Chapter 4. Faces and Places

iPhoto gives you plenty of ways to organize pictures into neat little collections, but so far most of the methods you’ve learned involve doing it manually. Manually apply keywords. Manually drag things into albums. Drag, drag, drag.

Happily, iPhoto comes with two features that organize your photos automatically. You’d call it artificial intelligence if it didn’t seem so much like real intelligence.

One feature uses facial recognition to group your photos based on who’s in them. It can be extremely handy when, say, you need to quickly round up a bunch of pictures of Tyler for that last-minute, surprise birthday party slideshow or your parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. This isn’t the crude sort of facial recognition that you find in lesser programs or even in digital cameras, which can really only tell you if there’s a face in the picture. iPhoto goes a step further and tells you whose face it is.

If your camera captures location info (and your iPhone does), you can also round up photos based on where they were taken. Imagine the joy of instantly locating pictures from a recent vacation—without keywording them—in order to show them off during a dinner party. And how easy would it be to create a calendar or book from your family’s Yellowstone vacation if those pictures just naturally migrated together?

Meet Faces and Places, two iPhoto superpowers that have become favorites of people who really want to get to the who and the where of their photos as painlessly as possible.

Faces

Here’s the Faces feature in a nutshell: By analyzing the unique properties of each face in a photo—nose, mouth, hair color (or lack of hair), distance between the eyes, and so on—iPhoto attempts to distinguish among the people in your pictures and group them together into tidy stacks. Once the setup process is complete, you’ll see these stacks when you click the Faces icon in your Source list.

iPhoto makes a first pass at this automatically, which is downright amazing. It’s not a perfect process, however; after its initial try, iPhoto prompts you to review each photo and confirm its subject’s identity. (It sounds boring, but it’s actually quite fun and the payoff is huge.) After that initial coaching, iPhoto groups your photos by the people in them, automatically and forever, plus it’ll add to the groupings each time you import pictures. Hallelujah!

Step 1: Analysis

When you open iPhoto for the first time, even if you’re upgrading from an earlier version (see Getting iPhoto), the program doesn’t waste any time: it immediately gets to work searching your images for the telltale signs of human faces.

Note

Depending on the number of photos you’re importing, iPhoto takes a few moments to perform its initial face hunt. You’ll spot a tiny twirling icon to the right of Faces in your Source list (it looks like two curved arrows). To pause the analysis, click this icon so that it turns into a tiny Pause button; to start it back up again, click the Pause button.

This part of the Faces setup doesn’t require any effort from you, and it happens each time you import photos.

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, as you can see in Figure 4-1.

Note

If iPhoto doesn’t detect any faces in your photos, you see an empty corkboard with a giant yellow sticky note about getting started. If you’ve used Faces in previous versions of iPhoto, you see a corkboard with a slew of Polaroid-style headshots with names underneath (shown in Figure 4-3).

Tagging Faces Automatically

After iPhoto does its face-detection dance, you can 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 incredibly easy:

  1. Click Faces in your Source list.

    iPhoto displays thumbnails of a few faces it found in your library.

    If you’ve never used Faces before, this is the first view you see when you click Faces in the Source list. Now that iPhoto has plowed through your photo library detecting faces, you can start telling it who those faces belong to…all 142 of ’em.
    Figure 4-1. If you’ve never used Faces before, this is the first view you see when you click Faces in the Source list. Now that iPhoto has plowed through your photo library detecting faces, you can start telling it who those faces belong to…all 142 of ’em.
  2. Click the “unnamed” label below a thumbnail, type the person’s name, and then press Return.

    While you can type any name you want—like Dad or Uncle Robin—it’s a good idea to stick with the person’s real name, as iPhoto automatically tries to match it with the contents of your Contacts app (your address book, so to speak) and, if you’ve added your Facebook account to iPhoto (Sharing Photos via Facebook), it searches those names, too (see Figure 4-2). This is especially handy because it makes emailing from within iPhoto fast and easy, because your acquaintances’ contact info is always at the ready (see Chapter 8 for details).

Tip

To enter names faster, skip the mouse and just use your keyboard. Name one thumbnail and then press the Tab key to move to the next one; iPhoto highlights the name field automatically. (To go backward—say, if you accidentally skipped a thumbnail or you named it incorrectly—press Shift-Tab instead.) Enter another name and then press Tab to highlight the Show More Faces button, and then press Return to move on to the next set of thumbnails.You can also use the keyboard to confirm names: Press Tab to highlight the name field and then press Return to confirm the name (the has a blue circle around it and is shown at the bottom of Figure 4-2). To tell iPhoto it made a mistake, press Tab again, and when you see a blue circle around the , press Return.

