Section 7.11. Searching for Photos by Text

7.11. Searching for Photos by Text

The keyword mechanism described above is an adequate way to tag photos with textual descriptions. But as you know by now, there are other ways. The name you give a picture might be significant; its original file name on the hard drive might be important; and maybe you've typed some important clues into its Comments box or given its film roll an important name .

Anyhow, that's the purpose of the Search box in the lower-right corner of the iPhoto window.

7.12. The Photo Info Window

The small Information pane below the Source list displays only the most basic information about your photos: title, date, and size . For more detailed information, you need the Get Info command. It opens the Photo Info window, where iPhoto displays a surprisingly broad dossier of details about your photo: the make and model of the digital camera used to take it, for example, and even exposure details like the f-stop, shutter speed, and flash settings.

To open the Photo Info window (Figure 7-18), select a thumbnail and then choose Photos Get Info (or press -I). (If more than one photo is selected, you'll get only a bunch of dashes in the info window.)

In addition to the Keywords tab described above, the Photo Info window contains Photo and Exposure tabs. The Photo panel contains information about the image file itselfwhen it was originally created, when it was first imported, and when it was last modified. If the image was shot with a digital camera (as opposed to being scanned or imported from disk), the make and model of the camera appear at the bottom of the window (see Figure 7-18).

Tip: Reading the details on the Exposure panel can be eye-opening. For example, if you put your camera into its automatic mode and snap a few pictures, you can find outand learn fromthe shutter and lighting settings the camera used.

Figure 7-18. The Photo Info window reports details about your photos by reading the EXIF tags that your camera secretly embeds in your files.
Left: On the Exposure panel, you can tell at a glance that this photo was shot with a flash, at a shutter speed of 1/160, and with an f-stop setting of 4.2. Tracking this information can be useful in determining which settings on your camera produce the best-quality digital photos in a certain set of conditions.
Right: iPhoto uses the Original Date (or lacking that, Modified date) information to sort your photos in the Photo Library and place them in their respective year album.

How on earth does iPhoto know so much about how your photos were taken? Most digital cameras embed a wealth of image, camera, lens, and exposure information in the photo files they create, using a standard data format called EXIF (Exchangeable Image Format). With that in mind, iPhoto automatically scans photos for EXIF data as it imports them.

Note: Some cameras do a better job than others at embedding EXIF data in photo files. iPhoto can extract this information only if it's been properly stored by the camera when the digital photo is created. Of course, most (if not all) of this information is missing altogether if your photos didn't come from a digital camera (if they were scanned in, for example).

7.13. Rate Your Photos

iPhoto offers a great way to categorize your pictures: by how great they are! You can assign each picture a rating of 1 to 5 stars, then use the ratings to sort your Photo Library, or gather only the cream of the crop into a slideshow, smart album, or photo book.

Here are the ways you can rate your digital masterpieces:

  • Select a photo (or several) and choose Photos My Rating; from the submenu, choose from 1 through 5 stars. You can even do this while youre editing a single photo.

    Tip: If the top of the screen is just too far away, you can also Control-click any one of the selected thumbnails (or, in Edit mode, anywhere on the photo) and choose the My Rating command from the shortcut menu. Its submenu is exactly the same as what you'd find in the Photos My Rating command.
    -1 for one star, -2 for two stars, and so on. Press -0 to strip away any existing ratings.
  • During a slideshow, twitch the mouse to bring up the onscreen control bar. In the bar, click the row of dots to turn them into rating stars (click the third dot to give the current photo 3 stars, for example). Or just press the number keys on the keyboard to bestow that number of stars as the slides go by.

  • To remove a rating, select the photo and choose Photos My Ratings None. Youre saying, in effect, "This photo has not yet been rated." Keyboard shortcut: -0.

Tip: Once you've applied your star ratings, you can view the actual little stars right under the corresponding thumbnails by choosing View My Ratings (or pressing Shift- -R).
Undeletable Photos?

iPhoto won't delete photos of my sister. I thought I got rid of a bunch of unflattering pictures of her the other day, and then I found them again when browsing through my Library. Why aren't they staying deleted ?

Possibility 1: You deleted the pictures from an album instead of the Library itself (the first icon in the list). When you remove a photo from an album, it removes only a reference to that picture from the album, leaving the photo itself untouched in the Library.

If the pictures of your sister are really horrendous, click the Library icon in the Source list, move the offending photos to the Trash, and then empty the Trash. That'll get rid of them once and for all.

Possibility 2: You're trying to delete the photo from inside a smart album (Section 7.6). Remember, you have to delete such photos from the Library itself, or from the Last __ Months or Last __ Rolls collections.