How to Organize in Photos, Tips on IPhoto and Aperture . . . Successful Social Media Tip of the Day

This post will help you organize your photo library on your computer using iPhoto and Aperture, give you a few tips  and show how to sort through your thousands of photos if you haven’t started organizing them.

screen shot of iPhoto icon

So here it goes, read on for these helpful tips  . . .




iPhoto is designed to hold up to 250,000 photos. I am no where near that number but even with several thousand photos, my photo library was starting to get out of hand so I decided it was time to get better organized. First let’s talk about iPhoto and how it is set-up.  Then we will talk about another photo library program called Aperture.

When you start using iPhoto, back up your library onto a DVD or an external hard drive so you won’t loose your precious photos if something happens to the program.  Also, you should not try to alter the iPhoto software package.  Any alterations could leave the program corrupted.

There are several ways iPhoto can organize for you. When you download photos, each download is seen as an event in the photo library.  You can customize events by date, people, locations and in albums.

screen shot of iPhoto menu

If you need to search for photos, iPhoto will let you search by keywords, dates or star ratings.  A Star ratings is a rate you can assign to your photos, which then you can search and sort with your star ratings.  The star rate feature is under the Photos menu in the top menu bar, pull down menu and click on My Ratings.  Here you will see the 1 through 5 star rating system and you can assign stars to  a photo.  Highlight your photo first that you would like to rate. Another way to rate a photo is, select your photo,  hold down the command key and type your number rating 1 through 5.

Organizing photos through Smart Albums allows you to specify a condition to new photos you import and will automatically put the photos meeting your condition into the Smart Album.  Under the top menu bar, pull down the File menu and click on New Smart Album to create your new album. Name your album and create your condition, then click OK.  I take a lot of sky photos, for example, and wanted to separate out day sky photos from night sky photos so I put a condition in the smart album condition boxes of if sky is night, add click the + sign next to boxes so when I import night sky photos they will now go to my new Night Sky smart album.

Sorting by keywords can also be a resourceful way to sort your photos. To do a keyword sort first you make your keyword list. Under the Window top menu, click on the Manage My Keyword list.

iPhoto menu screenshot If you have never selected keywords, click the edit and type in keywords you wish to sort for.  Click the + to add a new keyword and click OK to save your keyword. To delete a keyword, click on the word you wish to delete, then click the  minus sign and OK. Some basic keywords might include family, holiday, vacations, school photos, seasonal.

iPhoto Menu screenshotAs your photo library grows you can always add new keywords to sort by.

Flagging photos is yet another way to group photos.  For example, when I add a photo to my Blog Media Library I flag it.  This allows me to quickly see in iPhoto which photos are on my blog. To flag a photo, select the photo first and click the yellow flag indicator on the upper left corner of selected photo.  Move your mouse over the corner to see the flag. The flag will now be bright yellow and will automatically be added to a special Flagged Photo album.  To flag multiple photos at once, pull down the top menu bar Photo tab and click Flag Photo.

Using the Albums as a way to sort photos, title your album and drag and drop photos into it from your source list. Then create folders to group albums for specific events such as vacations or family.

With so many ways to sort and group photos, the best thing to do is be consistent.  Pick a system that works for you and stick with it.  For me, using Smart Albums with categories that sort types of photos and keywords for things I like to take photos of such as flowers, sky and water scenes help to automatically distribute photos into the proper album as I import them.

screen shot of aperture icon

Lastly, if you would like  a more comprehensive photo library, Aperture works well with iPhoto in terms of transferring your iPhoto library into Aperture. For projects and professional use, Aperture has more rating systems and metadata adjustments fields.

screen shot of Aperture


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