iPhoto tricks to master your image library

Much of the attention for iPhoto ’08 has focused on the new Events pane, which organizes your photos based on when they were taken. But Apple’s newest photo manager has many more tricks up its sleeve.

Import photos intelligently
In previous versions of iPhoto, importing photos was an all-or-nothing affair.

But no longer. Now when you connect a camera or memory card, you can Command-click on just the photos you want to download and then click on Import Selected.

Once it has added the photos to your library, iPhoto offers to delete the originals from your camera–but don’t do it.

The best way to delete photos from a memory card is to reformat the card using your camera’s menu controls. This creates a fresh set of directory structures on the card, lessening the chance of losing photos to a memory-card glitch.

Title your prints
iPhoto’s expanded print options let you not only place multiple images on a page and create photo-realistic mats, but also add captions to your prints.

If you haven’t already uncovered this feature, select one or more photos in your library and press Command-P. In the Print dialog box, select one of the print projects and click on Customize. Then click on the Layout button to choose a design that shows text (see “Adding a Photo Caption”).

Adding a Photo Caption: iPhoto’s print options let you add a caption as well as a background color and a frame. To customize the font type and size, as we have done here, select Edit: Font: Show Fonts.

If you want to save the titled image back to iPhoto, click on Print, and, from the PDF pull-down menu, select Save PDF To iPhoto.

Explore your fonts
iPhoto gives you two ways to adjust fonts in books, calendars, and cards.

If you click on the Settings button while creating a print project, you can change fonts globally–for example, you can change the font iPhoto uses for all of the dates in a calendar.

But what if you want a particularly important calendar event to appear in a larger font size?

Or say you want to mix and match fonts in a heading. To perform these font feats, summon the Fonts panel (choose Edit: Font: Show Fonts). Select the text you want to change, and then choose the desired font options.

Faster keywords
Keywords–descriptive tags or phrases such as kids or vacation that add context to a photo–have always been one of iPhoto’s lesser-used organizational aids.

But hopefully that will change with iPhoto ’08, which has made creating and assigning keywords much easier.

When you create a new keyword in the Keywords pane (Window: Show Keywords), iPhoto uses the first character of the word or phrase as a keyboard shortcut. For example, the keyword beach might have the shortcut b.

Now, as you go through your photos, you can quickly assign keywords without taking your hands off the keyboard.

Simply make sure the Keywords window is visible (press Command-K to open it), and then press the appropriate shortcut keys followed by the arrow keys to move from one photo to the next.

Even faster keywords
By the way, you can assign keywords–and even create new ones–without displaying the Keywords pane. The secret is to choose View: Keywords, and then click in the blank area beneath a photo’s thumbnail.

(If you’ve also chosen to display photo names or ratings, click beneath the name or rating.) Now start typing. If you start to type an existing keyword, iPhoto offers to complete it for you; press the return key to accept iPhoto’s suggestion.

If you type a new keyword, iPhoto adds it to your list of keywords and assigns it to the photo.

Smart keyword searches
If you’ve taken the time to apply keywords to your photos, you can use these clues to help locate photos based on their contents.

In fact, since iPhoto applies some keywords on its own, you may be able to use this feature even if you haven’t been diligent about assigning keywords.

Click on the search icon to the left of iPhoto’s search field, and select Keyword from the pop-up menu. In the black box that appears, click on one of your keywords, and iPhoto will immediately display just the photos tagged with that keyword.

Click on additional keywords, and iPhoto will perform an AND search, finding those photos that have all the highlighted keywords.

You can also broaden your search by having iPhoto perform an OR search–for example, to find photos of family and/or friends–by holding down the shift key when clicking on additional keywords. Want to run a search that excludes one or more keywords? Simply option-click on the keyword that you want to exclude (see “Searching Keywords”).

Searching Keywords: Use the keyword-search option to track down photos with specific keywords. Option-click on keywords to find photos that don’t include that keyword. In this example, we’ve searched for photos with the Family keyword but without the Scan keyword.

Search by date
The previous version of iPhoto offered a Calendar pane that appeared at the bottom of the Source list and let you quickly narrow down your photos by date.

Although that pane no longer resides in the same place in iPhoto ’08, it does still exist–you’ll now find it as an option in the search bar’s pull-down menu (along with the Keywords option). And like the keyword-search feature, the calendar search offers all of the same keyboard shortcuts that its predecessor did.

To access iPhoto’s calendar search, click on the search bar’s menu icon and select Date from the pop-up menu. Clicking on any bolded months or days will immediately show you all the images recorded during that time period.

Want to see photos from every Christmas? Option-click on December 25. The date will turn purple and iPhoto will look back through time to grab every photo ever taken on that day. Incidentally, these shortcuts work in the calendar’s Year view as well.

For example, you could option-click on November to collect all photos ever taken around Thanksgiving, regardless of which date the holiday fell on each year.

Correct bad dates
If you forgot to set your camera’s clock, all of your photos may be off by a few hours, or a few months. iPhoto ’08 now makes it easy to put things right. Select a group of photos that are all mislabeled by the same amount of time, and then choose Photos: Adjust Date And Time.

In the dialog box that appears, iPhoto will display the date and time for the first photo in the group.

In the Adjusted field, enter the correct information. For example, if your camera’s internal clock was 13 days behind, you would add 13 days to the original date and enter the new date into the field. Click on Adjust, and iPhoto will add 13 days to each photo’s time stamp.

Senior Contributor Jim Heid is the author of The Macintosh iLife ’08 (Peachpit Press, 2008) and its companion Web site. Kelly Turner is Macworld‘s senior features editor and the editor of Macworld’s Digital Photography and Total Leopard superguides.

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