iPhoto: The Missing Manual
Book Review

iPhoto: The Missing Manual
By: David Pogue, Joseph Schorr, & Derrick Story
ISBN: 0-596-00365-x
$24.95 US
$38.95 CAN

There are a few telltale signs of being a Mac fanatic. One that I am often guilty of is touting the wonderful, intuitive design of Apple products and applications. I converted my best friend a few years ago, and then converted her to Mac OS X when she saw me play with the slide show feature in iPhoto. The simplicity and downright coolness of the app sold her, and now she’s happily running Jaguar under the hood of her iMac.

Of course, there is a downside to this whole situation. While Apple products are pretty easy to use, I have always thought that it is just a bit pretentious that they ship with no real manuals inside their shiny boxes. I am a Mac user, not a Mac mind reader. And while I know how to put together a quick slide show to elicit some oohhhs and ahhhs from my friend, my knowledge of iPhoto’s real features and hidden gems was severely lacking.

Enter iPhoto: The Missing Manual. Weighing in at 289 pages, this book does not skimp on any issue concerning the actual application itself or digital photography.

This book does not assume anything, which is great. The authors start out with the very basics so as not to confuse the beginner. This is really important because a lot of people who have “switched” will buy a book like this to learn iPhoto and will pick up many other basic, yet vital, skills for using their Mac.

The first 3 chapters are completely dedicated to digital photography itself, which is a nice bonus. When I got my digital camera, I didn’t spend much time actually learning to use the thing, I just started snapping away. Reading these chapters has helped me improve the quality of my photos before I even transfer them to iPhoto. Magazine-worthy shots are explained in great detail and offer some great suggestions.

Witty humor keeps the tone of this book light even when dealing with technical issues and jargon. After all, you’re supposed to have fun when taking pictures and sharing them with family and friends.

Pretty much every term you can think of related to digital photography is explained in this book, at least from this intermediate user’s standpoint. Large, clear illustrations and screenshots are also extremely helpful. As I noted in a review of the iPhoto Visual Quickstart Guide, it would be nice to see color screenshots to show differences in editing. Of course, that’s just on my wish list- the cost for color printing would take this book out of the “affordable” range and into the “I read 2 chapters at Borders but never buy it” category.

Tip boxes abound in every chapter, which always catch my attention. They have titles like “Power Users Clinic,” “Buyers Guide,” “FAQ,” and “Up To Speed.” Because of one of these handy little tip boxes, I now know how to zap red eye out of photos like a pro, AND I know why red eye happens in the first place. Very cool.

This book is detailed and gives behind-the-scenes explanations for a lot of digital photography issues. It is an excellent reference book, one which I will keep within easy reach while I use iPhoto.

MacMice Rating: 5 out of 5

Dawn C. Schultz

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