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Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac

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133 pages

Build a digital workflow to import, tag, rate, and organize your photos!

Why take photos if you can't find them later? Digital photography expert Jeff Carlson has developed a simple system you can use to make your photos browsable, searchable, and generally navigable!

Jeff begins by helping you understand the strengths and weaknesses of the three most popular photo-management applications: Photos from Apple, and Lightroom and Photoshop Elements from Adobe. Once you've picked the app that's right for you (and there's a chapter on migrating to Lightroom from iPhoto, Aperture, or Photos), you'll learn to create a custom workflow for importing, evaluating, keywording, and tagging your photos so they are sort into logical groups and are easy to find. For each of these essential aspects of your workflow, Jeff provides step-by-step instructions for each of the three covered apps.

It's all too easy to lose everything if you don't have backups, so Jeff discusses how to back up and archive photos to protect your irreplaceable photographic memories.

Jeff also helps you pick an online service that can put your photos everywhere, looking particularly at the pros and cons, and how-tos, of iCloud Photo Library, Google Photos, Lightroom mobile, and Mylio.

In the process of creating your custom digital photo workflow, you'll find expert advice about each of these photo-management topics:

  • Shooting smarter: Make sure your camera is set to the correct time (and time zone), choose a file format, and think about capturing geolocation data while you're taking photos.

  • Choosing the right app: Learn about the pros and cons of the most popular photo-management applications -- Photos, Lightroom, and Photoshop Elements -- and find directions for how to migrate from iPhoto, Aperture, or Photos to Lightroom. There's also a sidebar about how to continue to use iPhoto or Aperture star ratings in Photos.

  • Importing photos: Make your Mac apply keywords and other tags in a batch during import, and make sure you're storing files in a place that makes sense going forward.

  • Judging photos: Get time-tested tips for rating individual photos and learn how to deal with bad photos, whether you want to delete them, hide them, or leave them be.

  • Assigning metadata: Once your camera and your computer have assigned as much metadata as possible automatically, you'll need to do the final bits yourself. Jeff describes how to think about this process and gives you specific steps for how to proceed efficiently.

  • Putting photos in albums: With your metadata successfully applied, it's time to enjoy the fruits of your labor! Learn how to set up smart albums to collect and display your photos automatically.

  • Add a mobile component: When it's time to apply metadata or cull bad photos, why sit at a desktop Mac when you can lounge in a recliner -- or work from your smartphone while waiting for the bus? Jeff helps you pick an online photo service that can put your photos on all your devices for viewing and editing. He provides a list of features to look for and describes the pros and cons, and how-tos, of his top picks: iCloud Photo Library, Google Photos, Lightroom mobile, and Mylio.

  • Planning for the future: Digital photos can't be damaged by water or tossed accidentally when cleaning house, but at the same time, a disk failure could destroy every photo you own. Jeff discusses how you can back up your precious photos and archive them for future generations.


