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Nov 5, 2010

I've been working on creating some books in iPhoto, and I'm running into all sorts of issues with Apple's "smart" page formatting. When I choose a page layout, iPhoto automatically changes the layout based on what type of photos you put where. For example: Say I choose a 2-photo layout for one page with 2 horizontal photo placeholders side by side (and large blank spaces above/below). If I drag a portrait photo to one of the placeholders, the arrangement automatically changes to 1 squarish portrait size, and one long landscape photo. If I drag another portrait photo onto the other landscape placeholder, the page automatically becomes a full bleed, 2-portrait page. This is 100% consistent and predictable - however this info appears nowhere in iPhoto or in Apple's support pages. Or anywhere that I can find.

Problem: It gets really complex with multi-photo pages. I'm using a few 6-photo pages, which the default template is: 1 big portrait, 1 regular landscape and 4 quarter size landscapes. I can't sort out the logic for the auto-formatting of this page. If I drag a portrait photo to one of the small photos, sometimes it changes the page into two normal size landscape photos and four half-frame portrait photos. This looks great when arranged on a diagonal, but there's no way to do that on purpose - and the iPhoto "magic" arranging is seemingly inconsistent here. (Often it stacks the landscape photos on one side of the page with 4 small portrait photos on the other - which looks chunky.)
<brief rant> Further infuriating is that the various full-bleed books have totally different formatting options. And "undo" does NOT undo magic iPhoto's magic format changes. </brief rant>

Help: I've googled the bejeezus out of this, and searched here for hours. Is there a helpful website out there, anywhere, that have these logic strings revealed? So that users can arrange photo books to look good on purpose? I can't understand why apple doesn't allow an "advanced" mode where the format box shows all the options, and have a toggle for "no magic auto formatting."
Note: I'm currently running iLife 11 on a up-to-date new MacBook Pro. However, I had the exact same issues with the previous version of iPhoto, so I believe the magic code to be universal.

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