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I recently switched for a PC to a Mac. In Windows I used to download photos from my camera into folders I created in the pictures directory. When I started using iPhoto 09, I imported those folders into iPhoto and it seems like I created duplicates, wasting valuable disk space. Whenever I connect my camera, iPhoto pops up automatically and offers to import the images. These images are then stored in folders which are not readily visible in the iPhoto library. I would like to be able to keep the pictures in general folders that are unrelated to any software and to be able to view them, tag them and manipulate them with iPhoto.

How do I do it?

Thanks Zvi

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I would suggest that you store the photos on some hard-disk or some other designated location separately and then reference all those photos in iPhoto. This way you would be having your photos and your iPhoto in different domains (that is how I like them). Have a look over here...

Store photos outside of iPhoto's library

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This must be rather new, right? I remember dismissing iPhoto because it didn't support external resources and multiple libraries. Anyway, nice article. – Daniel Beck Oct 1 '10 at 6:30
@Daniel - Don't know if its new. I myself switched to Mac not long ago. :) – vikkun Oct 1 '10 at 7:11
Thanks for the useful information – Zvi Bar-Sever Oct 2 '10 at 21:12
This was great, up until 4/2015 when Apple discontinued iPhoto :( – smci Aug 12 '15 at 19:50

If you want to use iPhoto to organize the photos, you must accept iPhoto's database structure. However, if you want to see the folder structure of your iPhoto Library, do the following:

  1. find the iPhoto Library file in the Pictures folder of your home folder.
  2. Right click this file and select Show Package Contents
  3. Inside, there will be a Originals folder. Holding the optioncommand keys (to create an alias shortcut to this folder), drag this folder to wherever you want to store it.

Now you can open this alias folder and see the folder structure of your original photo files.

There is software available, like TidyUp, which helps find duplicate files and folders.

Hope that helps.

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Thank you very much – Zvi Bar-Sever Oct 2 '10 at 21:13

Alternatively you can use something like JetPhoto Studio (free or paid versions) that organizes your photos without moving them.

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iPhoto should detect that you have previously imported the photos. It does a spectacular job of that on my machine.

Are you sure that duplicates are being created or is it your fear because it asks you to import the photos? It will ask to import, THEN tell you that some are duplicates. Trust.... ahhhOOOOM....

Another option. Use Apple's Image Capture in your Applications folder. It will use the same framework as iPhoto to import the photos, but it allows you much more control over the process. You can select the destination or select import to iPhoto. You can select photo by photo more easily.

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Thanks for the info – Zvi Bar-Sever Oct 2 '10 at 21:12

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