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Sharing RAW files in iPhoto Apps
With the sharing options turned on in iPhoto, you can view the iPhoto libraries of other users, even those on the same machine (as long as they also have iPhoto open). My wife and I share a PowerBook (we each have an account on it) and an EOS 300D. We generally shoot exclusively in RAW format, which recent versions of iPhoto can import and display nicely. We have maintained separate iPhoto libraries, as we have them linked with separate Flickr accounts and to make it easier to track who took which photo.

Recently, we have been importing all photos from a Compact Flash card into one iPhoto library, then switching to the other user account, opening the other user's shared library in iPhoto, selecting the required photos and dragging them across to import then into iPhoto library. However, I have only just realised that when you do this, iPhoto only imports JPG files -- it doesn't import the original RAW file. This is very annoying, as we would prefer to work with the RAW file for any editing.

There are several ways around this:
  1. You can copy all photos from the memory card to a folder at the root level of the hard drive, then import the desired ones to each iPhoto library separately.
  2. You can import all the photos from the camera to one iPhoto library, then select the photos you want in the other library, ane export them to file using the 'Original format' option -- this correctly exports them as RAW files. These exported files can then be imported into the other user's library.
  3. You can import all photos from the camera into both libraries by not using the 'Delete from camera after importing' option in iPhoto during the first import.
Of note: While Adobe Lightroom is a superior application for managing RAW files, it's still in beta, and iPhoto is a superior photo managment application overall, especially where you have a mixture of RAW and JPG files in the collection. It's a shame there isn't a way of selecting a photo in RAW format in iPhoto and editing the RAW file in Photoshop or Lightroom and maintaining the edits. If you select a photo in iPhoto and edit it in an external application, it only opens a JPG copy -- not the original RAW. You need to separately select the original RAW in the ~/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Originals/ folder in order to edit it.
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Sharing RAW files in iPhoto
Authored by: davipt on Sep 29, '06 08:26:19AM

Do you have "use raw files with external editor" in advanced preferences?

Either way, the iPhoto import is uterly broken. I usually split my libraries into 4GB, to burn into DVD's, but now I tried to merge them together... guess what - iPhoto completely and randomly corrupts the library when importing. I've tried the multiple user's trick, like you do, or creating DMG files faking DVD's, or.... importing directly from the DVD! Nothing works :(((

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Sharing RAW files in iPhoto
Authored by: leisuremonkey on Sep 29, '06 09:08:38AM

Actually, you can have iPhoto send the RAW file over to the external editor, instead of the jpg. Go to Preferences > Advanced, and check the "Use RAW files with external editor" checkbox.

One thing to remember about using iPhoto and RAW is iPhoto automatically creates a jpg copy of every single RAW file you import. I used to think it only made a copy of those files you edited, but as it turns out, its all RAW files. iPhoto keeps the RAW files in your "Originals" folder, and the jpgs in the "Modified" folder. That can add up pretty quickly.

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Sharing RAW files in iPhoto
Authored by: edcroteau on Oct 03, '06 08:35:46AM

You may want to consider switching to Aperture (Academic version is $149). It mimics much (not all) of iPhoto but adds much more. Handles RAW correctly, allows editing of multiple versions, editing in Photoshop but still tracks the files without going into the folders, etc. It's RAW editing is not up to par with Photoshop but it has most of what you need to prep snapshots and such. I am interested if anyone has compared Lightroom to Aperture ... Also, sometimes I will export JPEG versions of the "picks" from a shoot into iPhoto to use the iWeb options that I'm comfortable with there. Haven't played around with the recently released Aperture 1.5 yet ...

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