iPhoto: How do I delete a photo from photos but keep it in an album?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by rimcanyon, May 15, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2013
    I want to keep my photos organized in albums in iPhoto, and remove them from photos once they have been added to an album. But when I delete the photo from photos, it disappears from the album as well and ends up only in the trash. If I "Put Back" in trash, it goes back to both photos and the album. Clearly I am missing something about how iPhoto works...

    I've tried both cut followed by paste (which does not remove the photo from photos), and copy, paste to album, then delete from photos. So actually I have two questions: second one being why doesn't cut remove the original?
  2. macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Yes, you are missing a key point about iPhoto.... :)

    iPhoto is a Digital Asset Manager (DAM) which means it is different than just nested folders.

    With a DAM (Aperture, Lightroom, Capture One, and a couple others are also DAMs) your photo is either parked inside a hidden folder structure (iPhoto) or often moved to a visible date ordered folder structure when you 'import' your photos. What an 'import' means, at the fundamental level, is that the DAM creates an entry in its database. After that all the edits you make, all the keywords you add, all the Albums (or Collections) you move the image into are simply notations in the database record for that image. The image itself never physically moves or changes.

    When you are in iPhoto and add an image to an Album, all that happens is that iPhoto makes a note that the photo appears in that Album. There is no 'real' Album that exists.. it is virtual. Which means you can put the photo into as many Albums as you want, and each instance is actually pointing at a singular original image tucked safely way. There is no storage penalty for having multiple copies of an image in several Albums. Edits and other changes to an image in one Album are reflected wherever that photo appears. But it still really exists in just one place. Deleting a photo from an Album only means that you are deleting the reference for the photo in that Album in iPhoto's database. The photo itself is not being deleted.... it is just the database entry being changed to eliminate the notation that the photo can be found in a particular Album

    However, when you Delete the photo from 'Photos' you are actually mucking about with the real, actual photo. Delete the photo and you Deleting the original image, that is safely tucked away. And iPhoto then deletes the references to that photo in the database since those notations no longer point at a real photo. Put it back, and iPhoto is smart enough to rebuild the database record.

    Hope this helps. Search this Photo forum on my name to see lots more of what I've written, along with what others have written about this topic. There is a wealth of knowledge there.

  3. macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    In iPhoto you can place a photo in any number of albums but there is only still ONE physical copy of the file. That files lives in "photos". When you place in inside some albums no copies are made and nothing moves. This is one of the best feature because you can place the photo in 10 different places.

    Remember the public library? Think of albums like the card catalog and "photos" like the shelves.
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2013
    snberk103 & ChrisA,
    thanks. I understand now. My reaction is gawkkk. If I had wanted a relational database I would have used one. What I wanted is a photo album. If I want a photo to be in two albums, I'll make a copy. However, I'll give iPhoto more time before I start looking for a replacement.

  5. macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    What you could do is simply use the Events, that's what I do. The picture can only be in one event. You can sort them by date, name or manually, but there is no way to get a proper overview meaning if you're not well organised - it'll be difficult finding the event you're looking for.
  6. macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    I think most options for replacement would do the same thing. And making 2 copies of a photo because you want it in 2 albums makes it harder to keep track of where you used a photo.
  7. macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Glad to help, but I have to admit I'm a bit puzzled by the reaction... I would have thought that having the flexibility would have been an advantage.

    If you have a photo of your friend and your sister at a party, iPhoto allows you group (and view) all photos of your sister in one Album, to group (and view) all photos of your friend into another Album, and all photos from the party into a 3rd Album.

    This is not the same making copies because in iPhoto regardless of how many Albums you put a photo into - you are always working with the same photo. But, there is nothing that prevents you from working with just photo in one Album.
  8. thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2013
    Simple is usually better, i.e. a tool that fits the job is better than a tool that fits many jobs imperfectly.

    If I have the same photo in two folders, I can edit it in one and not have the changes propagate to the other. I do that all the time, i.e. crop a photo to pull out one thing, but leave the original intact. It becomes cumbersome when the underlying tool is a database. I'm sort of a messy worker, so I need organizational tools that match. Things that let me have several projects underway at the same time, without the need for precise control, but with the ability to contain the project or clean it by tossing it in the trash when I no longer need it. So for me the folder paradigm works perfectly. Having a relational DB under does not fit so well.

    I agree that I can learn to work with iPhoto, but I can see that it is going to be more painful than I want it to be. I'm returning to Macs after 15 yrs of PCs, and I am finding a lot has changed in ways that make it harder to use.

  9. macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Ironically, I'm a messy worker too. Which is why I like the database aspect! :)

    It's true, though - iPhoto may not be the right tool for you. I have little experience with Aperture since I use Lightroom, but I understand that functionally the two are very similar so my comments probably apply to both.

