Review : iPhoto 5: The Missing Manual, Fourth Ed.

Full color, this one is a winner

MacNN Rating:


Product Manufacturer: O'Reilly Media, Inc.

Price: MSRP: $29.95 US, $41.95 CA

The Good

  • Witty, covers little known features and includes tutorial on digital photography

The Bad

  • Could have used more cautionary text .
iPhoto is installed on every new Macintosh, and is so disarmingly easy to use, that most folks never realize they should read a manual. What you see as you use the iPhoto menus is just the tip of the iceberg. iPhoto 5 is such a richly featured program that a manual is necessary to make use of its full potential. This book is essential for any Mac user who works with photos.

A Comprehensive Book

While iPhoto 5: the Missing Manual is an update to an excellent iPhoto series, the addition of full color pages makes it much better than its predecessors. When it comes to how-to books, more detail is almost always better. The book covers everything anybody would ever want to do to or with their digital photos. Explanations include information on editing, slideshows, printing, publishing, and exporting to DVD.

The writers highlight keyboard commands that most people wouldn't discover without a manual. Examples include, to return from month view to year view, you can quadruple-click any date or the month's name. Or, when you press the Option key and drag a Thumbnail onto a keyword button, that keyword is removed from the picture.

Witty, But Reader Beware

The writing style of the shutterbug team of Story and Pogue is fun to read. For example, on red eye they write, "Truth be told, the Red Eye tool doesn't know an eyeball from a pinkie toe. It just turns any red pixels black".... Occasionally, they gloss over some significant iPhoto shortcomings. For example, if you import a picture shot in uncompressed TIFF format, and then rotate it, the image is converted to JPEG format. All the extra TIFF information is lost. This consequence is so serious that the problem should be highlighted in bold print.

Since this manual focuses on iPhoto 5, alternative solutions to some problems are not covered. For instance, iPhoto 5 does not manage digital sound files. A workaround is offered, but since most digital cameras can record sound to go with stills and video, no program that does support these features is mentioned.

A Digital Photography Tutorial

Somewhat surprisingly, this book doesn't start covering iPhoto until page 79. The first part is a comprehensive digital photography tutorial. Since a large number of Mac users are new to digital photography, this is a useful touch. Overall, this is an excellent book, well worth adding to the library of every Mac user.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor