As you can see from the previous chapter, iPhoto gives you plenty of ways to organize your pictures into neat little collections. But until the ’09 version came along, the only way to organize everything was manually. Manually apply keywords. Manually drag things into albums. Drag, drag, drag.
It’s all different now. iPhoto ’09 comes equipped with two new features that organize your photos automatically. You’d call it artificial intelligence if it didn’t seem so much like real intelligence.
One of them uses face recognition to group your photos based on who is in them. It can be extremely handy when, say, you need to round up a bunch of pictures of Chris fast for that last-minute, surprise-party slideshow. This isn’t the crude sort of face recognition that you find in lesser photo programs or even in digital cameras, which can tell you only if there’s a face in the picture. iPhoto attempts to go a step further—and tell you whose face it is.
You can also round up photos based on where they were taken. You can compare various trips to Paris, for example, or show friends what else you did in Chicago besides go to a White Sox game.
Here’s the new Faces feature in a nutshell: By analyzing the unique properties of each face in each photo—eyes, nose, mouth, hair color, lack of hair, and so on—iPhoto attempts to distinguish among the people in the photos of your library and group them into piles. (Once the setup process is complete, you’ll see these piles when you click the new Faces icon in the Source list.)
iPhoto makes a first pass at this automatically, which is pretty amazing.
It’s not a perfect process, however; after its initial pass, iPhoto requires you to review each photo and confirm its subject’s identity. (It’s easy and fun!)
Thereafter, you can click the new Faces icon in the Source list to see that iPhoto has grouped your photos by the people in them.
When you upgrade from an earlier version, iPhoto ’09 doesn’t waste any time. The first time you run it, the program upgrades your photo library (Upgrading from earlier versions)—and gets to work searching all your images for human faces (Figure 4-1).
This part of the Faces setup doesn’t require any effort from you.
Depending on the size of your photo library, iPhoto may take half an hour or more to burrow through your collection on its initial face hunt. This does not mean you have to sit there waiting for it, putting off the ritual Poking Around in a Brand New Program. Feel free to click away and do other stuff; iPhoto is perfectly content to scan for faces in the background.
After completing its scan, iPhoto has a good idea of what your social circle looks like. But it still has no idea what those people’s names are.
Now that iPhoto has done its face-detection dance, it’s time to introduce it to your friends and family. Once you label a face, the program looks around and tries to match it up with other similar faces in the library.
The whole face-tagging process is simple:
Select a picture in your iPhoto library.
Choose a photo that has a clear, direct frontal view of a person. Get one that’s in focus, free of sunglasses, and unobstructed by hands or other body parts. The program will try to match other pictures in the library with this initial one, and face-recognition technology works best when there’s plenty of face to recognize.
Click the Name button on the iPhoto toolbar.
The photo opens up to fill the window. If iPhoto has detected faces in the picture, it draws a white box around each one. Under each box is a gray label that says “unknown face” (see Figure 4-2).
iPhoto sometimes gets a little overzealous. It may park white boxes over faces in paintings, statues, Star Wars action figures, or shadows on drapery. In these cases, point the cursor at the top-left corner of the white box and click the to delete it, so that you can go on tagging the actual live humans in the shot.
Into that gray text box, type in the name of the person: Dad, or Uncle Robin, or Ernest P. McGillicuddy—whatever you like. Hit the Return key, or click Done, when you’re finished editing the name.
If you don’t see a white box around a face in the photo you selected—a fairly rare occurrence—you can tag the face yourself. Start by clicking the Add Missing Face button under the image (Figure 4-2).
A fresh white square appears, which you can drag over onto that poor, undetected face. Drag the corners of the box to resize it over the face. (Dragging a corner causes both sides of the box to change size, making it a little awkward to get perfectly centered over the face. To better control your box resizing, hold down the Option key as you drag a corner. This stops both sides of the box from moving around and lets you manipulate the size from just the corner you’re dragging.)
Click Done when you’ve got the white square right where you want it. Now click “unnamed” in the gray box and type the real name of the person. Repeat as necessary with any other people you know in the picture.
While it’s not quite as sophisticated as the software the FBI and Interpol are using these days, the face-detection feature in iPhoto ’09 generally gets better the more you work with it. But there are still some cases when you’ll have to plod through manually.
For example, the program may not recognize shaggy dogs as actually having faces, but you can sail through those pictures of Skipper and use the Add Missing Face button (Tagging Faces Automatically) to add your pet to the Faces wall. Babies, identical twins, and people wearing sunglasses (or posing at odd angles) may also require manual intervention. But, hey, iPhoto just saved you all that time on everyone else, right?
