iPhoto Best Practices

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by MEJHarrison, May 20, 2014.

  1. MEJHarrison macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    #1
    Hi,

    I'm new to iPhoto. Been playing with it for a couple weeks now. I know to avoid folders and concentrate on faces, places, tags and so on (I've been a programmer for 25 years, so I understand relational databases). I started off very, very small. Just a hundred or so photos. Now that I've got a handle on that, I'm taking the next big step and adding my entire "Family" folder from my old Windows machine. Once I get comfortable with those photos, I'll probably add the rest of my library.

    So I've been playing with Faces. I'm adding all the faces I can. I'm even adding some in manually.

    Faces seemed logical at first. I'm just confused how to handle those photos where their face isn't in the picture for one reason or another. My current thinking is to simply tag everyone in the photo and not worry too much about faces at this point. But that doesn't feel right either. Maybe I need to think of Faces as just the subset of someone's photos where their face is clearly, much like a Smart Folder might be a subset of photos of whatever that are rated 5 stars?

    So, any advice on how to deal with these types of photos? What metadata would you add to these?

    A) Clear picture of "Sally"
    B) It's a family photo. You can see "Sally". But her face is hidden behind someone else.
    C) A photo of homemade cinnamon rolls that Sally and I worked on together.

    What I've been doing so far... A) would get tagged in Faces. B) I'd add a keyword (tag) for this photo so I know that "Sally" was in there. C) I'd add tags for "Sally", "Mark" and "Food" (I'm adding Sally and Mark because WE made the cinnamon rolls).

    The problem is that system really falls apart if I want a Smart Album to see all the photos of Sally and I (excluding things like food) where our faces may or may not be clearly visible. If I just use Faces, I won't necessarily get ALL of the pictures the two of us are in. If I use tags, I start picking up nonsense like food. My ultimate goal would be to see all pictures of Sally and I that actually have both of us in the photo (perhaps so I can get rid of the crappy photos).

    I realize there isn't a right and wrong answer. But any tips and advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Dave Braine macrumors 68040

    Dave Braine

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    Warrington, UK
    #2
    If you want them to appear/be added to "Sally" in Faces, then I would just choose the Add Face option in those photos and call the "face" Sally.
     
  3. MEJHarrison thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    #3
    I thought Faces learned as you tagged people. Wouldn't tagging a pan of cinnamon rolls throw that off? I don't want to tag so many things that it has no clue what Sally looks like and won't ever be able to find her again. Or is that actually not how it works? If I can do that without throwing off it's facial recognition algorithm, that would certainly be one option. Still, it feels wrong to throw a fake face onto something that is clearly not a person (i.e. a pair of shoes) and give it a name.
     
  4. MEJHarrison thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    #4
    For anyone looking for answers, I did find 2 separate places on Apple's site where they say manually added faces do NOT factor into facial recognition. So if you tag some faces manually, it neither helps nor hurts facial recognition as those photos are ignored.

    With that said, I did find a solution to *my* problem. I'm tagging (keyword tagging) any photos related to a person whether they're in the photo or not. In my earlier example of cinnamon rolls, I would tag the person who made them even though they're not in the picture.

    Then I will go back later and use Faces to identify any photos where the person is visible (their face). I'm not worrying about back-of-the-head shots. Manually setting them up wouldn't hurt anything. But if their face isn't showing, I've decided that having them tagged with keywords will be adequate for my needs. It's not like I need to know which face belongs to who.

    To help identifying those missing faces down the road, I can setup a Smart Folder that shows all photos tagged with "Sally" where the face isn't "Sally". Seems to work just fine.

    My advice to anyone new to all this is to start small. Don't dump 20k photos in it and try to make sense of it all. Dump 50-100 in there and play around and experiment. Once you have a handle on it, then you can add the rest. Starting small makes it much easier to start over if you don't like your setup.
     
  5. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #5
    Faces is too "toy-like" right now... especially as your library grows in size. Maybe it will improve over time. It also slows down use of the application... too much background processing. Instead, I use keywords. They are much more powerful, and do not slow down your library at all.

    I actually use Aperture, which has very powerful keyword features (check out the ApertureExpert video on key wording) for more info. I have multiple levels of keyword hierarchy set up... and they are keyboard mapped. Hence... I can fly through key wording new projects.

    /Jim
     
  6. MEJHarrison thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    #6
    Yeah, I'll play with Faces later. At this point I'm concentrating on tags (keywords).

    I have been looking into Aperture. Mainly because in my searching for help, I've seen multiple references to wanting Aperture if you have a lot of pictures. I'm sitting on about 23,000 at the moment. From what I'm reading, I'll need to make the switch at some point. Right now I only have about 10% of my collection loaded into iPhoto.

