How to: Import single photos to iPhoto

While iPhoto is a great tool to organize your digital photos from your camera, it only offers the ability to import all the photos, instead of picking and choosing which ones you’d like imported. Here is a quick and efficient way of importing single photos from your camera to iPhoto.


  • iPhoto
  • Automator
  • Image Capture

(All applications are included with your Mac)


  1. Open Automator by navigating to /Applications/Automator.
  2. Choose the custom template.
  3. Choose Photos from the action library on the left side.
  4. Select the Import to iPhoto action and drag to the right side of the window.
  5. In the options on the right side of the window, choose Existing Album and select Last Roll.
  6. Check the box next to Delete the Source Images after Importing.
  7. In the File menu, select Save as Plug-in.
  8. Type in a descriptive name, like import_iphoto
  9. Choose Image Capture from the Save Plug-in As drop down menu.
  10. Click Save.
  11. In the Finder, create an empty folder somewhere in your user folder, but remember the name (Imported keeps it simple).
  12. Plug your camera in, and open Image Capture from the Applications folder.
  13. Once Image Capture registers your camera, choose Select Some to import selected photos from your camera.
  14. In the Automatic task drop down menu, select the script that was created earlier – import_iphoto.
  15. Under the Import to drop down menu, choose other and select the folder that was created earlier – Imported.
  16. Choose the photos you want to have imported to iPhoto using the shift key and press OK.

Actions that will now happen: Image Capture imports photos to folder -> Automator script imports those photos to iPhoto and places them in the Last Roll album then deletes the photos originally placed in the Import folder.
[tags]iPhoto, Mac OS X, digital camera, photography[/tags]

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • tiffany September 2, 2008, 3:23 pm

    thank you! this worked perfectly. I wish iPhoto would just allow you to select pictures…

  • brian December 27, 2008, 12:59 am

    Do I have the wrong version of Automator? There is no custom template.
    There is only a list of applications and associated actions.

  • wesg December 27, 2008, 11:38 am

    @brian: are you using Leopard or Tiger? When you open Automator you should see “custom” instead of starting with an application template?

  • mol-d April 16, 2009, 6:02 pm

    works sweetly. thanks!

  • Brittney November 12, 2009, 12:28 am

    That worked perfect!!!! Thank you so much for the tip. That was exactly what I was looking to do.

    You would think iPhoto would make it easier to custom import photos

  • Erin January 6, 2010, 1:57 pm

    Thank you so much! This is really helpful.

Leave a Comment

Next Post:

Previous Post: