Basic elements of iPhoto:
Events hold pictures. Every picture is in an Event.
Events are organisation for those who can't really be bothered. They are automatic - based entirely on Date and Time the camera records the photos as taken. You can move photos between Events, you can Merge Events, you can Rename them and sort them in various ways except one: You cannot manually sort in an Event as Events are all automated.
Albums hold pictures but they reference the Photos in the Events. So while a photo in two Events uses double the disk space, it can be in as many Albums as you like with no wasted space.
Folders hold Albums. You cannot put a photo into a Folder in iphoto.
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 extensively. I title the pics broadly.
I keyword on a
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 40k 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.
THank you, your advice helped me understand this a little better. If a photo is duplicated in events it's taking up space in my hard drive. Now how can I avoid duplicates?
I want to organize my pictures because I would like to add all the pictures into iPhoto so I have about 3,000 but have no idea how to go about it organizing the ones I have in there now without having dups.
Thank you again,