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Mac Automation: holiday photos

Cory Bohon

Now that you have downed the Egg Nog and feasted on the holiday food, it's time for the worst part of Christmas ... importing and organizing all those photos. Thanks to Automator and iPhoto, this task can be extremely easy. In this how-to, I will show you how to import your photos, carefully tuck them away in a new photo album, and e-mail them to friends and family. This tutorial assumes that you are using Mac OS X Leopard, and iPhoto 08; however it may work with Tiger and iPhoto 06.

Importing Photos

First launch Automator, then find the following actions and place them in the same order:
  • Download Pictures
  • Import Files into iPhoto

Now, let's tweak some of the action's settings. In both of the actions, select the "options" button at the bottom, and select the check box "show this action when the work flow runs." This will allow you to use a different setting each time you use this work flow.

Now you have a basic photo importer that will quickly import files into iPhoto. Just connect your camera, and click Automator's "Run" button, and the photos are merrily imported.

Importing & E-mailing Photos
E-mailing a large group of photos can sometimes be a pain; but not with Automator. Let's take the above work flow a bit further and create an e-mail from the photos that you have on your camera.

For this work flow, you'll need the following actions (in the same order):
  • Download Pictures
  • Import Files into iPhoto
  • Review Photos
  • New Mail Message

Now to tweak some of the settings. For all the actions, select their "option" tab, then select, "show this action when the work flow runs." In the "Review Photos" action, select the "Approved images" check box, as this will allow you to e-mail only those images you approve. Fill out as much, or as little of the information in the "New Mail Message" action as you would like; when the action runs, you will be asked to supply the people that you want to e-mail.

Here's the walk-through of this work flow:
  1. Connect your camera to your Mac and click "Run" in Automator.
  2. A dialog will appear asking you to download the images from your camera. Click continue. (You can also check the box if you would like iPhoto to delete your images after you're done).
  3. Automator will then ask you if you would like your images to be placed in a new or existing album. Once you have selected an album (or typed in a new one), click continue.
  4. iPhoto will launch, import your photos, and add them the album you supplied in the last step.
  5. A Image Review dialog box will then appear allowing you to reject or approve images. You can use the flip image button to correct your images. When you see a photo that you want to e-mail, click "Approve." For the ones you don't want to e-mail, select "Reject."
  6. Once you have completed reviewing your photos, a new mail message will be generated. This message will include all of your approved photos in the body.
I hope this tutorial will alleviate some of the headaches we all get when dealing with digital photos.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

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