How to Use iPhoto + 1 App for Your Art Inventory and Exhibition Entries

Guest Blogger: Elaine Luther

Were you, like me, crushed when FileMaker discontinued Bento?

I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t prepared to restart the search for new inventory software.

Instead, I asked, how I can maximize what I’m using already?

That’s how I came to explore and use iPhoto for my inventory. I currently have two albums within iPhoto: Art Portfolio and Medals You Wouldn’t Want to Earn (for a specific series). Like a good database, everything in iPhoto is searchable.

Screen capture of iPhoto info

All artwork ©Elaine Luther.

As you can see in the above image, the medal Never Recovered is selected and the title of the image is the title of the work. In the lower section of the Information dialog box at left, I’ve entered the date the piece was created, which shows it’s been exhibited in and the materials. I will soon be entering the measurements as well.

If you use iPhoto, what I’ve shared so far probably isn’t that newsworthy to you. But hang on to your hats because the fun part is next.

An App for Your Entries

If you’re like me, when you hate doing something you tend to put it off. A task that I used to hate was creating “slide sheets” – pages of thumbnail-sized images to accompany an exhibition submission.

I dreaded this task so much, and was so bad at it, that I sometimes missed deadlines because of it. I kept pestering all my tech-y friends, isn’t there an app for this?

It turns out, there is an app for this!

It’s called Contact Page ($14.99) and it automates the process of creating thumbnail sheets.

Not only does it create a sheet of images in your choice of outputs, but you can also use Contact Page to pull the title of the piece from iPhoto for you.

Here’s how you do it.

First, from iPhoto, select the photos you need to create a Contact Page for. From the menu, select File/Export. When you Export the photos (I exported them to a folder on the desktop), make sure to select “Use title,” as shown in the screen capture below.

iPhoto Dialog Box

This ensures that the titles, as I typed them in, will be the title of the photos as they’re exported.

Now open the Contact Page app.


Follow the instructions to drag in the folder of pictures. This populates the screen with your images.

Now select your output format. Do you want to create a PDF, or do you want to send the file to a program where you can tweak things a little further?

I like to send the file to Pages, my word processing and layout program. I choose Pages, click Send, and in under a minute, boom! I’ve got a beautiful slide sheet that fast. In Pages I can fix any typos, delete any unwanted text, and add the year to each image.

I save it and I’m done. From there I can make it into a PDF or continue using it as a Pages document.

I love this software! There is no learning curve, it works well with iPhoto, and it saves so much time.

Use this and you’ll never again miss a deadline because you dreaded the slide sheet.

I’d love to hear from you if you use iPhoto or Contact Page. Please leave a comment and let me know.

Photo of Elaine by Tirzah Spang
About Our Guest Blogger
Elaine Luther is an artist living in Chicagoland. She makes Medals That You Wouldn’t Want to Earn, and paints and makes jewelry with a story behind each piece.
Photo by Tirzah Spang.


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32 comments to How to Use iPhoto + 1 App for Your Art Inventory and Exhibition Entries

  • Oh Lord, where have you been? I needed this yesterday, last year & a decade ago…Please guest post again…Your instructions are clear, the visuals are great & this is just so useful…I’m converted! I’m an Elaine Lutheran! You go girl!

  • Hi Sari, thanks so much, I’m thrilled you found this to be so helpful!

  • Thanks, Elaine!
    This is great news!

    I just have one question: You said, “Here’s how you do it, first, from iPhoto, select the photos you need to create a Contact Page for.”

    When I hold down the shift key, I can select a group of photos. No problem.
    However, if I select one, then want to skip to another photo, the first one is de-selected.
    How can I select random photos for a group like you are talking about?


  • Select the first photo while holding down the shift key, then click each additional photo one by one, (while holding the shift key down) what you’re doing should work!

    Here’s how I do it: I create a folder on the desktop, then export the photos into that folder (either one by one or as a group), then drag that whole folder into Contact Page.

    I hope that helps, if not, feel free to post again, I’m happy to help!

  • Thank you Sari! I’m wondering if it might be different from one version of iPhoto to another; my version of iPhoto is about one behind. Thanks again for the tip!

  • Ah, there you go, I’m running version 9. I’ll upgrade soon!

  • Fran Saunders

    Oh, but this is for MACs and apple ware. Any suggestions for the Windows users?