Once you’ve tagged a person in a photo, click Faces in the Source list. As shown in Figure 4-3, you now see the digital equivalent of a cork bulletin board. On it: Polaroid-style thumbnail shots of each person you’ve tagged so far, labeled by the name you just assigned. It’s like being the casting director in the movie of your life!
Want to change the size of the headshots displayed on the Faces corkboard? Just drag the Size slider in the bottom-right corner of the iPhoto window. The same slider adjusts the size of the thumbnails on the Confirm Faces screen (Adding More Pictures to a Name). In fact, temporarily making the images smaller lets you drag the mouse over more of them at once to confirm or reject name suggestions.
Once you’ve put at least one name to a face, iPhoto’s powers of recognition really kick in. Here’s how to help it match up the rest of the names and faces:
At the top of the window, you see all the photos you’ve already tagged with this person’s name. Scroll down far enough, and you’ll see all the other pictures that iPhoto thinks contain this same person. These photos are clumped under the bar titled “So-and-so might also be in the photos below.” Here’s your chance to tell iPhoto’s face-detection software what it got right and what it got wrong.
The program now displays a screen full of tiles. Each one contains a closeup of the lucky person’s face, each one culled from a photo. The caption “click to confirm” appears beneath each one (Figure 4-4).
Click a photo once to confirm that iPhoto has correctly matched this face with the name.
When you click a face, the “click to confirm” bar turns green and displays the name of the person—for example, Chris. Behind the scenes, iPhoto learns from your selection. “Ah, OK—that’s Chris,” it says to itself. You’ve just helped it refine its recognition smarts for the next time.
When you encounter a tile that shows somebody else—iPhoto has picked the wrong person—either Option-click it or double-click it.
The “click to confirm” banner turns red, and the text says, “Not Chris” (or whoever).
The more guidance you give iPhoto in identifying people in your photos, the more accurate it gets at recognizing them in new images. With enough input from you, the program has a better chance of telling babies and bald men apart, and even differentiating among your various bald friends.
If it’s obvious (even before you click Confirm Name) that a photo contains the person iPhoto thinks it does in the “So-and-so might also be in the photos below” area, then cut to the chase and just drag the photo into the Confirmed area at the top of the screen. If it’s a group shot and you can’t quite see the face in the crowd, go to the View area in the iPhoto toolbar and click the Portrait button (the second one from the left) to zoom in to a headshot of the suggested face. The software isn’t perfect, but the simple binary direction you give it (confirm, confirm, confirm, reject, confirm, reject) is like using the thumbs-up/thumbs-down button on a TiVo or the Pandora Internet radio station; over time, it gets smarter and smarter about your world.
The Name button is always there on the iPhoto toolbar, even after your initial burst of face tagging. As you stroll around your photo library and come upon photos or people you want to add, the Name button awaits. Click it to add names to any photo you have up on screen.
iPhoto is always trying to guess who these people in your life are. For example, if you open up a snapshot from that family reunion and click the Name button, iPhoto will offer a guess if the face looks familiar.
You see the customary white square around the face, but instead of “unnamed” under it, you get a polite question like, “Is this Leroy?” (Figure 4-5).
As you add more and more names to your Faces library, iPhoto tracks your typing and offers a blue drop-down list of potential, previously typed names (as well as names that are in your Mac OS X Address Book) that you can select from to save keystrokes. The top of Figure 4-6 shows an example.
When looking at a photo in Confirm Name mode, click the next to the name on any face tag (Figure 4-6, bottom) to immediately jump into that person’s Faces album.
Eventually, you wind up with a whole array of people’s faces on the Faces corkboard (click Faces in the Source list), as shown in Figure 4-3. The next time you need to get a whole bunch of pictures of a friend, just double-click her thumbnail Polaroid on the Faces corkboard. It’s a real time-saver when you need to, say, make that monthly book of grandchild pictures for your parents or make a slideshow timeline of Don’s ever-evolving facial hair for his 40th birthday party.
You can drag a corkboard snapshot directly into the Source list to create a smart album there (Figure 4-7). This album will eternally update itself, auto-adding any confirmed photos of the person that may enter your collection in the future. You can also drag a snapshot onto an existing Face-based smart album to make one that updates with both people—very convenient for getting all those pics of the kids or the bowling team guys into one convenient place.
