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Three Tips to Organize Your Photos Library …so you can actually find what you’re looking for!

I can’t count how many times have I been contacted by frustrated apple photos users. “Help! My digital photos are a disaster. I can never find what I’m looking for!” I feel your pain. When you have thousands (or tens of thousands) of pictures on your phone and computer, it can be overwhelming. Frantic scrolling is not the answer; there is a better way!

Tip One: Get to Know your Mac’s Automatic Organizers

If you’ve upgraded to macOS Catalina Photos, your computer will do a pretty good job displaying your best pictures without you doing a thing. Duplicates and screenshots are hidden. You can quickly see your photos in Days, Months and Years view. You can view by Media type (ex: videos or selfies) with a click, or even search by places or generic words such as Beach or Dog. The more you explore, the more you’ll be amazed.

If you get “lost” click the Photos icon (two rectangles with mountains and a sun) on either your phone or computer to return to ALL of your pictures in chronological order.

Tip Two: Be a Super Searcher

Apple’s generic search categories are pretty cool, but will only take you so far. When I organize a client’s photo collection, I use Titles and Keywords to make it easy to search for exactly what my client might want. Add these on your computer, not your phone.

Title is the text underneath a picture. Not only does this serve as a visual memory jog, but the words in the title are searchable. To enter a title either type under the picture, or open the information box (command i) and fill in the title field. You can even select multiple pictures and add the same title to all of them at once. Don’t see the title? Check out the quick fix below.

Keywords can be your search superpower! You can assign as many as you like for each picture in the information box (command i). In this picture I added the keywords Basketball and Memorial Day Fair. If I want to see every picture from Memorial Day Fairs over the years, I search (look for the magnifying glass icon) for Memorial Day Fair and since I previously input the keyword, years worth of pictures appear! This comes in handy as the Memorial Day Fair is a big event for the Hermans. My husband is obsessed with the basketball booth, and he’s so good that one year he was actually banned from playing because he won too many giant stuffed animals!

Tip Three: Arrange in Albums

Sometimes it’s nice to have a group of pictures all in one place you can easily access with a click. In this case, create an album. Maybe you’re remodeling your bathroom and have random pictures of tile and receipts and your contractor’s progress. Keep all the scattered pictures in one place. Or lucky you just got back from vacation and want an album of just your favorite pictures to show friends. Done! A nice feature of albums is you can manually rearrange the order of the pictures, which you can’t do with a search result. If your albums get unruly, organize them into folders on your computer. Albums hold pictures and folders hold albums!

You have more organizing options in Photos on your computer than on your phone, but if you’re on iCloud your organizing work will sync back to your phone. Goodbye frantic scrolling!


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