Top: The second you start typing a name, iPhoto tries to match it with one in your Contacts or Facebook Friends list (if you’ve added your Facebook account to iPhoto). If the person isn’t in one of those lists, you can type anything you want.Bottom: After you’ve tagged some faces, iPhoto begins making suggestions. If it guesses correctly, click the ; if not, click the and enter a new name. Tap the Tab key to highlight each icon with a blue circle, as shown here; just press Return when the correct one lights up.The more faces you confirm, the better iPhoto gets at tagging them in other pictures.
Figure 4-2. Top: The second you start typing a name, iPhoto tries to match it with one in your Contacts or Facebook Friends list (if you’ve added your Facebook account to iPhoto). If the person isn’t in one of those lists, you can type anything you want. Bottom: After you’ve tagged some faces, iPhoto begins making suggestions. If it guesses correctly, click the ; if not, click the and enter a new name. Tap the Tab key to highlight each icon with a blue circle, as shown here; just press Return when the correct one lights up. The more faces you confirm, the better iPhoto gets at tagging them in other pictures.

Here are a few things to remember as you’re naming faces:

  • Focus on tagging photos that have a clear, frontal view of the person. iPhoto will try to match other pictures in the library with this initial one, and it works best when there’s plenty of face to recognize.

  • Tag faces shown in profile, too. While it’s important to name full-face photos, naming profile shots helps iPhoto recognize those, too.

  • Tag faces of different ages. If you’ve got several years’ worth of photos in your library, chances are that you’ll have photos of the same person at a variety of ages.

  • Don’t waste time tagging blurry or poorly lit photos, or those with microscopic faces. Each time you tag a photo with a name, iPhoto broadens its range of suggested photos for that person. Naming bad shots can make it harder for iPhoto to recognize people.

Note

Alas, iPhoto can get a little overzealous. It may tag faces in paintings, framed photos, statues, Star Trek action figures, or shadows on drapery. In these cases, you can help train its facial-recognition powers by pointing the cursor at the top-left corner of the thumbnail and clicking the X to delete the tag, and then move on to tagging the actual humans in the shot. The thumbnail doesn’t disappear; it just dims slightly. Theoretically, it won’t show up as a face the next time you go tagging.

When you’ve had your fill of tagging faces, click Continue To Faces at the bottom right of the iPhoto window. As shown in Figure 4-3, iPhoto displays a corkboard with Polaroid-style shots of each person you’ve tagged so far, labeled with the names you just assigned. It’s like being the casting director in the movie of your life.

As you tag more pictures, more headshots appear on your Faces corkboard. You can click the at the top right of your iPhoto window to make the corkboard take over your monitor, too.Point your mouse at a face and you see glimpses of the individual photos of that person. To change the key photo (the representative photo of that person’s stack), Control-click it and choose Make Key Photo, as shown here. Want an instant slideshow of that person? Choose Play Slideshow from the menu.
Figure 4-3. As you tag more pictures, more headshots appear on your Faces corkboard. You can click the at the top right of your iPhoto window to make the corkboard take over your monitor, too. Point your mouse at a face and you see glimpses of the individual photos of that person. To change the key photo (the representative photo of that person’s stack), Control-click it and choose Make Key Photo, as shown here. Want an instant slideshow of that person? Choose Play Slideshow from the menu.

Use the Zoom slider in the iPhoto toolbar to increase or decrease thumbnail size and thus the number of headshots in a row. To see the individual pictures of each person, double-click a face. To go back to the Faces corkboard, press ⌘-left arrow or click All Faces at the top left of the photo-viewing area.

Tagging Faces Manually

If iPhoto fails to detect a face during import or a rescan (see the box below)—a fairly rare occurrence—you can always tag it yourself manually (though doing so doesn’t improve iPhoto’s ability to detect faces). Start by selecting the photo and then opening the Info panel. In the panel, click Faces to expand that section, and then click “Add a face,” as shown in Figure 4-4.

Tip

iPhoto won’t let you manually tag faces when you’re zoomed in on a photo (weird but true). So if you click “Add a face” and nothing happens, drag the Zoom slider in iPhoto’s toolbar all the way left, and then have another go at it.

If iPhoto can’t find a face for whatever reason, click “Add a face” in the Info panel’s Faces section. When you do that, a little white square appears that you can resize and position around your subject’s face. When you get it just right, click the text field below the square and enter the person’s name.If there’s more than one face in the photo, keep clicking “Add a face” to add more white squares.
Figure 4-4. If iPhoto can’t find a face for whatever reason, click “Add a face” in the Info panel’s Faces section. When you do that, a little white square appears that you can resize and position around your subject’s face. When you get it just right, click the text field below the square and enter the person’s name. If there’s more than one face in the photo, keep clicking “Add a face” to add more white squares.

A fresh white square appears, which you can drag over that poor, undetected face. Drag the corners of the box to resize it. (Dragging a corner causes both sides of the square 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.)

When you’ve got the white square right where you want it, click the “click to name” balloon and enter the person’s name. Repeat as necessary with any other people you know in the picture.

Note

While it’s not quite as sophisticated as the software the FBI and Interpol are using these days, iPhoto’s face-detection feature generally gets better the more you work with it. But there are 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 Info panel’s “Add a face” link to add your pet to the Faces corkboard. Babies, identical twins, and people wearing sunglasses (or posing at odd angles) may also require manual intervention.

Adding More Pictures to a Name

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 your collection’s faces with their names:

  1. Double-click a person on the Faces corkboard.

    iPhoto displays all the photos you’ve already tagged with that person’s name. At the bottom of the window, a note tells you how many other pictures iPhoto thinks contain this same person.

  2. In iPhoto’s toolbar, click Confirm Additional Faces.

    A screen full of thumbnails appears, each containing a closeup of that person’s face culled from a different photo. The caption “click to confirm” appears beneath each one (see Figure 4-5). This is your chance to tell iPhoto’s face-detection software how it did.

    Note

    To see the whole photo instead of a closeup of the face in question, click the little slider in the upper-right corner of the iPhoto window to set it to Photos; to switch back to viewing closeups, set the slider to Faces.

  3. 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 next time.

    You can give iPhoto a hand by confirming its correct guesses and rejecting its incorrect ones. Photos above the horizontal bar are confirmed pictures of this face; photos below it are ones that iPhoto wants you to confirm (they’re listed in order of certainty). Click a picture to confirm it, or Option-click to reject it.The more you work with iPhoto here, the better it gets at identifying people. If you come to a point where you’re seeing more misses than hits, click Done and move on to confirming someone else’s face.
    Figure 4-5. You can give iPhoto a hand by confirming its correct guesses and rejecting its incorrect ones. Photos above the horizontal bar are confirmed pictures of this face; photos below it are ones that iPhoto wants you to confirm (they’re listed in order of certainty). Click a picture to confirm it, or Option-click to reject it. The more you work with iPhoto here, the better it gets at identifying people. If you come to a point where you’re seeing more misses than hits, click Done and move on to confirming someone else’s face.

    Tip

    If most of the thumbnails contain the correct person, you can accept them all at once: Just drag the mouse over a whole batch of photos to select them, and their captions will turn green.

  4. When you encounter a thumbnail of somebody else—iPhoto has picked the wrong person—either Option-click it or double-click it.

    The “click to confirm” caption turns red, and the text says, “Not Chris” (or whomever).

    Tip

    Here again, you can reject a whole bunch of thumbnails at once. This time, hold down the Option key as you drag your cursor over the erroneous faces. You can then Control-click one of the selected thumbnails and choose Name from the shortcut menu in order to tag it correctly.

  5. When you’re finished accepting or rejecting thumbnails, click Done.

    The more guidance you give iPhoto in identifying people in your photos, the more accurate it gets at recognizing them in new images that you import. With enough input, the program has a better chance of telling babies from bald men, and even differentiating among your various bald friends.

Naming Faces Anytime

Any time you select Faces in your Source list, the Find Faces button appears on the iPhoto toolbar, even after your initial burst of face tagging. Click it to return to the original Faces window, where you can tag two photos at a time (see in Figure 4-1).

As you stroll around your photo library in All Events or Photos view and come upon photos of people you want to tag, the “Add a face” link awaits you in the Info panel, as shown on Tagging Faces Manually. In fact, iPhoto is always trying to guess who the people in your pictures are.

For example, if you open a shot from a family reunion, click the Info button, and then take a peek at the Faces section, iPhoto offers a guess if the face looks familiar. You see the customary white square around the face, but instead of “unnamed” appearing beneath it, you get a polite question like, “Is this Leroy?” (see Figure 4-6).

If you open the Info panel and iPhoto recognizes someone it’s seen before, it asks you to verify the person’s identity. Click if iPhoto guessed the right name. Click the if iPhoto missed, and then enter the correct name for that person.If you’re zoomed in on a photo, you won’t see any of iPhoto’s guesses; just drag the Zoom slider in iPhoto’s toolbar all the way left to get it back in the guessing game.
Figure 4-6. If you open the Info panel and iPhoto recognizes someone it’s seen before, it asks you to verify the person’s identity. Click if iPhoto guessed the right name. Click the if iPhoto missed, and then enter the correct name for that person. If you’re zoomed in on a photo, you won’t see any of iPhoto’s guesses; just drag the Zoom slider in iPhoto’s toolbar all the way left to get it back in the guessing game.

