01-26-2010, 05:30 AM
If all you're looking for is the Mac equivalent to Windows Explorer, then just use Finder ! Having used Win and Linux for years before switching, I got used to arranging folders and files in a quite anal retentive way. That habit will never die, and i still use it for music and photo management with Songbird (I don't like iTunes) as well as Lightroom.
I used iPhoto the first week I got my first MacBook Pro, and that one week was enough to tell me that I'd never use it again. It just doesn't suit my needs. If you keep your folders arranged neatly in Finder, you'll never be at a loss for finding anything. Especially if you categorize your folders, as was suggested before. More importantly though, if you're going to use your photos extensively, you really should get into the habit of key wording groups of photos.
iPhoto can do that for you, but so can other software. I primarily use Lightroom 2 as my DAM of choice, though I'm sure others here will also suggest Aperture. (Which I don't like. It's sluggish and clunky to me) The only other real FREE alternative to iPhoto that I know of, is Google Picasa. But then, I don't know how it will handle those same chores you've been doing and not been satisfied with in using iPhoto.
I do think that iPhoto will suit your needs if you don't do any real post processing and don't have tens of thousands of photos like I do. If you're a casual snapper and need to keyword stuff it should be fine though. Beware however, that iPhoto tends to duplicate photos so that it has a copy of it in each size which might be used. So over time, your iPhoto library will increase in size substantially.
This was a big no no for me.
Just keep on trekking and you'll find your way.