Thumbs Down to Thumbnails

Reader Jonathan Siegrist is confounded by iPhoto 4’s disc burning limitations. He writes:

When I burn CDs using iPhoto, say by selecting an album and clicking on the ‘Burn’ button, it burns not only the original images, but also the thumbnail images that iPhoto creates for viewing. This is annoying when going to print the photos at a Kodak station or something of the like, because one ends up printing duplicates, and the second set (the thumbnails) obviously look horrible. I’d like to burn only the original images. I know there are ways around this using other burning programs and what not, but I was wondering if there was a way of dealing with this within iPhoto.

Jonathan is correct that iPhoto burns thumbnails right along with full-sized images when it creates a CD. Thankfully, it places these thumbnails in a folder called “Thumbs” when it does so (files are structured on a CD burned with iPhoto this way: /iPhoto Library/year/month/date/). The original photos are placed in the date folder in their own folder called “Originals.” Therefore, if you have the option to do so, simply direct the photo printer to print just the images in the Originals folders.

I’d be fibbing if I suggested that this is an elegant solution—many places just print everything on the CD regardless of the most explicit instructions to do otherwise. It’s for this reason that I forego burning CDs within iPhoto if I want to print pictures from that CD.

Rather, I switch on the option to view pictures as film rolls (choose Film Rolls from the View menu) and drag the rolls I want to print to an empty folder on the Mac’s desktop. Doing this copies only the original files to the folder. Alternatively, in iPhoto you can create an album that holds the pictures you want to print. Select all the photos in the album and drag them to this empty folder. Now insert a blank CD-R, drag the folder to the disc, burn it, and take it in for printing.

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