When you buy a Digital Camera it normally comes with an Installation CD/DVD that contains the camera's Driver files and/or some Photo Software (Album Creator, Photo Editor, Photo Importer and so on). The driver files are very important as they contain the software (codes/scripts) that is used to communicate with the hardware (i.e. digital camera). Without the driver files, and more importantly without the correct driver files from your manufacturer, your digital camera might not be detected, installed and/or work properly (if at all) by OS X (Mountain Lion) when it is plugged into the computer.

Although OS X (Mountain Lion) comes preinstalled with many default (standard issue) driver files, from many different digital camera manufacturers, it sometimes cannot install the driver files for your particular model of digital camera; usually because your digital camera is too old, obsolete or too new. The apple mac Software Update feature does sometimes download newer driver files, but it would be pot luck if it downloaded driver files for obsolete digital cameras for example.

To manually install your digital camera's driver files you either have to use its installation cd/dvd (if you have one) or download them from the internet (i.e. from the manufacturer's website), but only if OS X (Mountain Lion) does not automatically detect your digital camera when you plug it into the computer via its USB Cable - Automatic detection and installation of a piece of hardware and its driver files is known as Plug 'N' Play technology. Read the previous Hardware sections about Driver Installation and Printer Installation, as well as the Installing Hardware section, if you need explanations/examples on installing hardware/driver files.


In this example I will show you how to import (transfer) photographs from a digital camera into the photo application called iPhoto, which is part of OS X (Mountain Lion). This means there's no real need to install any of the third-party photo software that may of come with your digital camera's installation cd/dvd, or downloaded software, if you just need basic photo editing, album creation and photo printing features. Installing the photo software that comes with a digital camera's installation cd/dvd, or software download, can bloat OS X (Mountain Lion) and so, ideally, should only be installed if you need advanced photo editing and/or other features that are not found in iPhoto.

One thing to remember here is that Scanners and WebCams usually have photo software on their installation cds/dvds, so always check to see if you have good photo software already installed on OS X (Mountain Lion) - It's pointless having many different kinds of photo software installed if they can all do the same job (i.e. create a photo album and/or re-size a photo).


To import photos from a Plug 'N' Play digital camera you just need to connect it to your apple mac computer via its USB Cable whereby OS X (Mountain Lion) should then automatically detect the digital camera and install its driver files. However. If you have an installation cd/dvd for the digital camera, regardless of Plug 'N' Play, it's usually better to manually install the driver files from it first. This is so that OS X (Mountain Lion) has a better chance of detecting the digital camera with the correct driver files.

You do not necessarily need to download and install any latest driver files for your digital camera simply because some latest (updated) driver files can crash the computer; especially when a digital camera is a few years old already. In other words; The digital camera is working fine with the original, older, driver files but then crashes the computer once it is using the newer driver files. Not all updated driver files are good news.

In this example I'm using my Plug 'N' Play Canon PowerShot A1200 HD digital camera which I have already connected to the computer - I have plugged the small, squiggly, D shaped end of the USB Cable into the digital camera and the other, USB Connection, end of the usb cable into a spare USB Socket (Port) on the computer. When I Switch ON the digital camera OS X (Mountain Lion) will automatically recognise it and instantly install its driver files whereby the application called iPhoto is then launched (opened/executed).

Fig 1.0  iPhoto is currently looking inside the digital camera's Memory Card for photo and video files

Once iPhoto is open it begins to look inside your digital camera's Memory Card (Memory Stick) for photo files and video files (yes! video files will be imported too). In the example above it has found 254 Photos (photo files). The blue gauge that stating LOADING 109 OF 254 means it is preparing to make 254 Thumbnails (small icons) for the actual 254 Photos (photo files). And at this time it has made 109 of them.

It is important to note here that no photo files (photos) have been imported yet. iPhoto is merely taking a photocopy of each photo in order to make a thumbnail (small icon) for it. In other words, each photocopy will be shrunk. Behind the scenes iPhoto is also gathering up information about each photo, such as its Size and Resolution (DPI - Dots Per Inch). You know no photos have been imported yet because the blue button in the top-right corner of the iPhoto window states: IMPORT 0 PHOTOS.