    How about a few Aperture questions then.

    1) Will it make the tagging I'm working on go faster? That's the bottleneck at this point. I've heard you can have tag hierarchies. That in itself seems like a great feature to me.

    2) I'm on an 8GB Macbook Pro (the latest). I've noticed that when I have nothing up but iPhoto and do nothing more than tag a few photos, I start using Swap. I just tagged about 10 photos after a clean reboot and nothing running but iPhoto and I'm already using 22.3MB of swap. Is that normal? Normally I can have Xcode going, Kindle, multiple Safari tabs, a game, Parallels, etc. and I never touch Swap. So what's going on with iPhoto? And should I expect better or worse from Aperture?

    3) Besides (hopefully) making this job of tagging quicker and easier, what else should I expect from Aperture? Keep in mind, I'm a developer, not a artist. I might tweak a little with a photo, but typically I have no clue and just do basic edits (cropping, red eye, maybe making the colors stand out a little, etc.). I really have little use for a full-blown Photoshop type application.

    I don't mind spending the money. I just want to make sure it's a smart purchase for me.
     
  7. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #7
    On question 2, what is showing in memory pressure in Activity Monitor? Swap space increasing doesn't mean that you're running out memory. 8 gb should be fine for iPhoto or Aperture along with typical apps like mail and safari. Parallels is the killer and the reason I upgraded to 16 gb.

    I upgraded from iPhoto to Aperture to get better editing capabilities. The additional library management features were a bonus. I much prefer the Apple UI over Adobe's. YMMV.

    My wife was totally frustrated by iPhoto but now loves Aperture.
     
  8. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #8
    I use a hierarchal approach to keywords. Here is an example of how I might keyword a specific project for different people using pre-assigned keywords w/ shortcut buttons & smart albums:

    1. Select entire project, and flag them all (restricts further steps to just these photos)
    2. Pass 1... press one (or more) of 3 keys: 1-immediate family, 2-extended family, 3-friends
    3. Open "immediate family" smart album and press one or more keys as follows: 1-me, 2-wife, 3-daughterA, 4-daughterB, 5-son
    4. Open "extended family" smart album and do similar to above
    5. Open "friends" and repeat
    6. Select all pictures and unflag

    It probably took me longer to type the above than to keyword a substantial project. Also note that in some of the steps above... there may be additional steps of hierarchy.

    I strongly recommend looking at the Aperture Expert videos ($2)... a cheap hour of training. There is one video dedicated to keywords.

    /Jim
     
  9. MEJHarrison thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    #9
    I went ahead and got Aperture last night.

    Now I just need to learn the interface. Geez, I was just getting my head around iPhoto! Anyway, I'll scour the web to see what I can find. And keep the video in mind if I can't find anything else. Or maybe just do both.

    Thanks everyone for the advice and assistance!
     
  10. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #10
    I was a subscriber to Lynda.com and went through their Aperture training prior to buying Aperture. It let me know that it would do what I wanted. You can get a free 7 day trial if you want to try it out.

    As Jim mentioned, the ApertureExpert web site also has some good videos.
     
  11. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #11
    My recommendation is 2-fold

    1. photo.rwboyer.com is probably the single best thing you can do to base yourself in Aperture. There are two ebooks that make sense. "file structure" and "organization". Boyer is highly skilled and opinionated, and goes through the "why" to do certain things rather than the "what".
    2. Aperture Export. I saw that all of the videos (25) are available in a bundle for $30.

    I would go through them in that order. You will be here in a few weeks as one of the seasoned experts on Aperture.

    /Jim
     
  12. MEJHarrison thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    #12
    Sounds great. I'll look into those resources and get it all figured out.

    One last question. I understand Aperture uses a hierarchical tagging system. So if I take a tag (let's say my son Daniel) and move it under the Family tag, will I need to go back and fix all those to also include the "Family" tag? Or will it pick that up automatically?
     
  13. MEJHarrison thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    #13
    Since it's been close to a week now, I thought I'd follow up.

    I did buy Aperture. I ended up not pursuing any additional training materials. I pretty much used Google and a video or two that I found online. I'm sure it's not the most efficient way to learn, but I've picked up what I've needed well enough in my opinion (I do believe I can now tag a photo using pretty much any method available). And I continue to learn as I go. Sometimes the hard way. But nothing has been too difficult.

    I've also made some mistakes along the way. Primarily with setting up hierarchical tags. But I got that figured out as well. I can now view a tag for a person and not see their spouse and children too. On the other hand, I can look up Cats and get house cats, tigers, lions, pumas, etc or just Lions. Took a while for that all to click, but I finally figured it out.

    In the week I've had it, I've managed to tag about 9,000 pictures. As of last night, I still have around 6,500 to go.

