Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

I need help switching back to iPhoto

May 11, 2007

In February of this year I switched from iPhoto to Aperture for very specific reasons. My laptop’s hard drive was running out of space, as it was housing my photo library that was quickly approaching 25,000 photos and pushing about 30 Gigabytes, and I wanted to take advantage of Aperture‘s ability to store photo masters on an external drive.

So why switch back? When I described why I had switched and my experiences doing so back in February I had said that I ran into many problems all of which I was able to solve save two:

The two things I have yet to solve, which are rather large things: 1) Spotlight can no longer find my photos since switching to [edit: from] iPhoto. I am really not sure where to start with fixing this so I think I’m just going to have to ask someone. 2) Reorganizing my keywords in Aperture (since I had them set up in iPhoto) is impossible. When I bring up the Keywords HUD, I’m greeted with all of my keywords residing subordinately to a master keyword of ‘iPhoto’. When I try to access the keywords that are “below” iPhoto Aperture freezes. Perhaps I have too many keywords (I do have an awful lot). I’m not sure how to solve this one yet either. Maybe there is a raw .plist file that I can manually edit (and I am willing to do so).

After using Aperture for the past 3 months I’ve yet to resolve either of these issues. Recently there was an update to Aperture from Apple that, according to the documentation for the update, was supposed to help resolve my second issue with having too many keywords for Aperture to handle – but it hasn’t helped much. So since switching to Aperture I’ve not tagged more than maybe fifty photos, which is discouraging because I know that once I switch back to iPhoto I’m going to be busy tagging photos again.

So I suppose you could say I’m switching back for two main reasons. First, I want it to be much easier to tag my photos since that is probably the single most important thing to me and the experience with iPhoto and Keyword Manager is far superior to that of using keywords in Aperture. Second, I want my photos to start showing up in Spotlight searches again. I’m more than willing to deal with the caveat, albeit a rather large one, that I won’t have my photos with me wherever I go anywhere but that they’ll forever reside on my firewire drive.

What I need help with…

When I open iPhoto I see all of the previews for the photos that I had the day I switched to Aperture. However, the originals have been moved by Aperture onto my firewire drive – so when I click on each photo all I get is a ( ! ) symbol. The previews still reference a file that does not exist yet the iPhoto database still retains all of the relevant metadata (date/time, keywords, comments, etc) that I had worked so hard to put into iPhoto. I need to retain this information and somehow get the originals back into place so that iPhoto sees them again.

What I thought about doing was this: 1) Somehow restore the originals for the almost 25,000 photos into the place where iPhoto thinks they should be. 2) Move the entire library to my external firewire drive. 3) Import the remaining images that I’ve taken since switching to Aperture into iPhoto.

Since I have Aperture store my photos by date – importing only the images that I’ve imported into Aperture should be a piece of cake. I do not need to retain any metadata from Aperture since I’ve only tagged a few photos in Aperture and all of the other information I may need should be on the original file (like date taken, etc.). I know I’m going to lose a lot of edits that I’ve done like cropping, rotating, color balancing, red-eye reduction, etc. but I’m more than willing to lose all of that if it means that I can pick up where I left off and get back into the swing of things in iPhoto.

I’ve Googled like crazy and haven’t found someone doing exactly what I’m trying to accomplish so any help with my current situation is greatly appreciated. I’ve also posted this on the Apple Discussion boards.

[tags]apple, aperture, iphoto, google, photo library, help, firewire, external, switch, restore[/tags]