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Top 10: iPhoto power tips

Discover our favourite tricks for supercharging the way you use iPhoto

iPhoto is such a wondrous and multi-faceted program, yet most people only use the app as a handy place to store their images. This is like having a beautiful sports car and only using it for its boot. No more excuses – it’s time to open the app up and see what she can really do.

In this special one-off iPhoto tutorial we’re going to dazzle you with our ten top power tips, plus inspire you with a scattering of selected titbits and tried and tested techniques you’ve probably never thought about using before. From using Smart Albums to merging Events, from generating slideshows to improving your images, we’ll show you how it’s done here in easy-to-understand bite-size chunks. After reading this, we guarantee the way you use iPhoto will be more efficient, streamlined, creative and better organised.

Top ten tips


1 Event planning

Events can represent a collection of images taken at a certain time. Decide what that period of time is by heading to iPhoto’s Preferences>General>‘Autosplit into Events’. Now find the Event and, from the menubar’s Events tab, hit ‘Autosplit Selected Events’.


2 The merger

To merge several Events back into one all you need to do is select the Events that you want to merge (Cmd-click to pick several folders), then drag and drop them on top of the Event you want to merge it with. Finish by choosing Merge when prompted.


3 Get smart

Smart Albums are a quick way of making albums based on certain criteria such as rating, keyword or even ISO setting. You can make a Smart Album from the File menu; choose New Smart Album then select what type of criteria the album is looking for.


4 Spring cleaning

Should you want to delete an image from an album and the main library there’s a way to do it in one hit. Simply pull up the image and hold down Cmd+Opt/Alt+Delete. Hit Delete when prompted, or Cancel if you’ve changed your mind.


5 The magic keyword

To add a keyword, go to Window>Show Keywords. In the pop-up window, assign keywords by dragging and dropping any of the relevant pre-existing words onto the top bar. To add your own words, hit Edit Keywords and enter appropriate words to the image.


6 Hide and seek

If you want to separate strong images from the weak, or you want to show off your collection but want to hide a few unremarkable frames, the way to do that is to select the image or images, follow that with a right-click and then select Hide Photo.


7 The big reveal

To reveal your hidden frames at a later date, travel up to the menubar and opt for View. Here you’ll find the option to select Hidden Photos from the drop-down menu. Then all you have to do is right-click on the desired ‘hidden’ frame and select Unhide Photo.


8 Get creative

One of the easiest and most effective ways to get creative in iPhoto is to use the Effects filters. To draw attention to the focal point of your image, use the Edge Blur option. Boost will enrich colour vibrancy and select Warmer to add a dreamy warm hue to the still.


9 Compare and contrast

By creating a duplicate you can work out whether the edits you make are an improvement on the original or not. Select the frame, hit Edit and, from the right-click menu, choose Duplicate. Then go back to the library, select both images and return to edit.


10 Cover up

If your image presents a lens spot, dead sensor pixel or just has something in it you want to get rid of, open it up in Edit and use the Retouch brush from the Quick Fixes tab. Choose the size of the brush with the scale then click on the offending article.


In-depth: Improve edits

Click the image to view it full size.