting. Using this technique, you can instantly change the size of thumbnails from large to small, for example, by clicking once at the left end of the controller.

By the way, you might notice that this Size Control slider performs different functions, depending on which mode iPhoto is in. When you're editing a photo, it zooms in and out of an individual image; when you're designing a photo-book layout (Chapter 10), it magnifies or shrinks a single page.

Tip: You may want to adopt a conservative dragging approach when using the Size Control slider, since iPhoto may respond slowlyin enlarging or shrinking the photos. Just dragin small movements so the program can keep pace with you.

7.3.3. Selecting Photos

To highlight a single picture in preparation for printing, opening, duplicating, or deleting, click the icon once with the mouse.

That much may seem obvious. But many first-time Mac users have no idea how to manipulate more than one icon at a timean essential survival skill.

To highlight multiple photos in preparation for deleting, moving, duplicating, printing, and so on, use one of these techniques:

  • To select all photos . Select all the pictures in the set you're viewing by pressing -A (the equivalent of the Edit Select All command).

  • To select several photos by dragging . You can drag diagonally to highlight a group of nearby photos, as shown in Figure 7-4. You don't even have to enclose the thumbnails completely; your cursor can touch any part of any icon to highlight it. In fact, if you keep dragging past the edge of the window, iPhoto scrolls the window automatically.

    Figure 7-4. You can highlight several photos simultaneously by dragging a box around them. To do so, start from somewhere outside of the target photos and drag diagonally across them, creating a whitish enclosure rectangle as you go. Any photos touched by this rectangle are selected when you release the mouse.

    Tip: If you include a particular thumbnail in your dragged group by mistake, -click it to remove it from the selected cluster.
  • To select consecutive photos . Click the first thumbnail you want to highlight, and then Shift-click the last one. All the files in between are automatically selected, along with the two photos you clicked (Figure 7-5, top). This trick mirrors the way Shift-clicking works in a word processor, the Finder, and many other kinds of programs.

    Figure 7-5. Top: To select a block of photos (as indicated by the faint colored border on each one), click the first one, and then Shift-click the last one. iPhoto selects all the files in between your clicks.
    Bottom: To select nonadjacent photos, -click them. (Or, to remove one of the photos from your selection, -click it.)

  • To select random photos . If you only want to highlight, for example, the first, third, and seventh photos in a window, start by clicking photo icon No. 1. Then -click each of the others. Each thumbnail sprouts a colored border to indicate that you've selected it (Figure 7-5, bottom).

    If you're highlighting a long string of photos and then click one by mistake, you don't have to start over. Instead, just -click it again, and the dark highlighting disappears. (If you do want to start over from the beginning, however, just deselect all selected photos by clicking any empty part of the window.)

    The key trick is especially handy if you want to select almost all the photos in a window. Press -A to select everything in the folder, then -click any unwanted photos to deselect them. You'll save a lot of time and clicking.

Tip: You can also combine the -clicking business with the Shift-clicking trick. For instance, you could click the first photo, then Shift-click the tenth, to highlight the first ten. Next , you could -click photos 2, 5, and 9 to remove them from the selection.

Once you've highlighted multiple photos, you can manipulate them all at once. For example, you can drag them en masse out of the window and onto your desktopa quick way to export them. (Actually, you may want to drag them onto a folder in the Finder to avoid spraying their icons all over your desktop.) Or you can drag them into an album at the left side of the iPhoto window. Just drag any one of the highlighted photos; all other highlighted thumbnails go along for the ride.

In addition, when multiple photos are selected, the commands in the File, Edit, Photos, and Share menusincluding Duplicate, Print, Revert To Original, and Emailapply to all of them simultaneously.

7.3.4. Opening Photos

iPhoto wouldn't be a terribly useful program if it let you view only postage stamp versions of your photos (unless, of course, you like to take pictures of postage stamps). Fortunately, iPhoto lets you open photos at full size, zoom in on details, and even edit them to enhance their appearance. (Editing photos is covered blow-by-blow in the next chapter.)

The easiest way to open a photo is simply to double-click a thumbnail. Unless you've changed iPhoto's settings, the photo opens in the main iPhoto window, scaled to fit into the viewing area.

This is the way most people start out opening pictures using iPhoto, and there's nothing technically wrong with this method. Nevertheless, it does have several drawbacks:

  • You can have only one picture open at a time.

  • Pictures opened by double-clicking are always scaled to fit within the iPhoto window, even if that means scaling them upward , over 100 percent of their actual size. As a result, smaller pictures wind up pixellated and distorted as they're stretched to fill the whole window.

    Worse yet, at this point, there's no way to zoom out . You can zoom in further, but you can't reduce the magnification.

  • Double-clicking a thumbnail catapults you directly into iPhoto's Edit mode , hiding all your other thumbnails and transforming the lower panel in the iPhoto window into the Edit pane, with its various cropping, red-eye removal, and color -changing tools. That's great if you're ready to start editing photos. But if you opened the picture simply because you wanted to see it at full size, you now have to click the Done button (at the bottom-right corner of the screen) to return to viewing and sorting your photo collection.

Tip: Here's a really cool shortcut for exiting Edit mode and returning to your full photo collection: Double-click the photo you're editing. The better way to open photos

You can avoid all of these problems by using iPhoto's much smarter , but less obvious, method of opening photos: Open each picture in its own window .

There are two ways to do this:

  • Go to iPhoto Preferences and change the photo-opening setting. On the General panel, select the "Opens in edit window button. Then close the window.

    Tip: Pressing Option reverses whichever choice you make here. That is, if you've chosen "Changes to edit view" in the Preferences window, then Option-double-clicking a thumbnail opens the photo into a separate window instead. Conversely, if you've chosen "Opens in edit window," Option-double-clicking a thumbnail overrides your choice and opens it into the main iPhoto viewing area.(Option-double-clicking has no effect if you've selected the third Preferences option, "Opens in other," which is described in Chapter 8.)
  • Control-click the photo. Choose "Open in separate window" from the shortcut menu.

When a photo opens in its own window, all kinds of control and flexibility await you. First, you can scale it up or down simply by making the window larger or smaller (by dragging its lower-right corner). You can close an open photo from the keyboard by pressing -W. And best of all, you can open multiple pictures and look at them side by side, as shown in Figure 7-6.