When the photo files have been catalogued, behind the scenes, the thumbnails will appear (below) and the blue IMPORT button in the top-right corner of the iPhoto window will then state how many actual photo files (photos), and video files (videos), can be imported - In this example: IMPORT 254 PHOTOS.

Fig 1.1  iPhoto has created 254 Thumbnails (small icons) to represent the 254 Photo Files it can import

At this point I could just click on the blue IMPORT button which would import the 254 photo files from my Canon PowerShot A1200 HD digital camera onto my MacBook Pro Laptop computer, but this would mean the 254 photo files going into a folder (event) called UNTITLED. So before I click on the blue IMPORT button I need to give the folder (event) that will be created for these photos a name - In this example I have typed European Holidays into the ADD EVENT NAME edit box (to the far left of the blue IMPORT button) before clicking on the blue IMPORT button.

Fig 1.2  When the thumbnails (small icons) appear give your photos (album) an Event Name before clicking on the blue IMPORT button

An EVENT in iPhoto is just a fancy name for FOLDER, but not a photo album! Anything you import from your digital camera into iPhoto has an EVENT folder created for it, called UNTITLED by default. It's known as an EVENT folder because it supposed represent an event such as a Holiday or Wedding, even though your photos might not be an event. You might have photos of Flowers which do not represent a Gardening World Tour but just your garden, in which case you could rename the UNTITLED event MY GARDEN or FLOWER GARDEN for example.

On top of this; Any photos imported into iPhoto are only stored within iPhoto. This means only a copy of the original photos stored on your digital camera's memory card will be imported into the UNTITLED iPhoto event, but a copy will NOT be stored inside your computer's PICTURES folder for example. This is what many people don't realise when they delete a photo from an iPhoto event - They think there is another copy of the original photos stored inside the PICTURES folder, when there is not. This is why a better way to import photos into iPhoto is to first place a copy of the original photos inside the PICTURES folder and then use iPhoto's IMPORT TO LIBRARY option to import them; from the PICTURES folder as opposed to directly from your digital camera. Read MANUALLY COPY PHOTO / VIDEO FILES TO THE COMPUTER later, below.

Getting back to this example. After creating an event called European Holidays and clicking on the blue IMPORT 254 PHOTOS button (above) iPhoto then begins to make a copy of the original photos stored on my digital camera (a technique known as: Importing) in order to place that copy inside the event I have called European Holidays. As a copy of each photo is being transferred into the European Holidays event (folder) you get a big preview of that photo.

Fig 1.3  A copy of each photo stored on my digital camera is being transferred into the event called European Holidays

As iPhoto is coming to the end of its importing (copying) process it asks you if you would like to keep the original photos on your digital camera or delete them. If you wish to keep the original photos on your digital camera's memory card simply click on the KEEP PHOTOS button, otherwise click on the DELETE PHOTOS button.

Fig 1.4  iPhoto has almost finished its importing (copying) process

Fig 1.5  Do you wish to keep the original photos on your digital camera's memory card (KEEP PHOTOS) or delete them (DELETE PHOTOS)?

Regardless of which button you click on, your imported photos (the copy of the originals) will now be viewable from within the iPhoto application (iPhoto). Simply double click on any photo within your chosen event (i.e. within the European Holidays folder) to preview it and use the iPhoto slideshow feature (not exampled here).

Fig 1.6  The copied photo files are now viewable within the iPhoto application - Double click on a photo to preview it

If you want to view your EVENTS (occasions folders) just move your mouse pointer towards the left sidebar until you reach the heading called LIBRARY and then click on the EVENTS button-menu. Doing so will change the main preview window into a folder (events) view whereby you could drag events into other events (occasion folders into other occasion folders) for example or delete an event (not exampled here). When dragging event #1 into event #2 for example only the photos from event #1 are copied into event #2. The actual folder of event #1 is not copied. In fact it's deleted. This means event #2 will now hold photos from event #1 and event #2.

