14 Replies Latest reply: Feb 18, 2011 2:02 PM by Ralphxyz
MRCOBB2 Level 1 Level 1
I have iphoto 09 and do not know how to set up folder/subfolder names for my pictures. I am use to "PC" format that lets you set up folders with subfolders.
example: Main folder name: >Mike and Debbie
1st Subfolder name: >Vacations
2nd Subfolder name: >San Diego Sept 2010
3rd Subfolder name: >Old Town
4th Subfolder name: >La Jolla

Can someone give me the steps to follow to set up folders/subfolders in Iphoto?

Thank you so much.... This has be driving me crazy. I cannot figure it out. Please, Please help.

Thank you,

MACBOOK, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10
    You need to think it out differently if you want to use iPhoto.

    This whole Folder/sub-folder set up is designed for files. iPhoto is about organising your Photos without recourse to the files. iPhoto is a database.

    IF you want to use the Folders/Sub-Folders model, use another app, really.

    Being a Database, the organising possibilities of iPhoto are much greater.

    So, Photos are organised into Events or Albums

    An Event is a collection of Photos grouped by the date and time they were taken

    An Album is a grouping based on any logic you desire.

    For instance, to do what you describe, I would use Keywords

    So, tag the pics with Mike, Debbie, and you can use the Places Feature to tag the locations.

    Now: File -> New Smart Album

    Location is La Jolla
    Keyword is Mike
    Keyword is Debbie

    Will group those pics for you. Even better, as you tag more pics, they will be automatically added to the Smart Album.

    Add a star rating, and you can automatically select your favourites - from this trip, or the entire Library.

    The advantage to albums is that they use no extra disk space. A pic can be in 50 albums and use n extra disk space.

    Have a look at the Tutorials here:


    They will introduce the basic concepts.


  • Dave Dahle Level 1 Level 1
    I used to use the exact same approach as you when I had a PC - it takes a while, but in the end it goes SO much easier when you use iPhoto's features and treat photos as photos and not files.

    Use events instead of your top-level folders.

    Use keywords instead of your subfolders.

    When you prepare to import, just move ALL the pictures within each top-level folder into the root level then import the contents of those top-level folders in one shot. iPhoto creates a separate event each time you do an import. Then open up each event and then start inputting keywords for each photo.

    I've heard of a program called Keyword Manager that automatically adds 'nested' keywords as you go, so that would be worth looking into.

    Also set up a smart album (criteria - keyword is: none) to show which ones remain to tag and also one for unnamed faces (criteria - face is: unnamed).

    Keep in mind once you are comfortable with handling the photos in iPhoto, you will want to clean out the source folders to free up space on your drive! (and one final caveat: DO NOT use Finder"s "Show Package Contents" to dig around in the library)
  • larry smith3 Level 1 Level 1
    This all sounds fine and good, however, a few of us just have too many to set up albums without some sort of sub album and sub/sub album. I have 12000 photos, a lot are just reference photos that I'll probably never look at, but need just in case.

    I'm in real estate. So I'd like an album that says REAL ESTATE, then need a sub album for PROPERTIES OWNED, PROPERTIES SHOPPING, PROPERTY IDEAS, CONSTRUCTION, etc. And under PROPERTIES OWNED, I will have sub/sub folders for MAIN STREET, and within MAIN STREET, I will have OVERVIEW, EMAIL TO TENANTS, CONSTRUCTION BEFORE AND AFTER.

    So, how does one get that kind of hierachy without having 500 albums?

    Would be great if one could put a "folder" within an Album, and a folder in a folder. Can't figure out how to do that.
  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10
    You can have Folders, and they can contain Other Folders and Albums:

    So, File -> New Folder: Call it Real Estate

    Inside that create another folder: Properties Owned. Create an Album, put the appropriate photos into that Album and call it Main Street. THat folder can also contain other Albums or Folders so off you go from there.


  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10
    Photos for Mac
    Each folder of photos you import from your hard drive will end up as an Event in iPhoto. You can create a virtual folder in iPhoto'l left hand pane. Then select an Event and drag it onto the folder. That will create an album inside that folder with the same name and photos as the event.

    Click to view full size

    This way you can have your folder with subfolders (actually albums) organization.

    Happy New Year
  • larry smith3 Level 1 Level 1
    Toad and Terance,

    Thanks! That was easier that I thought, duh? Really appreciate the tips.

    One additional quick question.... somewhat related:
    There is a way to "stack" pictures within an album, maybe that's the wrong term, but saw it on a tutorial that I can't find. So one could have an album named "houses" and when viewing the pictures theres a brick house with many more brick houses underneath it that one can get to by double clicking or something..... then there's a frame house next to it with more frame houses below... etc.

    So when the album is opened, the first thing that is seen is one brick house and one frame house.....

    Kinda like an album within an album.

    How is this done?
  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10
    It's done with Aperture and not iPhoto, I'm afraid.


  • Ralphxyz Level 1 Level 1
    If I make a new folder it goes into Albums.

    If I make a new Album it goes into Albums.

    How do I make the new Album in the/a folder?

    If I drag the Album it just changes position it will not go into a folder.

    I am using iPhoto 09.

    I know this is supposed to be answered in this thread but I cannot place a Album into a folder.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10
    You can drag an Album to A Folder.

    You can create an Album within a Folder if you have the Folder selected when you create the Album.


  • Ralphxyz Level 1 Level 1
    No sorry, that is my problem I cannot drag a Album.

    I can drag the Album around in the Albums folder to change it's order but I cannot drag it to/into a folder.

    If I make a new folder "NewFolder" it appears in the Albums section.
    If I make a new Album "NewAlbum" it appears at the bottom of the Albums section.
    If I drag the NewAlbums icon I can change it's position in Albums but not moe it to the NewFolder folder.

    If I could "drag an Album to A Folder" I would not need to be asking how to do it.

    Is there a setting in Preferences I need to change?

    Thanks again,
  • Ralphxyz Level 1 Level 1
    Well I just did it. I do not know what I did to enable it but it the NewAlbum just dragged over to the NewFolder icon and now it is embedded there.

    the NewFolder icon turned into a open icon before I dragged the NewAlbum icon into it.

    So how did I "open" the NewFolder?

  • Ralphxyz Level 1 Level 1
    Here is a view of my Albums with the open NewFolder folder:
    You will notice the NewFolder icon is slightly different than the other folder icons.

    So how did I get this "opened" folder? Just double clicking does not do it.
    To answer my own question when a new folder is created is is made with the folder open.

    Now how can I "open" a existing folder?

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10
    There's only one Folder in that Shot - NewFolder

    NewAlbum and Springstreet are albums not Folders.


  • Ralphxyz Level 1 Level 1
    Oh, tada!! a bell rings. Then that "might" explain my dilemma.

    Thank you so much, this is really great such quick helpful answers, thank you again.

    Now I see as you said Springstreet is a Album (as are all my others that I have been using).

    You cannot move a Album to a Album (I think that was probable said at the beginning of this thread but I could not comprehend what was being said)!!, now I get it.

    I take back all of the things I mumbled and sputtered about iPhoto.