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Setting Up and Using Photos on Your Mac

Photos – formerly iPhoto – is the standard macOS app for organizing photos. Photos are integrated into iCloud and everything is synced across devices. It does a great deal of work on its own and keeps your library reasonably clean without you having to do much, but it also supports custom albums and other organizational features.

Setting up and importing your photos

When you first open the app, you'll be asked if you'd like to link to your iCloud. When you do this, click the "Use iCloud Photos" button. If now, click the "Not now" link. You can always set it up later if you do not want to do it right away.

After that you are in the main window of Photos. To import other images into photos, choose File> Import or press Shift + Command + I to open the import window. You can import photos by dragging them from the Finder, dragging from a camera or selecting a folder, and then selecting the images to import.

Here we have selected a folder from which to import. Once you have selected your folder, click the "To import" button.

Next, you can review the images you want to import. If you want to import all images into the folder, click the "Import all new photos" button. Otherwise, you can only select the images you want to import, and then click the Import Selected button. By default, images are only imported to your library, but you can also import them into a new album if you want to be more organized. It will continue to add all the photos to your main photo library.

If you have your photos in iCloud or on your iPhone, photos will all sync together. Choose Photos> Preferences, or press Command-Comma to open the settings:

Using Photos

Photos are a great way to manage your photos , You can use the sidebar to control the view you see, including:

  • Photos: All your photos without sorting
  • Reminders: Scans your library, searches for groups of images and groups them you together. If you are looking for photos of a particular event, click here.
  • People: Scan faces in your pictures and group them together to find pictures of friends and family.
  • Places: Sort by location. If you are looking for photos that you have taken on vacation, they will be easy to find here.

The top bar switches the sorting method: Photos show everything, Moments is probably the most useful, Collections show a broader view, and Years is only useful for large libraries.

All this organization is automatic, which is great for most people. However, you can also sort your photos manually by creating new albums for them. Right-click on any photo and select Add to> New Album:

By default, Photos names the album with the date. However, you can rename it by right-clicking "Rename Album." Press the space bar while the album is selected in the sidebar.

You can manually add the album to your stores by selecting Show as Storage and then Add to Storage. Note that you can add the same album to Save more than once, but you can delete it if you accidentally do so.

Projects is another interesting section that lets you do a lot of creative things with your photos, such as calendars and maps:

All except Slideshow use external plugins that you download from the App Store have to. Most of them are free.

Edit photos

If you want to edit a photo's data, right-click it and choose Get Info. Here you can edit metadata such as the description and the location where the photo was taken.

For the actual photo manipulation you need an external program. You can right-click a photo and point to the Edit With menu to see a list of editing apps you can use. If you have not already installed one, the built-in preview app has some basic tools. You can send a photo to the preview by choosing Edit> Preview.

From there, you must press this button to edit.

Once you're done, click "Save" and the photo will automatically be updated in photos. There is no additional import required.

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