If it is indeed Cousin Leroy, then click to confirm and add the picture to Leroy’s Faces album. If iPhoto has guessed wrong, then click the and type in the correct name.

As you add more names to your Faces library, iPhoto tracks your typing and cheerfully offers a drop-down list of potential, previously typed names (as well as names that are in your Contacts) that you can select from to save keystrokes. Either click the correct name or use the arrow keys on your keyboard to select it, and then press Return.

When naming or confirming names using the Info panel in All Events or Photos view, you can click the next to the name to leap into that person’s Faces album (see Figure 4-7).

The after the name is your shortcut to this person’s Faces album. Click it to jump there.Once you land, you can always confirm the name on a few more photos iPhoto thinks this person might be in (page 95).
Figure 4-7. The after the name is your shortcut to this person’s Faces album. Click it to jump there. Once you land, you can always confirm the name on a few more photos iPhoto thinks this person might be in (page 95).

The Payoff

Between iPhoto’s own analysis and your patient confirmation of faces, you gradually refine iPhoto’s facial recognition.

Eventually, you wind up with a whole array of mugshots on the Faces corkboard, as shown back in Figure 4-3 (Tagging Faces Automatically). The next time you need to gather pictures of Suzy, just click Faces in your Source list and then double-click her Polaroid on the corkboard; iPhoto displays closeups of all the photos she’s in. (To see the whole photo instead of her face, click the little slider at the top right of the iPhoto window to set it to Photos rather than Faces.) This kind of thing is a real time-saver when you need to, say, make that monthly book of grandkid pictures for your parents or a slideshow of your hubby’s ever-evolving facial hair for his 50th birthday blowout.

Tip

You can also create an instant slideshow from the Faces corkboard. It’s crazy simple: Control-click a Polaroid and then pick Play Slideshow from the resulting menu. Who knew?!

To return to the corkboard array of faces, click All Faces at the top left of the iPhoto window.

You can also drag a corkboard snapshot directly into your Source list to create a smart album for that person (see Figure 4-8). iPhoto continually updates this album, adding any confirmed photos of the person that enter your library in the future. You can also drag a snapshot onto an existing Face-based smart album to make one that updates with both people—convenient for corralling all those pics of the kids or the bowling team into one place.

Top: Drag any Faces album onto a blank spot in your Source list, as shown here, to make a new smart album for that person.Bottom: Now here’s where things really start to get fun. Once you create one Faces-based smart album, you can drag yet another person from the corkboard onto the same smart album to create an album that gathers photos of both people (here, that’s Robert and Elsbeth). This kind of thing is incredibly handy for creating instant slideshows of people (your kids, your parents, and so on).
Figure 4-8. Top: Drag any Faces album onto a blank spot in your Source list, as shown here, to make a new smart album for that person. Bottom: Now here’s where things really start to get fun. Once you create one Faces-based smart album, you can drag yet another person from the corkboard onto the same smart album to create an album that gathers photos of both people (here, that’s Robert and Elsbeth). This kind of thing is incredibly handy for creating instant slideshows of people (your kids, your parents, and so on).

Deleting Faces

OK, so you got a little excited by iPhoto’s face-detection technology and tagged your annoying coworker Madge. Look, there she is on the Faces corkboard next to pictures of people you actually like. Yikes!

Don’t panic. If you want to remove a face from the corkboard, select it and press ⌘-Delete (just as if you were deleting an Event). 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 from the Faces corkboard, ⌘-click each undesired person, and then press ⌘-Delete. Again, iPhoto asks you to 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.)

Note

Deleting a face from the Faces corkboard doesn’t delete any pictures from your iPhoto library.

Adding More Details to a Face

In addition to neatly lining up mugshots of all your family and friends, Faces helps you keep track of your pictures (and the people in them) in several other ways.

Click any face on the corkboard, and then click Info in the iPhoto toolbar to open the Info panel. As Figure 4-9 shows, you see the number of photos you have of this person (and the date range when they were taken), a spot to type the person’s full name and email address, a map of where those photos were taken (if you’ve added that info), and iPhoto’s guess of how many more photos might contain this person.

Why would you want to add the person’s email address here, you ask? No, it doesn’t automatically add the photo to that person’s entry in your Mac’s Contacts app (although it’d be very nice if Apple made that happen…hint, hint).

