iPhoto 6 and image rotation

I noticed that the size of my iPhoto directory seemed to be growing a lot faster than I expected. It turns out that when a photo is rotated on the camera, iPhoto creates a backup and then rotates it on import. I also think it might be compressing too much. A 2.3 MB file is rotated and becomes 1.4 MB. I don’t see where the JPEG quality settings for initial rotation can be adjusted.

I don’t want 2 copies when a photo is rotated. I’d prefer lossless (or near lossless) rotation.

I tried various combinations of rotate settings on my camera (Nikon D50) without any luck. Nikon RAW NEF images appear to work in iPhoto, but they’re larger 5.1 MB and I don’t know much about them. I’m pretty happy with JPEGs for now.

I figured I’d use jhead to look at the EXIF information and maybe rotate the picture. It turns out that jhead can use jpegtran can do lossless rotation.

$ jhead -autorot picture.jpg

jhead preserves all the EXIF info except it swaps the resolution (3008 x 2000 to 2000 x 3008) and removes the orientation property. iPhoto will happily import the rotated file.

I suppose I’ll be able to duct tape together some solution using jhead, Image Capture, and Automator to preprocess the images before importing into iPhoto.

It seems like there should be a better way to do this. Preview knows how to display the original images, so iPhoto should handle this automatically.

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Posted in iphoto, jpeg, mac
4 comments on “iPhoto 6 and image rotation
  1. Leon says:

    Howdy! Did you get a solution put together for this? My damn iPhoto library has an extra 3GB in it that’s probably mostly due to this silly behavior. I’d love to hear some more about your solution to this.

  2. donc says:

    Not yet. Hopefully soon.

  3. james craig says:

    i’ve just searched for this as a result of running (temporarily – soon aborted) iPhoto diet. i too am losing disk space to this anomaly. i’m going to have a play around with some settings, but this is very annoying. i want iPhoto to maintain the larger photo size (jpg) and the rotation as set by the camera. i’ll be interested to find a workflow or solution to this.

    do we know if aperture handles these files any better. may be time to switch.

  4. […] The solution is to transform the photos on the CF card. It’s a bit of a nuissance as the images will be read and written to the CF card, but let be it. Initially, I thought of exittran as I used in on Linux, but I have not found it in Darwin ports. Instead, I learned that jtran will also do the job and can be installed with port install jhead (credits to donc). […]

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