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Keyword Manager for iPhoto

August 21, 2008

I’m not a pro photographer by any means, but I have managed to click a few thousand pictures ever since we bought our first digital camera.

I’ve been using iPhoto for a couple of years now and I have accumulated quite a large library of pictures.  They are all broken into “Events” that each have a name describing that particular event.  That was the extent of my organizational skills!  Trying to find “that one” picture is literally like finding a needle in a haystack.

Enter Keyword Manager for iPhoto.  This program is a godsend if there ever was one.  Here is a blurb from their website:

Whether you have 300 or 10 000 photos in your iPhoto library, organizing the photos with keywords will help you quickly find what you are looking for. In iPhoto 6, this was a really cumbersome task, which got some improvement in iPhoto 7; but Keyword Manager really takes it to the next level.

Using Keyword Manager to manage your keywords allows you to quickly and easily tag all photos in your library, regardless of how many photos you have and how many keywords you want to use. Since Keyword Manager uses iPhoto’s own keyword system internally, it is completely safe! Even if you decide to stop using Keyword Manager, all your keywords will remain!

Take it to the next level indeed!  The concept of tagging or adding keywords might be a little new to you, so let me explain.  Like I said, I have a lot of pictures, mostly of the kids.  Here’s what I do…I find a bunch of pictures of my son Nathan.  I select them with the mouse, and then simply assign the keyword “Nathan” to those pictures.   I also assigned the keywords “2007” and “Halloween” to the same pictures.  I can add any keyword I’d like.  They keywords let you search your entire picture library by that word.  You can also create “smart albums” within iPhoto based on those keywords.  These are albums that are automatically updated when a keyword is assigned to new pictures.

To the right you can see a list of my smart albums.  Now all I have to do is click on those albums to see the pictures that are of our dumb dogs (doggies) or pics that were taken in 2007 (2007), birthday pictures of all years (birthdays).  You can create any number of rules, loose or strict.  One benefit of using a Mac is the integration of the entire iLife suite of programs.  I can now see these smart albums in iTunes (to put on my iPod to show my friends and family), iDVD (to use in Menu drop zones) or iMovie to make a slideshow.

If you prefer not to create smart albums, I understand.  You can still filter your picture library directly from the Keyword Manager interface.

Here I have my photo library open with the Keyword manager hud (heads up display) floating above it.  All my keywords are shown.  To the right of them is a small empty circle.  I can filter my pictures by clicking on these circles.

Here I have one keyword chosen, “first day of school”.  Now my entire library is filtered to only include those pictures with that keyword.

Now I have added another filter, the keyword “2008”.  My entire library is widdled down even more.  Only pictures the the keywords “first day of school” and “2008” are shown.

You might be thinking of your picture collection right now, and saying “that is just too much work”.  Unfortunately it is, but I think the pay off is worth it.  I spent a good 3 hours in front of my computer last night sorting through pictures and tagging everything.  And I’m nowhere near finished!  The key will be to remember to enter keywords as soon as I import pictures into iPhoto!

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