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Tigerstorm's picture
1009 pencils

Improve quality on iPhoto 5's Photobooks

This is a tip directed to the people who still are running iPhoto 5 and haven't bought the new iLife 06 suite, but still wants higher quality on their images in the photobooks you can order through iPhoto 5..

As you might have guess on first notice of the image, your'e going to need to open your terminal in Mac OS X, if your'e not familiar with this program it's command line to your system old UNIX way and it's located in your "Utilities" folder.

First close down iPhoto 5!

Then go there and click on the terminal icon and boom the terminal opens and then you can write or paste this line:

[code]defaults write BookTargetImageDPI 300.0000[/code]

After that you can close your terminal and open iPhoto 5 as usually..

Note: I haven't tested this myself but I've heard of many people who has done this hack and they've been happy with the results and in iPhoto 6 the resolution is 300 dpi by default..

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liamparkinson's picture
43 pencils

Nice tip, im sure my friends who are recent swithers will like to know this as they are still iLife 05, they don't see the point of upgrading.

- Liam

JimD's picture
2626 pencils

From what I hear, iPhoto 6's quality of the books SUCK compared to 5! I haven't tried it in 6, but 5it was already bad, in my opinion. There are plenty of other services available that do the same thing, so I recommend not using Apple's service at all.


Visit The Graphic Mac for graphics and Mac OS tips, reviews, tutorials and discussion.

sketch's picture
1 pencil

We have a collection of iPhoto books (2 of which are iPhoto 6 books)

I think themes in 6 are a lot better and combined with 5 offer a nice range for choice. I do not agree that they "suck".

There are other ways to get books done, but not as effective, cheap and professional (and dare say easy!!!) as iPhoto. iPhoto is an amazing program, the books are a stunning way to keep memories safe.

Also, iPhoto calenders are great things too.. so against mr 'JimD''s opinion... I however do highly recommend the iPhoto books and calenders. My local Apple store ( Walnut Creek ) has a selection of cards / prints / books / calenders that show people what the products are like, do other stores have this or just mine?

el_reverend's picture
134 pencils

Alright here is the .plist content for the above mentioned file:


So it seems to me, that only if you use images that are below the above values will get warning messages (iPhoto5 btw). It WON'T improve an already low-res file. So setting this to 300 dpi will just send you a warning when the image resolution for the given print-size falls short of 300DPI.
No need to change anything, just make sure your images are large enough.
If someone can shed a bit more light on this, I'd appreciate it.

And JimD, if you were so kind to point us to a few other book printing services (article maybe?), I think we'd all be greatful. Thanks.

Alright so I just tried this. I set the image resolution for each book type (Large, Medium, Small) to 72 DPI. I believe thats what the other values refer to. Opened iPhoto 5 and created a book with a few images, that are wallpaper-sized at 72 DPI. Then I zoomed each image as large as possible in each place holder. This gave me a low resolution warning during the default setup. But I did not get a warning this time. So, it does seem these values only refer to the minimum resolution warning icon and dialog box.

Billwhit's picture
136 pencils

There is an easier way to fix this. A free program from called Pref Setter that can be found through versiontracker. Pref Setter will allow you to change the defaults without the need of the terminal. I tested it when ordering a book from apple. Before making the change my book was uploading at about 11 megabytes. I cancelled it an changed my defaults to 300dpi for the large books and the book uploaded at over 35 megabytes. I never ordered a book with the defaults, but it was obvious that more data was being sent after the preference change and I was happy with the quality of the book I received. Hope this helps.

JimD's picture
2626 pencils

It may be that the 4 books I ordered back when 5 came out were of absolute horrible quality and it was a glitch. But I've read on many Web sites about people complaining about the quality of the color and sharpness of the printed books as well.

Don't get me wrong, iPhoto is great, and the books themselves are great, but in my opinion the quality of the printed images is absolute crap. They're grainy, dull and lifeless looking compared to the originals - which were spectacular color and more than enough resolution on the books I had done. Go to any photography Web site and you'll most likely read similar stories & results.

As far as alternatives, do a google search, you'll find MANY alternatives, and almost all of them are cheaper, just as professional (many use the same books) and look much better when printed. Just as easy... no, because most of them have no iPhoto integration, but it isn't too dificult to select the photos off my hard drive and click a submit button on a web page or another app.


Visit The Graphic Mac for graphics and Mac OS tips, reviews, tutorials and discussion.

Hernan's picture

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