Cleaning up iPhoto

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 2:41 AM

Back in May of 2004, when I decided it was time to bail out of my messed up Fedora Core desktop and ended up landing in Mac OS X 10.3, I started playing around with iPhoto. After a few months, I embarked on copying thousands of photos from the past few years and putting them into the program. Unfortunately, I had been rather unorganized in this respect previously, and I ended up with a bunch of duplicates and not enough time to manually pick them all out.

Now, you're thinking, “seriously, Tim, what's so hard about finding a few duplicates and removing them?” Not much, if you're talking one trip's worth — although even that took a long time — but it is a major project when you have just short of 12,700 photos in your iPhoto library.

Enter Duplicate Annihilator. While I hated to pay $7.95 for a program that hopefully I'll only need to use once (although I may need to do so again — somehow I managed to bypass iPhoto's duplicate protection and end up with duplicates even on photos taken after I started using iPhoto), I bit the bullet. The program can do a number of checks to find duplicates, however I stuck with the default MD5 checksum method, which seemed pretty safe. After letting it go through my album for a little over two hours, it returned 1580 photos that were duplicates, marking each one as such in the photo's comment area.

I created a new iPhoto Smart Album that displayed only photos with that comment and then went through with a Finder window open to “spot check” to make sure Duplicate Annihilator had indeed only marked photos I could manually find a duplicate of. After I was mostly satifisifed, I used iPhoto to burn the duplicates to CD and then deleted them off of my hard disk. That brings my total library down to 11,112 photos checking in at 8 GB of space (13 movies are also in iPhoto, though I have more from my digicam that I took before iPhoto supported movies and have not yet added into my library).

It is good to try to clean things up, especially now that I've been taking photos at 3-5 megapixels (and hence each picture weighs in at between 850 KB and 2 MB). Until recently, I had been trying to economize on space by taking 1-2 megapixel images when I was just doing routine stuff. However, I have some really special photos I wish were at the highest quality possible, and, of course, there is nothing I can do about that. :( Given that I have close to have half terabyte of storage at my disposal, that seems silly. The practical bottleneck was my old camera's (the DSC-S75) support only for the old non-“Pro” Memory Sticks that only went up to 128 MB in size. Short of constantly swapping sticks, I had to weigh between quality and quantity of photos (even the four 128 MB sticks I own go quickly at that camera's full 3.1 MP quality). When a new Sony digicam went on sale recently, I upgraded (to the DSC-H1) and that allows me to use the newer Memory Stick Pro format. I have a 2GB Memory Stick Pro on order — via for only $129 — and that should clear up this long time annoyance. But, I digress. The long and the short of it is that I want to try to keep a closer eye on my photo organization; I take too many pictures to be messy about it.

Now that I'm organized and ready to go, I think I'll try to post some new shots online. I managed to get some really great bald eagle photos today in Winfield, MO at the Mississippi Lock and Dam No. 25. Maybe I'll post them tonight or tomorrow.

Also Filed Under: Home: Photography: Cleaning up iPhoto

Re: Cleaning up iPhoto
Tell me about it.... I'm on a 40GB drive with a camera that takes 11MB photos in RAW. :(
Posted by kevin - Jan 19, 2006 | 2:55 AM

Re: Cleaning up iPhoto
Ouch. Well, neither of my cameras take RAW, so no worries there. ;) Seriously, though, that sounds like a problem. Don't you have an external hard disk, though?
Posted by Timothy R. Butler - Jan 20, 2006 | 6:30 AM

Re: Cleaning up iPhoto
Dear Sir, it's indeed very unsatisfying to read this: "somehow I managed to bypass iPhoto's duplicate protection and end up with duplicates even on photos taken after I started using iPhoto" Since I'm the author of Duplicate Annihilator I'm not very happy with the steps you have taken. To me it's very important that the software is good value to my customers and when buying the software you support my efforts to make it even better. Bypass the protection is not only illegal it's also like saying that you don't care of the developers who does their best to maintain the shareware community. In this case you said that the software found 1.580 duplicates among your 12.700 photos. Just imagine how long this would take to do manually. Convert that time into money. Don't you think that it's fair to say that the time you saved was worth the $7.95? If you were in some kind of extreme financial situation and really couldn't pay the $7.95 perhaps it would have been better if you contacted us instead and asked for some kind of discount? Perhaps it would have been more honest. Don't you think. Best Regards Anders, Brattoo Propaganda Software
Posted by Anders - Feb 13, 2006 | 9:02 PM