No, by giving you a place to add your friend’s email address, you get to use iPhoto’s gorgeous, graphic email option that lets you send emails from inside iPhoto. The program is also betting that this same name and address are used for your friend’s account on Facebook, the social-networking site (rather, gigantic time vacuum) used by over 1 billion people. When you use iPhoto to post pictures on Facebook, the names you’ve 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 ahead to Chapter 8.

Organizing the Faces Album

Seeing your friends and family lined up all neat and tidy in Faces view gives you a wonderful sense of organization. (A few years ago, those pictures would have been falling out of physical photo albums—or still in their envelopes from the drugstore and shoved into the back of a closet!) But even on the corkboard, you can organize the faces still further.

By selecting a face and then opening the Info panel, you can edit your buddy’s name and email address.If you take the time to enter that info here, any future photos you confirm in iPhoto and upload to Facebook will be tagged automatically tagged if that person uses the same email address for his Facebook account. This gives you more time to do other stuff on Facebook, like SuperPoking your buddies.
Figure 4-9. By selecting a face and then opening the Info panel, you can edit your buddy’s name and email address. If you take the time to enter that info here, any future photos you confirm in iPhoto and upload to Facebook will be tagged automatically tagged if that person uses the same email address for his Facebook account. This gives you more time to do other stuff on Facebook, like SuperPoking your buddies.

Changing the Key Photo

The key photo is the one that represents a person on your Faces corkboard; it’s typically the first one you tagged (see Figure 4-10). If that photo doesn’t do your friend justice, there are at least three easy ways to change it:

  • Click Faces in your Source list. As you slowly move your cursor (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 make it the key photo.

  • Double-click a face in the Faces corkboard. Scroll through and select a photo you like better, and then 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. Alternatively, point your cursor at the photo and click the tiny triangle that appears at its bottom right, and then choose Make Key Photo from the shortcut menu.

  • If you have a face-tagged photo selected, Control-click it, and then choose Make Key Photo from the shortcut menu shown in Figure 4-10.

The key photo is the one you see on your Faces corkboard; it’s the picture on the top of that person’s stack of pictures. One easy way to change it is to open the person’s stack and then Control-click the photo you want to use and choose Make Key Photo from the shortcut menu, as shown here.An even faster way is to wave your mouse over the person’s stack, and then tap the space bar when you see the one you want to use instead. You can do this in the Info panel, too; just click when you see the photo you want to use.
Figure 4-10. The key photo is the one you see on your Faces corkboard; it’s the picture on the top of that person’s stack of pictures. One easy way to change it is to open the person’s stack and then Control-click the photo you want to use and choose Make Key Photo from the shortcut menu, as shown here. An even faster way is to wave your mouse over the person’s stack, and then tap the space bar when you see the one you want to use instead. You can do this in the Info panel, too; just click when you see the photo you want to use.

Rearranging the Order

Would you like to put Mom and Dad together on the Faces corkboard, or arrange your kickboxing pals in a row? No problem; you can drag the Faces snapshots around on the corkboard. To move someone, drag her album to a new place on your corkboard; the other faces politely slide over to make room.

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 the faces in the stack you dropped. (If that happens, press ⌘-Z immediately to undo your last move.)

Tip

iPhoto also lets you merge Faces albums. Why would you want to? Well, say you make a typo in someone’s name when tagging photos and inadvertently create two Faces albums for the same person. You can merge the two by dragging the snapshot of the typo-filled name onto the snapshot of the correct name and not have to rename a thing. You can also select two Faces albums and then Control-click one of them to reveal a shortcut menu; choose Merge People and call it a day.

If it’s too late for ⌘-Z, double-click the merged stack. Then click the Confirm Name button and reject (and eject) the wrong face out of the photo collection, as described on Adding More Pictures to a Name. (Or Control-click each unwanted photo and choose “This is not [name]” from the shortcut menu.)

Tip

You can also organize faces alphabetically, though by first name only; just choose View→Sort Photos→By Name. (That applies A to Z order; you can be ornery and go from Z to A by choosing Descending from the same menu.) Switching to name sorting, however, means you can’t drag your pals around manually—at least, not until you choose View→Sort Photos→Manually.

Editing Names

Want to change the spelling or fix a typo in a name displayed on your Faces corkboard? Just click the name to highlight it and then type whatever you want. Clicking the at the right of the text box clears the existing name, but since clicking the name highlights it anyway, you can just start typing right over the old one.

Places

Geotagging has been a hot feature of digital photography for several years. That’s when your camera buries latitude and longitude coordinates into each picture it takes (invisibly, the same way it records the time and date) so you’ll always be able to pinpoint where a picture was taken.

There are only two problems with this scenario.

