20 Tips and Tricks to Become the Ultimate iPhoto Power User
Whether you’re a seasoned Mac veteran or a brand new Mac user, chances are you use iPhoto to keep track of those precious memories. But regardless of your Mac user status, there’s a good chance you’re not using iPhoto to its full potential. We’ve gathered together 20 helpful tips and tricks to totally utilize iPhoto’s features and become the ultimate power user. Your friends will never look at your photo albums the same way.
1. Full Screen Image Editing
Use this feature to remove the clutter of the Desktop, Menu Bar, Dock and other photos by editing a photo in Full Screen mode.
To enter full screen editing mode, you have three options:
Option #1: Select a photo to edit. in the Menu Bar select View > Full Screen and your photo will grow to fill the screen. You have access to the photo slider when you mouse over the top of the screen, and when you mouse over the bottom of the screen you will gain access to the edit menu. Press the Escape key to return.
Option #2: Select a photo to edit. Right-click and select, ‘Edit Using Full Screen.’
Option #3: You can set iPhoto to automatically open all photos you want to edit in Full Screen mode. To do this, in the Menu Bar select iPhoto > Preferences (or press Command + comma). Select the General tab and select “Using Full Screen” from the Edit Photo drop-down menu.
2. Creating and Using Multiple Libraries
When you’re dealing with large amounts of photos, it may be necessary to create multiple libraries to handle all of your photos. This can also be handy if you wanted to separate family photos from photos you might take for work.
To create a new library, hold down the Option key while opening iPhoto. A new dialog will popup asking if you want to choose another library, create a new library, or choose another library (including the default) that iPhoto already knows about. Click Create New and specify a name and save location in the box that drops down. iPhoto will now load and display the new library. To switch libraries, hold down the Option key on startup and click the Other Library button, navigate to the other library, then select Open.
3. Step Through Effects
When editing photos, iPhoto provides several effects that can spice up your collection. These effects include Black and White, Antique, Edge Blurs and others. You can apply the effects by selecting the Effects button at the bottom of the edit panel. To apply multiple effects, just click on the effects you want applied. But what if you want to step back through, or reduce the intensity of the effect, without losing the other effects.
Most effects will give you a number representing the level of the effect you have applied to your photo; to move backwards, hold down the option key while clicking the effect. The number will decrease, decreasing the effect level in your photo.
4. Edit Images side-by-side
Editing images can be improved when you can see multiple pictures side-by-side. iPhoto will greatly oblige, too. To open multiple pictures in edit mode, simply select two or more photos in an album and then select the edit button in the bottom toolbar.
The resulting edit window will display the three photos. The photo framed by the white box is the photo that you’re currently editing. You can move between the photos you’re editing by clicking the other photos. You are able to add up to eight images to the edit mode window.
5. Add Location Information Manually
Photos taken with your iPhone, a GPS-enabled camera or an Eye-Fi Card may contain location information about where your pictures were taken; however, if you have a camera without GPS functionality, this particular metadata will be missing from your photos.
There are three ways to add this information manually: by album/event, by photo, or by multiple photos. When you mouse over the lower-right corner of an event, album, or photo you’ll notice a small i. Clicking this will result in a popup panel that will allow you to specify metadata information like location. Type in a city in the location field and iPhoto will search to find your location. When you’re finished, select Done to save. You can select multiple photos, albums or events to change the location.
6. Use Time Machine to Bring Back Deleted Photos
Ever get that sinking feeling that you’ve deleted some important data on your computer? If you have Time Machine enabled, you can at least restore your important data, including photos, albums, events, and more from iPhoto.
To look for deleted items in iPhoto, simply open the iPhoto application and launch Time Machine from the menu bar or dock. When you do, iPhoto will open up in the Time Machine interface, letting you search for deleted items. Click an item and select Restore to restore it to your current iPhoto library.
7. Add Borders, Backgrounds, and Change Layout When Printing
You can instantly jazz up your photos when printing by adding borders and backgrounds when printing your photos.
To do this, select the photos you wish to print, and in the Menu Bar select File > Print, then in the resulting drop-down menu select Customize.
