You’re having family or friends over and want to show off the pictures of that trip you made last year. Those pictures you haven’t already shared on Facebook (and aren’t likely to) are waiting patiently on your computer until you can gather around your guests and share the memories you made.
The most straightforward way to handle this would be to show a slideshow on your computer, but unless you happen to have a ridiculously large laptop screen, this isn’t the way to go. Pushed together, craning your neck to catch half a picture, half screen glare, is not the way to enjoy pictures. If you have an Apple TV, you won’t have to go through this ordeal. Instead of watching picture slideshows on your computer, you can display them right on your television.
There are a couple of ways to access your iPhoto slideshows and pictures on your Apple TV. We’ll take a closer look at the three of them.
0. Organize your Photos in iPhoto
In the following steps, we’ll assume you’ve already organised your photos in iPhoto, Apple’s powerful photo library manager. If you haven’t done so already, it’s very easy to get started. Just create an album (either by right-clicking the sidebar or by going through the File menu) and drag and drop your photos on the album icon. This will populate your first album with the pictures you just dragged into it.
1. Share Pictures Through iTunes’ Home Sharing
iTunes has a feature called Home Sharing, which allows other computers on your local network to access (some of) your media. Among other things, this enables you to enjoy your music on another computer, or share pictures across your local network. Because the Apple TV picks up on Home Sharing, it’s the ideal way to get your pictures on the big screen.
First, make sure you’ve enabled Home Sharing, by opening iTunes and selecting File -> Home Sharing -> Turn on Home Sharing. Enter your Apple ID and password to enable Home Sharing. If (against odds) you don’t have an Apple ID yet, you can make one now.
By default, only music is shared through Home Sharing. To share pictures from iPhoto, select File -> Home Sharing -> Choose Photos to Share with Apple TV. Here you can choose to share your entire iPhoto Library, or a specific subset of it. I shared only the album which contained the photos for my iPhoto slideshow, but you can also filter on events and even faces. A closer look at Home Sharing and how it compares to similar Mac OS X features was previously covered by Bakari Chavanu for MakeUseOf.
If you log with the same Apple ID on your Apple TV, it will pick up the computer on which you enabled Home Sharing. Selecting the ‘Computers’ button on your Apple TV home screen will show you your computer’s library, and the files shared therein. Select the Photos subdirectory and the album containing the pictures of your slideshow. Through the top right corner of your screen, you can start the slideshow. Before the pictures start rolling off the screen, you’ll even be able to select a slideshow theme and music.
2. Export an iPhoto Slideshow to the Apple TV
If you’ve already created a slideshow in iPhoto, or simply prefer the superior capabilities of the application, there’s no need to try to recreate this slideshow on the Apple TV. Instead, it’s relatively easy to export an existing slideshow from iPhoto to your Apple TV.
Creating a new slideshow in iPhoto is as easy as selecting the pictures you want to include, right-clicking the iPhoto sidebar and selecting New Slideshow. Alternatively, you can create an empty slideshow and drag in the pictures to be included later on. In the following screen, you’ll be able to adapt your slideshow to your specific needs, by selecting a slideshow theme and music, and by finetweaking the slideshow effects in the settings. Bakari Chavanu wrote an in-depth guide on creating quick and attracting Slideshows in iPhoto ’11.
Once you’re satisfied with the result, press the Export button at the bottom of your screen. To ensure a decent quality, select either ‘Large’ or ‘Display’ from the list of sizes. Make you’ve enabled ‘Automatically send slideshow to iTunes’ and press Export. Depending on the size of your slideshow this part of the process may take some time. When it’s done, your slideshow should be listed in iTunes, under Movies. If not, you can drag and drop it in manually. By default, the slideshow is located in Home -> Pictures -> iPhoto Slideshows.
If you haven’t already enabled iTunes Home Sharing, do so now. Read the first part of this article for the necessary steps. With Home Sharing enabled, and having signed on with the same Apple ID on your computer and your Apple TV, you’ll be able to find the slideshow you exported on your Apple TV. Simply select ‘Computers’ from the Apple TV home screen, and you’ll find the exported iPhoto slideshow in the Movies subdirectory.
3. Mirror your Computer’s Screen on your Apple TV
At the start of the article, we argued that most computer screens are too small to comfortable watch pictures on when you have guests over. However, if you’re able to mirror your computer screen to your television set, you may circumvent this problem altogether.
Later generation Apple computers support AirPlay mirroring, signified by the AirPlay icon in the Mac OS X menu bar. A complete list of Apple computers that support AirPlay mirroring can be found at this Apple support article. Read more on Airplay in What’s AirPlay, And How To Use It In Mac OS X Mountain Lion.
Just select your Apple TV from the AirPlay icon to mirror your computer screen on the big screen. This done, you can show your pictures as you normally would on your computer, but with more display inches at your disposal.
How do you usually show off your pictures to the guests you have over? Drop a line in the comments section below the article!