First, not all cameras contain the necessary GPS circuitry to geotag photos. Second, what happens after you geotag them? What are you going to do, say, “Oh, yes, I remember that romantic evening at 41° 30′ 18.48″ N, 81° 41’ 55.08″ W″?

iPhoto solves the second problem, at least. When you import pictures, it scours them for location info and translates those coordinates to the much more recognizable “Cleveland,” or even more precisely, 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 if you’ve made several trips to London and want to see all the pictures taken there over the years, not just ones from a particular album or Event. It’s also a great way to learn geography—slideshows, books, and calendars take advantage of this info, and include themes that make a quick map of your trip.

Automatically Geotagging Photos

Your photos are probably geotagged when you shoot them if you’re using one of the following gadgets:

  • A digital camera with a built-in GPS chip, like the Canon PowerShot S120.

  • A GPS-enabled cellphone, like an iPhone.

  • The Eye-Fi Mobi card. This is a remarkable SD memory card, the kind you put into most camera models, with built-in wireless networking and a pseudo-GPS feature (as of this writing, it costs $50 for an 8 GB card). See www.eye.fi for details.

  • A small GPS-enabled box like the $115 ATP GPS PhotoFinder Mini that tracks the time and your coordinates as you snap photos—and marries them up with the time stamps on your pictures when you insert the camera’s memory card. See http://photofinder.atpinc.com for more information.

If that’s your situation, then all you have to do is import the pictures into iPhoto (Getting Your Pictures into iPhoto) and smile smugly. When the images appear in the photo-viewing area, you can check the location by opening the Info panel (click Info in the iPhoto toolbar) shown in Figure 4-11.

In the Places section of the Info panel, you can see the location’s name and a pin on a miniature map; if the map is generally correct, then iPhoto has done its job.

However, 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.

If your photos are geotagged, the Info panel’s Places section displays a map of where they were taken. A red pin marks the spot where you took the photo.If all the photos in an Event have been geotagged and no photos are selected, you get a map with multiple pins showing the various locations you photographed.
Figure 4-11. If your photos are geotagged, the Info panel’s Places section displays a map of where they were taken. A red pin marks the spot where you took the photo. If all the photos in an Event have been geotagged and no photos are selected, you get a map with multiple pins showing the various locations you photographed.

Manually Geotagging Photos

But what about photos that don’t have geographical information embedded—like the 300 billion photos that have been taken with non-GPS cameras? In that case, you can geotag them manually.

  1. Select a photo (or an Event) and then click the Info button in iPhoto’s toolbar.

    The Info panel opens to reveal several juicy tidbits of info.

  2. Click “Assign a Place” and start typing the name of the town, city, or landmark where the picture was taken (such as Washington Monument).

    As shown in Figure 4-12, iPhoto tries to guess what you’re typing, to save you some effort (and spelling). If you see the correct location in the list, use the arrow keys on your keyboard to select it and then press Return to confirm your choice, or just click the correct name.

    As you type, iPhoto tries to guess where you’re going. If the program can’t find the location on its own maps, it tries to find the location using Apple Maps (Google Maps was used in previous versions of the program).If, for some bizarre reason, you have the latitude and longitude of your location, you can enter those numbers instead of a name. Just type the coordinates separated by a comma, such as 38, –9 (the latitude always goes first). Here again, a menu appears with iPhoto’s best guess as to where on the map those coordinates actually are.
    Figure 4-12. As you type, iPhoto tries to guess where you’re going. If the program can’t find the location on its own maps, it tries to find the location using Apple Maps (Google Maps was used in previous versions of the program). If, for some bizarre reason, you have the latitude and longitude of your location, you can enter those numbers instead of a name. Just type the coordinates separated by a comma, such as 38, –9 (the latitude always goes first). Here again, a menu appears with iPhoto’s best guess as to where on the map those coordinates actually are.
  3. If the place you’re typing doesn’t appear on the list, pick one that’s close and then move the red marker pin.

    In the off chance that iPhoto and Apple Maps can’t find your location, just pick a location that’s close. Then click the red pin on the map and drag it to the right spot, as shown in Figure 4-13.