A new view will appear with your photo in the center. The new bottom toolbar will let you add a theme to the photos, enabling you to print a matte around your photo. You can also change the background color, border, and layout. When you’re done editing your photos for printing, select the Print button in the lower-right corner.
8. Confirm Multiple Faces at Once
Faces is a great way to instantly see every photo taken of a particular person in your iPhoto library, but it’s a pain to train the facial recognition engine. Luckily, there’s a way to confirm multiple Faces at once. To do this, simply navigate to the person in Faces you want to confirm pictures of, then in the area labeled “Person may also be the photos below,” drag a box around the photos you want to confirm. Then, select the Confirm Name button in the bottom toolbar.
9. Include Location Information in Exported Pictures
Want to put your photos on Flickr, Facebook, or just send them to firends or family, but want to include the location of where the photos were taken? This is easy to do in iPhoto with the export options. Just select the photos you wish to share, then select File > Export. In the resulting window, ensure File Export is selected, then check the box Location Information in the Include section. When you press the Export information, the exported file metadata will include location information.
10. Change Key Photo in Album
In iPhoto, you can change the photo that represents an event in the Events listing. This photo is called the key photo, and it’s very easy to set. When mousing over events, you may notice a photo that represents the event more specificaly than the one iPhoto automatically picks. To change it to the one your mouse is hovered over, press the space bar. When you remove your cursor, you’ll notice that the key photo for the event has changed. Additionally, you can do this when inside of an Event by selecting a photo and navigating to Events > Make Key Photo in the Menu Bar, or right-clicking on a photo and selecting Make Key Photo.
11. Merge Events
Sometimes, event photos split up during import because of the date contained in the metadata. To merge two or more events in iPhoto, hold down shift and select the events that go together, then right-click and select ‘Merge Events.’ You can also drag one album into the other.
12. Set up an External Photo Editor
Sometimes you may want to edit your photos with more powerful editing tools than iPhoto can provide. iPhoto can oblige by letting you set up an external editor. This means that when you click the edit button in iPhoto, it will launch the photo in another application, like Adobe Photoshop for instance.
To do this, head to iPhoto > Preferences (or press Command + comma). In the General Tab, under Edit Photo, there are three options: Edit in Main Window, Edit Using Full Screen, and Edit in Another Application. We’ll choose Edit in Application. A dialog window willpop up to prompt you for the application of your choice; navigate to the application and select Open.
13. Share on Facebook, Flickr, and MobileMe
Sharing photos with iPhoto ’09 is a snap. The application lets you share photos with MobileMe, Facebook, or Flickr.
To share your album with MobileMe, select an album, event, or a group of pictures, then select MobileMe to the right of the bottom toolbar. If you are already signed into MobileMe, a window will prompt you to select your sharing options. You can choose who the album is viewable by, whether they can download a few photos or the entire album or upload their own photos through a web browser, and allow people to add photos to the album via email.
Optionally, you can show the photo titles. If you click the Show Advanced button you’ll get two new options: the ability to hide the album on your MobileMe gallery page, and the ability to adjust download quality (if you have downloading enabled). Once you select the settings you want, press Publish. When iPhoto is finished uploading the photos, you’ll get a notification with a link to view the photos in your MobileMe gallery.
Sharing with Facebook is similar. Select the photos you want, then select the Facebook button in the bottom toolbar. You may be prompted to sign in with Facebook and allow iPhoto to post pictures to your account. Once you do that, publishing is a snap. Simply select the security of your album and press the Publish button in the resulting window.
The best thing about using Facebook to share your photos is that if you have someone tagged in a photo, that information will get published, too. And if someone tags something on Facebook, the information will synced with your Mac when you fire up iPhoto again.
To publish your photos to Flickr, select your photos, then select the Flickr button in the bottom toolbar. Once you sign in, you can select the security of the photos (i.e. viewable by only you, your friends, your family, or anyone) and the photo size. When you press Publish, your photos will be whisked away to Flickr.