Fig 1.7  To view the events (occasion folders) simply click on the EVENTS button-menu

When you have finished previewing your photos and events and exit the iPhoto application it will update its Library database/settings accordingly; so that it remembers what you have changed, renamed and/or deleted for example.

Fig 1.8  When you exit the iPhoto application give it a few seconds to update its Library database/settings

One last note about Events, Folders and Photo Albums because obviously I cannot cover everything here about iPhoto here; On top of EVENTS you can also create ALBUMS. An album acts like a traditional folder which is not a sub-folder of an event, but is dependent on an event. As an example; If you have one event called HOLIDAYS and one event called WEDDINGS you could create an album (photo album folder) called MY FAMILY whereby it only contains photos of your family members taken from both events.

Equally you can also split an event. So you could split HOLIDAYS into ITALY, FRANCE and UK for example whereby each separate event only contains photo from its own country. Or you could have one event called HOLIDAYS whereby you then create separate folders (albums) for it called ITALY, FRANCE and UK for example. You would then copy photos from the HOLIDAYS event into the respective country albums. It's worth noting that when you move photos from an event into an album the original event copy stays inside its event. In other words, albums only contain copies of event photos - the original event photos stay put.


As mentioned above; The best way to utilise iPhoto and create multiple events, albums and duplicate photos is to manually copy the original photos from your digital camera's memory card into your computer's PICTURES folder. That way you can import multiple copies of photos and therefore create multiple events and albums.

In this next example I have taken out the memory card from my digital camera and inserted it into my computer's memory slot. OS X (Mountain Lion) has then created (mounted) a logical drive for it called STORAGE - I renamed the memory card STORAGE days before. To view the contents of STORAGE all I need to do now is double click on its desktop icon.

Fig 2.0  Insert your digital camera's memory card into the apple mac and then double click on its desktop icon

The first folder you normally see inside a digital camera's memory card is its DCIM (Digital Camera IMages / Digital Camera Images Memory) folder. As it's names suggest, it is the root folder the digital camera uses to store your photo files (photos) in, as well as video files (videos). In this example I have already opened the DCIM folder, by double clicking on it, in order to show you the two sub-folders contained within it.

The sub-folder called CANONMSC should be left alone as it contains the specification files that tell OS X (Mountain Lion) and the iPhoto application for example all about the photo files (photos) contained within the 122_0210 sub-folder. Your particular photos folder will more than likely be called something other than 122_0210, but either way you should get into the habit of having a nosey around all of the sub-folders. That way you get to know your camera better. Either way, in this example I'm now going to double click on the 122_02010 sub-folder (Fig 2.1 below) in order to show you its contents (Fig 2.2).

Fig 2.1  Double click on the sub-folder containing your digital camera photos in order to open it

Fig 2.2  The content of the 122_0210 sub-folder contains my photo files (photos)

From this point onwards I would simply SELECT ALL (Command + A) of the photo and video files that are inside the 122_0210 sub-folder, COPY them (Command + C) and then PASTE them (Command + V) into the PICTURES folder on my computer. With that done I would then launch (run/execute) the iPhoto application and use its IMPORT TO LIBRARY menu-item located on its FILE menu (not exampled here). This would then give me better manipulation of those photos and videos in terms of events, albums and general usage on the apple mac computer.

Fig 2.3  ALWAYS EJECT mounted hardware when you have finished with it

Once you have copied the photo and video files from your digital camera's memory card don't forget to EJECT (unmount) the memory card by right clicking over its desktop icon and selecting the EJECT "DEVICE-NAME" menu-item (i.e. EJECT "STORAGE"), which is the equivalent of the Windows 7 SAFELY REMOVE HARDWARE feature.

Although OS X (Mountain Lion) will eject (unmount) the memory card when you shutdown the computer I always advice ejecting a memory card as soon as you are finished with it. That way it's not prone to accidentally erasure due to you thinking the memory card is something else, something unimportant and/or something that can be overwritten because you have forgotten it contains your precious photos/videos.