Date-stamping iPhotos

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Reader Pin Promprated is interested in kickin’ it old school in terms of printing digital photos. He writes:

I tend to prefer seeing a picture with date stamping on its lower right corner. Now with 2 boys, my wife and I, like many other parents, try to capture every move the boys make on camera and camcorder. But when I need to print out some pictures to put in albums or to share with their grandparents and relatives (who don’t use a Mac or any computer for that matter) overseas, I can’t find anywhere in the iPhoto 6 to allow me to print out pictures with dates stamping on them. Am I missing something?

Regrettably you won’t find this feature in iPhoto, but with the judicious use of another excellent image program, you can make it happen.

I’m writing specifically about Econ Technologies’ $50 Portraits & Prints Pro. The Pro version is required because you generate these date stamps when creating a customized template (the $30 standard version of the program does everything the pro version does except for allowing you to create templates). It works this way:

Launch Portraits & Prints and choose New > Template. In the resulting template click the Photo Cell tool in the tool palette and draw a box representing the placeholder for an image you wish to print. For example, draw a 4” x 6” box.

Now choose the Text tool from the tool palette and drag a small text field onto the photo cell you created. With that text box selected, click the Object tab in the Inspector window. From the Field Variant pop-up menu that appears at the bottom of the Inspector, choose Photo Property. From the Photo Cell pop-up menu choose Photo #1. From the Property pop-up menu that appears, choose File > Creation Date.

Select the text field and in the font area of the Inspector, change the settings so the date will stand out, but not be too obnoxious. Change the font color to red, for example, but reduce the font size to 10 point. Select both the photo cell and text field and choose Edit > Duplicate to create additional photo cells with appended date fields.

Now choose Window > Template Manager. In the resulting Template Manager window, click the Tools pop-up menu (the menu with the gear on it) and choose Install. Navigate to where you saved your custom template, select it, and click Select. The template you created will be added to P&P’s selection of custom templates.

When you’re ready to put together a collection of date stamped photos, choose New > Catalog. Click the Layout button in the resulting catalog window, and click the Templates button in the toolbar. In the sheet that appears choose Custom from the Category pop-up menu, choose the template you created, and click OK. Click the Options button to choose whether to fill your catalog with the same photo or different pictures. Click the Add iPhotos button in the toolbar to view your iPhoto catalog, and add pictures to the catalog at will.

When you do, you’ll discover that your pictures bear the date stamp you desired.

Editorial notes: That Field Variant pop-up menu packs a lot of punch. You can add not only something as simple as a date and time stamp, but picture title, iPhoto comments and ratings, and any bit of EXIF data supported by your camera (ISO speed, aperture, and camera manufacturer and type, for example).

And yes, I understand that this seems like a lot of work, but bear in mind that it’s something you need do once only. Having created the template you can forevermore simply call it up, add pictures to it, and print those pictures with their date stamp in place.

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