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Images, Graphic Design, and Digital Photography Discussion of all things graphics.

iPhoto file structure?

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Member Since: Jan 18, 2007
Posts: 29
scudman is on a distinguished road
Mac Specs: MacBook Black, 2G Intel Duo, 100G HD, 2G Ram, OS-X 10.5.8

scudman is offline
I made a couple of mistakes when I started using iphoto to organize my pics. First, I started renaming files and of course iPhoto then could not find them. Second, I reset my camera file naming a couple of times, so I ended up with multiple pics with the same file name.

I want to get my files straightened up so I need to understand how iPhoto uses the directory structure.

1. Are all pics saved in the 'Original' Folder by default?
2. When you modify a pic, is the original unmodified in the 'Original' folder and the modified pic is now in the 'Modified' folder?
3. Does iPhoto build from the 'Original' folder and store copies in the 'Data' folder?
4. If I wanted to rebuild my iPhoto library, could I safely trash the 'Data' folder and re-import all pics back into iPhoto?

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Member Since: Apr 22, 2007
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 681
skybolt has a spectacular aura about
Mac Specs: White 2010 MB, Core 2 Duo, 8g RAM, iPhone 4S, iPad Mini, Apple TV

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Answers to 1 and 2 are "yes". That is exactly what happens. Not sure about 3 and 4, though. I think, but am not sure, that the data file holds the thumbnails of your photos. Rather than trash the data folder, I think you would be better off to "rebuild" your library following the instructions on Apple's Knowledge based support.

You learned a good lesson, one that I preach here regularly -- stay out of the iPhoto library in finder. Mucking about in there only causes grief -- lost photos, corrupted photos, etc. You learned the hard way, and maybe others will learn from your mistake -- I'm sure you have.

If you are not using Leopard, you can try iPhoto Diet to get rid of the duplicates. Pay close attention to the dialog boxes that explain what will happen and make sure you understand what you are telling it to do. Pressing the "enter" button too quickly, without understanding, can cause photo loss.

Good luck getting things straightened out!

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Member Since: Apr 28, 2006
Posts: 2,542
goobimama is a jewel in the roughgoobimama is a jewel in the rough
Mac Specs: iMac Core Duo 20", iBook G4, iPhone 8GB :)

goobimama is offline
Yep. Best advice is to do everything from within iPhoto. Precisely why apple made the iPhoto library a single file...
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Member Since: Dec 04, 2007
Posts: 6
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I have a ton of photos on an external drive. If I import those into iPhoto, is it essentially copying those photos into its Library?

If it is, then that means I can disconnect the external drive and all the originals will still be saved in the Library, correct?
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Member Since: Apr 28, 2006
Posts: 2,542
goobimama is a jewel in the roughgoobimama is a jewel in the rough
Mac Specs: iMac Core Duo 20", iBook G4, iPhone 8GB :)

goobimama is offline
Yep. Just for you to be sure, you unplug your external drive, and drag one of the photos from the iphoto window onto the desktop and make sure it's file size is right.
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