How to Record Your Memories With iPhoto

If you are like me, then you love taking pictures. Pictures of your friends, pets, vacation spots and relatives are plastered all over your walls, lockers, desks, refrigerators and mirrors. And let’s not forget all of the pictures of you and your friends on FaceBook! Photos are a great way to capture memorable experiences in a flash. What’s more fun than taking pictures? Why sharing them, of course!

There are so many ways to share your visual experiences with the world. Some people prefer the physical route by making scrapbooks and decorating special paper with crazy designs and colors, while others prefer the digital route and posting directly to Facebook or Flickr. Apple has found a way to tie both of these directions together in their iPhoto for iOS app with a feature named Photo Journaling.

What is Photo Journal?

Apple has made it easy to edit photos with iPhoto on the iPad, but what’s even cooler is that you can create a digital page of photographs and information with one tap of a button. This “photo journal” is a completely customizable page where every photograph falls neatly into place. Want a certain picture to be bigger? Just tap and drag one of the handles and the photos around it will adjust. Feel like leaving a quick note to remember something about that day? Just drag in a sticky note and type it in. iPhoto does all of the hard placement work for you.

A sample Photo Journal

A sample Photo Journal

How Do I Create A Photo Journal?

Starting a new journal

Starting a new journal

Step 1: Open up iPhoto on your iPad and select an album.

Step 2: Tap the Share button in the top right corner. Select Journal.

Step 3: Select which photos you’d like to journal. You can either choose the photos that you currently have selected, the ones that are flagged, all of the photos in that album or you can hand pick up to 200 photos then and there.

Step 4: Once you have selected your photos, you can now name and choose a theme for your journal. There are six different themes. Some are light, others are dark and have borders.

Step 5: Hit the Create Journal button and your journal is automatically complied and a beginning layout is created for you.

Now What Do I Do?

Now the fun begins! Make sure the Edit button is toggled in the top right corner. This brings your journal into the edit mode. At the bottom right of every photo, you’ll see the image’s orientation — either portrait or landscape. Tap on a photo to resize it. You can make it wider, or taller. The magic happens when iPhoto cleverly rearranges the photos around it. You then can group photos together in any fashion that you desire.

Widgets, Widgets, Widgets!

As if the layout features were not enough, Apple packed in a bunch of smart widgets that fit nicely with your photos. To add a widget, make sure you are in Edit mode, and tap the + button in the top right corner. You can then either tap one of the ten options, or drag one from the pane into your journal. Let’s go through each of them.

Working with widgets.

Working with widgets.

Header
If you want one of your pages to contain multiple sections, drag in a Header widget. You can then double-tap it to edit the text.

Text
The Text widget is just that — a block of text. Type in or paste your details and then resize the block to make your layout just right.

Note
A note is like the Text widget, except you cannot resize it. Use this widget for a small amount of text.

Page
If one page is not good enough for you, add another! There is no limit to your layout creativity.

Food
If your memories include a delicious meal, drag in the Food widget to describe what you ate that night. The text is then formatted accordingly.

Quote
Got a great quote that you want to remember forever? Then this widget is for you!

Memory
The Memory widget is very similar to the note widget. Instead of being used as a sticky note, it resembles a torn out piece of scrap paper. Much like the Note widget, it cannot be resized.

Space
Sometimes your memories just need some space. Use the resizable space widget to add some room between things.

Map
Drag this widget in to pin down exactly where your pictures were taken. The cool thing about this widget is that you don’t have to enter in any information — it gets all of the GPS data right from your photograph. You can also choose to hide the pin so that the map shines through.

Day
If the photos in your journal span multiple days, drag in a Day widget to show a small calendar. This is a “journal,” right? Just like the Map widget, iPhoto gets all the data for you and displays what day the photo was taken.

Weather
Now this is a cool one. The Weather widget gets the location data, and the time the photo was taken and combines them together to find out what the weather was like that day.

Sharing Your Journals

Once you have completed your photo journal, you could choose to just show it to people on your iPad — or you could share it to Apple’s iCloud. That way you can send them a specific link which can be viewed on any modern device through a web browser. When you click on a photo, it goes into full screen and gives you the option to start a slideshow.

Share with your friends.

Share with your friends.

You can also share the journal through iTunes, but other than that there is no other means to export it. I would very much like to see an “export to PDF” feature in the near future so that I could print out my journals or make some nice posters. Here’s to hoping that the next version of iPhoto will include this.

Wrappin’ It Up

So there you have it! Creating photo journals is extremely easy and very fun to play around with. It truly is like having a digital scrap book in your hand. Apple has a sample photo journal available for you to check out right here. Happy journaling!


  • Maarten

    Really hoping this function will come to iPhoto on the Mac as well. Only reason why I have it on my iPad.

  • http://presentationexpressions.com Carl Kwan

    Great how-to! Just got my New iPad and was looking at really taking advantage of what iPhoto can do. Thanks for this great tutorial!

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