Everything you need to know about sharing iPhoto images

In our last lesson, I walked you through the process of creating printed books, cards, and calendars from within iPhoto. While printing your images is a great way to pass around your photos, some people prefer sharing via digital means. And that’s exactly what we’ll focus on in this lesson.

Exporting your images

In the earliest versions of iPhoto, the tried-and-true method of moving images out of iPhoto was to use the Export command found in the File menu. That command remains and, when selected, reveals an Export window that contains three tabs—File Export, Web Page, and Slideshow. Here’s how they break down.

File Export

When you drag an image out of your iPhoto library and onto the desktop, it will be copied in its native format (unless it’s a Raw image, in which case it’s converted to the JPEG format). If you’d like the image to be in a different format, quality, and/or size, turn to this tab. Within it you can choose to export your image in original, current, JPEG, TIFF, or PNG format. If you decide to export it as a JPEG, you can choose a quality setting—Low, Medium, High, or Maximum. And if you opt to export your images in either the JPEG or PNG formats, you can choose to include a title and keywords as well as location information.

You can also select from among a handful of sizes—Small, Medium, Large, or Full Size. Or if you’d like to use a custom size, choose Custom and you can configure the image’s dimensions.

The Export window is the old-fashioned avenue for sharing images.

This tab also offers naming choices. Click the File Name pop-up menu, and you’ll find these options: ‘Use title’, ‘Use filename’, ‘Sequential’, and ‘Album name with number’. ‘Use title’ will, of course, use the title you’ve assigned to the image. ‘Use filename’ will instead use the title assigned by your camera—DSC_1129, for example. In the case of ‘Sequential’, your images will be assigned numbers, as in 01.jpg, 02.jpg, 03.jpg, and so on. If you choose sequential titling, you have the option to add a prefix for your images in the ‘Prefix for sequential’ field below. You might, for example, add “Borneo” if all the images were from your recent trip abroad. When you choose Album name with number, the image will be assigned the name of the album in which it lives, along with a number. For instance, if you’re exporting two images selected in your Rhumba Lessons album, the images would be titled ‘Rhumba Lessons – 01’ and ‘Rhumba Lessons – 02’.

When you select more than one image, a Subfolder Format pop-up menu will appear in the Export window. Here you can choose to export without a subfolder or, when you choose Event Name from the menu, have a folder created that’s named after the image’s host event—‘Jul 11, 2012’, for example.

Web Page

In this age of photo-sharing sites and easy-does-it website creation tools, the idea of creating HTML pages and links that you can then upload to a website seems almost quaint. But if that’s a course you wish to pursue, you’re welcome to.

Within the Web Page window, you can name your page, choose the number of columns and rows per page, select a Plain or Framed template, choose background and text colors, determine the size of the thumbnails (and whether they show titles and descriptions), and configure the dimensions of the “full sized” images you’ll export (as well as choose whether to show title, description, metadata, and location information).

Slideshow

When teaching you how to view your images, I mentioned the iPhoto feature where you can view your images as a slideshow. I can now admit that I was holding something back. Not only can you view slideshows, but you can also export them in the form of movies.

One simle method for doing this is to click this Slideshow tab, choose a size (Mobile, Medium, Large, or Display), and then click Export. The result will be a movie that employs the Ken Burn’s “pan and scan” effect accompanied by a tinkling jazz piano track. This is an easy way to create an enjoyable slideshow, but you can do far more. Read on to find out how.

iPhoto's slideshow-sharing options.

Configuring shared slideshows

The slideshows you export can be more interesting than what I’ve described. To make them so, close the Export window and instead select the images you wish to include in your slideshow, click the Create button at the bottom of the iPhoto window, and choose Slideshow. If you were to then click the Play button at the bottom of the window, you’d see your slideshow with the pan-and-scan effect and hear that same jazz track. But let’s move beyond the basics.

iPhoto offers 12 slideshow themes.

Click on Themes at the bottom of the window, and a Slideshow Themes sheet appears. Here you’ll find 12 themes, including Ken Burns (the default), Origami, Reflections, Vintage Prints, Snapshots, Sliding Panels, Scrapbook, Photo Mobile, Holiday Mobile, Shatter, Places, and Classic. Part of the fun with these themes is discovering what they do, and I don’t want to spoil that fun. So go ahead and give them a go. Just know that each has its own effects and soundtrack.

But that doesn’t mean that they can’t be configured. For instance, you may want to accompany your slideshow with a song other than the default—a tune from your iTunes library, for example. That’s easily done. Just click on the Music button (or, when a slideshow is playing, move your cursor to expose the slideshow tools and click on the Music button). In the resulting window, you’ll see that the Play music during slideshow option is checked. Uncheck it you want a silent slideshow.

Choose something other than the default music to accompany your slideshows.

Below this is the Source pop-up menu. Click it to select a track from Apple’s Theme Music collection, a GarageBand track, or your iTunes library (or a playlist within it). In the list below are all the tracks that belong to whatever you’ve picking from the Source pop-up menu. To preview a track, just double-click it (or select it and click the Play button). You can also use the Search field to search your music by title. If you have a long slideshow and you don’t want the same track to repeat over and over, enable the Custom Playlist for Slideshow option and drag tracks into the field that appears. The songs will play in order during your slideshow.

“Yeah, but…” I can hear you yeah-butting, “I’d really like my slideshow to end when the music does rather than cut off a tune midway through.”

Apple is one step ahead of you.