    If you don’t see your locale on the list, pick a place that’s close and then fine-tune it by moving the pin on the map. Drag the pin to the correct spot and then click to rename it. If you’re lucky, iPhoto updates the location tag itself, though in most cases you have to enter the info manually.You can zoom in and out of the map as needed with the buttons labeled here. You can also drag the map itself to see another area.You can only move marker pins using the tiny map in the Info panel; you can’t move them when you’re looking at the big map in Places view (described on page 103).If you’ve accidentally relocated a photo that was taken in Paris, France, to Paris, Texas, you can revert to the photo’s original location by choosing Photos→“Rescan for Location.”
    Figure 4-13. If you don’t see your locale on the list, pick a place that’s close and then fine-tune it by moving the pin on the map. Drag the pin to the correct spot and then click to rename it. If you’re lucky, iPhoto updates the location tag itself, though in most cases you have to enter the info manually. You can zoom in and out of the map as needed with the buttons labeled here. You can also drag the map itself to see another area. You can only move marker pins using the tiny map in the Info panel; you can’t move them when you’re looking at the big map in Places view (described on page 103). If you’ve accidentally relocated a photo that was taken in Paris, France, to Paris, Texas, you can revert to the photo’s original location by choosing Photos→“Rescan for Location.”
  4. When the pin is in the right spot, click the next to the location tag to confirm it.

    You can also refine and/or delete locations by choosing Window→Manage My Places. This command summons a list of all the places you’ve tagged in iPhoto—or captured with your GPS-enabled phone or camera—with a handy map that lets you move location pins to and fro, as well as reduce or widen the region of a particular pin (represented by a circle) by dragging the triangles that automatically appear to the pin’s right on the edge of the region circle.

Renaming Places

Geotagging photos is usually enough for most people. However, if you want to add a personal touch to the names of your places tags, you can rename them in the Info panel.

Once iPhoto finds your location (or you find it yourself), click the red pin to summon the location tag. Once the tag appears, highlight its text and then enter a new name, such as Uncle George’s House. Click the to confirm the new name (or just press Return). Later, you’ll be able to use iPhoto’s Search box to round up all the pictures that were taken at Uncle George’s place just by typing uncl.

Tip

Once you’ve pinpointed the right location for a photo, you can copy that info to other photos. Just select the photo with the correct locale and choose Edit→Copy. Next, select the photo(s) you want to copy the location to, and then choose Edit→Paste Location.

Adding Additional Info to a Photo or Event

As you may have noticed, the Info panel’s Places section is littered with controls. Here’s a quick roundup of what the other goodies labeled in Figure 4-13 let you do:

  • Zoom the map. Just below the map, click the + and – buttons to zoom in and out of the map, to get anything from a closeup street view to a world map. (These controls appear only when you point your cursor to the map.)

  • View on the Places map. At the top of the Info panel’s Places section is a tiny that you can click to see the location on iPhoto’s large and incredibly gratifying Places map.

  • Change the look of the map. When you point to the map, three buttons appear near the bottom. They let you see the map in three different ways: a Standard view that shows street names and tiny lines for roads, a Hybrid view that combines Satellite view and Standard view, and a Satellite view that’s an overhead photo of the area.

Tip

Once you’ve geotagged your photos, you can use iPhoto’s Search box to find them. First, click Events or a particular album in the Source list. Then, in iPhoto’s toolbar, click Search and type what you’re looking for, such as San Francisco or Napili Kai. Press Return to see your results.

Going Places with Places

Now that your photos are properly geotagged, you can see how they look in iPhoto’s Places view: a wonderfully large world map. To display it, click Places in the Source list or, if the Info panel is open, click the above the map.

iPhoto treats you to a map of the entire globe (see Figure 4-14), festooned with little red pins representing all the pictures you’ve geotagged. (If you click the at the top right of the iPhoto window, the map takes over your whole monitor!) To see the photos attached to a pin, click the pin itself and then click the next to the place’s name.

As with any map, you need a way to navigate. Here are your controls:

  • Zoom in by double-clicking a spot until you get as close as you want.

  • Zoom out of the map by Option-clicking twice.

  • Zoom in or out by dragging the Zoom slider in the iPhoto toolbar.

Tip

If you own a Magic Trackpad or a Magic Mouse, you can use the two-finger pinch and spread gestures to zoom into and out of the map, respectively.

  • If you want to travel more incrementally, drag the map itself to get to the part you want to see.

  • See all your pins on the map at once by clicking the Home button at the top left of the iPhoto window (it looks like a little house). Oddly, this seems to work only with photos that are automatically geotagged; pins that you’ve added manually seem to appear offscreen.

  • See all the countries, states, cities, and places you’ve visited by clicking the lists at the top of the map. These let you view photos by region, as discussed in the next section.

Click the Home icon (the little house) to see all your tagged locations in Places view. Red pins mark each spot on the map where you (or your camera) have added Places tags to your pictures. To see the name of any location, click a pin. You can then click the next to the name to see the photos taken there.
Figure 4-14. Click the Home icon (the little house) to see all your tagged locations in Places view. Red pins mark each spot on the map where you (or your camera) have added Places tags to your pictures. To see the name of any location, click a pin. You can then click the next to the name to see the photos taken there.

