Organizing Your Pictures Using Photos Part I

Once Apple forced us to ditch iPhoto and migrate to Photos, many users have been living in a state of confusion.

The first reaction to Photos – that it is a dumbed-down version of iPhoto.

Fair enough. Although there are a few iPhoto users out there, fighting technology until they can’t, most of us are stuck with having to use Photos (unless we look further afield and find a suitable third-party solution, which there isn’t a clear winner).

So – we’re stuck (for now, anyway) with Photos. But how do we maximize the features and organize things so they make sense?

First of all, let me clear up the most oft-asked question I’m asked about Photos: What is the difference between ALBUMS and EVENTS?

  • EVENTS are a group pictures you import off your camera or iPhone at one time. Old school analogy: You go on vacation, you take pictures and have them developed. When you get the envelope of pictures from your trip, those pictures make up your EVENT.
  • ALBUMS are a collection of photos you create yourself from your entire Photos library. Old school analogy: Your album is a book and your Photos library is a shoebox full of pictures. You put whatever pictures you want in your book, in any order. That collection of photos you have chosen to be in your book are your ALBUM.

Personally, I don’t care about EVENTS. I’m a date guy, so I like being organized by keeping my photos in chronological order. Also, I have multiple Photos libraries; one is my current library, one spans from 2000-2017, one is from scanned pictures from the previous century and the other contains scans of tickets from events I’ve attended.


Keywords are words that help you identify photos. If you to add a keyword to a group of photos (and note, they don’t have to be contiguous), perform the following:

  • In PHOTOS, under the VIEW menu, select METADATA and confirm that KEYWORDS is enabled (you’ll see the checkmark – see below).
  • In your Photos library, highlight (by dragging on a group or clicking single pictures) the pictures you want to assign keyword to.
  • Once the pictures are selected (indicated by a highlighted band around them), type Command-I (I as in Info), or right-click (Control key and click) and select GET INFO.
  • Enter your keyword in the KEYWORD field (see below).

Quick tip: Using the Command key (to left of spacebar) will allow you to select non-contiguous pictures.

Part II coming next month. Stay tuned!