The iPhoto Journal—A Useful (and Fun) Tool!

For me, preparing to take a trip is more fun than the actual trip. And it’s a good thing since my trips only last about a week, and I can plan for months! I just returned from a trip to Dublin, Ireland, and I discovered a great way to share my trip through iPhoto without making people listen to me drone on and on about what I saw and did! It’s easy to see how the tool could be used in the classroom to share presentations.

I often travel by myself, and I don’t much like to go out in the evenings. I like to relax by going over my photos, deleting duplicates, sharpening them up, and posting a select few to Facebook for my friends and family. I love using iPhoto but needed a way to get photos onto my iPad so I could play with them. And I did not want to use my iPad as a camera. It’s too big and heavy to carry around, not to mention it would look weird.

I decided to try an Eye-Fi card. After finding a compatible camera on Woot, I set up the card on my computer to send photos directly to my iPad. It took me a bit to figure out how to make it work correctly, but once I did it, worked great. I had wifi in my room, but the Eye-Fi card doesn’t use wifi to communicate with the iPad, so I could transfer photos even when I was offline.

So I had all my photos on my iPad. What to do with them. I’d never used iPhoto journals before, but I decided to make one, just as a record of my trip so I could look it over from time to time and maybe show it to people when they came to visit.

Starting a journal in iPhoto is pretty easy, and the directions are clear. There are a few things I wish I had known ahead of time, though. You want the app to work like a graphic program like PowerPoint, but it doesn’t. You have to learn to work within the limitations of the app. For example, you can’t

  • Make photos any size you want.
  • Just move objects wherever you want.
  • Overlap objects and put them on top of each other.
  • Insert links or change fonts (or at least I couldn’t figure out how to do it).

There are, however, some cool things you can do. You can

  • Insert captions, headlines, and text boxes.
  • Add little widgety items like calendars, weather, and maps
  • Edit photos from within the journal.

But the coolest thing about iPhoto journals is sharing! You can choose to publish your journal to iCloud. A web page is created from your journal and you send the link to anyone to watch on any device! I am assuming that this feature is why you have so little flexibility with the graphics in the journal. And, if you decide to change anything, you see a notification that your web page needs to be updated, so you can re-publish it, and your journal can stay current.

Journals can also be made into slideshows, which I would find less useful, I think. If you want a slideshow, other applications offer more opportunities for creativity, I think, depending, of course, on where your photos are. If they’re on the iPad to begin with, working within the iPad app is a more efficient choice.

Read more about iPhoto:
Documenting Your Year with iPhoto
A teacher uses iPhoto to create end-of-year slideshows celebrating each student’s growth. Having students create their own reflective journal would also be a great learning experience.

iPhoto for iPhone and iPad: Overview, Tutorial, Review
A video that demonstrates techniques you can use with iPhoto on your iPad

In December 2015, Peggy Grant joined our extended network of alumni.