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Finding and Organizing Images in iPhoto

Right from the outset, iPhoto helps you organize pics so that you can more easily find the ones you want to view later. All the imported pictures are stuffed in the iPhoto library, which you can easily access by clicking Library in the source list at the upper-left side of the screen.

Your entire image collection shows up in a grid of thumbnails, or mini-pictures, in the main viewing area on the right. If you're having trouble seeing those thumbnails, drag the slider at the lower-right corner and watch the thumbnails grow.

Navigating with the iPhoto Calendar

Now suppose that you want to display just the pictures you took around the time your little angel was born. Click the calendar icon at the lower-left corner of the screen and scroll to the month and date in which you want to display pictures.

Navigating with the Scroll Guide

You can scan for pictures in your library taken during a specific period by dragging the scroll bar on the right edge of the iPhoto screen. As you do so, a floating translucent panel called Scroll Guide appears in the middle of the window, showing you the date and (depending on preferences) title of each film roll.

Assigning keywords

Keywords may be the key to finding pictures in the future. These are labels, or tags, applied to a set of photos. Apple provides some keywords right off the bat: Favorite, Family, Kids, Vacation, and Birthday. You create your own keywords by selecting the Keywords tab under iPhoto Preferences (see Figure 1) and clicking the + (Add) button.


Figure 1: The key to keywords.

Above the list of keywords is a check mark. Its purpose is to flag all the photos you may want to pull together for a specific project. The check mark shows up in the lower-right corner of a thumbnail on selected images.

To assign keywords (or the check mark) to specific photos, follow these steps:

1. Select the specific picture.

2. Choose Photos --> Get Info.

3. Make sure that the Keywords Tab option under Get Info is highlighted.

4. Place a check mark next to the keyword (or keywords) you want to use for the image.

As an alternative to Steps 2 to 4, open the keywords pane at the lower-left corner of the screen by clicking the button that looks like a key. Drag the photo onto the appropriate keyword.

Assigning ratings

You can also assign ratings to pictures on a scale between zero and five stars. You can do this in the following ways with selected images:

  • Choose Photos --> My Rating and click the number of stars you have in mind.
  • Open the Information pane by clicking the little circled i button near the lower-left corner of the screen, and then click the representative dot next to Rating.
  • While holding down the Command key, press the 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 key (representing the number of stars) on the keyboard.

Placing your work into albums

In the film age, really organized people took the time to methodically place prints into old-fashioned picture albums. Fortunately, the iPhoto equivalent of lumping pictures into albums is much simpler. The process is similar to creating playlists in iTunes. So, you can place all the pictures from your ski trip in one album, pictures of the high school reunion in another, and so on. Here's the drill:

1. Choose File --> New Album, or click the + button at the lower-left corner of the iPhoto screen.

2. Type a name for your album (Hawaii Honeymoon or Dance Recital, for example).

3. Click Create.

Creating a smart photo album

Just as you can create smart playlists in iTunes, you can sire smart albums in iPhoto based on specific criteria, such as keywords, photos you've rated highly, pictures taken with a particular camera, or the shutter speed. To create a smart album, follow these steps:

1. Choose File --> New Smart Album.

2. Type a name, just as you do with a regular album.

3. Select the conditions that must be met for pictures to be included in the Smart Album.

Viewing pictures

In the main viewing area, photos are displayed in the order in which you imported them. If you want to change the order, choose View --> Sort Photos, and then choose an option, such as By Film Roll or By Rating.

Under the View menu, you can also decide whether to display the titles, keywords, film rolls, and ratings of your photos.

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