OK, you got a little excited by iPhoto’s face-detection technology and tagged your annoying co-worker Madge. Look, there she is on the Faces corkboard next to pictures of Mom. If you want to remove a face from the wall, select it and press ⌘-Delete. iPhoto asks if you’re sure you want to remove this person from Faces. If you are, then click Delete Face and wave goodbye.
If you want to zap multiple people off the wall at once, ⌘-click each undesired person, and then press ⌘-Delete. Again, confirm your action. (If you want to delete a whole row of people, Shift-click the first and last faces in the row to select them and everyone in between.)
In addition to neatly lining up mug shots of all your family and friends, the iPhoto Faces album helps you keep track of your pictures (and the people in them) in several other ways. It even saves Facebook friends some time.
Point to any face on the corkboard and click the in the lower-right corner of the Polaroid frame. The image spins around onscreen and, like the back of a baseball card, gives you more information (Figure 4-8). You see the number of photos (and range of photo dates) you have for this person, along with places to type in the person’s full name and email address.
At this point, you can click the left or right arrows in the box to advance or retreat to the next person on the corkboard. It saves a lot of flipping around if you’re going through adding a bunch names and email addresses at once.
Now, why would you want to add the person’s email address here? No, it doesn’t automatically add the photo to the appropriate entry in the Mac’s Address Book program, or stick that photo onto incoming messages in Mail (although it would be very nice if Apple made that happen…hint, hint).
No, by giving you a place to add the person’s email address, iPhoto is banking that this same name and address are also used for the person’s account on Facebook, the social-networking site that is a Time Hoover for 175 million people. Later, when you use the new Facebook button (Deleting photos from Flickr) to post iPhoto pictures on your Facebook page, the name tags you have so carefully assigned go along for the ride, saving you the trouble of tagging them all over again in Facebook.
For more on merging your iPhoto and Facebook lives, skip to Chapter 8.
Seeing your friends and family all lined up in iPhoto’s Faces view offers a nice sense of organization. (A few years ago, those pictures would still have been falling out of physical photo albums—or still in their envelopes from the drugstore and shoved into the back of a desk drawer.) But even on the corkboard, you can organize the faces still further.
The key photo is the one that represents a person on the Faces corkboard; it’s typically the first one you tagged (Figure 4-9). If that photo doesn’t do your friend justice, there are at least three easy ways to change it:
Click Faces in the Source list. As you slowly move the mouse pointer (don’t click) over a face on the corkboard, all the tagged pictures of that person flit by in the frame. When you see the one you want to use, tap the space bar to set it as the key photo.
Double-click the face to open up the album. Scroll through and select a photo you like better. Choose Events→Make Key Photo. Even if it’s a group shot from a distance, iPhoto is savvy enough to zoom in on the person’s face.
If you have a face-tagged photo selected, Control-click (or right-click) it, and then choose Make Key Photo from the shortcut menu.
Would you like to put Mom and Dad together on the board, or get all your soccer team pals in a row? Fortunately, you can drag the Faces snapshots around, as Figure 4-10 illustrates.
Be careful where you drop that face, though. If you accidentally drop the person on somebody else’s snapshot, you merge their two sets of photos, and iPhoto applies the wrong name to all of the faces in the pile you dropped. (If that happens, press ⌘-Z, the Undo command).
Just as you can merge Events (Merging Events), you can merge Faces. Why would you want to? Well, for example, say you make a typo in someone’s name when using the Name button and inadvertently create two Faces for the same person. You can merge the two by dragging the snapshot of the Typo Name right onto the snapshot of the Correct Name and not have to rename a thing.
If it’s too late for ⌘-Z, double-click the merged pile. Click the Confirm Name button and reject (and eject) the wrong face out of the photo collection, as described on Naming Faces Anytime. (Or Control-click each unwanted photo and choose “This is not [Name]” from the shortcut menu.)
You can also organize the faces alphabetically. Choose View→Sort Photos→By Name. (That creates an A to Z order. You can also be contrary and go from Z to A; use the same menu and choose Descending.) Switching to name sorting, however, means you can’t drag your pals around manually. At least not until you choose View→Sort Photos→Manually.
Want to change the spelling or fix a typo in the name displayed on the corkboard key photo? Just click the name. The gray box reappears; you can type what you want. Clicking the on the right of the box automatically clears the existing text, but since clicking the name selects it anyway, you can just start typing right over the old name.
Geotagging is the hot new future feature of digital photography. That’s when your camera buries longitude and latitude coordinates into each picture it takes (invisibly, the same way it stamps the time and date). That way, you’ll always be able to pinpoint where a picture was taken.
