It is a given that most photographers who are Mac users will, at some point, use iPhoto to organise their images and perform simple edits. And whilst iPhoto is a polished product, it is by no means perfect. Shoebox, by KavaSoft, is a simple alternative to iPhoto, but is it realistic as a replacement?
Shoebox isn’t stunning to look at, although controls aren’t cluttered and the app is very usable as a result. The simple nature of Shoebox also lends itself to quick processing, and indeed, Shoebox doesn’t suffer from slowdown.
Shoebox works differently from iPhoto; rather than creating its own library, to which images are imported, Shoebox simply scans folders on your Mac, and locates the images within these folders – thumbnail previews of the images are then displayed within Shoebox’s interface. By selecting images, you can add them to a category, give them a rating or change their name, as well as edit or view a plethora of other metadata.
One area in which iPhoto probably outperforms Shoebox is organisation. This is less to do with a lack of organisation features, and more to do with accessibility and ease of use of these features. Generally speaking, however, as an image sorter, Shoebox performs well and due to its minimal operation, it runs very fast. Despite having 4GB of RAM in my Mac, I still find iPhoto slowing-down from time to time, whereas Shoebox always seems to be snappy.
Like iPhoto, Shoebox has a slideshow feature. It isn’t as customisable as iPhoto, but as a way of displaying your pictures, it works fine. This is certainly an area where Shoebox can improve in future versions, however.