Sunday, January 21, 2007

iPhoto 6: The Missing Manual

Some say lightening can never strike the same place twice. The Missing Manual series proves that wrong. David Pogue and the O'Reilly gang constantly hit the mark and spark creativity and knowledge in a variety of programs.

IPhoto 6 covers absolutely every aspect of digital photography on your Mac, leaving few stones unturned. In order to make sure you get the great photos you need and minimized the editing needed in iPhoto, Derrick Story and David Pogue make sure you buy the right digital camera for your needs and tells you the basics of lighting and composition. After reading that chapter, I looked at my own iPhoto library and understand why I liked certain shots and why others ended up on the digital darkroom floor.

After explaining how to buy a camera and create great photos, the authors take you through the steps of using iPhoto in logical order: importing, managing, outputting and of course backing up. More technical manuals need to do this. Instead of taking you through the features, they take you through the workflow.

The writing was typical of the series: clear, understandable with plenty of screen shots to explain the concepts. While I consider myself an expert on iPhoto, the book was full of subtle tips and tricks to shave hours off my digital photo management.

The strength of the book was definitely the extensive chapters on what to with your photos after they are in iPhoto. Photos are meant to be shared, not locked up in your hard drive. He went over not just the specifics of all the printing options such as photo books and calendars, but also using iMovie, iWeb, and iDVD to share the photos with the world.

The final chapters covered some more advanced options such as AppleScript and Automator. Unlike other Missing Manual books that simply point you to the website to download utilities, Pogue and Story explained some of these programs and how they can help you expand your iPhoto capabilities. The Appendix was definitely the icing on the cake handling practically every iPhoto error and it's solution, as well as walking you through the basics of every iPhoto menu command and its implications.

My only complaint was somewhat weak coverage on desktop printing of photos. I always get confused about the way to feed the photo paper and how to configure settings to get the proper output. iPhoto, the printer's software, the printer, and Mac OS X must all be in alignment to print properly. These days, I simply upload it to the drugstore website and print it there. Printing to services other than Apple's wasn't really covered either.

While iPhoto basics are simple and quick to learn, "iPhoto 6 the Missing Manual" helps you become the hands down master of digital photos on your Mac. Others will tremble in fear of your massive knowledge after reading this book cover to cover.

Pros: Covers every aspect of digital photography and makes everyone an iPhoto wiz.
Cons: Needed more coverage of desktop and third party printing of photos.