Organize Photos on Your Mac into iPhoto ‘11 Albums

In the film age, really organized people took the time to methodically place prints in old-fashioned picture albums. Fortunately, on the Mac, the iPhoto equivalent of placing pictures in albums is much simpler. The process is similar to creating playlists in iTunes. 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 Add To button at the lower-right corner of the iPhoto screen.

    In the first example, an untitled album appears in the Source list and you can drag photos to this album in the Source list as noted below.

  2. If you clicked Add To in Step 1, click Album and then click New Album.

  3. Type a name for your new album.

    You can use Hawaii Honeymoon, Dance Recital, or whatever.

Now you have to populate that album with pictures, as follows:

  • Drag entire events or individual photos onto the album name or icon in the Source list.

  • To select a batch of photos to drag over, hold down the cmd key while clicking the pictures you want to include.

  • To select adjoining photos, hold down the Shift key and click the arrow buttons.

  • To select all the photos between two photos, hold down Shift and click the first image; then hold Shift and click the last image.

As you drag a batch of photos en masse to the album, a little red circle indicates how many pictures you’re moving over.

If you want to select the photos before creating an album, select the pics and then choose Add To in the iPhoto toolbar.

Although photos are lumped into albums, the pictures actually remain in the iPhoto library. The images inside albums are merely pointers to the original files. So you can place the same picture in multiple albums. You can also remove pictures from an album without fear that the images will be deep-sixed from the iPhoto library.

After you create a bunch of albums, you can group them into a folder. Choose File→New Folder, give the folder a name (such as Vacations), and drag all the relevant albums into the folder. When you select the newly created folder, you see all the pictures stored in all the albums contained in that folder. Folders turn up in the Source list.

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