I've been trying to organise my photos better on a NAS (QNAP) that is exposed as an AFP share. I've copied all the JPEGs into an organised structure on the NAS volume manually. I'd like the files on the NAS (RAID5) and the library on the MBP. They have a direct gigabit connection and jumbo frames are enabled.

I created a new iPhoto '09 library, changed preferences to NOT copy the originals to the library, then imported a directory hierarchy of this years photos. I then proceeded to do some face recognition, tagging and placing as a test.

I then looked at the external NAS files and the internal HDD files and can see many, many files duplicated within the Modified folder of the new iPhoto library

My question is - is this the expected behaviour? Is this avoidable somehow? Can iPhoto be made to save modifications to the original files in the referenced location?

Note: I would prefer to use iPhoto but I also have Aperture if that is usable in some way. Or open to other suggestions

1 Answer 1


Couple of thoughts:

  1. You're running a Referenced Library (where iPhoto does not copy the files to the Library on import). You're doing this with the Library on one volume and the files on another. In iPhoto 09 and earlier, iPhoto uses a system of aliases to track the location of the files. Aliases are very unreliable across volumes. If the path to these files changes you could find yourself fixing each one... one at a time for the entire library. There are other pitfalls to this set up - https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3062728?tstart=0 for more

  2. No. iPhoto will only store the modified images within the Library package. There is no way to change this behaviour. iPhoto will never modify the original file.

  3. If you have Aperture then forget about iPhoto. The pitfalls mentioned above simply don't arise as Aperture is designed with Referenced Masters in mind, you can manage and (if need be) relocate referenced masters from within Aperture. Also, Aperture (and iPhoto 11) does not make a Modified version. It does make previews, these will always be stored within the Library package, but with Aperture you can choose not to generate them.

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