Posted Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Tips for Using iPhoto with External Image Editors

It's high time I turned down the volume in iTunes and paid some attention to iPhoto. I spent some time organizing Memorial Day photos over the weekend, and I encountered a problem that deserves some attention.

As I discuss in The Macintosh iLife, iPhoto teams up nicely with Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. If you never use iPhoto's built-in editing features, you can use iPhoto's Preferences command to automatically open an image in one these programs when you double-click it for editing. Or, if you divide your editing time between iPhoto and Photoshop, just do what I do: When you want to edit a photo in Photoshop, simply drag its iPhoto thumbnail image to the Photoshop icon in your dock.

When you finish editing an image in an external editor, iPhoto is supposed to update its version of the photo to match your edits. But for some wacky reason, this doesn't always happen: iPhoto may continue to display the old version of the photo.

There's a fix for this problem, but it's a little bit convoluted. Here's what to do:

1. After you've edited and saved the photo in Photoshop, return to iPhoto. Be sure the photo is still selected, then click iPhoto's Edit button.

2. Use one of iPhoto's editing tools to make some change to the photo. For example, use the Crop tool to do some cropping. Don't worry about doing a great job -- you'll be undoing your work in the next step.

3. After making a change to the photo, choose Undo from iPhoto's Edit menu.

4. Switch to iPhoto's Organize mode by clicking the Organize button. Presto! The thumbnail should now reflect the edits you made in Photoshop.

As this Apple Knowledge Base article shows, this problem has been around since iPhoto 1.0. Here's hoping Apple fixes it in a future version.