It's important to build a consistent method to classify your photos from the beginning. It will help you organize photos faster, work more efficiently and create saved searches. 

To do this, you add information that identifies the contents of your photos. This information is called metadata. Metadata travels inside the files wherever they go. Think of it like that car manual in your glove box. You don't always look at it but when you need it, it's invaluable.

And because it's use is standardized, metadata is portable. If a photo is opened in a similar photo editing program like Photoshop the metadata will still be there. 

Click on the Info button on the bottom Toolbar. A new panel should appear on the right. Let's break it down.


  1. The settings used to take a photo. Most cameras record this by default.
  2. Title and description (cutline) can be entered here. Click to edit.
  3. Faces is a feature that automatically recognizes people in photos. We'll explore this feature on the next page.
  4. Keywords are simple words or phrases that describe your photo's content. If you import a photo that already has keywords they will show up here.
  5. Some cameras and most smart phones record where a photo was taken using latitude and longitude. 


Decide on a set of keywords that correspond to your coverage categories. For example, Arts, Business and Government might be three categories on your site. Next let's add them to iPhoto:

Click on Photos in your source list. Then go to the Window menu and select Manage my keywords (Command-k). You should get a window similar to this but it should be blank:

keywords menu

Keywords in the Quick Group can have keyboard shortcuts assigned to them.

Click the Edit Keywords button. This will give you a menu of default keywords (below). To edit an existing keyword, double-click on it. To add a new keyword click on the "+" button.

After you have your main keywords, click the fields on the right to assign a shortcut. I'm going to make the shortcut for Arts "a", Business "b" and Government "g." 

manage keywords

When you're done, click OK to go back to the keywords list. Drag your primary keywords to the Quick Group on top. Move everything else to the keywords selection below. 

To add a keyword to a photo, select an image and simply click a keyword or use the keyboard shortcut.

Batch changes

iPhoto allows you to edit or add metadata in multiple photos simultaneously. This can really make your managing metadata much, much easier.

Click on Last Import in the Source List. Then go to the Edit menu and choose Select All. All your photos should be highlighted with a yellow border.

Go to the Window menu and select Manage my keywords (Command-k). Click on a keyword to add it to all the photos.

Next, go the the Photos menu and choose Batch Change. This opens a window with a pulldown menu so that you can choose to edit the Titles, Dates or Descriptions. Select the one you want and the add your text.

batch change

There's a checkbox at the bottom of the window that will let you add text to the beginning of a field. This is handy if you want to append a photo and publication credit like Jane Photographer/supercool.com above all your descriptions.