How to Import Images to Your MacBook with iPhoto

Your MacBook is loaded with features, including options for importing images using iPhoto. Who doesn’t want to capture those precious or hilarious moments? More to the point, who doesn’t want them splashed all over their MacBook?

Import Images 101

In import mode, you’re ready to download images directly from your digital camera — as long as your specific camera model is supported in iPhoto. You can find out which cameras are known to be supported by visiting the Apple iPhoto support page.

And you’re not limited to cameras, of course: You can also import photos from a memory card reader (such as the SD or SDXC card slots sported by most current MacBooks), or even a Kodak PhotoCD. Depending on the camera, iPhoto may also import video clips.

Follow these steps to import images:

  1. Connect your digital camera to your MacBook.

    Plug one end of the USB cable into your camera and the other end into your laptop’s USB port, and prepare your camera to download images.

  2. Launch iPhoto.

    Your MacBook will probably launch iPhoto automatically when your camera is detected, but you can always launch iPhoto manually by clicking its icon in the Dock (or from Launchpad).

  3. Type an event name for the imported photos, such as Birthday Party or Godzilla Ravages Tokyo (depending on your birthday parties, this could be the same event).

  4. To have iPhoto automatically separate images into separate events based on the date they were taken, select the Split Events check box.

  5. Click the Import All button to import your photographs from the camera.

    The images are added to your Photo Library, where you can organize them as you want.

    To select specific images to import, hold down the cmd key and click each desired photo; then click Import Selected rather than Import All.

  6. Specify whether the images you’re importing should be deleted from the camera afterward.

    If you don’t expect to download these images again to another computer or another device, you can choose to delete the photos from your camera automatically. This saves you a step, frees space for new photos, and helps eliminate the guilt that can crop up when you nix your pix.

Import stored images from your drive

If you have a folder of images that you’ve already collected on your drive, a CD, a DVD, an external drive, or a USB flash drive, adding them to your library is easy. If the images are in a folder, just drag that folder from a Finder window and drop it into the Albums header (within the Source list in the iPhoto window).

iPhoto automatically creates a new album using the folder name, and you can sit back while the images are imported into that new album. iPhoto recognizes images in these formats: JPEG, GIF, RAW, PNG, PICT, PSD, PDF, and TIFF.

If you have individual images, you can drag and drop them as well. Select the images in a Finder window and drag them into the desired album in the Source list. To add them to the album displayed in the Viewer, drag the selected photos and drop them in the Viewer instead.

If you’d rather import images using a standard Mac Open dialog, choose File→Import to Library. Simplicity strikes again!

“What’s that about an event, Mark?” After you download the contents of your digital camera, those contents count as a virtual event in iPhoto — based on either the date that you imported them or the date they were taken. (Yet another reason to set your camera's internal clock!)

For example, you can always display the last images you imported by clicking Last Import. If you want to see photos from your son’s graduation, they appear as a separate event. (These organizational tools appear in the Source list.) It’s tough to arrange old-fashioned film prints by the moment that they document, but iPhoto makes it easy for you to see which photos are part of the same group!

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