Second, what happens after you geotag your photos? What are you going to do, say, “Oh, yes, I remember that romantic evening at +41º 30’ 18.48” N, -81º 41’ 55.08” W”?
iPhoto solves, at least, the second problem. It translates those coordinates to the much more recognizable “Cleveland,” or even more precisely down to a street address, like “100 Alfred Lerner Way, Cleveland, Ohio” (which happens to be the address of Cleveland Browns Stadium)—and shows that spot with a red pin on a map right in iPhoto.
This can be really convenient, say, if you’ve made several trips to London and want to see all the pictures taken there over the years, and not just ones from a particular album or Event. (It’s also a great way to learn geography.)
A digital camera with a built-in GPS chip, like the Nikon Coolpix P6000.
A GPS-enabled cellphone, like a recent iPhone.
The Eye-Fi Explore Card. It’s a remarkable SD memory card, the kind you put into most camera models, with built-in wireless networking and a pseudo-GPS feature ($15 a year). See http://bit.ly/8mdAa for details.
A small GPS-enabled box like the $90 ATP PhotoFinder that tracks the time and your coordinates as you snap photos—and marries them up with the timestamps on your pictures when you insert the camera’s memory card. See photofinder.atpinc.com for more information.
If that’s your situation, then all you have to do is import the pictures into iPhoto (Connecting with a USB Camera). When the images appear in the iPhoto window, you can check the location by waving the cursor over the lower-right corner of any image. An icon appears, as shown in Figure 4-11. Click it to spin the photo around onscreen.
On the “back” of the photo, various bits of information appear, including the name (probably something super-creative like IMG_4576.JPG), the date it was taken, and the place where the photo was snapped.
Take a look at the location name or the pin on the miniature map in the center of the Info box; Figure 4-14 shows a geotagged sample. If the map is generally correct, then iPhoto has done its job.
But GPS coordinates can sometimes be off by yards. Or, if the place is wrong and you know it (because you forgot to turn on the Location Services function of your iPhone, for example), don’t worry. You can manually assign the photo to a place, as described in the next section.
In that case, you can geotag them manually.
The photo spins around to reveal several fields of information, including the name of the picture.
Click “photo place.” Start typing the name of the town, city, or landmark (Washington Monument) where the picture was taken.
As shown in Figure 4-12, a pop-up menu appears; iPhoto is trying guess what you’re typing, to save you some effort (and spelling). If you see the location in the list, use the arrow keys on the keyboard to select it. Press Return to confirm your choice.
If the place you’re typing doesn’t appear on the list, then click Find on Map.
You’re whisked away to the Add New Place screen, shown in Figure 4-13. Click the Google Search tab, and then type in the address (710 west end ave, ny ny, for example, or 2903 weybridge 44120, or the name of the landmark. Hit the Return key. Look at the list of possible matches. Click to select one and drop a yellow pin on the map.
Once the Google map finds your location, feel free to rename it Grandma’s House or whatever. (Just click the address in the list at left to open the renaming box.) Later, you’ll be able to use iPhoto’s Search box to round up all the pictures that were taken at Grandma’s House, just by typing grandm.
When the pin is in the right spot, click Assign to Photo.
Once iPhoto knows where your pictures were taken—because you’ve geotagged them automatically or manually—that information is preserved if you upload the pictures to Flickr (Flickr). Your admirers will be able to see where you took those photos using Flickr’s geotag maps.
If you still can’t find your desired location with a Google search, get as close as you can to it on the map, and then drag the marker pin to the right place. You can zoom in and out of the map as needed.
You can drag your way across the map itself—just bear down on the mouse button as you move around the screen.
To add a really personal location—like a tiny, unnamed fishing lake in the middle of nowhere—type in the name of the nearest town in the Search field. Click the Drop Pin button in the box. When a fresh pin drops onto the map, drag it to the right spot, and then click the Assign to Photo button to plant it.
Want to map photos or an Event to a general area (“Lake Harriet”) instead of a specific one (the band shell, the bird sanctuary, the Peace Garden) when you’re planting the pin on the map? Just tug the arrows on the edge of the blue circle under the pin to widen the diameter and cover the desired territory.
As you may have noticed, a picture’s Info box has room for more information besides just its spot on the map. Here’s a quick roundup of what the other controls (Figure 4-14) can do for you:
Rename the photo. If you’re tired of all your pictures being called IMG_this or DSC_that, then click the Name field at the very top of the Info box and type in a better title, like Baby’s first Jell-O parfait or Bath time!
