Photography Trends in my iPhoto Library

I was just messing around with smart albums in iPhoto, and found that I can create albums based on camera model. So, I created a set of smart albums showing all photos taken with each of the 3 digital cameras I’ve owned. I then created additional smart albums to show just photos taken with a particular camera that have been rated 1 star or more (which I add to any photo that’s worth showing anyone else). The results were a bit surprising (and completely unscientific).

Camera Model # months using camera # photos taken # photos / month # starred photos % Starred
Olympus C200 36 3715 103 301 8.1 %
Fujifilm e510 17 2909 171 497 17.1 %
Canon Digital Rebel XT 5 1115 223 386 34.6 %

What does that suggest? Well, much of the story isn’t in these numbers. According to my Canon Digital Rebel XT’s internal computer, I’ve taken 4932 photos with it. A few hundred were added to Aperture on my work desktop, so approximately 3000-3500 photos have been deleted in camera, meaning I’m taking a LOT more photos with the XT (986 / month!), and performing a LOT more selection before dumping photos onto a computer (~500/month deleted in camera). I’ve also been doing a lot of experimentation, where I fill the card with a hundred shots at a time, and nuke them all.

I’m guessing there are a few things at play here.

  1. if you take more pictures, you get more pictures you’re happy with. I’m a firm believer that the best photo is the one you take, meaning if you don’t pull the trigger, you can’t get a good shot. And if you don’t pull the trigger enough, it’s harder to get good shots.
  2. As you get more control over the camera’s settings, and get comfortable with that control, you take better pictures. The Olympus had essentially no manual controls. The Fujifilm had plenty, but the interface sucked (all through menus, etc…). The XT has awesome manual control, great priority modes, etc… so I play more. And get some really cool shots (and some stinkers, which get deleted)
  3. It’s unclear if the increasing ratio of “good” photos is related to the camera, or just more experience over time. Would I have wound up with similar results by just sticking with the Olympus and using it more?
  4. The Olympus was purchased for the birth of Evan, so it got a LOT of specific use. Hundreds of baby photos. Birthdays, holidays, etc… Even with that emotional loading, I keep more than twice as many photos with the XT than I did with the Olympus. Hmmmm…
  5. I’m not sure if I’m being more thoughtful in taking shots with the XT (hence the higher star ratio), or if it’s the in-camera deletion causing that. Stuff that sucks gets nuked before touching the computer…

I was just messing around with smart albums in iPhoto, and found that I can create albums based on camera model. So, I created a set of smart albums showing all photos taken with each of the 3 digital cameras I’ve owned. I then created additional smart albums to show just photos taken with a particular camera that have been rated 1 star or more (which I add to any photo that’s worth showing anyone else). The results were a bit surprising (and completely unscientific).

Camera Model # months using camera # photos taken # photos / month # starred photos % Starred
Olympus C200 36 3715 103 301 8.1 %
Fujifilm e510 17 2909 171 497 17.1 %
Canon Digital Rebel XT 5 1115 223 386 34.6 %

What does that suggest? Well, much of the story isn’t in these numbers. According to my Canon Digital Rebel XT’s internal computer, I’ve taken 4932 photos with it. A few hundred were added to Aperture on my work desktop, so approximately 3000-3500 photos have been deleted in camera, meaning I’m taking a LOT more photos with the XT (986 / month!), and performing a LOT more selection before dumping photos onto a computer (~500/month deleted in camera). I’ve also been doing a lot of experimentation, where I fill the card with a hundred shots at a time, and nuke them all.

I’m guessing there are a few things at play here.

  1. if you take more pictures, you get more pictures you’re happy with. I’m a firm believer that the best photo is the one you take, meaning if you don’t pull the trigger, you can’t get a good shot. And if you don’t pull the trigger enough, it’s harder to get good shots.
  2. As you get more control over the camera’s settings, and get comfortable with that control, you take better pictures. The Olympus had essentially no manual controls. The Fujifilm had plenty, but the interface sucked (all through menus, etc…). The XT has awesome manual control, great priority modes, etc… so I play more. And get some really cool shots (and some stinkers, which get deleted)
  3. It’s unclear if the increasing ratio of “good” photos is related to the camera, or just more experience over time. Would I have wound up with similar results by just sticking with the Olympus and using it more?
  4. The Olympus was purchased for the birth of Evan, so it got a LOT of specific use. Hundreds of baby photos. Birthdays, holidays, etc… Even with that emotional loading, I keep more than twice as many photos with the XT than I did with the Olympus. Hmmmm…
  5. I’m not sure if I’m being more thoughtful in taking shots with the XT (hence the higher star ratio), or if it’s the in-camera deletion causing that. Stuff that sucks gets nuked before touching the computer…

Outgrowing iPhoto

I've been a pretty hardcore iPhoto user since the app was originally released several years ago. It's a pretty clean app, and has done everything I've needed of a photo management app. But, lately, I've been feeling like it's a little constraining. The photo retouching tools are a bit simple, and the viewing tools require a fair amount of manual intervention.

