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“Take Control of Your Digital Photos,” Chapter 7

This article is a pre-release chapter in Jeff Carlson’s upcoming “Take Control of Your Digital Photos,” scheduled for public release in August 2013. Apart from the introduction, these chapters are available only to TidBITS members; see “Streamed Advice for Managing Your Digital Photos” for details.

Organize Photos into (Smart) Albums

So much of the information about photography out there focuses (pun intended) on the art and practice of capturing images, but very little addresses what to do with the shots once they’re in captivity. The whole point of taking control of your digital photos is to not just find a place for them on your hard disk, but to work with them later—whether that’s editing a group of promising images the day they’re shot or assembling a slide show three years later.

This is where the work you’ve done so far pays off. Armed with a photo library chock-full of metadata, you can locate images in a fraction of the time it would take to scan through them visually. I’ll show you how to search for specific metadata—such as keywords and ratings, and even camera-generated data such as aperture, shutter speed, and camera model—to track down shots. Then I’ll cover how to make that search capability work in your favor by building smart albums whose contents can change based on criteria you specify.

Locate Your Photos Using Search

When I want to track down photos, I almost always start by performing a text search to locate keywords or other data, and then refine the results by specifying star ratings, labels, or flags. Knowing that I tagged my Disney vacation photos with keywords, for instance, I would do a text search for “Disneyland” and then filter the results to reveal only images rated three stars or higher.

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