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This chapter is from the book

Managing Photo Information

iPhoto offers several ways to tag photos so that you can find them. We suggest you read about all the options before you begin tagging. It will be easier to find what you're looking for later if you develop a consistent way of applying iPhoto tags. For example, you could use photo titles to describe the pictures from your Colorado vacation, but it's probably easier to use Keywords to describe the group of images, and then very specific titles for individual images.

Every photo in your library has a number of attributes. You can change most of them and use the information to find and organize large numbers of images. In the next section, we'll show you how to build and maintain iPhoto albums, but first, we need to show you how to use the library's powerful database to identify each photo uniquely.

Names, Dates, and Comments

Photos you import from a digital camera often have filenames such as PA20008. If you're lucky, the filename might include a clue to the date the picture was taken. You can replace the meaningless alphanumeric drivel with a descriptive title. In the Import, Organize, or Edit views, select a photo and type a new title in the Title field, located below the Source pane (see Figure 3.7). Choose View -> Titles to see titles for all photos.

Figure 3.7Figure 3.7 Replace a cryptic filename with a descriptive title.

Similarly, iPhoto imports a photo's creation date and time, and adds it to the Date field. You can change it if you want—or at least check to see that it's correct. If your camera's battery died while you were taking pictures, it might have taken the correct time and date information down with it. While we're on the subject of dates, click on the Last Roll album that shows the most recent photos you imported. Notice that the Date field lists the range for all images in the album.

With a photo selected, click the Show information About This Photo button. It's the one just to the right of the Play button. The Comments field opens (see Figure 3.8). You can add notes about the photo here. Click the Info button again and all photo information disappears. Click once more and you're back to the first of the three views.

Figure 3.8Figure 3.8 Make notes about the selected photo in the Comments field.

Changing Multiple Photos at Once

Photos from the same film roll (to echo iPhoto's metaphor) often have a lot in common. iPhoto lets you make changes to the titles, dates, and/or comments of an entire album, or a group of photos you select from the library or an album. You might decide to give your European vacation photos a prefix that identifies them (Eur) and then add a more precise description to the title of each photo (Eur-EiffelTower). Or you might want to select a group of photos taken on the same date and use the date in their titles. iPhoto calls changing multiple photos' tags a batch change.

Start by selecting photos for the batch. Either click an album to select its contents, or click and drag to select photos in the Content pane. Choose Photos -> Batch Change. Leaving the Set menu option set to Title, you can erase all titles (Empty), begin all titles with the same characters (Text), or use Roll Into, Filename, or Date and Time to create the titles.

To give all photos in the batch a common date, choose Date from the Set menu. iPhoto displays the current date for the first image in the batch. Date and time stamps for all can be identical, or you can check the Add check box (see Figure 3.9). Type the number of seconds, minutes, hours, or days you want iPhoto to add to subsequent photos' dates and times.

Figure 3.9Figure 3.9 Edit the starting date and time for the batch of photos, click the Add check box, and enter an offset for each image.

Batch changes to the Comments field will overwrite existing comments for individual photos or add the batch notes, if you click the Append To Existing Comments check box.


Perhaps the best way to keep track of the many kinds of photos in your library is by assigning keywords to them. You can assign one or more keywords to any photo and then search by the keyword. You might use event keywords, like "vacation", "work friends", or "dad's family". It all depends on the way you organize your photos and how you want to be able to search for them later.

To assign a keyword to a photo, select it in the Content pane and then choose Photos -> Show Keywords. (You can add a keyword to multiple photos by selecting several, or selecting an album.) The Keywords dialog box opens and shows you the keywords that are already available in iPhoto. You can use any of these, delete them, and/or create your own. To assign an existing keyword to the photo, click it and then click the Assign button. To add your own keyword to the list, choose New from the Keywords pop-up menu and type the keyword. Now you can assign the new keyword to the currently selected photo.

You can use keywords to search your library or just the currently selected album. To locate photos by keyword, select an album or the library. Then open the Keywords dialog box, if it isn't already. Click the keyword and then Search. All photos tagged with the chosen keyword appear in the Content window.

Photo Info

There's one more collection of information available in iPhoto. This one is not editable, however. The Photo Info window displays an image's name, creation date, size, and resolution in pixels. If the photo was imported from a digital camera, the Photo Info window also lists the manufacturer and model of your camera. Photos you scan, download or receive in email won't include this info. To view photo info, select the photo and choose Photos -> Show Info, or press Command-I. To see details about the settings used to take a digital photo, click the Exposure tab. Figure 3.10 shows Exposure info.

Figure 3.10Figure 3.10 The Photo Info window shows details about an image that was imported from a digital camera.

View Your Handiwork

iPhoto users often search for photos using keywords, ratings, and titles, but you can also use them to jog your memory while scrolling through your library or individual albums. To display photo titles below the image in the Content pane, choose View -> Show Titles. The same procedure gets you a look at keywords and ratings. Just choose the matching items from the View menu. Figure 3.11shows photos with their titles, keywords, and ratings exposed.

Figure 3.11Figure 3.11 These photos have titles, keywords, and ratings.

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