'iPhoto: The Missing Manual' is Both Informative and Entertaining

If you write about technology, it’s hard to strike a balance between being technical and being entertaining. I feel as if the scale too often tilts toward the former—the writing may be informative, but it reads like instructions for putting together a shelf from IKEA. That’s why I appreciate and recommend Pogue Press/O’Reilly’s The Missing Manual series. I’ve read a number of those books, and in every case, I’ve learned plenty of stuff I didn’t know while feeling pretty darned entertained. 

I was recently given iPhoto: The Missing Manual (by David Pogue and Lesa Snider) to review, and I found it to be more handy than I could’ve guessed. To be honest, I thought that I wouldn’t learn much—after all, I’ve been through iPhoto backward and forward! A hundred billion times! But the book quickly taught me a bunch and bruised my ego more than I would’ve liked. For example, I didn’t know that you can create a smart album based on two or more people by just dragging their Faces albums into the source list.

Thanks, David and Lesa.

Not only does the book tackle the basics for folks who’re just starting out with the Mac or with iPhoto, it goes into great detail about some of the lesser-known tricks for using the program, like publishing images on the Web or applying the advanced image-editing tools.

This image (and the rest below) are illustrations from the book.

 There’s even an entire section (new to this version) about using the iOS iPhoto app.

I also appreciated the conciseness and beauty of the illustrations in the book. I know you guys are probably thinking, “How difficult is it to take a screenshot, for goodness’ sake?!” But trust me, folks—it’s hard to show examples of technical concepts in a way that’s also pleasing to the eye, and this book nails it.

As you can probably tell by my enthusiasm, I highly recommend iPhoto: The Missing Manual, whether you’d like to become an iPhoto power user or just get started understanding the program before Apple releases the new Photos application next year. The book (439 pages) is available from both Amazon and the iBooks Store for around $15–$24, depending on whether you prefer the e-book or the printed version.