April 21, 2018

iPhoto Course (8): Creating Albums and Smart Albums in iPhoto ’11

Remember those photos you took on your parent’s 24th wedding anniversary? How about photos from their past anniversaries before that? Give yourself a creative burst with iPhoto’s Albums and Smart Albums and you’ll be delighted to look back on the past with that smile painted all over your face.

Albums and Smart Albums work similar to your scrapbook and photo album. Just like your traditional printed photos, the ones you create using iPhoto’s Smart Albums will continue to grow in numbers except that iPhoto will automatically sort out and arrange photos as soon as you import them to your library.

Grouping pictures is the main function of Albums and Smart Albums. The two are somewhat the same but have distinct features.

Albums work to compile photos according to what the user actually adds to the collection. Meaning, as soon as an album is created, its contents must be added by the user by selecting images one by one or in bulk and then drag them inside the album. The photos may come from different events but iPhoto will NOT automatically add photos every time you import new ones to the collection.

Smart Albums on the other hand uses a more stringent method of categorizing or grouping its contents. The user has to set criteria for Smart Album to follow as it collects photos from your imports. Criteria varies from Places to Stars Rating to Events to even Keywords.

NOTE: Remember that photos in Albums and Smart Albums are just representations from Events so fret not if you take out a photo from an album, it stays in your library and is not completely deleted.

Creating “Standard” Albums

Albums can be created with photos or from scratch as in empty. Some people are comfortable with starting from an empty album and thereafter add photos into it while some think of creating one after having selected a number of photos in order to save time. But really, it all depends on user’s preference.

Start from Scratch

1. Go to File > New > Album

2. You’ll notice that in your Source List or the left side panel there’s a new “untitled album” added under the Albums category.

3. Label the album.

After that, you can begin adding photos to the Album.

Start with Photos

1. Select the contents for the Album to be created and then click on “Add to” from the bottom menu.

2. A pop-up window will appear and select “New Album”.

3. Notice that an “Untitled Album” has been added to your Albums.

4. Label the Album.


Adding photos to an album

This can be done in two  ways:

  • By dragging photo/s to the Album in the Source List. Just make sure that the right Album is highlighted before dropping the photo/s.

  • By clicking on the “Add to” button from the bottom menu. Select “Album” from the list.

And thereafter the destination Album by selecting one from your existing Albums.

Creating Smart Albums

Here’s how to make one:

1. Go to File > New > Smart Album.

2. A dialogue box will appear where you need to assign a name for the Smart Album and set the conditions.

TIP:  Each criteria has its own options or values.

3. Take a look at the criteria for this sample Smart Album

and the result

Most iPhoto users think that Smart Albums are just meant for keeping photos but little do they know that Smart Album is a powerful tool for sorting collections even on temporary basis. Let’s say you just want to know which among your photos have been rated 5 stars, you can do that by creating a Smart Album with “My Rating” and using “5 stars” as a condition. After you are done with it, you can easily delete the entire Smart Album without affecting the contents of your library.

There are many other clever ways to categorize your photo collections by setting various criteria in a Smart Album, play along with each criteria until you get more familiar with them.

Want to do such cool things? Get iPhoto ’11 from the Mac App Store now

iPhoto - Apple



About Monja

Monja is a Multimediadesigner and Mac enthusiast since she discovered the beauty of Mac Computers - she never looked back to her Windows Laptop.


  1. I really like your blog, Im a happy Mac owner and lover, I think it is too cool especially when it comes to pictures and dealing with them 🙂
    My Travel Affairs recently posted..Friday Lens Affair #1

    • Thanks for your kind words. I can just agree – for everything picture and movie related the Mac is great 🙂

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