Apple’s iPhoto is nice and simple to use program for managing your digital photos. It does however contain several design flaws that turn many users from happy customers to very frustrated users. While there is not much to be done against these important design flaws, there are a few simple things to be done in order to use iPhoto somewhat efficiently.
Configure iPhoto to view your events chronologically
To accomplish this in iPhoto, click on the View menu on top then choose Sort Events then check By Date and then Descending. This will show your events starting with the newest first. This iPhoto setting is very helpful when trying to visually identify your events.
Here is how configure iPhoto to sort your events by the date taken:
View --> Sort Events --> Check "By Date" --> Check "Descending"
Sorting events by date is very helpful in organizing your photos using iPhoto
Delete bad and duplicate photos from each event
Start with the first event and open it up by double clicking it, then do some cleaning. This means deleting bad photos and duplicate photos.
To delete a photo hold Command pressed and then hit the Delete button. This operation will delete the unwanted photos from you iPhoto library as well.
This is also the best point to add some efficient keywords for your photos in the events you have cleaned up.
Rename the event by adding the date in the event title
This will help you to visually identify your events and when you decide to export them the folders will have the correct names.
- A good event name is something like:
- The date: year-month-day. To find the dates of an event put your mouse over the event without clicking it
- A place
- A short description of the event
The photo above shows you a few good event names on top and then some of the old “bad” event names left in iPhotos.
Remember to rename events only after you have finished cleaning them up (delete duplicates and bad photos).
Add keywords and geographical location to your events
While this is an optional step it is very useful and helpful in the future when you try to find specific photos in your collection. In order to add metadata to all the photos in an event, make sure you select the event and use the Info panel on the bottom right.
In order to add any metadata (keyword and geotags), you must click the
Info button on the bottom right tool bar. Once you click “Info” the right-hand metadata panel will be visible and you can enter your metadata.
Enter photo metadata using the Info panel in iPhoto
Export your iPhoto events
Now that you have cleaned your events photos, renamed your events and added keywords and geographic location, you are ready to export you photos from iPhoto to your hard drive outside of iPhoto.
When exporting events from iPhoto, make sure to select the option to create sub-folder names from the event title. In addition, select the options to export title and keywords as well, so all the metadata you have created will be preserved inside the photo files themselves. This way you are preserving all the work you have put into renaming all the events.
Export your events from iPhoto where you can control them
At this point however you have created two copies of the photos contained in the event you have just exported. It is your choice now to determine if you want to delete the event from iPhoto and keep only one copy of the event in your Pictures folder.
If you are uncomfortable deleting photos from iPhoto and you have enough space on your hard drive, then you can keep both, but it will be difficult to remember which events you exported or not.
Use iPhoto libraries efficiently
iPhoto is slow, especially if you import many photos. My rule of thumb is to only hold one year’s worth of photos in one iPhoto library. Of course, you can import more or less photos, but one year’s worth of photos is a simple rule to follow. This brings more complications however, as you have to keep track of your iPhoto library files as you create them, and you also have to know where and how to store these library files.