Using Smart Albums in iPhoto to Keep Track of Your Best Photos

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to change up the way you do things, especially when it comes to organizing your digital photos. It’s a time to keep doing what works and ditch what doesn’t. What works for me is organizing pictures by event and adding the year, month and day they were taken to the title of each folder. If I have two events in one day (like a program at school during the day  and a birthday party that night), I place them in separate folders and include “01” after the date of the first and “02” after the date of the second activity to make sure that the folders show up in the proper order (see example below).

Photos Organized by Year and Event

What also works is periodically backing up these folders to DVDs that I give to Bill to take to work. This ensures that, in the event of a fire, our pictures are not lost forever.

What hasn’t been working is having to search through every folder at the end of the year to find the pictures that I would like to include in our annual Christmas Card and end of year slideshow. In search of a solution that would make the most of software I already have, I read up on how to use iPhoto Smart Albums and created one called 2013 Best Photos. I then added parameters so the album only contains pictures from 2013 events that I gave a 5-star rating (see article titled How To Create Essential Smart Albums for Your iPhoto Library at

To test my new process, I imported a photo from our camera and gave it a five-star rating. The picture appeared in the new smart album and my photo-taking year is off to a great start, proving that Continuous Process Improvement is not just for companies: It’s for anyone who is up for the challenge of putting every system to the test until the good is better and the better is best!

Testing 1-2-3

It’s been said that absence makes the heart grow fonder but, in this case, I’m guessing that it’s just made you wonder what I’ve been up to since my last update. Ever since the launch of my new blog, Time Out for Digging Out with Julie Albin, I’ve been wanting to create a separate podcast for the longer personal essays that were the trademark of my former newsletter. The thought of making this change was a daunting one but, in May, I took a deep breath and purchased the equipment that was needed to make the change. Although the learning curve associated with switching from a PC to an Apple computer was steep, I now have the ability to edit existing—and record new—podcast episodes at home using Garage Band.

The next time you enter my name in the search box of the iTunes store, you will notice that stories published through 2010 appear as part of a new podcast titled Finding the Message in the Mess of Everyday Living. You will also see that Time Out for Digging Out is now listed as the audio version of my blog. Although it will take a while to get caught up, I have uploaded two episodes to give you an idea of what the new format will sound like.

Click on the images below to view my original and newest podcast in iTunes:

As always, your feedback is welcome and appreciated so please let me know if there is something that I could be doing differently to improve my message or ministry. Two heads (or a a few hundred) are definitely better than one as we put every system to the test until the good is better and the better is best.