When I was in IT and my team was helping our production hubs on automating the book pagination process, the old iMac G3 (1999) was the standard workstation. My co-worker (now friend) tried to walk me through the Mac system a few times, but it was just too foreign for this Windows user. It was only in 2012 that I truly became a “Mac” person– buying my first MacBook Pro. Based on the pagination project years before, I assumed photo editing and management on the Mac would be fairly straight-forward. I was wrong.

I had been using Google’s Picasa to edit and manage my photos until they killed it (thanks Google!). Picasa left your folder framework in place, and just hovered on top of it like an empty shell. I did a few test runs with iPhoto (now Photos), but I didn’t like how it took your photos and put them in some kind of witness protection program labyrinth. So I kept reverting back to a manual method.

I was limping along with folders setup by year, and syncing them with my iPhone and iPad. I was using Dropbox’s Camera Upload feature to move the photos off my camera roll and into the correct folder, deleting the ones I didn’t want to save. With the latest Mac and iOS updates, syncing my iPhone to my current MacBook Pro took hours as it inspected each individual photo for changes. I would often have to stop the sync process because I would just run out of time. I even went to the Genius Bar to see if it was a problem with my system. It wasn’t.

I knew migrating would be time intensive…I had a lot of photos and apparently a lot of versions of the same photo. Many of these were original pictures in Picasa before I edited them as well as the final edited picture. It took some trial and error setting up folders/albums and then bringing those pictures into Photos. Then it was a lot of merging and sorting, and the laborious process of deleting duplicate pictures. If there were any photos where the time/date was off, I had to go in and correct that in Image/Adjust Date and Time. (Correct date/time and location data are one of my pet peeves.) In Photos/Preferences, I checked the following options. I activated iCloud Photos on my iPhone and iPad, and turned off Dropbox Camera Uploads.

Positives include much faster iTunes sync since it no longer includes photos. My Photo library (with edits) is sync’d across all of my devices and stored in iCloud. If I delete a picture on my iPad, it’s deleted everywhere. This applies to edits as well.

When I viewed All Photos, it seemed like there were a lot of photos that were just floating around not in an album. I created a smart album with the criteria “Album is not Any”. This created a quick way to move those photos into an existing album, delete if it’s a duplicate picture, or create a new album.

It would be nice if the Pictures shortcut in Finder actually showed your photos, but it’s just an empty folder now. If you want to send a picture to someone, you have to go into Photos to find it and then drag/drop on the email. I understand why it’s in a “photo lockbox” but I still don’t like it. However, I am now assimilated.