Re: Cleaning up iPhoto
Dear Sir, I just want to make clear that I now have noticed in my logs that you did indeed pay for Duplicate Annihilator at 12/29/2005. Thank you and sorry for the inconvenience. Best Regards Anders, Brattoo Propaganda Software
Posted by Anders - Feb 13, 2006 | 9:31 PM

Re: Cleaning up iPhoto
Sorry I just couldn't help it but, boy this Anders guy really made a jerk out of himself didn't he? Well I "bit the bullet" and bought applicaton only for it to not work properly. I Imported a very large group of photos a second time by accident only having noticed once I went to use them in iDVD since I had been working on a specific smart album. So I ran Duplicate Annihilator. It didn't find ANY of said duplicates but I did find over 100 photos that were NOT duplicates. Am I doing something wrong? Perhaps if they gave better information with their application as to what the different types of Algorithms meant. I have no idea what MD5, CRC32 checksum mean!
Posted by Ryan - Mar 26, 2006 | 6:10 AM

Re: Cleaning up iPhoto
Dear Ryan, we are glad that you bought our software and we are sad to hear that it did not work properly for you. Perhaps you should have considered to contact us? A simple email would probably have solved your problems. As you say you don't know MD5 and CRC32 but we could have helped you to solve this issue. The kind of problems you experienced is mostly caused by a corrupt iPhoto library and is easily solved by holding down the alt and command keys while starting iPhoto. Please try that and remember that when unsatisfied the best solution is probably to go directly to the source and ask for help. Best Regards Anders, Brattoo Propaganda Software
Posted by Anders - Apr 10, 2006 | 7:54 PM

Re: Cleaning up iPhoto
I am getting ready to go to hawaii and need more computer space. I have a 40 gig hd and running out of space. So I thought I would clear some photos out iphoto and start burning them on to CD's. Is this as easy as I think it should be? Do I just select the album I want to burn to cd then burn and delete the album and photos? or is it more than that? I guess I could just copy the photos from the library to a cd burn that then delete and empty trash too. What option is better? Or am I headed totally in the wrong dircetion? Please help Chrissie
Posted by Chrissie Stevenson - Jan 09, 2007 | 4:11 PM

Re: Cleaning up iPhoto
images to check 1 time left 1 batch of 207 no duplicates found(not true) I get this result with every batch Have I bought a dud program?
Posted by JLGordon - Apr 07, 2007 | 9:27 PM

Re: Cleaning up iPhoto
Anders- You seem to have three entirely wrong ends of the same stick. The phrase "Somehow I managed to bypass iPhoto's duplicate protection and end up with duplicates even on photos taken after I started using iPhoto." does not mean, and does not even resemble the phrase "I downloaded Duplicate Annihilator and illegally bypassed its shareware protection." First of all, Timothy is referring to iphoto, not your program. Secondly, he is referring to the limited iPhoto functionality that prevents users from importing duplicate photos into their libraries, not to its shareware protection. Thirdly, he is saying that iPhoto didn't actually work, not that he intentionally brake the protection. This is in fact what drove him to buy and use your product in the first place. The fact that this was coupled with a grumble about the price is understandable, especially as similar freeware programs exist (for example, iPhoto Diet). Also, as several comments have made clear, your program doesn't entirely work, so a grumble is again justified. In conclusion, it is probably best to read a comment fully before starting to complain about it. :)
Posted by Chigozie - Apr 24, 2007 | 6:53 AM

Re: Cleaning up iPhoto
Dear Chigozie, you rae right I made amisstake when sending my first comment and as you might have noticed in the comment tree I made yet another comment where I appologized for that. The english lanuage is not my mother tounge and I made a mistake when I first read the post. So I guess that should settle this issue. Anyway abou the grumbels about our software not working. Well the absolutely best solution is to contact us and providing feedback so that we can improve the user experience and the quality. Complaining ina forum thread is much less productive and it's much harder for us to help the customer that way.
Posted by Anders - Aug 28, 2007 | 6:47 PM

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