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EBOOK EXTRAS: v2.0 Downloads, Updates, Feedback
TAKE CONTROL OF Y UR DIGITAL PHOTOSON A MAC
byJEFF CARLSON $15
2ND EDITION
Table of Contents
Read Me First ............................................................... 4Updates and More ............................................................. 4What’s New in the Second Edition ........................................ 5
Introduction ................................................................ 7
Digital Photos Quick Start ............................................ 9
Shoot Smarter ........................................................... 12Check and Set the Clock ................................................... 12Clear the Memory Card .................................................... 14Choose a Format ............................................................. 14Geotag Your Photos ......................................................... 17
Choose the Right Photo-management Application ..... 19Photos for Mac ................................................................ 21Photoshop Lightroom ....................................................... 23Photoshop Elements ........................................................ 26Jeff’s Recommended Application ........................................ 28
Import Your Photos ................................................... 29Apply Metadata at Import ................................................. 30Choose Where Files Will End Up ......................................... 35
Judge Your Photos ..................................................... 37Develop a Consistent Rating System .................................. 38Cull Bad Photos ............................................................... 44
Assign Keywords and Other Metadata ....................... 48Assign Metadata .............................................................. 48Fix Incorrect Dates .......................................................... 56Apply Geotags ................................................................ 59Use Facial Recognition ...................................................... 68
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Organize Photos into (Smart) Albums ....................... 72Locate Your Photos Using Search ....................................... 72Get Smart about Albums .................................................. 78
Go Mobile with Online Photo Services ........................ 88Set Online Photo Goals ..................................................... 89Choose an Online Service ................................................. 89
Back Up and Archive ................................................ 106Back Up Your Photos ...................................................... 107Archive Photos for the Future .......................................... 115
Migrate to Lightroom ............................................... 118Moving from iPhoto or Aperture to Lightroom .................... 119Moving from Photos to Lightroom ..................................... 126
About This Book ....................................................... 128Ebook Extras ................................................................. 128About the Author ........................................................... 129About the Publisher ........................................................ 131
Copyright and Fine Print .......................................... 132
SizzlPix! Coupon ...................................................... 133
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Read Me First
Welcome toTake Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac, Second Edition,version 2.0, published in October 2015 by TidBITS Publishing Inc. This book was written by Jeff Carlson and edited by Kelly Turner.
This book gives Mac users the information they need to build and maintain a digital photo workflow that makes it easy to import, tag, rate, and store photos to find them quickly and easily later. It primarily covers OS X 10.11 El Capitan and iOS 9, but with only a few exceptions (which are noted), it also covers 10.10 Yosemite and iOS 8. It helps you spend more time on the enjoyable aspects of photography—shooting and viewing your photos—and less on the mundane but essential task of managing all your photos.
Copyright © 2015, Jeff Carlson. All rights reserved.
Updates and More
You can access extras related to this ebook on the Web (use the link inEbook Extras, near the end; it’s available only to purchasers). On the ebook’s Take Control Extras page, you can:
Download any available new version of the ebook for free, or buy any subsequent edition at a discount.
Download various formats, including PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket. (Learn about reading on mobile devices on ourDevice Advicepage.)
Read the ebook’s blog. You may find new tips or information, as well as a link to an author interview.
If you bought this ebook from the Take Control Web site, it has been added to your account, where you can download it in other formats and access any future updates. However, if you bought this ebook elsewhere, you can add it to your account manually; seeEbook Extras.
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Note:To review background information that might help you under-stand this book better, such as finding System Preferences and working with files in the Finder, read Tonya Engst’s free ebookRead Me First: A Take Control Crash Course,available on the Web or as a standalone ebook in PDF, EPUB, and the Kindle’s Mobipocket format.
What’s New in the Second Edition
Quite a lot has changed in the two years since publishing the original edition of this book. Here’s a quick look at what’s changed in the book to reflect the current photography environment.
iPhoto, Aperture, and Photos for Mac Here’s the biggie: Apple has discontinued iPhoto and Aperture, and replaced them with Photos for Mac. The consequences ripple through-out the book, including:
At the basic level, I removed all the sections that included iPhoto and Aperture, except in cases where historical information still applies, and replaced them with equivalent details for Photos for Mac.
A new section inChoose the Right Photo-management Application details how Photos for Mac fits in with my criteria for finding a good application (spoiler: it’s an improvement over iPhoto).
Photos for Mac departs from other applications in that it eschews star ratings in favor of marking photos as favorites. InDevelop a Consistent Rating System, I explain how this works and provide a workaround that regains star-rating functionality.
I reconsidered my stance on using facial recognition services, thanks to the feature being present and useful in Photos for Mac and Lightroom, and now recommend the feature if you’re willing to put the time into setting it up. SeeUse Facial Recognition.
Photos for Mac can read a photo’s location information and place it on a map, but the process isn’t straightforward. InApply Geotags,
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I explain how it works and update the section to account for merg-ing tracklog information (which, if you use tracklog data, must be done before importing photos into Photos or Photoshop Elements). Also, Photoshop Elements 14 has a new interface for working with geotagged photos, which I detail along with the previous version.
iPhoto and Aperture aren’t completely gone—they both still func-tion under 10.11 El Capitan (the latest version of the Mac operating system as of this writing). As such, I’ve rewritten the migration chapter,Migrate to Lightroom, to use Adobe’s migration tool intro-duced in 2014. And, for anyone who has switched to Photos but would now like to move their library to Lightroom, I’ve included a set of steps that should get you most of the way there, despite the lack of an elegant tool or process—seeMoving from Photos to Lightroom.
