September 4, 2008

Put iPhoto on a Diet

iPhoto loves hard disk space like I love Kentucky Fried Chicken! iPhoto will eat your hard disk up if you have a large photo library and do lots of editing. Here’s why; iPhoto makes a duplicate copy of your photo on your hard disk every time you make an adjustment to the image.

Once you have your pictures edited the way you like them, you may not want to keep the originals. However deleting them is not as easy as you might think. You can run a script from Terminal that helps keep the iPhoto Library clean, but that’s too intimidating for most of our audience. The next best thing is called iPhoto Diet. It might not work as well with the latest version of iPhoto – so use it at your own risk. In my tests with iPhoto 6, it performed perfectly, finding and deleting unwanted duplicates and originals, saving me tons of disk space.

If you just want to remove duplicate images, try Duplicate Annihilator.

This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store

Join the conversation! 16 Comments

  1. Scott, just out of curiosity, what is a pro such as yourself using iPhoto for? Surely it would make more sense to keep all of your images in one place, like, say, an Aperture library? I haven’t looked back to iPhoto since Aperture 1.5 came out. But I haven’t used the later versions, so if you’re using it, I feel like I might be missing out on something?

  2. The in newest iPhoto 08 changes and edits to your photo are non-destructive. In 08, iPhoto builds versions of your images just like in Aperture, hopefully elevating problems like this in past versions.

  3. Is there something like this for aperture??

  4. I’ve wanted something like what iPhoto Diet does for a long time now as my only 7,000 or so photo collection is eating up way too much space, and my tries at manually deleting original files has led to me making mistakes and losing all copies of a particular photo.

    I am using iPhoto 7 now though, so I am hesitant to try it. Has anyone used iPhoto Diet on their iPhoto 7 library? Did it work well?

  5. Interesting stuff. I’d be very interested in a discussion of “duplicate finders” to identify duplicate images across all of my drives. In some cases I want those duplicates for backup purposes, but I also know I’ve left copies in various places that I’d like to clean up….without the risk of losing my primary copies.

  6. I have used iPhoto Diet and never had any problems and have gotten back a bunch of disk space.

  7. @josh I use iPhoto only for snapshots and so I canteach it. I use Aperture for my pro stuff.

  8. Ben – Aperture doesn’t make copies (but some edit plug-ins do)

  9. @JOsh I know you asked Scoot but I thought I might chime in. I use both programs as well. I use iPhoto for all of my “snapshots” (pretty much everything with my point-n-shoot). Mainly just for parties, get togethers, and such. The stuff that doesn’t require a lot of work or need to be super perfect. Then I use Aperture for everything else.

  10. Thanks for the tips, on the other hand you can have more than one iphoto library , and keep them on external drives with tons of room for everything, even duplicates!
    Any bears yet??

  11. I’ll give this a try. I have Aperture, but haven’t had time to learn how to use it the way it was intended, making it an exercise in frustration.

  12. @Josh Scott uses iPhoto for training and for snapshots (see below)
    @John All versions of iPhoto are non-destructive, and iPhoto 08 is the same way. It keeps a modified and an original version of each photo which is nice, if you want to re edit. Also if you shoot raw you might not want to delete the raw files and you’ll loose a lot.

    If you have more than 5 or 10k photos it’d be good to look at Aperture. Spend a bit of time with adding a few photos then add more. Ap. makes it really easy to upgrade.

  13. oops I’m crazy….. scott replied to josh. I was thinking comments went in the other order. It’s hard to keep downward (newest last) vs upward (newest first) comments systems on soo many different blogs.

  14. If I have imported my iPhoto photos into Aperature, is there any reason to use iPhoto Diet or Duplicate Annilator? I don’t want to mess anything up?

  15. John (in 2nd post): iPhoto 06 is non-destructive too, it’s just that it often makes a new photo rather than using edit descriptions to describe the new photo. Though in my case, white balance adjustments seem to be stored in the original raw photo rather than a new file.

  16. Nice post, i absolutely love that picture. Keep up the good work with this blog!


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