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Manage your library with Smart Albums

Explore ten ways to improve the way you use iPhoto’s Smart Albums

Step 10
Many of us are guilty of not spending the time and effort needed to keep our iPhoto library tidy, and who can blame us when there are so many other fun-filled facets of the app to explore. With that in mind, Smart Albums is one of iPhoto’s most helpful and intuitive features, which does the hard work for you. While organising photos is never going to be a thrill a minute, it certainly lends itself to a cathartic experience.
Think of Smart Albums like a spot of wizardry; it’s like pointing at a pile of junk on your living room floor and miraculously the items start to put themselves away. Smart Albums works in a similar, perhaps slightly less fantastical way, whereby you tell it what you want to store and it finds all the corresponding images and video and compiles them neatly into an appropriately titled folder for you, as if by magic!

Find even more expert tutorials in the latest issue of iCreate.

Step 1

Secret shortcut

Most people know how to make a Smart Album; go to the File menu and select New Smart Album. But there’s actually an even quicker way of doing this, using the nifty keyboard shortcut of Alt+Command+N. Now you get smart even quicker!

Step 2

Safety in numbers

To create a Smart Album all you need to do is select a search criteria from the first drop-down menu, such as Keyword or Rating, and enter some values. What’s even better is that you can hit the + to add further search criteria allowing you to build a super Smart Album.

Step 3

Seeing double

You can duplicate your album and then edit it to match or unmatch criteria. Right-click on the album and choose Duplicate. Next right- click on the doppelganger album and choose Edit Smart Album. You can then add or subtract criteria to create an alternate version.

Step 4

Get organised

Smart Albums work best when you do your best. Ensure your images carry as many appropriate keywords, ratings and metadata as possible. You should also enter geographical information to assist Places, and name the people in your shots for Faces to work well.

Step 5

Make that face an album

If you want to make a Smart Album of one person there is a quick way to shortcut the usual method. Simply go into Faces, select the individual and then navigate your way up to the trusty File menu and choose New Smart Album.

Step 6

Bringing people together

You can create a Smart Album that brings together a collection of people to generate a family or friends album for example. Follow the traditional method, use the + icon to add more members and as long as the person is in your Faces library then their name will appear.

Step 7

Get technical

If you’re a seasoned photographer or at least know a little about the subject you can use Smart Album’s search criteria to create a collection based on specific camera values; for example, those with an aperture of more than f11 are traditionally associated with landscapes.

Step 8

Album organisation

Once you’ve created a Smart Album you can use the Search feature at the bottom-left corner of the main user interface to search for specific images within that group, such as by rating etc, or use the View menu to sort the files into an appropriate order.

Step 9

Order photos

One of the many reasons why you may create a Smart Album in the first place is so that you can work out what photos you would like printed. With the images neatly compiled in the Smart Album head to File>Order Prints and select the quantities and sizes that you desire.

Step 10

Create something special

With your Smart Album selected you can create a Book, Card, Calendar or Slideshow. All you have to do is travel up to the File menu and plump for the option that suits, so for example New Card, then select from the choice of layouts and designs.