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“Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac” Ready for Everyone

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It’s done! As I’m sure you’re aware, throughout July and August, we serialized Jeff Carlson’s “Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac,” releasing one chapter per week as a perk for TidBITS members (see “Streamed Advice for Managing Your Digital Photos,” 1 July 2013). It was a successful experiment, encouraging perhaps 250 people to join the TidBITS membership program who might not have otherwise, giving Jeff a writing schedule to hit, and eliciting a variety of comments and questions from readers that helped us refine the book (and even add a chapter on how to migrate photos to a different app!).

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been adding finishing touches to “Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac,” subtle changes that make for an overall smoother reading and learning experience. We made sure that instructions for the four apps discussed always appeared in the same order, arranged our tips for the “Harried Photographer” at the starts of their chapters, tweaked text and screenshot size for optimal PDF page breaks, customized the CSS stylesheet for the EPUB and Mobipocket (Kindle) versions, and more. Plus, you may have noticed, we retitled the book to include “on a Mac,” since that salient fact might have been obvious to the TidBITS audience, but wouldn’t have been when the book hit Amazon and the iBookstore.

If you’re a TidBITS member, you can continue to read the chapters on our Web site for free, but if you’d prefer a fully linked PDF, EPUB, or Mobipocket version that you can read outside of a Web browser, you can pick up a copy for 30 percent off the cover price of $15 (click through to the Take Control site from your member benefits page to load the coupon). For those who aren’t TidBITS members and wanted to stand by for the final product, we think you’ll find the 135-page ebook worth the wait.

Our goal for “Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac” was to help Mac users stop drowning in a sea of digital photos, unable to find any given shot from years ago. If that describes you, you’re far from alone — I fully admit to suffering from a surfeit of photos too, and while iPhoto might have the necessary capabilities to organize them, I have years of photos in it that may as well be stuffed in a shoebox on a top shelf in a locked closet.

In “Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac,” Jeff helps Mac users build and maintain a digital photo workflow that makes it easy to import, tag, rate, and store photos so they can be found quickly and easily later. Many of you undoubtedly know Jeff from his years of work on TidBITS, but what you may not realize is that he has turned himself into an award-winning photographer over the last decade. That’s why we tapped him to write this book, where he combines his technical and organizational savvy with an appreciation of the realities of shooting picture after picture in pursuit of great images.

You’ll start with learning to shoot smarter, by ensuring that your camera is doing all it can to help with organization. The next step is to choose the right photo-management app for your needs — Jeff explains the key features you should be looking for and how they’re implemented in the four most popular Mac apps: iPhoto and Aperture from Apple, and Lightroom and Photoshop Elements from Adobe. (If you’re not using the right app now, don’t worry, since the last chapter walks you through migrating from iPhoto to Aperture or Lightroom, or from Aperture to Lightroom.)

After that, it’s on to learning what to do when importing photos to reduce the amount of work later on, how to rate your photos quickly and cull the bad ones, and what you should do in terms of assigning additional metadata. What metadata, you ask? Keywords are, well, key, but it’s also important to fix any incorrect dates and apply geotags to keep track of where your photos were taken. All that work comes into sharp focus next, as you build smart albums that automatically collect the desired photos based on the ratings, keywords, dates, geotags, and other metadata that now accompany each photo.

Last, but totally not least, Jeff turns his attention to helping you protect your irreplaceable photographic memories. An old printed photo is often precious because it’s the only copy that exists, a problem that’s not shared by digital photos that can be copied, uploaded to online services, or reprinted multiple times. But bits are fragile too — a drive failure could wipe out all your photos in an instant. Backups are thus essential, and while you should first direct your efforts to a rock-solid backup strategy for all your data, Jeff also explains how to make specific backups of your photos, regardless of which photo-management application you’re using. Looking further into the future, how will you view your photos in 5, 15, or even 50 years? Jeff offers a simple, sensible approach for making sure that your photos move forward through time with you.

One more thing. Although “Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac” focuses on managing your photos rather than printing them, it does contain a neat bonus for you in that regard — a 20-percent-off coupon for SizzlPix. SizzlPix are high-definition photographic prints infused onto an aluminum base in sizes ranging from 18 to 72 inches. The hand-crafted prints are largely free of glare due to the lack of glass, are waterproof (some are installed in showers and pools), and have an ultra-hard coating that renders them virtually scratch-proof. The visual effect is stunning, even with photos from relatively low-end cameras, but SizzlPix offers an unconditional 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee, so if you aren’t happy, you can return it for replacement or refund. TidBITS members can save 20 percent on SizzlPix regardless; just check your member benefits page for the necessary code.

Check out the Take Control ebooks that expand on the topic in this article:

Manage your burgeoning digital photo collection with ease, using time-tested tips and a custom workflow developed by digital photography expert Jeff Carlson. You'll learn how best to import photos, judge them, apply keywords and other metadata, set up smart albums, and protect your irreplaceable images whether you use iPhoto, Aperture, Lightroom, or Photoshop Elements!

 

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Special thanks to Gaylord Hammerwold, Harry Crawford, Michael Tadlock,
and Edward Walpin for their generous support!