Discover what else Image Capture does

Image Capture icon

So you've convinced your spouse and now you have that nice sparkling new digital camera. You promised great pictures especially since she sprung for that massive 4 GB flash card. You said that "monster" card will allow you to shoot till the kids pass out in sheer exhaustion "hamming it" up for you.

For most amateur digital photographers, the old habit of "keeping the proverbial same roll of film since Christmas of last year" is a tough habit to break. The big difference now is you are putting at risk more than just losing one roll of film. If the camera is stolen or damaged, you're out the whole year's worth of pictures. Try explaining that one!

With the help of an inexpensive $10 USB 2.0 or firewire card reader and Image Capture, you can easily get organized. Most folks after coughing up a few Ben Franklin's will ask, "Now why would I need to buy an external card reader?" I offer some very good reasons:

  1. Downloading directly from the camera drains its batteries.
  2. If you need to shoot something in a hurry, you can't just run off since you're tethered to the computer.
  3. You can choose which ones are bad to begin with so you don't bother to download those. Or you can quickly break up all your pictures as you're downloading them.

When you connect your memory card into the card reader which is attached to your Mac, its icon mounts on your desktop. In my case, I get a Canon formatted CFC (compact flash card) icon.

In the Finder>Go>Applications i.e. look under the Go Menu, scroll down to Applications and then double click Image Capture.

In the resulting window you'll see the window on the right. First decide where you want to download your images to. If you select Desktop, those image will go directly your desktop and you will have a nasty headache trying to sort out where every image is.

screenshot of image capture window1

It is always preferable to create a folder on the desktop and name it something meaningful even if it's temporary. You can always change the name of the folder later.

If you select Options on the bottom right, you'll have another window which will allow you to choose from Download Options, Viewing Options and Device Options.

In the Download Options window, I suggest you uncheck "Delete items from camera after downloading" and check everything else except "Automatically download all items."

display modes of folders

In the Viewing Options window, drag the slider all the way over to "Large" for icon View. By doing so, anytime you select a folder with images imported by Image Capture and you are in icon mode, you'll be able to see large thumbnails without having to open the picture and it will save you lots of time. Icon mode is when the 4 “little squares” are highlighted as shown in the screen capture on the left.

screenshot of download options

After setting up those options, go back to the first window and select "Download Some." A window will open to show all the images there are on the card. You can select the ones you want to download by holding down the Cmd or Apple modifier key and clicking on the thumbnails.

screenshot of viewing options

While you're here, you can instantly tell which ones not to bother with just by looking at the thumnails. It saves you time later when editing and also conserves your hard drive space. Why download images that are obviously overexposed, underexposed or not even in focus? Keep in mind, as a professional photographer I can tell which ones are salvageable and which aren't, so this is a time saver.

Next we'll go over what you can make Image Capture do once those files are on your Mac. I don't think these are secrets. It's just that most digital camera owners don't realize image capture has these features since there was never a manual for the application when they bought their Mac. screenshot of image capture window1

If you use a Mac, my recommendation when you buy a digital camera, is to get a an external card reader. Be sure to get either firewire or USB 2.0 interface. There's quite a few manufacturers of card readers out there, but the one I find reliable and robust is Lexar (shown in picture below.)

an external Lexar firewire card reader an external Lexar firewire card reader












Don't bother with the older USB 1.0 type. You'll be at your computer for eons waiting for your images to download, if you pick the latter. Don't even worry about installing your camera's software except if there are special features their software does that you can't live without.

Part 2.More Image Capture Secrets.

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