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Digital Photo Goodies for Mac OS X

by Derrick Story

Mac OS X is becoming a great digital photography platform. Today I'm going to cover some new tools that work with iPhoto, including SplashPhoto, an application that creates photo albums and slideshows for your Palm OS device.

Portraits & Prints: Inkjet Heaven

Printing to your inkjet or laser printer in iPhoto is OK, but certainly that's not the strength of the program. Econ Technologies has created a useful companion program called Portraits & Prints that provides additional power and flexibility for photographers who enjoy printing their own digital images.

The application's interface is similar to iPhoto's. To use Portraits & Prints, simply drag your iPhoto selection to P&P's Dock icon, and the app will launch, adding the image to its catalog. Now you can adjust brightness, sharpen, increase saturation, and perform other basic tasks. But the beauty of P&P is in the variety of printing options you have to choose from.

For example, I like 5" x 7" prints. Often, I waste an entire sheet of 8.5" x 11" photo paper for one 5" x 7" image. P&P enables me to print two 5" x 7"s on one sheet of paper. I can also choose to print wallets, 4" x 5"s, or 4" x 6"s. Pro shooters will love the "portrait set" templates that arrange a variety of different sized images on one sheet.

P&P in action
No more paper waste! P&P provides great flexibility in printing to maximize use of valuable photo paper. Here's the template that enables you to print two 5" x 7" prints on one sheet of 8.5" x 11" paper. Click for larger image.

For $19.95 US, Portraits & Prints is a terrific complement to iPhoto. And for many digital photo fans, the two applications would cover most basic imaging needs.

SplashPhoto Keeps Friends and Family Close

If you've read any of my earlier articles about displaying your images on Palm devices, then you know that I'm a big fan of this type of digital photo album.

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The problem is, most of the tools I've been using, such as Club Photo's AlbumtoGo, haven't been Carbonized for Mac OS X. Even Handspring's Photo Album is still a Classic app.

That's why I was happy to discover SplashPhoto for the Palm OS. Not only do they have a Mac OS X version (in addition to one for OS 9, plus all of the varieties of Windows), it's the best mobile image viewer I've used to date.

The 16-bit color pictures look fantastic on a Visor Prism. I can organize images by category, run slideshows, or beam them to other Palms. The SplashPhoto desktop for Mac OS X allows me to save images at 4-, 8-, or 16-bit resolutions. There are slider controls for brightness and contrast, plus zooming, cropping, and rotating tools, too.

Drag and drop your images from iPhoto directly into SplashPhoto. The pictures will be uploaded to your Palm device the next time you HotSync. It's that easy.

Best of all, SplashPhoto works great with Palm Desktop 4.0 (beta), so I can work exclusively in Mac OS X throughout the entire process. In fact, I can even drag images directly from iPhoto to SplashPhoto and use the two applications side by side. It doesn't get any easier than this.

If you're not using a color PDA, then save your pictures at the 4-bit resolution. They look quite snappy on grayscale Palms and Visors. This image viewer works on Palm's IIIe, IIIx, IIIxe, IIIc, V, Vx, VII, VIIx, m100, m105, m125, m500 and m505; Handspring's Visor, Deluxe, Edge, Neo, Platinum, Prism, Pro and Treo; Sony's Clié; Samsung's Smartphone SPH-I300; Kyocera's Smartphone QCP 6035; and the TRG/HandEra.

You can buy SplashPhoto for $9.95 US. Now there's no excuse not to have pictures of family and friends with you at all times.

BetterHTMLExport Just Got Better

If you read iPhoto Scripts and Plug-ins, then you know about the BetterHTMLExport plugin to create dynamite Web pages directly from iPhoto.

Using BetterHTMLExport
Create a better Web page in iPhoto using this terrific plug-in

Version 1.2.1 is now available, with many added improvements, including more navigation tools. This is a wonderful (and free) plugin for iPhoto, and should be included in every digital photographer's tool chest.

Don't Forget Homepage

One last quick note: I've had the opportunity to play with iPhoto's direct export to my site. One of the galleries there, the B&W Mother and Child series, was created by exporting pictures directly from iPhoto.

Related Articles

iPhoto Scripts and Plug-ins

Inside iPhoto: Image Management for Power Shooters

The interoperability between iPhoto and Apple's iTools is amazing. All I had to do was make sure I'm online, open iPhoto, choose the images I want to use for the new gallery, click on the HomePage button, and watch iPhoto connect, build, and place my gallery right within my site. It even creates the navigation links.

This is what I call integration.

Final Thoughts

iPhoto is the latest member of Apple's digital hub. But as you can see, this breakthrough application is becoming its own hub for managing your digital images. With iPhoto at the center, you can repurpose your pictures in a variety of ways -- often by simply dragging and dropping.

Mac OS X might have Unix under the hood, but it's got a ton of extras too. iPhoto and its companion applications can make any digital photographer feel fully equipped.

Derrick Story is the author of The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers, The Digital Photography Companion, and Digital Photography Hacks, and coauthor of iPhoto: The Missing Manual, with David Pogue. You can follow him on Twitter or visit

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