Throughout, I’ve updated information to represent the latest versions of Lightroom (CC 2015) and Photoshop Elements (14).
Mobile Photo Services
The other big shift in digital photography has been a greater emphasis on mobile photography—not just that we’re shooting more photos with the iPhone and iPad, but that we expect all (or at least most) of our photos to be available on any device we have. As a result, I’ve added a completely new chapter,Go Mobile with Online Photo Services, which looks at four possible solutions: iCloud Photo Library, Google Photos, Lightroom mobile, and Mylio.
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Introduction
You probably have a story like this.
My mother took it upon herself to organize and digitize the family’s long-neglected stash of photos. Prints were pulled from proverbial shoeboxes, albums, and envelopes tucked in the backs of drawers. Black and white, sepia-tone, color; yellowed by age and old chemical processes; worn at the edges and vignetted in ways that today’s apps try so hard to emulate digitally.
Most details of the people and places in the pictures were lost or had changed over time, but she had an advantage: flipping the photos over often revealed valuable information about the shots, usually scribbled in pencil as an afterthought because the photographer or family mem-ber at the time knew who and what was depicted.
As we’ve embraced the digital photography revolution, there is nothing to flip over. The shots we capture are saved to memory cards and hard drives, and are infrequently printed.
And we’re shooting more. It’s now far easier to take photos because decent-quality cameras are inexpensive and pocketable. Top-rate camera technology is embedded into most cell phones; the iPhone, in fact, currently ranks as the most popular camera at the photo-sharing site Flickr.
As a result, we’re drowning. No longer restricted by the length of frames on a film roll or the expense of paying to develop the bad shots along with the good, we capture many more photos.
But then what? Too often, the shots are dumped into a computer with the best of intentions of sorting and organizing, but are then left scarcely examined or enjoyed. Life intrudes, more photos are captured, and time passes until you need to locate some shots that you vaguely remember taking.
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This is the point where you ask yourself, often in exasperation, “Why didn’t I organize these better? This shouldn’t be so difficult!”
And here’s where the new story begins.
Taking control of your digital photos isn’t impossible. Although we have more photos to deal with, we also have much better tools to de-scribe and organize them. In fact, your camera and photo-management software can do some of the heavy lifting for you. By taking some deliberate steps before you go out shooting and when you import the images, you’ll streamline what is normally a time-consuming task— making it all the more likely that you’ll actually do it. Best of all, you’ll be able to find images later without having to scan through every single shot in your library. You’ll be able to “flip” the photos over and get all the information you need.
The process I describe inTake Control of Your Digital Photos on a Macstakes out the middle ground between a completely hands-off approach (letting the software organize imported photos by time and date alone) and the labor-intensive, detail-oriented approach taken by some professional photographers. Although my approach embraces the liberal use of keywords and other metadata, it also focuses on saving time and reducing complexity to ensure you develop a system you’ll really followeach time. (By the way, many of these techniques apply to the ever-increasing number of videos in your library, too.) For those who would like to spend even less time managing photos, I offer some suggestions for modifying the process throughout the book.
The second edition of the book, in addition to being thoroughly updat-ed, contains a new component: cloud services. As mobile devices have become constant companions, we’ve come to expect all of our data— from photos to calendars and contacts—to always be available. When I wrote the first edition, many services for accessing photos on multiple devices were just starting up (and some have since consolidated or disappeared). Now, the field is more stable—and more interesting. With services such as iCloud Photo Library and Google Photos, you really can access nearly every digital photo you’ve captured on every device you own (provided you’re aware of some important tradeoffs).
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Digital Photos Quick Start
Here’s a quick overview of my recommended strategy, complete with links to different topics in the ebook, so you can jump to them quickly.
Prep your camera: A bit of preparation before you head out the door will make things easier after you return with new pictures.InShoot Smarter, learn four actions that will get you started on the right footing.
Get your app together: Decide which application you’ll use to organize your digital photos inChoose the Right Photo-management Application.
Compare four common choices, and find out aboutJeff’s Recom-mended Application.
If you currently use iPhoto or Aperture and aren’t interested in making the switch to Photos for Mac—or if you’ve made the switch but would like to try something else, readMigrate to Lightroom.
Import the right way: Many people rush through the process of importing photos from a camera or memory card into the computer. However, this step is es-sential: seeApply Metadata at Importto learn how to assign, in one batch, valuable metadata to all images that come in during the import stage. Let the computer do the work for you!
Pick winners and losers: Not every photo you take can be a winner, so the next step to a more manageable library is toJudge Your Photosand assign ratings.
Just as important: take a deep breath andCull Bad Photosby removing or hiding them.
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Apply keywords and metadata: After assigning as much metadata as you can during the import process, take a second pass to apply more specific keywords to individual shots (seeAssign Keywords and Other Metadata, and don’t miss my advice on how toChoose Good Keywords).
If you used an external device such as an iPhone to collect GPS data while shooting,Apply Geotagsshows how to merge that informa-tion with your photos.
We often want to find people in our photos. Learn how toUse Facial Recognitionso the software collects shots of specific friends and family members.
Search with smart albums: A large virtual pile of photos, even organized by date, can still be an imposing mass (and mess). I recommend youOrganize Photos into (Smart) Albums—containers that look like regular photo albums but whose contents change depending on criteria that you specify. Using smart albums is like having a photo assistant who can dig through your archives to find what you want in a matter of seconds.
Go mobile: Making photos available on mobile devices involves choices and tradeoffs. To find the right service for you, firstSet Online Photo Goalsto compare features.
The service you choose can also depend on which ecosystem your desktop photo-management app is part of.Choose an Online Ser-viceby looking at four of my top contenders.
Protect your photos: All this work is for nothing if a failing hard drive wipes out the one and only copy of your photo library. Youabsolutely, without ques-tionneed toBack Up Your Photoswith a strategy that backs up all your data, not just your photos.
Since there’s no guarantee the software you use today will function in 10 or 20 years, I talk about how toArchive Photos for the Future.
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