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Earlier this week I covered iWatermark, which lets you easily add watermarks to your photos. I’m going to make it a photo-focused (no pun intended) week here at Mac Gems; today I’ll show you a nifty tool that makes printing photos quick and simple.

Apple’s iPhoto is a stellar photo management application, no doubt about it. However, its printing functionality makes a big assumption: that you’ve already prepared all your photos for printing—you’ve rotated them, cropped them, resized them to the proper size and ratio (3x5, 4x6, etc.), and so on. Assuming the picture is ready to go, you just click the print button, choose the paper size and print. But what if you haven’t done all that preparation? Or what if you want to print a cropped version of a photo but leave the original intact? (iPhoto always keeps an unaltered copy, but you have to remember to use the Revert to Original command to get it back.) Sometimes I just want to quickly print a new photo that I downloaded from my digital camera without worrying about “managing” it first.

Which leads me to today’s Gem: Stunt Software’s $20 PhotoBooth 1.1 (   ; www.stuntsoftare.com/products/photobooth.htm ). When you launch PhotoBooth, you’ll see all your iPhoto albums in a list on the left. Choose the photo to be printed by selecting the appropriate album (or your iPhoto Library itself) and then the image—it will be displayed in the main viewer pane. Now it’s time to work your quick-print magic: Select a margin width, picture size (3x5, 4x6, 5x7, 8x10, or custom), and orientation. The appropriate crop outline will appear in the image viewer pane; just as you would in iPhoto, you can move the crop outline to choose the desired section of the photo, but unlike iPhoto, you can actually resize the crop as needed (it will keep the correct aspect ratio for your chosen picture size). Click the Print Picture button and the selected section of the photo is printed at the desired image size. It’s that quick and simple.


PhotoBooth main screen


The main PhotoBooth window also provides a Page Setup button and Printer pop-up menu for quick access to these settings. A handy Preview view shows what your final printout will look like on the chosen paper size and printer—a nice feature that’s more helpful that you might think.

I’m sure there are some readers who right about now are thinking, “I just don’t get it—printing in iPhoto isn’t that hard.” You’re right, it isn’t. But PhotoBooth is even easier. It only takes printing a few photos from PhotoBooth to appreciate its usefulness.

The current version of PhotoBooth isn’t perfect. For example, I wish that the Image list could be enlarged to make it easier to find a particular photo in large albums, and I’d like to be able to use the arrow keys to “nudge” the crop box into the perfect position. But these are minor complaints. (It would also be nice to be able to do quick brightness and red-eye tweaks, but adding those features would likely be missing the point of PhotoBooth as a way to quickly print photos without a lot of tweaking.) Overall, PhotoBooth is a great utility that does exactly what it’s intended to do.

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