iLife ’09 and the new iPhoto


I bought Apple’s new iLife software package on Tuesday from the Apple Store in Belfast (they seemed to have plenty in stock as well) and spent the night playing with the new iPhoto. iPhoto and iDVD are the only parts of iLife I use (I use Final Cut Express for video editing, and don’t use Garage Band at all), and iDVD hasn’t been updated for this release of iLife, but I think the iPhoto update is worth the 70 or so alone.

This is a long post, so click on for my thoughts….

There are two new features in iPhoto that are brilliant. The first is facial recognition. When you start up the new iPhoto, the software scans all the photos in your library, trying to find faces. After that, it’s a case of going into one of your photos, and putting a name against a face. Do that a couple of times, and iPhoto will start to suggest photos which have that person in them.


I haven’t played around with it fully, but named a lot of people, and it seemed to do a pretty good job of recognising them. Although it did mistake me for my Dad a couple of times 🙁

I used to hate putting new photos into iPhoto, and then having to tag them with name tags for people in the photo, and then tag them again when uploading them to Facebook. Hopefully though, this will be a thing of the past – iPhoto ‘09 includes a Facebook plug-in. So from now on the process for tagging etc. in iPhoto and Facebook should be pretty seamless:

  • put photos into iPhoto
  • check facial recognition in iPhoto, correct any errors
  • ensure that in the Faces pane of iPhoto I’ve entered in people’s full names and e-mail addresses (in the pane that appears when you click on i on a person’s face)
  • go back and select the photos I want to upload
  • upload to Facebook by clicking on the Facebook icon

Hopefully then, tagging with names will be a thing of the past. If it works photos will be automatically tagged with people’s Facebook names, and uploaded seamlessly.

Going through and correcting facial recognition errors seems to be pretty quick – you can use TAB to flick between faces in a photo, and Enter to enter the person’s name. I haven’t worked out what is the best way to go in and confirm matches though.

There’s also a Places feature in iPhoto ’09 which allows you to tag where pictures were taken or have iPhoto access GPS data on your photos if your camera supports that (and not many seem to at the moment). My iPhone tags photos using its in-built GPS, so when I clicked on the Maps pane in iPhoto I could see where all my iPhone photos had been taken. It was pretty fun, and I’ll probably try to map most photos I take now.

Roll in some neat new slideshow templates, and enhanced editing (such as being able to improve saturation without affecting skin tone) and iPhoto ’09 seems to be worth the money, even if you won’t be using that many other parts of iLife. For advanced editing (yet not too advanced), Photoshop Elements is probably still a good buy, but for organisation of the average person’s photo library, iPhoto seems hard to beat – with it’s options to sort and sift by event, people or places. at the time of writing has iLife for a slight discount, at 63.24 for the single editionor there’s the five user family pack for the non-discounted price of 85.00.

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