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Creating Smart Albums

While it's easy to add a regular album to iPhoto, a Smart Album is a great tool for creatively organizing your collection. You can set up this type of album to automatically pull certain shots into it without you having to manually put them there. It's the fastest way to make albums and keep them current.

For instance, you could let iPhoto aggregate all images taken between November 27 and December 31 of every year. This would create a holiday album that would continue to fill up with holiday photos for years. Or you might choose to collect only your favorite images of your kids in a single album. Assign the Kids keyword to those new photos and rate the images; iPhoto adds to the Smart Album indefinitely.

Jennifer wants an album that stores only the best photos of the top customers' pieces—she wants to use them to inspire other customers and also show the incredible range of creativity that flows through her studio.

Choose File > New Smart Album.

A window pops up, prompting you to name the Smart Album and set the criteria by which it will automatically gather images.

Type Cool Pieces as the name of the Smart Album.

Click each of the window's three pull-down menus to set up the conditions. You can create many permutations from these options, allowing for a large quantity of creative assortments of your photographs. For Jennifer, set the condition to select photos whose keyword is Customer Pieces.

When you're done, the window should look like this. The condition will pull together all the photos marked with the keyword Customer Pieces.


If you haven't yet rated all your Customer Pieces, you could make this Smart Album with only one condition. Then, working from inside the Smart Album, you can rate the photos, which would be easier than working from the disparate rolls in the Library. Whether you're rating images during a slide show or doing so from the main iPhoto window, working from the Smart Album is a good first step to streamlining your rating process.

Click the + button to add a new condition. Because the photos are already rated, you can set this one to look for ratings of four stars or better (this means you need to select “is greater than” three stars; the search will not include three-star ratings).

Click OK.

iPhoto creates a new Smart Album in your Source list. This album has a little gear icon by its title, denoting that the contents are generated automatically.

Select your new Cool Pieces Smart Album, which should show you the best pieces that customers have painted.


While it's not necessarily faster, there is an alternative to selecting File > New Smart Album. Simply press the + button, which you used to add a new album to your Source list. Instead of adding a new album, use the pull-down menu to select a new Smart Album. Then follow the rest of the process as outlined in the previous steps.

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