10 Replies Latest reply: Dec 15, 2011 2:17 PM by Terence Devlin
William Hooper Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
I have 12, 000 pictures. I have not organized this well and am trying to do it right.

Suggestions please:
1. What is the best way to use iPhoto Libraries? Is it a good idea to have many Libraries so that they are less overwhelming, unruly, and too hard to deal with corruption? Maybe have one Library for "Early Family years", one for "geneology", one for "past 5 years" etc?
2 What about within each Library? Is it best to use Events for dating a group of pictures as if it returned to you as a roll of pictures developed for certain dates?
3. I don't see Folders in iPhoto 11. Do they still exist? What is the best way to use Folders? Maybe have a Folder such as "Favorites" or a Folder for "Desktop pictures" attempting to organize by use or theme?
4. Finally, what about Albums? Should I be conceiving Albums as a way of putting all my pictures in an Album for a certain year, or a certain "event" such as trips or birthdays?

What is the best way to start fresh? I need help with a concept of how to organize and move forward.

Thanks

MacBook Pro HD, Mac OS X (10.6.6), iPhoto 11
  • LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (60,435 points)
    I have 12, 000 pictures. I have not organized this well and am trying to do it right.

    Suggestions please:
    1. What is the best way to use iPhoto Libraries? Is it a good idea to have many Libraries so that they are less overwhelming, unruly, and too hard to deal with corruption? Maybe have one Library for "Early Family years", one for "geneology", one for "past 5 years" etc?


    No - it is best to have one library - iPhoto is a relational database and it works best to have everything in one database - you are think of file management rather that photo management

    2 What about within each Library? Is it best to use Events for dating a group of pictures as if it returned to you as a roll of pictures developed for certain dates?


    Or combine them into even larger groups of photos [ finding photos by date is trivial usnt the search window in the lower left

    3. I don't see Folders in iPhoto 11. Do they still exist? What is the best way to use Folders? Maybe have a Folder such as "Favorites" or a Folder for "Desktop pictures" attempting to organize by use or theme?


    Folders exist in '11 - they contain albums or other folders and are used for a tree structure of photos -- vacations ==> France ==> (Provence -- Normandy -- Paris) United States ==> (Maine New York [NYC -- Long island -- West point]) etc

    4. Finally, what about Albums? Should I be conceiving Albums as a way of putting all my pictures in an Album for a certain year, or a certain "event" such as trips or birthdays?


    ALbums should be used for photos that you want easy access to - usually a search or smart album is better

    What is the best way to start fresh? I need help with a concept of how to organize and move forward.


    I want my photos organized by Who - What - When - Where - Why -- who, when and where are handled by faces, places and the photo dates from my camera - then add key words for what & why and use smart albums to organize along with searches

    LN
  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (128,220 points)
    12k Photos isn't actually a whole lot.

    I agree with Larry that one Library is best. You can only open one Library at a time, so if you search for a photo don't you just know it will be in one of the other ones? But which one?

    I think the best way to work is with Albums and keywords.

    I use Events simply as big buckets of Photos: Spring 08, July - Nov 06 are typical Events in my Library. I use keywords and Smart Albums exensively. I title the pics broadly.

    I keyword on a
    Who
    What
    Where basis (The When is in the photos's Exif metadata). I also rate the pics on a 1 - 5 star basis.

    Using this system I can find pretty much find any pic in my 25k library in a couple of seconds.

    So, for example, I have a batch of pics titled 'Seattle 08' and a typical keywording might include: John, Anne, Landscape, mountain, trees, snow. With a rating included it's so very easy to find the best pics we took at Mount Rainier.

    File -> New Smart Album
    set it to 'All"
    title contains Seattle
    keyword is mountain
    keyword is snow
    rating is 5 stars

    Or, want a chronological album of John from birth to today?

    New Smart Album
    Keyword is John
    Set the View options to Sort By Date Ascending

    Want only the best pics?
    add Rating is greater than 4 stars

    The best thing about this system is that it's dynamic. If I add 50 more pics of John to the Library tomorrow, as I keyword and rate them they are added to the Smart Album.

    In the end, organisation is about finding the pics. The point is to make locating that pic or batch of pics findable fast. This system works for me.

    Regards

    TD
  • shutyourpiehole was taken Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    Hello and thanks for the explanation. The trouble I'm having is yikes! It's so time consuming! I had thousands of snapshots to have scanned to digital. Creating events wouldn't be so hard but adding keywords to each one? That could take years!
    If I was starting from scratch, it'd be easier but, importing thousands of photos (not in chronological order) that were taken from 1920-2005 - I think I want to cry!
    The system you described sounds great for locating pictures once they are logged but...
    Isn't there an easier way to sort thousands of photos? (she said on the verge of tearing her hair out)
  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (128,220 points)
    With respect, yes it will take a little time. Make it a project. Do a certain number every day or every wek. But really, lots of stuff take lots of time to file.

    Regards

    TD
  • Sg912 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Great advice Terence!

     

    Just want to see what you would do with a iphoto 11 library with 40,000 pics (120GB) that I am using as a family achive.

    I did upgrade my HD to 500GB, so I do have room but iPhoto 11 is slower with this many pics.

    Any advice?

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (128,220 points)

    Well my Library is some 34k images as I write and that's the system I use.

     

    Performance issues are tricky to troubleshoot - obvious things like rebuilding the db and trashing the caches might be a place to start.

     

    Regards

     

     

    TD

  • Sg912 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I did rebuild when I was adding all my scanned pics.

    What are caches?

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (128,220 points)

    Caches are a system for storing frequently accessed data on the HD to speed up access to the data. They can be corrupted from time to time. The iPhoto Cache is at

     

    Users/Your Name/Library/Caches

     

    Regards

     

     

    TD

  • DontYouKnowWhoIThinkIAm? Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi!