When you publish your photos to any of the services, you’ll get new albums in the sidebar with the service name. The albums contain the photos you’ve published and if you ever want to add more photos to a published album, all you have to do is simply drag more photos to the album under each service.
14. Using Photo Feeds
A Photo Feed is an RSS feed for your photos. Many services such as Flickr and MobileMe Gallery give you a Photo Feed. iPhoto allows you to subscribe to these photo feeds, and just like an RSS feed, will download the latest photos from your friends and family right to an iPhoto library.
You can manually enter a photo feed address by going to File > Subscribe to Photo Feed (or by pressing Command + U) in the Menu Bar. You can subscribe to a Photo Feed by also going to a MobileMe gallery, opening a album, and clicking the Subscribe button in the toolbar. The result will be a drop-down asking if you wish to subscribe by RSS or open in iPhoto. Selecting iPhoto will check and download the photos in a Subscriptions section.
15. Copy/Paste Locations Among Multiple Photos
Adding location information to photos can be a pain as described above. If you want to shorten the time it takes to add location information to photos, then why not copy and paste the location amongst multiple photos?
To do this, simply press Command + C (or right-click Copy) on any photo containing a location. Then, select multiple photos needing the same location information and right-click. You’ll notice a new option: Paste location. Selecting it will do just that. Simple, but powerful, eh?
16. Delete Photo from Album and Library Simultaneously
If you wish to delete a photo from both an iPhoto album and the main library at the same time, try hold down Command + Option then pressing Delete. The photo will then go straight to the Trash.
17. Export Slideshows to iTunes for Syncing to iPhone/iPod
iPhoto slideshows are a really great way to show off your photos. Too bad they live only in iPhoto. Well, they do until you export them. With iPhoto ’09, you can export any slideshow to iTunes for syncing to an iPhone, iPod, or Apple TV, complete with music and themes.
To create a slideshow, select an album, event, or multiple photos and click the Slideshow button in the bottom toolbar. Select the music options and theme by mousing over the bottom of the screen and selecting the settings button. Once you’ve configured the slideshow, exit by pressing the ESC key on your keyboard. Then, go to File > Export and select the Slideshow tab. Check the boxes next to the platforms you want the video to play on (iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, Computer, etc.), then check the box labeled Automatically send slideshow to iTunes. When you’re ready to export, click the Export button.
18. Using Star Ratings with Smart Album
A great way to sort your photos in iPhoto is to use star ratings with Smart Albums. Every photo, album, or event can be given a star rating. To do this, right click on the photo and select Get Info. From the resulting view, give it a star rating by clicking the small bubbles below the photo date. When you’re finished, click Done.
To view photos with a certain star rating, in the Menu Bar select File > New Smart Album. In the resulting drop-down menu, select My Rating from the first drop-down list, then select “is” from the second drop down, then in the third box select how ever many stars you wish to view. Give your new album a name at the top, then click OK. Your new album will contain photos rated only with the rating you specified. As you rate more photos, the smart album will be updated automatically.
19. Using Keywords
Using keywords is another great way to sort your photos. Keywords allows you to narrow down searches in iPhoto and allows you to keep track of what’s going on with your albums. To use keywords, point your cursor over to the Menu Bar, and select Window > Show Keywords. A new window will open with several predefined keywords such as “Birthday, Family, Favorite, etc.” To add a keyword, select a photo, or photos, in iPhoto, then click on any of the keywords. They will be added to the photo. You can also add your own by selecting Edit Keywords and even add shortcuts for adding certain keywords.
You can search through your photos by keyword by clicking the small search button next to the search field at the bottom of the iPhoto window. This will allow you to select keyword and consecutively narrow your search by keywords.
20. Hide Photos
Hiding photos is great when you want to show off your iPhoto collection to someone, but don’t want them to see certain photos (don’t worry, we won’t judge you). To hide a photo or group of photos, select them in your library and right-click to select “Hide Photo.”
When you want to show your photos again, in the Menu Bar select View > Hidden Photos at which point you can right-click the hidden photo and select “Unhide Photo.”
Got tip for iPhoto ’09 we missed? Drop it in the comments below.