I made the mistake of viewing the Aperture online demo video over the weekend, and realized a more advanced app would really be nicer. My home machine can't run Aperture, so I downloaded the latest beta of Adobe Lightroom and imported all of the images I've taken with the XT.

The interface is quite good – it's really different from iPhoto's more modal interface, providing drawers to get at deeper functionality without adding clutter, and having keystrokes for just about everything. I'll be playing with it more over the next week or so to see how it fits. Not sure how far I want to go down that road, though, considering it's beta software, and the final price has yet to be determined.

Adobe Lightroom Beta 3 - Gallery View: A screenshot of the cleaned up Adobe Lightroom Beta 3 gallery view - with some sidepanels hidden.Adobe Lightroom Beta 3 – Gallery View: A screenshot of the cleaned up Adobe Lightroom Beta 3 gallery view – with some sidepanels hidden.

It's lacking some of the things I like about iPhoto (export to Flickr, set desktop, calendar view, etc…) but the more refined features it has may be worth it. The web exports are pretty sweet, too – including a pretty high-end flash website. I made a quick sample of a few photos I took around campus.

I'm a total photo software noob, so will be taking my time to get familiar with Lightroom, but it should be fun…

I've been a pretty hardcore iPhoto user since the app was originally released several years ago. It's a pretty clean app, and has done everything I've needed of a photo management app. But, lately, I've been feeling like it's a little constraining. The photo retouching tools are a bit simple, and the viewing tools require a fair amount of manual intervention.

I made the mistake of viewing the Aperture online demo video over the weekend, and realized a more advanced app would really be nicer. My home machine can't run Aperture, so I downloaded the latest beta of Adobe Lightroom and imported all of the images I've taken with the XT.

The interface is quite good – it's really different from iPhoto's more modal interface, providing drawers to get at deeper functionality without adding clutter, and having keystrokes for just about everything. I'll be playing with it more over the next week or so to see how it fits. Not sure how far I want to go down that road, though, considering it's beta software, and the final price has yet to be determined.

Adobe Lightroom Beta 3 - Gallery View: A screenshot of the cleaned up Adobe Lightroom Beta 3 gallery view - with some sidepanels hidden.Adobe Lightroom Beta 3 – Gallery View: A screenshot of the cleaned up Adobe Lightroom Beta 3 gallery view – with some sidepanels hidden.

It's lacking some of the things I like about iPhoto (export to Flickr, set desktop, calendar view, etc…) but the more refined features it has may be worth it. The web exports are pretty sweet, too – including a pretty high-end flash website. I made a quick sample of a few photos I took around campus.

I'm a total photo software noob, so will be taking my time to get familiar with Lightroom, but it should be fun…

Large Format Printing with iPhoto

I just got back the 20″x30″ print of the panorama I shot at the top of Diamondhead (a series of photos stitched together automagically with Autostitch).

Diamondhead Pano

It looks absofriggin’ AWESOME. I mean, wow. Completely blown away at the quality of the print. Looks like a professional poster.

I goofed when I sent the image for printing through iPhoto, though – I forgot to manually crop or pad the image, so they just cropped it to fit the aspect ratio of the print, chopping off the mansions at the foot of Diamondhead, and the hotels at Waikiki. Next time, I’ll send a 4×6 aspect image, likely with white blocks at the top and bottom to pad the image so the full pano fits onto the 20″x30″ print.

Ofoto obviously noticed the croppage, as they slipped in an informative document into the package, explaining about cropping and the various aspect ratios. They also mention an option called “Zoom & Trim” which can be set to “off” to turn off autocropping. That option apparently isn’t exposed by the iPhoto “order prints” interface…

It cost about $30CDN (delivered), and took about 2 weeks to get to me. I might also shop around for places that can do the print locally for instant gratification.

Update: Duh. Next time I order a print, I’ll just stack 2 or three panos to approximate the 4×6 aspect ratio, and pad the little bit extra as needed. No reason to throw away half of the print! 🙂

I just got back the 20″x30″ print of the panorama I shot at the top of Diamondhead (a series of photos stitched together automagically with Autostitch).

