iPhoto 1.1 For Mac OS X: Visual Quickstart Guide
Book Review

iPhoto 1.1 For Mac OS X: Visual Quickstart Guide
Adam C. Engst

Publisher: Peachpit Press 2002
ISBN: 0-321-12165-1
Price: US $19.99, Canada $31.99, UK £14.99

My college graduation present from my mom was the most eagerly anticipated of them all: a digital camera. A Canon PowerShot A10, to be exact. I felt a whole new aura of digital-hubness as soon as I took it out of the box. Now I’m snapping pictures everywhere I go.

One of the main reasons I purchased this particular camera was its compatibility with Apple’s iPhoto. I had dabbled in iPhoto in order to organize some of my scanned pictures, and I liked its ease of use.

It was not until I opened Adam Engst’s Visual Quickstart Guide on iPhoto that I really delved into the application’s features. iPhoto may not be one of the most polished, feature-rich way to edit, organize, and share your digital photos, but it certainly is one of the most widely-used. iPhoto may be simple, but as Engst states in his introduction, “even iPhoto doesn’t succeed entirely at demystifying the process of taking a digital photograph, editing it, and presenting it.” (ix)

The guide is divided into concise sections that correspond to the functions that iPhoto performs. An introduction covers the basics of getting iPhoto up and running. The titles of the chapters are clear: Chapter 1, “Importing Photos”; Chapter 2, “Organizing Photos”; Chapter 3, “Editing Photos”; Chapter 4, “Creating Books”; Chapter 5, “Sharing Photos”; and Chapter 6, “Troubleshooting”.

This guide is a great resource for beginners and intermediate users, which is the target audience. Engst’s tone is conversational and his language is easy to understand. He does assume that the reader has a basic working knowledge of Mac OS X and digital cameras. Engst also explains what is new in version 1.1.1 from his previous guide that covered 1.0.

Tons of screen shots help this guide live up to its “Visual” claim. Although I understand it would increase the cost of the book quite a bit, I would have liked to have seen some color screenshots, especially in the Editing chapter. Most of the time, though, the screenshots are fine in just black and white.

I was impressed by a number of features in this guide. The grey boxes found every few pages contain helpful suggestions like freeware and shareware utilities and shortcuts that will help enhance your iPhoto experience. The tips in those boxes alone made this a very worthwhile guide for me. The troubleshooting chapter is also worth a visit.

Engst is also very frank about iPhoto’s shortcomings- and there are quite a few. Caveats like not using black and white photos when printing books due to poor print quality were certainly useful. Engst definitely shows his readers how powerful iPhoto can be, but does not sugarcoat the truth- something that I really appreciate in an application guide.

I made the mistake of reading this guide and making notes on it while sitting on my bed. Every few minutes I would discover a website to visit or a feature to try in iPhoto and I would be going back to my Mac to check it out! This guide definitely involves you in what you’re reading.

Adam Engst offers a companion website for when you don’t have your Visual Quickstart Guide handy. Browsing the site didn’t really enhance my experience with the book, however. Because Apple will certainly update iPhoto in the future, I think it would behoove Engst to offer a more feature-rich and current website to compliment this well-written book.

I highly recommend this book for beginner and intermediate users like myself. Advanced users will want to look elsewhere- but if you’re an advanced user, you’re probably using a more industrial application than iPhoto.

MacMice Rating: 4 out of 5

Dawn C. Schultz

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