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

Take Control of
Your Digital Photos on a Mac

Second Edition
Jeff Carlson

Manage your burgeoning digital photo collection with ease, using time-tested tips and a custom workflow from digital photography expert Jeff Carlson. You’ll learn how best to import photos, judge them, apply keywords and other metadata, set up smart albums, and protect your irreplaceable images in Photos, Lightroom, or Photoshop Elements.

This product has been discontinued.

Digital photography expert Jeff Carlson helps 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 (there’s a chapter on migrating to Lightroom from iPhoto, Aperture, or Photos), you’ll learn to create a streamlined workflow for importing, evaluating, keywording, and tagging your photos so they are sorted 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. You’ll also learn how to easily locate and remove duplicates.

Think you don’t have time for all of that? Learn to use the artificial intelligence in Apple’s Photos and in Google Photos to do the heavy lifting of identifying faces, objects, and more in your photo collection.

You’ll also find advice on how mobile/cloud solutions fit into the mix, with notes on Google Photos, iCloud Photo Library, Lightroom mobile, Amazon Prime Photos, and Mylio.

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

Go deeper with the Photos app: This book wholeheartedly covers Apple’s Photos app, but for even more about Photos, be sure to pick up Photos: A Take Control Crash Course, by Jason Snell, from the build-your-own-bundle bar below!

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: Read about the pros and cons of the most popular photo-management applications — Photos, Lightroom, and Photoshop Elements — and find directions for migrating to Lightroom from iPhoto, Aperture, or Photos. There’s also a sidebar about how to continue to use iPhoto or Aperture star ratings in Photos.

  • Using artificial intelligence: Learn to harness artificial intelligence to have a computer do the work of identifying objects and faces in your photos. Jeff focuses on Apple’s Photos app, which has quite a few helpful features, but also provides notes on Google Photos and Amazon Prime Photos.

  • Importing photos: Make your Mac applies 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 to set up smart albums to collect and display your photos automatically.

  • Adding 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 provides notes on Amazon Prime Photos, Google Photos, iCloud Photo Library, 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.

Jeff Carlson

About Jeff Carlson

Jeff Carlson is a contributing editor of TidBITS, a frequent contributor to Macworld and DPReview, and the author of best-selling books on the Mac, digital photography, and, in earlier incarnations, web design and Palm organizers. He consumes almost too much coffee. Almost.

What versions of software are described in this book?

The text was written based on the latest versions of Photos for Mac (2.0), Lightroom (CC 2015), and Photoshop Elements (15) in April 2017.

Although bits of this book will apply to older (and newer!) operating systems, the general assumption is that the reader is using macOS 10.12 Sierra.

  • Read Me First
  • Introduction
  • Digital Photos Quick Start
  • Shoot Smarter
  • Choose the Right Photo-management Application
  • Import Your Photos
  • Judge Your Photos
  • Assign Keywords & Other Metadata
  • Organize Photos into (Smart) Albums
  • Back Up & Archive Photos
  • Move Photos to a Different App
  • About This Book
  • Picture Jeff on MacVoices Again

    Posted by Michael E. Cohen on April 7, 2017

    To commemorate the latest update to his book, Jeff shares the frame with Chuck Joiner of MacVoices in an interview in which he contrasts Apple’s privacy approach to image analysis with Google’s, helps Chuck develop useful search strategies for his own collection, and exposes some of the little-known AI capabilities of Photos (when Jeff says, “The machines have taken control,” he doesn’t mean it in a bad way…we hope).

    Dropbox Shuttering Carousel App and Service

    Posted by Michael E. Cohen on December 9, 2015

    Dropbox has announced that it is closing its Carousel picture service and app. Jeff describes his view of the matter on his personal blog in the post Dropbox’s Carousel Jams.

    Jeff Provides a Closeup of the 2nd Edition on MacVoices

    Posted by Michael E. Cohen on October 26, 2015

    Jeff talks about the new edition of his book with Chuck Joiner of MacVoices, framing the discussion with a portrait of how the digital photo landscape has changed following the replacement of Apple’s Aperture and iPhoto apps with its new Photos app. He then focuses on issues of mobile access to photos, competing online services, data privacy, and long-term storage solutions for digital photographers.

    April 5, 2017 -- We are so pleased to have once again updated this book. We don't have any immediate plans to create another version, but as time goes on, perhaps we'll decide to refresh this title once again.

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