Diamondhead Pano

It looks absofriggin’ AWESOME. I mean, wow. Completely blown away at the quality of the print. Looks like a professional poster.

I goofed when I sent the image for printing through iPhoto, though – I forgot to manually crop or pad the image, so they just cropped it to fit the aspect ratio of the print, chopping off the mansions at the foot of Diamondhead, and the hotels at Waikiki. Next time, I’ll send a 4×6 aspect image, likely with white blocks at the top and bottom to pad the image so the full pano fits onto the 20″x30″ print.

Ofoto obviously noticed the croppage, as they slipped in an informative document into the package, explaining about cropping and the various aspect ratios. They also mention an option called “Zoom & Trim” which can be set to “off” to turn off autocropping. That option apparently isn’t exposed by the iPhoto “order prints” interface…

It cost about $30CDN (delivered), and took about 2 weeks to get to me. I might also shop around for places that can do the print locally for instant gratification.

Update: Duh. Next time I order a print, I’ll just stack 2 or three panos to approximate the 4×6 aspect ratio, and pad the little bit extra as needed. No reason to throw away half of the print! 🙂

Fun with Metadata (iPhoto Smart Albums)

I’m one of those people who firmly believe that metadata is important, but only if it is relatively invisible. It needs to be there, but can’t get in the way. I’ve been thinking quite a lot about this lately, especially since we’re working on APOLLO (well, ok… it’s mostly King working on it, but I still get to think about this stuff 😉

One application that really demonstrates this principle quite well is iPhoto. I’ve got 2868 images in my iPhoto library, and each one has several bits of metadata associated with it. Creation date. File size. Dimensions. Resolution. Title. Keywords. Comments. Great stuff, in that none of it is really necessary (except, perhaps for the ones that are tied directly to the original image file).

The cool thing about iPhoto is that it works just fine straight out of the box, with nothing added. I don’t have to add any more metadata, or spend any time organizing anything, and I’ll still find iPhoto useful.

However, it really starts to sing if I take a small amount of time and massage the metadata (add titles rather than using the filename generated by my camera). The most powerful way to demonstrate the value of metadata is by creating a “Smart Album”. This is essentially a saved query that is displayed as a normal photo album.

I just created 2 smart albums (I have others, but I was wanting to see if this was possible). These albums mine through my library, and display images from a specific week. One library displays “This time last year…” – images from this week last year. The query was a little more funky than I would have guessed, and amounts to:

Show images within the last 52 weeks.
Exclude images within the last 51 weeks.

Works great. I can see that last year, my brother Kevin was in Australia on business (or golfing, depending on who you talk to), and Evan was showing off his first bluejeans (holy crap has he changed in 1 year!).

The second Smart Album I created displays this week 2 years ago. Wow. What a difference 2 years makes. Evan was still a bun in the oven, and his cousin Hailey still looked like a baby.

Here’s a screenshot of “This time last year…”

This Time Last Year...

I’m one of those people who firmly believe that metadata is important, but only if it is relatively invisible. It needs to be there, but can’t get in the way. I’ve been thinking quite a lot about this lately, especially since we’re working on APOLLO (well, ok… it’s mostly King working on it, but I still get to think about this stuff 😉

One application that really demonstrates this principle quite well is iPhoto. I’ve got 2868 images in my iPhoto library, and each one has several bits of metadata associated with it. Creation date. File size. Dimensions. Resolution. Title. Keywords. Comments. Great stuff, in that none of it is really necessary (except, perhaps for the ones that are tied directly to the original image file).

The cool thing about iPhoto is that it works just fine straight out of the box, with nothing added. I don’t have to add any more metadata, or spend any time organizing anything, and I’ll still find iPhoto useful.

However, it really starts to sing if I take a small amount of time and massage the metadata (add titles rather than using the filename generated by my camera). The most powerful way to demonstrate the value of metadata is by creating a “Smart Album”. This is essentially a saved query that is displayed as a normal photo album.

I just created 2 smart albums (I have others, but I was wanting to see if this was possible). These albums mine through my library, and display images from a specific week. One library displays “This time last year…” – images from this week last year. The query was a little more funky than I would have guessed, and amounts to:

Show images within the last 52 weeks.
Exclude images within the last 51 weeks.

Works great. I can see that last year, my brother Kevin was in Australia on business (or golfing, depending on who you talk to), and Evan was showing off his first bluejeans (holy crap has he changed in 1 year!).

The second Smart Album I created displays this week 2 years ago. Wow. What a difference 2 years makes. Evan was still a bun in the oven, and his cousin Hailey still looked like a baby.

Here’s a screenshot of “This time last year…”

This Time Last Year...