Change the look of the map. With the labeled buttons on the right side of the Info box, you can choose to see the location three different ways: a cartographical Terrain view that shows street names and elevations, a Satellite view with an overhead photo of the area, or Hybrid—a combination of both.
Move on to the next picture. Two arrows ( and ) sit at the very bottom of the box in the left corner. If you have a lot of photos to pin down to a place, then click the arrow that’s pointing in the direction you want to go through your library. This lets you go from Info box to Info box, without having to select and spin each separate photo.
In the World view shown in Figure 4-15, a global map fills the screen, festooned with little red pins representing all the pictures you’ve geotagged. To see the photos attached to a pin, point to that pin and click the next to the place name.
Here are some ways to navigate the map:
Zoom in by double-clicking on a pin until you get as close as you want.
Zoom out of the map by Control-clicking (or right-clicking) twice.
Zoom in or out by dragging the slider in the bottom-right corner of the iPhoto window.
If you want to travel more incrementally, drag the map itself with the mouse to get to the part you want to see.
Along the bottom-right edge of the iPhoto window are buttons for the same three map types that you could see in the Info box’s mini-map (Adding Additional Information to a Photo or Event): Terrain, Satellite, and Hybrid.
To see all the photos you’ve mapped, click the Show Photos button at the bottom of the iPhoto window.
Here’s an advanced tip: If your mouse has a scroll wheel on top, you can use it to zoom into iPhoto’s maps, just as you can with (for example) Google Maps online. (This really saves a lot of click-stress on the ol’ hand bones.) Turning on this feature for iPhoto, though, involves a little minor Mac surgery.
Quit iPhoto and then open the Mac’s Terminal program (Applications→Utilities). Type the following command:
defaults write com.apple.iphoto MapScrollWheel -bool YES
Then press Return and quit Terminal.
(To go back to the way things were, open Terminal and repeat the above command, but change YES to NO.)
For the lucky owners of MacBook laptops with Multi-Touch trackpads, the same surgery also makes possible two-finger zooming on the trackpad.
The Map view is fun and all, but sometimes you want to see all your Places information grouped together in a good, old-fashioned list. Click the Browser button, identified in Figure 4-16.
Longtime fans of iTunes should instantly recognize this look: a series of lists in the top part of the window, and the actual items (photos here, not songs) in each list underneath. Four columns appear in the top part of the window, breaking down each location into smaller and smaller subcategories.
As shown in Figure 4-16, the column farthest to the left has the big overall location: the individual countries where you have tagged photos. As you move to the right, countries get divided into states or provinces, which get narrowed down to cities or towns. It can get as specific as a street address or a landmark, if you’ve gone that far in your geotagging frenzy.
To see all the photos you’ve taken in the United States, for example, click United States in the left column. To drill down to see all the photos taken in a particular state, click the state’s name. Keep clicking across the columns to get to just the photos taken in a certain town or location.
The photos from each set appear in the iPhoto window, so you can see them as you click through the columns. This trick makes Browser view a little more efficient for finding photos quickly if your Places map has more pins than an acupuncture class.
Want a self-updating album of all the photos in a certain state or city? Smart albums (Duplicating an Album) play nice with Places, too, as long as you tell them what you want. Setting up a location-aware smart album is fairly simple, as long as you have an Internet connection to keep the map info from Google flowing. Try this:
In the Source list, click Places.
If you’ve geotagged a photo, it’s here somewhere. Click the World View icon at the bottom of the window.
Your own personal map of the world appears, complete with a red pin for every location you’ve every tagged in a photo.
Find the location you want to use for the smart album; click the red pin for it.
In a big blast of colorfull contrast, the red pin turns yellow.
Click the Smart Album icon at the bottom of the window.
A fresh, new smart album appears in the Source list, already sporting the name of the location you just chose.
You can also make a smart album that contains photos from multiple places. As shown in Figure 4-17, just zoom far enough into the map so that only the desired pinned locations are visible onscreen. Click the Smart Album button; all future photos with geotags in these locations will appear in the album.
If you don’t happen to be online at the time (the horror!), you can still set up a smart album without looking at the map:
The Smart Album box slides down from the top of the iPhoto window.
Type in a name for the album. Set up the pop-up menus to say “Place” and “contains.” In the remaining box, type the location you want to use, like Pittsburgh or Grand Canyon, and then click OK.
Your new smart album rounds up the photos that match the Place criteria. It also keeps an eye out for photos with matching geotags that may arrive in the future.
You can commemorate all this geotagging work with a custom map that can be added to a book of your photos. Choose a Page Layout has the details.