    [My first post on an Apple forum!, here we go.]

    I think that this is a very important question, and I'm sure that it affects A LOT of people, more and more over time, especially as people migrate a gazillion photos from one platform/program to another...With all due respect to Terrence, 'making it a project, working on it every week' is an awful idea, impossibly daunting, and unlikely to ever get done. How is that any easier than sorting through shoeboxes upon shoeboxes of prints like our parents did (I mean, never did)? 

    I'm an iPhoto newbie, coming from a PC, so please be easy on me if this is obvious... but is there a way to do mass-tagging? I'm thinking of quickly selecting, say 1000 pics and type  'Alyssa' and 'Paris', and they're all done, instead of looking at each one by one to add the tags...

    Fortunately, I'm guessing that the date tagging moves seemlessly and makes for easy 'when' sorting (although I've had a few dozen pics that got that wrong, requiring hand editing...). 

    Apple seems to get that time saving is paramount when they talk about using keywords for generating albums etc, a great idea, but c'mon, there's gotta be some  good ways to process a bunch of pics all at once...

    A couple of other things:

     

    - Where are the pictures stored? (directory structure). I'm moving everything from a PC and I want to know where to put the pics in a way that new pics will be added to the same structure logically, say by date, without just relying on the iPhoto database. If something ever goes bad, or I change my mind, I'd like to just copy everything from a root point.

     

    - Can you change the size of a bunch of pics all at once? I had an old program called ACDSEE that did that very well; it seems like a logical iPhoto feature...

     

    Thanks for your help and reply.

     

    PL

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (128,220 points)
    With all due respect to Terrence, 'making it a project, working on it every week' is an awful idea, impossibly daunting, and unlikely to ever get done. How is that any easier than sorting through shoeboxes upon shoeboxes of prints like our parents did (I mean, never did)?

     

    Remember a filing system is like a sewer: what you get out of it is a direct result of what you put into it. It's unlike the shoeboxes because this is a system that makes searching of the "shoeboxes" possible. If you lack the application to develop a filing system, then you're only way of searching will be by scrolling.

     

    but is there a way to do mass-tagging? I'm thinking of quickly selecting, say 1000 pics and type  'Alyssa' and 'Paris', and they're all done, instead of looking at each one by one to add the tags..

     

    Yes. The keyword is added to all the pics selected.

     

    - Where are the pictures stored? (directory structure).

     

    In the iPhoto Library. That's in your Pictures Folder. Want to look inside? Go to your Pictures Folder and find the iPhoto Library there. Right (or Control-) Click on the icon and select 'Show Package Contents'. A finder window will open with the Library exposed.

     

    Standard warning: Don't change anything in the iPhoto Library Folder via the Finder or any other application. iPhoto depends on the structure as well as the contents of this folder. Moving things, renaming things,, deleting them or otherwise making changes will prevent iPhoto from working and could even cause you to damage or lose your photos.

     

    To use another editor with iPhoto

     

    You can set Photoshop (or any image editor) as an external editor in iPhoto. (Preferences -> General -> Edit Photo: Choose from the Drop Down Menu.) This way, when you double click a pic to edit in iPhoto it will open automatically in Photoshop or your Image Editor, and when you save it it's sent back to iPhoto automatically. This is the only way that edits made in another application will be displayed in iPhoto.

     

    Note: this is really important. Iphoto is a database. You never directly access the files in the Finder.

     

     

    There are many, many ways to access your files in iPhoto:   You can use any Open / Attach / Browse dialogue. On the left there's a Media heading, your pics can be accessed there. Command-Click for selecting multiple pics.

     

    Open dialogue

     

     

    (Note the above illustration is not a Finder Window. It's the dialogue you get when you go File -> Open)

     

    You can access the Library from the New Message Window in Mail:

     

    New Message Window

     

    There's a similar option in Outlook and many, many other apps.  If you use Apple's Mail, Entourage, AOL or Eudora you can email from within iPhoto.

     

    If you use a Cocoa-based Browser such as Safari, you can drag the pics from the iPhoto Window to the Attach window in the browser.

     

    If you want to access the files with iPhoto not running:

     

    For users of 10.6 and later:  You can download a free Services component from MacOSXAutomation  which will give you access to the iPhoto Library from your Services Menu.

     

    Using the Services Preference Pane you can even create a keyboard shortcut for it.

    For Users of 10.4 and 10.5 Create a Media Browser using Automator (takes about 10 seconds) or use this free utility Karelia iMedia Browser

     

    Other options include:

     

     

    Drag and Drop: Drag a photo from the iPhoto Window to the desktop, there iPhoto will make a full-sized copy of the pic.

     

    File -> Export: Select the files in the iPhoto Window and go File -> Export. The dialogue will give you various options, including altering the format, naming the files and changing the size. Again, producing a copy.

     

    Show File:  a. On iPhoto 09 and earlier:  Right- (or Control-) Click on a pic and in the resulting dialogue choose 'Show File'. A Finder window will pop open with the file already selected.    3.b.

     

    b: On iPhoto 11 and later: Select one of the affected photos in the iPhoto Window and go File -> Reveal in Finder -> Original. A Finder window will pop open with the file already selected.

     

    If something ever goes bad, or I change my mind, I'd like to just copy everything from a root point.

     

    If "something goes bad"

     

    That's what your back up is for. As you can see from looking inside the Library, there's nothing done to the files, they are just stored.

     

    or I change my mind,

     

    That's what File -> Export is for. Apps like iPhoto2Disk or PhotoShare will help you export to a Folder tree matching your Events.

     

    Can you change the size of a bunch of pics all at once?

     

    Yes. In the export dialogue. You can export and resize in batches.

     

    Regards

     

     

    TD