Click the Settings button at the bottom of the screen, and there’s your answer. You have two options in regard to timing and music. The first—Play each slide for a minimum of x seconds—allows you to set a specific time for each slide to play (5 seconds, for example). However, if you enable the Fit slideshow to music option, iPhoto will do the math and create a slideshow that lasts the approximate length of the soundtrack.

Configure your slideshows to last the length of the accompanying music.

It’s also within this All Slides tab that you can choose to Show Title Slide, Repeat Slideshow, and choose an aspect ratio for your slideshow (options include This Screen, HDTV, iPad/TV, or iPhone). In addition, when you click on the This Slide tab, you can elect to apply a Black & White, Sepia, or Antique filter to the slide currently displayed in the main iPhoto window. (You can move between slideshow images by clicking on the slideshow’s thumbnails at the top of the window.)

Finally, if you want to create breaks in your slideshow that display a bit of text—“Later that day…” or “The crocodile slowly approached…” for example—select a thumbnail image above and then click Text Slide below. Depending on the theme, either a slide that contains nothing but editable text will appear or a slide will be created that has a text field appended to it. Highlight the default text and enter whatever you like. You can change that text’s style by choosing Edit > Font > Show Fonts (or by pressing Command-T); selecting your text; and choosing a different font, typeface, and size.

Once you have things tweaked in exactly the way you like, click the Play button to see how your slideshow looks. If you like what you see, click the Export button and choose an export format in the sheet that appears. If none of the formats suit you and you know something about QuickTime’s export settings, click the Custom Export button in this sheet and then ultra-tweak your movie via the Export pop-up menu and its accompanying Options button.

Which sharing format to pick? Apple does its best to provide clues via the sheet’s devices table. If you know that your intended victi… er, audience is likely to view the slideshow on an iPhone, the Mobile setting is the one to use. If you’re making the slideshow for yourself—to show on your Apple TV, for example—Apple suggests you choose Medium or Large.

If you need more specific information about the format and size of the resulting slideshow, just hover your cursor over the Info button that appears to the right of each setting. A yellow tooltip will appear that provides the movie’s settings as well as how much storage space it’s likely to consume. (This is particularly helpful information when you intend to attach the movie to an email message. If the slideshow weighs in at over 10MB, it may be too large an attachment for your Internet service provider’s email gateway. In such a case, you’d want to choose a smaller setting or find some other way to share your images.)

And speaking of other ways to share your images… (continue on to the next page)

The Share menu

iPhoto provides a very broad clue that its images can be shared with others. That clue comes in the form of the Share menu in iPhoto’s menu bar and the Share button that appears at the bottom of the window. Each of them contain Photo Stream, Messages, Email, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter entries. We’ve already covered Photo Stream, so there’s no need to go there.

In the case of Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook, you’ll first need an account for the service you choose to use. Once you have that account, just enter your username and password, and you’ll be able to post your images to the service.

The many options in iPhoto’s Share menu.

When you choose Email, a new empty email message will be created within iPhoto and the image will be attached. On the right side of the message,  you’ll see a number of templates. Select one that you want to use. From the Photo Size pop-up menu at the bottom of the template pane, choose an appropriate size—Optimized (designed so that the message will fit through an email gateway), Small, Medium, Large, or Actual Size. To send your message, fill in the To field, change the subject heading if you like, enter some text in the appropriate areas, and click Send.

You don’t have to email photos using iPhoto, however. To choose a different email client, select Photos > Preferences and then click the General preference. Click the Email photos using pop-up menu and select a different email client—Mail or Microsoft Outlook, for example. When you do that, a window will appear that prompts you to choose a size for your images and that gives you the option to include titles, descriptions, and location information. To complete the process, click the Compose Message button. The selected email client will open, and the images will be attached to a new email message.

To send images via Messages, you may select no more than 10 pictures and then choose Share > Messages. The images will be compressed and added to a message window that appears. Just choose the person you’d like to send the message to, enter some text if you like, and click the window’s Send button.

Other share options

When you click the Share button at the bottom of the window, you’ll additionally find the Order Prints option. Select some images and choose Order Prints, and a sheet appears. In this sheet choose the size of the prints and the number you’d like to order. Click Buy Now and you’ll be walked through the payment and shipping process. When that’s complete, the images will be uploaded to Apple, printed by the company Apple deals with for this sort of thing, and shipped to you when they’re done.

Click the Share menu that appears in iPhoto’s menu bar, you’ll see two other entries—Burn and Set Desktop. In order for the Burn command to do anything other than send up an error message, you must have a CD/DVD burner attached to your Mac. New Macs don’t have such devices built into them, but if you add an external disc burner, you can use that. If you have an older Mac that does carry such hardware, choose Burn and you’ll be prompted for a disc to record the images to.

Note that this command creates discs that can be used only in iPhoto. If you want to create a picture disc that can be used by a photo processor (or read by a Windows PC), you’ll have to copy the images you want to burn to a folder in the Finder, select that folder, and then choose File > Burn [name of folder] to Disc.

Clicking the Set Desktop command allows you to select an image and then use that image for your Mac’s desktop image.

Creating the top-secret digital project

Before closing out the lesson, here’s one final tip for sharing your images digitally. I’ve told you how to create printed books, cards, and calendars. If you’d like to “print” digital versions of them for free, here’s how.

Create the project and then choose File > Print. In the resulting Print window, click the PDF button in the bottom-left corner and choose Save as PDF. In the sheet that appears, name your project and click Save. A PDF version of your project will be saved to the location you’ve chosen. While not exactly an ebook, it’s a way to present your friends and family with interestingly formatted projects that cost neither of you a nickel.

Next week: iPhoto’s Faces and Places features

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