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ryan

What's the best way to manage large iPhoto libraries?

My iPhoto library is getting pretty big these days -- almost 15GB, actually -- which is making it pretty unwieldy. That size has also made it a pretty big storage liability on my current 80GB Intel X-25M (2nd-gen) SSD, as would it on a 64GB MacBook Air (which I've been toying with the idea of snagging). So, what's the best way to manage these photo libraries that only seem to get larger with time?

I've already kicked the tires on iPhoto Library Manager (www.fatcatsoftware.com­/iplm/ ) as well as another tool called iPhoto Diet (www.rhythmiccanvas.com­/software­/iphotodiet/ ), although neither really serve as a proper iPhoto plugin that automagically handles archival / library pruning.

I've also considered simply storing everything on an external drive, but then I'd have to make sure that that drive is properly backed up in addition to my internal disk (which is already kind of a pain). Fairly inelegant solution though. How do you handle your (large) iPhoto library?

P.S. -Can't wait until we get better software integration on the product db -- tagging this thread as Leopard / Snow Leopard is definitely hacky!
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shortie

if you have a pro. do what i did and add this www.mcetech.com­/optibay/ Ive got a 80GB Intel X-25M as my primary and the optibay with the original 320 gig hard drive from my machine for data. I know this is not an option for everyone. but it working for me.
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ryan

@cocoatouchapps on Twitter recommends iPhoto Buddy: www.iphotobuddy.com/

Looks promising! I might check this one out later today.
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nathanw

Is that all your photos, or is some the photo cache of resized images for iphone/touch/ipad? My library was getting close to 25GB, but it turned out that about half was the cache from itunes syncing photos.... support.apple.com­/kb­/ts1314
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ryan

From @jpdefillippo (Jason Defillippo) on Twitter who apparently didn't feel like answering on the site (grumble): "Port to Lightroom 3. I have 900GB of photos. Lightroom catalogs for each year that makes backup and transport very manageable. Take what you need." Interesting!

Looking into Aperture further, it looks like its organization features are also pretty solid and conducive to multi-library setups across a variety of storage locations. See: www.apple.com­/aperture­/features­/­#organize
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dougfraser

I had the same problem. Ended up switching to Aperture and storing everything on a portable 750GB drive that I have in my backpack. Aperture keeps a preview copy of the photo on my computer, and if I need the full resolution image I plug in the portable HD. As crappy as it is I back that up to an external drive at home and to Mozy. Not an elegant solution but it does keep the data safe and my MacBook Pro's SSD from becoming overloaded.
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apotropaic

You might consider Picasa actually. Apature is great and all but more geared towards pros. Pay google $20 for 80gb of cloud storage and you can set your folders to auto sync to picasaweb, even from that external, and any future edits (tags, captures, correct) are synced to picasaweb. picasa by default never changes or duplicates you original image, so will keep your GB usage down to a minimum. Apature would be overkill for you it sounds like, if all you want is library management. Try out picasa, and you can google iphoto to picasa for some easy steps on best way to move things over
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cmason

Had similar issues. iPhoto library mgr just resulted in lots of disconnected libraries. My answer was to drop iPhoto and begin using Lightroom. Highly recommend switching to Lightroom. Far more capable, and 15 GB is nothing in Lightroom.
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rqc

I haven't found anything automatic. My library was almost 100GB. I finally chose iPhoto Library Manager, put the full library on an external drive, put a subset library on my SSD, and added both libraries to my CrashPlan local and online backup. I may move to a ReadyNAS and install the CrashPlan Linux client onto the ReadyNAS to let it back up to CrashPlan Central instead of using my external drive. Definitely takes some manual management, but it was the only solution I could assemble readily.
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gagdetechie

May sound a bit corny - but I've split up my library chronologically and use iPhoto Library Manager to get at the full edition of the pics. I did an export of the various libraries and generated snapshots sized editions of each picture and created a mySQL database to store the blobs and sourcing information and I have various wrappers to sample the images, as needed.

I more or less treat each of these libraries as an archive, point-in-time snap shot of the iPhoto library and back them up into a couple of place - two different external hard drives; one via a copy and the second via TimeMachine. I find that if the current library is too cumbersome - then I create a split and trim the primary library. Having the redundancy on 2 device is nice since years ago on my PC I lost everything and the wife is still on me to this day for loosing the honeymoon pictures. (Better safe the SORRY!!).

p.s. you may also want to look into some of the off-site "cloud" storage options as most offer space for a fairly reasonable price (~$5/month, unlimited), especially if you infrequently access the content. But I'd recommend, this as an additional location to save your files - save locally and save to the "cloud" since some remove content as you do on you machine!
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sledlow

Personally I'm thinking of moving to Aperture. I hate that I can organize all my photos with DIM and it puts them in handy \Year\Month with date sequential filenames, and then the import to iPhoto makes all 04 (April) directories one Event so all photos from April across all years are mucked up together.
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jonursenbach

Why not just strictly use something like Flickr?
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durwin

I have 16gb of Photos. I have them stored on my Mac and I use iPhoto. They are backed up on 2 external hard drives and I have a Pro Flickr account. So i'm covered.

To answer your question, I have 3 recommendations.
1. Use 2 external hard drives, one as a backup and use a cloud service (flickr, smugmug).
2. Use a Drobo and use a cloud service (flickr, smugmug).
3. Just use the cloud.

I still use #1 cause I can't afford a Drobo (they should make a cheaper 2 bay unit) and I don't use #3 cause I'm not 100% comfortable with my cloud options yet.
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microbreak

If you know how you want to archive (e.g., each year) your photos, it might be easiest to create multiple libraries.
Keep the oldest libraries on your Drobo and leave your most recent libraries on your Mac.

How does that sound?
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