    At this point I've just been tagging and doing faces. When I'm done, I still need to go through and cleanup duplicates and just bad pictures. I probably should have started there so I wasn't tagging trash. But I wanted to see results. Not spend a couple weeks cleaning up first. That's also when I'll starting rating photos and looking at Places too. And fine tuning tags. So I still have a long way to go even after all my photos are imported. But I'm already seeing concrete results, so that kind of makes it all worth it. Especially after seeing my son sit for 20-30 minutes and look through all his photos.

    I wasn't sure Aperture was for me (except for my library size). But after using it for a week, I'm glad I got it!
     
  14. andyp350 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2011
    #14
    I would use 'Faces' for clear pictures of peoples faces, and keyword the persons name for photos like the one you mentioned of something you and Sally made together.

    ----------

    Just out of curiosity what mistakes did you make using Hierarchical Keywords? I am currently setting up and applying my own keywords so would be interesting to hear any advice or mistakes that were made so that I can try to avoid them myself!
     
  15. MEJHarrison thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    #15
    Well, not knowing what I was doing exactly, I just went ahead with a strategy and am sticking with it. That might mean I'll have cleanup to do down the line. But I won't know until the pictures are in and I start using it more. Then I'll know what works for me and what doesn't.

    ----------

    My biggest mistake was not understanding how tags work with Smart Folders and such. Imagine this family:

    People
    ---Bob Smith
    ------Susan Smith
    ------Sally Smith
    ------Mike Smith

    In this imaginary family, Bob is the dad, Susan the mother and the other two are children. It's clean and makes sense. But it has issues too. Due to the hierarchical nature of the tags, if you search for pictures of Bob, you'll get pictures of Bob. But you'll ALSO get pictures of Susan, Sally and Mike, because they're sub-tags of Bob.

    Here's one way to fix the problem:

    People
    ---Bob Smith's Family
    ------Bob Smith
    ------Susan Smith
    ------Sally Smith
    ------Mike Smith

    That will let you find pictures of Bob without including everyone else. You can also make it work more for you. Imagine this:

    People
    ---Bob Smith's Family
    ------Bob Smith
    ------Bob Smith's Children
    ---------Sally Smith
    ---------Mike Smith
    ------Susan Smith

    Now you can simply search for "Bob Smith's Children" and get pictures of both Sally and Mike, or select each child individually. Note that you don't ever actually tag any photos with "Bob Smith's Children". That tag has no pictures. It's just used for grouping purposes. It allows you to jump 1 level higher and pick up any child tags under it. The only thing you need to worry about tagging is Sally Smith and Mike Smith. If you do that, "Bob Smith's Children" will automatically show you pictures of Sally and Mike.

    I've been doing tags both way depending on how I'd eventually want to find pictures. With any people, I'm trying to make sure a person never has any sub-tags coming from them. Then I can search for all pictures of Bob and ONLY get Bob. In other places I'm doing things differently. For example, I have a tag called Animals. Under that, I have cats, dogs, snakes, bunnies, etc. So I can search for Animals and see ALL animals. Or drill down to a specific type of animal.

    Hope that all makes sense.

    The other problem I kept running into is I'd have the Keyword HUD up. Then I'd select the tags I wanted to apply to the photo. Then somehow in the process of dragging tags to the photo, I'd do something wrong (hit the wrong key while dragging, not dragging far enough, etc). And suddenly my tags were gone! So I rebuilt them. Went through this a number of times. Then when I was looking for photos, I realized the tags didn't get deleted or disappear, they got moved. So I'd end up with duplicate tags. Then I had to merge them back. It was a mess. Not a big deal once I knew what was happening. But it was confusing. I didn't even notice the problem until I went to Photos and tried to search using keywords (in the upper-right of the screen). Then I was seeing things like "Daniel Harrison (Mark Harrison)", "Daniel Harrison (Meagan Palmer)", "Daniel Harrison (John Kimball)". It was showing me all the duplicate "Daniel Harrison" tags I had.

    Also, every time I restructured tags, I had a number of Smart Folders that I basically had to trash and start over. They don't like it when the tags they're looking for get moved.

    Another mistake I made while tagging is I was using the Delete key while in the Last Imported folder. The pictures went away and I was happy. Until I realized they weren't deleted. They just get removed from Last Imported folder, not your library. That was just me not knowing how the program worked. Now I use that to my advantage. I tag the ones I want and when I've done a batch, I'll pick those photos hit Delete to "remove" them from my working queue.

    Then little things like I'd push a key and suddenly have no keywords. I knew it was a keyboard shortcut, but had no clue which button I accidentally pushed. Silly things like that.

    Mostly user error coupled with being unfamiliar with the software. But that's changing. I learn something new (or multiple something's) every day!
     

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