By focusing on the people and places behind our photos - and how we share them - Apple has made it easier in iPhoto ’09 to categorise, search for, and share our pictures.

iPhoto '09 Sharing

iPhoto '08 introduced a slick web photo gallery feature; however, to share your pictures, you had to be a paying .Mac (now MobileMe) member. Apple now recognises that there are other places people want to share and tag photos and has added direct posting to both the Facebook and Flickr webites.

The interface to creating albums on both sites is straightforward. Initially, you have to verify that you are a member, but once that's done, all you have to do is select a group of photos, an album or event and click on the Facebook or Flickr icon in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen.

You're given options for who can view the photos, and, in the case of Flickr, their size, and iPhoto automatically uploads the gallery.

Once the uploading process is complete, you can view and edit the photos on the service, assigning tags and adding or deleting images to the gallery, and iPhoto will synchronise any changes made, including downloading new images or deleting images, although they only get deleted from the gallery, not your library.

Apple has added a Travel book type to iPhoto's book-creation feature. The book includes a page template that displays a custom map, where you can add cities and a custom itinerary - with arrows - to showcase your travels.

iPhoto '09 tags

Because Facebook also has a face-tagging mechanism, any names you've added via iPhoto's Faces feature will show up on Facebook. If the email addresses of your tagged friends match the email address they use for Facebook, then they will receive a notification that they're in your posted photos.

Similarly, people can tag unnamed people in your images, and those tags will automatically synchronise with your Facebook galleries in iPhoto.

Also in the sharing category, Apple overhauled iPhoto's slideshow feature, adding new themes, a bit more control over transitions (including music playlist creation on the fly) and a better mechanism for exporting your albums in multiple formats. They're not huge improvements, but they're well done.