    Within Lightroom, I have set up a number of Collections (Albums in Aperture and iPhoto). Sometimes for events, sometimes for an aspect of a project. Any one project I am working on may be split up into more than one Collection. I'm messy that way, moving images between Collections as much by intuition as by a system. I also heavily use Smart Collections (Smart Albums in Aperture and iPhoto).

    For a project I will then set up a Collection Set (Folder in Aperture and iPhoto) and all of the bits of the project go into this Set. Including saved print jobs. As I work within a project, an image may move from Collection to Collection - or appear in more than one Collection. To answer one objection you raised, you can create Virtual Copies of any image. These will inherit most of the attributes of the original, but from then are independent. You can make one BW, and crop the other. You can have as many Virtual Copies as you need, each on independent. Within Lightroom, there is no extra storage needed for these.

    I also group my Collection Sets into Collection Sets - Folders inside Folders, as it were. I can keep my personal projects and professional projects separate this way.

    I'm a bit a of a packrat, so I don't delete a project when I'm done, I just move to an archive. For some projects I move them to a Collection Set called Archives, where I just dump things. For other projects I may "Export" to a new catalogue. This moves the whole thing out of the Catalogue I'm using, but if I need to I can still open it in Lightroom.

    Because I use Keywords - it is the single most important thing I do when I import, regardless of whatever else I may or may not do organizationally with an image... I can always find it again without too much trouble. Even the vaguest notion of an image that I think I may recall taking gives me enough clues to find it again. When I'm not overwhelmed with work I do a much job of organizing as I go, but this is a bonus - not a requirement.

    I agree that iPhoto may not be the correct tool. It is database, but it has some serious limitations as well. I'm not trying to change your mind, but if you are going to reject the 'grownup' DAMs I just want to make sure you reject them for accurate reasons.

  10. macrumors 6502


    Apr 22, 2008
    East of Shangrila
    As far as I know, iPhoto is a non-destructive editor (Aperture certainly is) - which means that it doesn't change the original image. You can edit away to your heart's delight - and still always be able to pull up the original image.

    Just my 2 cents, but seems to me that keeping two sets of everything is a lot more cumbersome than using an asset manager with non-destructive editing.
  11. HowsifsMac, May 29, 2013
    Last edited: May 29, 2013

    macrumors newbie

    May 29, 2013
    related question...

    I want to empty my iPhoto trash but noticed that I have photos in the trash which are also in other albums I created. I am not certain how they got in the trash as these are not photos I would have deleted. If I empty my iPhoto trash, will these photos also be removed from the albums? IS it possible these are simply duplicates? Asked another way, is the iPhoto trash folder equivalent to the 'Photos' folder where all original/actual files are kept? Is the trash folder equal to, inferior to, superior to the 'Photos" folder in the iPhoto DAM hierarchy?
  12. macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The term is "duplicate version" this creates a new version that is based on the same original. Edits to one version do not effect the other version.

    THis is usfull because in many cases you need different crops. In a slid show everything must fit in the same frame but for use in a document or on the web you need to fit in some other space.

    When you get used to the idea that these kinds of organizers are non-destructive and only place "handles" in the folders then it becomes easy to use.
  13. macrumors newbie

    May 30, 2013
    If you wish to delete photos from iphoto, then you must first know the difference between events and albums. However, you can still use Albums to delete photos. You can use flagging to select photos to delete. There are several ways to review your photos before you delete them, and you can also archive photos as files before removing them from your iphoto library.
  14. macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2013

    I appreciate all of the help on this forum. My main complaint about how iPhoto is that there is no way within iPhoto to know if I have or have not moved a pic to an album. Or is there?
  15. macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2014
    I know this is an old post...however, I was so frustrated with sorting as you seemed to be...thought I would share what I figured out to do in order to make sorting my "photos" into "albums" easier. I simply "flag" pictures in "albums" and then when i go back to sort pictures from "photos", the ones I have put into albums show the "flag"...therefore I know it is in an album. Hope this saves someone the frustration I had! =)
  16. macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2014
    How do I edit photos in different albums

    How do I edit photos in different albums? For example, I want to keep one master album of "originals" and make an alternative album with black and white photos/ cropped photos and effects. I want to be able to see both sets of photos.
  17. macrumors 68000

    Aug 24, 2013
    Far from here
    You must go to "Events" or "Photos", select the picture you want to edit, hit Cmd + d to duplicate it.

    Then you can drag the original version in one album, edit the "version 2" to black and white for example, and drag this black and white copy to the "Black & White" album.

    Or drag the "version 2" to the "Black & White" album before editing it, then edit it and convert it in black and white.

    You can duplicate a photo as many times as you want.
    You will get a "-version 2", a "-version 3", etc...

Share This Page