iPhoto ‘11: 3 Simple Ways to Organize Your Photos

We’ve all been there: you want to find this one particular photo in your iPhoto library but you’re faced with the terrible prospect of wading through the thousands of photos you’ve imported since you first got a digital camera.

The good news is that this doesn’t always have to be the case. Organizing your iPhoto library can be simple and easy, especially if you use any of these three methods.

Use iPhoto’s Events

iPhoto’s built-in Events View is a great way to organize a vast, cluttered iPhoto library. More importantly, it will help you find that photo you’re looking for. In the Events view, your photos are organized into albums according to the specific time period when they were taken. So even if the only clue you have is an estimate of when the photo was taken, you should be able to find that photo more easily. To tweak Events View settings:

  • Click the iPhoto menu at the top of your Mac’s screen and then choose ‘Preferences’.
  • Click the General tab and set how often you’d like iPhoto to sort photos into Events. If you upload photos multiple times during the day, you can have iPhoto create Events albums every two or eight hours. If you import hundreds of photos at the end of each day, choose the ‘One Event per Day’ setting. If you import a bunch of photos sporadically, the ‘One Event per Week’ setting will work out best for you.
iPhotoEvents - cultofmac

Events settings (image from cultofmac.com)


Create Smart Albums

iPhoto automatically creates Smart Albums for you based on the criteria you choose. Once you have Smart Albums set up, iPhoto can organize photos into these albums as you import them. The process works very similarly to how Mail sorts and files your incoming messages according to rules you’ve specified. To create a Smart Album for iPhoto ’11:

  • Press the Option key while clicking the Create button in the toolbar. Click Smart Album from the menu that pops up.
  • Type in a Smart Album name and set your conditions in the dialog box that appears. You can set conditions according to Faces in the photo, keywords in the description, or even your star ratings. You can also have the Smart Album gather photos that match one or all the conditions you set.
  • Click ‘OK’ once you’re done. Your new Smart Album should show up on the Source list that runs down the left side of the iPhoto window.
Creating Smart Albums

Creating Smart Albums


Use keywords.

This method takes a little more time, but it’s extremely useful for finding specific photos. After importing a batch of photos, you can go ahead and assign keywords to each photo. iPhoto ’11 even offers a bunch of pre-set keywords to make the process faster and easier. To assign keywords to photos:

  • Select the photo or photos you want to tag with keywords. You can also tag entire Event albums with keywords.
  • Launch the Information pane by clicking ‘Info’ on the toolbar.
  • Click ‘Keywords’ in the Information pane. Choose ‘Add a keyword’ and type your desired keyword in the field. Hit the ‘Return’ key once you’re done.
  • Repeat the third step if you want to assign more than one keyword to each photo.

Using any of these three methods will help you organize a chaotic iPhoto library. Want more tips and tricks for using iPhoto? MacMall’s Huntington Beach retail store is holding a free seminar on iPhoto on March 18, 2014. Our experts will be discussing lots of useful tips on editing photos, creating prints and slideshows, and streaming slideshows through AirPlay. Click here to register for free tickets!

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