    • Fran: Maybe you can explore and do a guest post for Windows users in the future. 😉

      • Fran Saunders

        Hi, Alyson. Good to “see” you again. If I find something really GOOD, I will indeed write you a guest post.

    • I’ve been on the search for a good inventory tool and developed my own when I couldn’t find one. Makers’ Moon can be found at It manages your works, clients, venues, and all of the activities between these. It also creates public websites to share your work if you choose to. It’s free to try for as long as you like – upgrade when you need to!

  • Hi Fran, looks like Badia Software, the company that makes Contact Page, doesn’t make a Windows version, sorry. Here’s a video from Microsoft on how to do this in Windows 7:

  • I have three folders on my iMac’s iPhoto system…large file [4MB min] JPEGs…compressed for web pages [1MB max] JPEGs…and Thumbnail JPEGs…[20KB max].

    Take the high resolution photo and copy it>>>compress the copy>>>copy that>>>resize it>>>thumbnail

    PK123JPEG>>>PK123WJPEG>>>PK123TJPEG etc. AND all Backed up to a dedicated art passport only external hard drive.

    PK123 is the reference number of a painting: W = Web page image, T = Thumbnail image etc.

    The words for each painting are in a separate document file. AND all backed up to that same passport hard drive.

    I really cannot stress more the need for the dedicated backup…Cloud Storage is not the answer for you and your art!

    I now keep it safe and simple after my last Microsoft catastrophe. Fortunately the iMac was able to download from another separate portable USB hard drive that originally held my art history!

    iMac 10.9.2 is the latest? iPhoto 9.5 is the latest?…I think.

  • You’re right Phil, having a back up of your photos is so important! Thanks for your comment!

  • Thanks for sharing this fabulous information. You just saved a lot of us a ton of time! KUDOS!

  • You’re welcome Michelle! I’m so glad you find it helpful! I’m excited to share because it’s been so great for me!

  • I was just getting going in Bento and loving it when it was discontinued. I have it on my iphone as well and it works great, just glad I downloaded it before it went away. I believe I can still use it indefinitely unless I’m missing something?

  • Hi Kathy, yes, I believe you’re correct, you can continue to use Bento. If I remember correctly, they won’t offer any tech supports or updates, which influenced my choice in letting it go. I’m glad it’s still working for you!

  • Thanks, I’d hate to start over but it’s nice to know there is a simple alternative. Thanks for sharing!

  • I remembered reading about Bento!

    Mac Format Magazine No 269 Jan. 2014 p.77

    It suggests trying: [previously] for a Bento replacement….

    A data base after all is only a spreadsheet application? I never thought of it that way…a cell of data & information with a picture.

    I once tried this with Microsoft Powerpoint for my art…I gave up after the first five!

    I like what they offer and have used OpenOffice for over two years. Perhaps keep me informed?

  • Hi Phil, certainly spreadsheets are a low cost option, but they’re visually rather dull and you can’t add a picture, can you? Whatever works is fine, the important thing is to keep those records!

  • It can be done in OpenOffice I just did it for the very first time and bearing mind I’m a simpleton iMac user.
    It goes something like this on an OpenOffice spreadsheet. in the chosen cell…

    From the drop down menu…Insert>>>picture>>>file

    From the finder menu>>>select.

    And a second attempt to add this!

    • Great, I use OO.o too. But now I need something to substitute for the iphoto program.

      I could not tell from the original post if this was all being done on a tablet or a desk/laptop. From the comments, I get the idea that this is not for tablet work.

  • Oh, that seems easy enough, thanks!

  • Oh THANK YOU! As soon as I read this post I bought the app. Now I might actually get organized.

  • Thanks Susan! I’m so happy that’s going to help you!

  • Thanks, Sari.

    Command Key


  • Hi Patricia, yes, I’m doing all of this on a desktop computer. Contact Page is an app is a desktop app. They do make iPhoto for iPad, so you could do the inventory piece on the iPad.

  • I love GYSTPro – there is an enormous amount of helpful info in that software in addition to a robust database where you keep multiple images, changes to images, all the usual info – dimensions, date, media, where it’s located, if its in a gallery, on loan, condition . . .

    There are also contracts, templates for exhibitions, letters, artist statements, condition reports, lists galore – great software made by artists for artists. (No, I don’t get anything from them for recommending them.)