How to import and view images in iPhoto

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Viewing your images

Once the images are in iPhoto, you can perform all the magic you’d expect—viewing, editing, and sharing them. For the moment, let’s concentrate on viewing.

To view an image so that it takes up most of the iPhoto window—or the Mac’s screen if you’ve chosen View > Enter Full Screen (Command-Control-F)—just double-click it. Once it has expanded in this way, you can move between images by using the Mac’s left and right arrow keys, clicking the arrow keys at the top of the window, or (if you’re using a trackpad or Magic Mouse) swiping two fingers to the left or right.

The other option is to view your images as a slideshow. As I explained in our last lesson, iPhoto supports two kinds of slideshows. You can create one type on the fly, for viewing your images within iPhoto; the other type you construct with the idea of exporting and sharing it with other people. In this case we’re taking about the former.

Creating a slideshow on the fly is a cinch. While viewing images as thumbnails, just click the Slideshow button at the bottom of the window. At once, any images in the selected album or event will become part of the slideshow.

When you do this, a sheet appears telling you that some photos need to be prepared for full-size viewing. If you click Prepare Photos, you may have to wait awhile for the images to be, well, prepared. I click Continue Playback. If there’s a problem due to the lack of a full-size image, I quit the slideshow and try again, this time after clicking Prepare Photos.

Before your slideshow starts, iPhoto presents you with a window from which you can choose a theme and music and configure settings. They work this way.

Use this window to configure you slideshow.

Themes: Themes include Ken Burns, Origami, Reflections, Vintage Prints, Snapshots, Sliding Panels, Scrapbook, Photo Mobile, Holiday Mobile, Shatter, Places, and Classic. I’ll let you explore these themes rather than attempting to describe each one to you. But if you want the most basic theme possible—one without movement or fancy transitions—choose Classic.

Music: Click the Music tab, and you can choose music to accompany your slideshow. You can use theme music provided by Apple or songs from your iTunes library. To preview a track, select it and click the Play button in the middle of the window.

If you like, you can select multiple tracks and they will play one after the other. Or you can enable the Custom Playlists for Slideshow option and click and drag tracks into the playlist area below. (Hint: Click and hold until you see the ghost image of a file. Then drag it into the playlist. If you don’t wait long enough, you’ll end up selecting multiple tracks in the Source list.)

Settings: Within the Settings tab, you choose how long each slide will play. (Alternatively you can specify that the slideshow last as long as the music that accompanies it. iPhoto will do the math to determine how long each image will appear.) You can also choose the transition to use between images, and its direction (if the transition supports it) and speed. In addition, you’ll find options for showing captions (which can be titles, descriptions, titles and descriptions, places, or dates), showing the title slide, shuffling the slide order, repeating the slideshow, and scaling photos to fill the screen.

Finally, to play the thing, click the Play button in the bottom-right corner. (Or click Cancel, if you’ve thought better of it.) While playing a slideshow, you can quickly jump to any image you like. Just move the Mac’s cursor to the bottom of the screen and you’ll see thumbnail images of all the pictures within the slideshow. Click the one you like, and press the Spacebar (or click the Play button in the transport controls that appear), and the slideshow will play from that point.

Once you’ve created a slideshow for an album or event, the theme, music, and settings that you applied to it will take effect whenever you play it. If you’d like to change those settings, just move the cursor and the transport controls will appear. Click the Themes, Music, or Settings button to adjust that element. To leave a slideshow, press the Mac’s Escape button (the one marked esc on the top-left of the Mac’s keyboard).

Seeing that the end of this lesson is nearing, users who know a bit more about iPhoto are frantically typing “You forgot about Photo Stream! You forgot about Photo Stream!” To which I reply, in my most pedantic voice, “Nuh-uh.”

Photo Stream is a very cool way to sync images between your devices and the Web via iCloud, but it requires enough explanation to merit its own lesson. Which means...

Next week: Photo Stream.

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