iPhoto is Apple's default photo management solution. I have used it since early 2004 when I purchased my first Mac. I currently run OS X 10.6.8. and iPhoto '09 (iPhoto version 8.1.2 Build 424). In late 2013, this is considered an old version of the OS and an old version of iPhoto. I have seen more recent versions of iPhoto as my wife runs 10.7 and a newer version of iPhoto.
In the spring of 2012 I purchased a Cannon t3i and started to shoot RAW. (Read large photo size and editable images.) So, I need a photo editing solution with more power than iPhoto. My iPhoto collection was also starting to wax big approaching 28,000 images at the time (and why not after 9 years of collecting photos).
iPhoto is a brilliant way to browse photos and gives great access to simple tools to crop, rotate, and apply redeye reduction. However, iPhoto has a weakness when it comes to embedded metadata. If you want to export your photo, with geo-tagged location, and with keywords applied then one needed to export the photo as a .jpg. And one could not apply these metadata "enrichments" to the original photo file type. iPhoto's "Export Original" is just that, the original file, not the original plus added metadata.
One user on in a small business / family network can’t use (with metadata) all the media in a colleague’s or family member’s iTunes or iPhoto Library.
In our family there are three Macs (2 everyday machines and a server). On many work and personal tasks we function as a small workgroup. Unfortunately iTunes and iPhoto do not facilitate the sharing of media libraries (or for that matter the merging of media libraries). For instance, my wife had her own music and photo collection before we got married. Now if I want to browse that collection from my machine, there is iPhoto & iTunes sharing. But I can not add tags or other metadata to photos on her Mac. I can not create smart folders which we both can use.
For our music we moved my collection to the Server and made it like a “media center”. When we get new music we add it to the server. If we want a copy on our own machines we pull it as needed. i.e. for an iMove project. This solution has not allowed my wife to add her collection to the server, nor has it solved the manny duplicates which exist because we like many of the same songs. Now I have found a solution to this: PowerTunes.
Now the same problems exist for our photos. However, there is no real advantage (or software) for hosting the family photos on our sever. But we still need to define a photo capture strategy.
When we take new photos, to which computer are we going to download the photos?
Where will we have the master library?
I don’t have a complete solution to our photo capture, retention and access needs but iPhoto Library Manager is the only software out there that will let us maintain the metadata and merge our iPhoto Libraries. However, This is a fantastic first step strategy:
Consolidate the iPhoto Libraries.
Designate an computer to be the Master Library holder.