Many people rely iPhoto as their sole photo management tool on the Mac. That is because iPhoto is well designed with all the basic features one needs. However iPhoto does have some room for improvement. Problems can occur when users want to switch to a different application for either editing or managing those files.
To edit photos in a different application, users can either export the modified file, the original file, or go digging into the library to find the original files. The original file is the best to use with other applications. The problem occurs when users add meta-data to pictures in iPhoto. Meta-data includes geolocation information, captions, keywords, etc. This information is not stored in the original file, but in the iPhoto library. The only way to transfer this information, is to export a copy from iPhoto. However, if the iPhoto library gets corrupted or iPhoto stops working, that data could be lost. All the time adding meta-data to photos would not be lost if that meta-data could be saved to a file instead of just within iPhoto library. Those original files can then be transferred to other applications.
This “Save Meta-Data to File” feature is part of Aperture, so Apple already knows how to do this. Most other photo management tools also read and save meta-data from the original or [sidecar files] including Adobe’s Lightroom. It would let users feel more comfortable with adding meta-data because they know that data will not be lost should iPhoto stops working or if they want to switch to a different application.
iPhoto is a robust photo management tool that works for most of the general public and that comes with every Mac. However one of its drawbacks is that it doesn’t work well with other photo editing applications. By keeping the meta-data all to itself, iPhoto makes it difficult to transfer that meta data to other apps. To improve iPhoto Apple should start making it easier to share meta-data by adding a simple “Save Meta-Data to File” feature.
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