Recently, I have received a number of emails based on my experiences with iPhoto. They generally went something like this:
I have seen your posts on the various problems that you have experienced with iPhoto. Now that some time has passed and you have not reported any problems with iPhoto 09, what's your opinion? Do you think it is a good photo management application or have you really just lost interest and moved on.
Thanks in advance,
And it of course made me realize that I have not updated my blog with an opinion on whether iPhoto 09 is a decent photo management tool -- once all of the kinks were worked out. So, here we go -- this is my final(?) general review on iPhoto 09.
Overall, my opinion has dramatically improved since I first started with iPhoto 09 as a part of the iLife 09 back in February of this year. It's been quite a journey, bolstered by some fixes by Apple, as well as some major upgrades to my Mac Mini.
Here were some of the highlights:
Which brings me to where we are today...
- It started with a disaster, as iPhoto struggled to import 12,000 photos.
- iPhoto didn't run so well over the network.
- The Trash can wouldn't empty, beachballs everywhere.
- The Faces feature kept crashing.
- But then, the tide started to change...Apple updated iPhoto to version 8.1.
- I upgraded the RAM on my Mac Mini to 4GB (even though only 3GB are addressable by the Intel chipset.
- I then upgraded to a larger 320GB, 7200 RPM Hard Drive.
- And finally, upgraded to OS X 10.6, also known as Snow Leopard.
That I am generally satisfied with the features, performance, and stability of the iPhoto application. It took me six months and some significant hardware upgrades to my Mac Mini, but we're there now -- I am a pretty happy camper, with the 7,000 photos, 200 events, and 100+ faces in my iPhoto library -- it performs as expected.
Which means you can look at it two ways, either I needed to spend $200 to get the performance to make iPhoto work in a way I wanted it to perform...or, my experience dramatically improved as a side benefit from the upgrades. I tend to look at it as the latter as from my perspective I was not specifically solving for iLife / iPhoto.
Though I am generally happy, there are key features which are great, while a couple of areas I would like to see improved in future versions of iPhoto.
Features I like:
- Faces feature with facial recognition, great way to find photos of folks.
- Organization of photos with events and easy grouping.
- Built-in locations for geo-tagged photos.
- General usability moving between photots, events, and modes.
- Ability to create calendars, photo albums, and photo books (more on that in the next couple of days.
Features that need to be improved:
- File organization of photos and events. No rhyme or reason to the organization of the library, when combining multiple events, the photos are spread all over the disk.
- Photo editing. Make it easier, something like the "I'm Feeling Lucky" feature in Google's Picasa photo software where a combination of tune-ups without needing to fine-tune every aspect of the picture.
- Ability to run more effectively from a network. Running iPhoto 09 off a networked drive like a NAS runs too slowly.