Along the top-right edge of the iPhoto window are buttons for the same three map types you can see in the Info panel: Standard, Hybrid, and Satellite.

To see all the photos you’ve lovingly tagged in the region of the map that’s currently visible, click Show Photos in iPhoto’s toolbar.

Tip

iPhoto understands gestures, those little motions you make atop your Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad, or the trackpad on your MacBook. For example, you can use two-finger zooming to dig into iPhoto’s maps, just as you can with (for example) Google Maps online. If your mouse has a scroll wheel or a scroll pea, you can use that for zooming, too.

View Photos by Region

Places view is fun and all, but sometimes you want to see all your location tags grouped together in a good, old-fashioned list. Easy: Use the lists at the top of the Places map, shown in Figure 4-15.

Longtime fans of iTunes should instantly recognize this look: a series of lists in the top part of the window, and the locations (countries, states, cities, or places—not songs) in each list underneath. The four lists break your locations down into smaller and smaller subcategories.

As shown in Figure 4-15 (top), the left-hand list has the big overall location: the countries where you’ve 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.

Top: These lists let you see Places tags by country, state/province, town, and even down to a landmark. To see all the places you’ve pinned in Hawaii, for example, click United States in the Countries list and then pick Hawaii from the States list. To drill down to a particular city, click its name in the Cities list (here, it’s set to Volcano). Keep making choices from the individual lists to narrow your view.Bottom: To see the photos pinned to a certain spot, click the pin and then click the to its right (or click Show Photos in the toolbar). Here, you see photos from Halema’uma’u Crater in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Figure 4-15. Top: These lists let you see Places tags by country, state/province, town, and even down to a landmark. To see all the places you’ve pinned in Hawaii, for example, click United States in the Countries list and then pick Hawaii from the States list. To drill down to a particular city, click its name in the Cities list (here, it’s set to Volcano). Keep making choices from the individual lists to narrow your view. Bottom: To see the photos pinned to a certain spot, click the pin and then click the to its right (or click Show Photos in the toolbar). Here, you see photos from Halema’uma’u Crater in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Places for Smart Albums

Want a self-updating album of all the photos you’ve taken in a certain state or city? Smart albums (Deleting an Album) work with Places tags, so setting up a location-aware smart album is easy, as long as you have an Internet connection to keep the map info flowing from Apple.

To set up a smart album based on location, follow these steps:

  1. In your Source list, click Places and then click the Home button at the map’s top left.

    Your own personal map of the world appears, complete with a red pin for every location you’ve tagged in a photo.

  2. Find the location you want using the lists at the top left of the map or by zooming, and then click its red pin.

    If you’re making a smart album to contain all the photos you’ve ever taken in Italy, for example, choose it from the Country list (circled in Figure 4-16).

    If you’re making a smart album based on Florence, you can drill down through the other region lists until you find a pin for Florence, and then click it. The point is to keep drilling down until you see only the pins for locations you want included in the smart album.

    To make a smart album based on a country, you can use the region lists in the map’s top left. Simply choose a country (or state, or city) and then click Smart Album in iPhoto’s toolbar. Once you do that, the Source list displays a new smart album named after the country you picked (circled).Here, the Places map is shown in Hybrid view (circled at top right).
    Figure 4-16. To make a smart album based on a country, you can use the region lists in the map’s top left. Simply choose a country (or state, or city) and then click Smart Album in iPhoto’s toolbar. Once you do that, the Source list displays a new smart album named after the country you picked (circled). Here, the Places map is shown in Hybrid view (circled at top right).
  3. Click Smart Album in iPhoto’s toolbar.

    A fresh, new smart album appears in the Source list based on the pins shown on your map, sporting the name of the location you just picked.

    Tip

    To make a smart album based on multiple locations, zoom in until the map shows all the pinned places you want to include. Then click Smart Album in the iPhoto toolbar to make a self-updating album that includes photos from all those places. It appears in the Source list under an unwieldy name like “United Kingdom, France and more,” but you can click to rename it something a little catchier, like “Europe.”

    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:

  4. Choose FileNew Smart Album (or press Option-⌘-N).

    The Smart Album settings slide down from the top of the iPhoto window.

  5. Enter a name for the album, and then set up the pop-up menus to “Place” and “contains.” In the remaining box, type the location you want to see, like Texas or Grand Canyon, and then click OK.

    Your new smart album rounds up all the photos that match the criteria you entered. It also keeps an eye out for any new photos you import that contain matching geotags.

Tip

You can commemorate all this geotagging work with a custom map that you can include in a printed, hardcover book of your photos. Chapter 9 has the scoop.

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