Photos for Mac: A Take Control Crash Course (1.0.1) (2015)
Navigate the Photos Interface
In many ways, the Photos interface is a study in minimalism: there’s less of the chrome that was part of iPhoto and Aperture; and most of the action takes place in a single window, which by default you navigate through in a series of panes ①. It’s very much a design influenced by iOS 8 and Apple’s recent shift in interface philosophy.
① The default Photos interface has a single window with a set of buttons at the top.
But the display options abound, including an iPhoto-style sidebar and custom thumbnail sizes.
Button Bar vs. Sidebar
Many single-window Mac apps, including iTunes and iPhoto, historically featured a large sidebar on their left sides. By default, Photos doesn’t display a sidebar, instead offering buttons at the top of the window that let you toggle between different views.
If you prefer the old approach, with a sidebar that shows you every album, slideshow, and project that you’ve created in this library, you can get it back. Choose View > Show Sidebar and those buttons wink out as the sidebar appears.
Two Sides of the Same Coin
The Photos interface varies based on whether or not the sidebar is visible.
The buttons at the top of the window (when the sidebar is hidden) are the same as the main sidebar sections. The stuff listed below each sidebar section (for example, the albums listed in the Albums section) also appears at the top level of the pane that displays when you click the corresponding button.
I’ll try to mention both paths, but it’ll be helpful to keep in mind that it’s just two different ways to show the same stuff.
The Photos Pane
As you might expect in an app called Photos, the Photos pane (or the Photos section of the sidebar) is the most important part of the app. This view contains every media file in your library. You can zoom in and out on your collection by clicking the left and right arrow buttons at the top-left corner of the window ②, or if you’re using a trackpad, by pinching two fingers together (to zoom out) or spreading two fingers apart (to zoom in).
② Use the arrow buttons in the top-left corner to zoom in and out of the Photos view (or use two-finger pinch gestures on a trackpad).
At the most zoomed-back view, Photos shows your files in collages of tiny thumbnails, organized by year. Each year’s header also lists all the locations where you took photos during that time. This is actually how you browse geolocations of images in Photos; if you click a header that lists locations, Photos shifts to a map populated by all the photos in that collection ③.
③ When you click a header that lists place names, you see a view of geotagged photos on a map.
Note: When zoomed out, you can click and drag over the thumbnails to see a larger version of each image as you move over it ④. Release the button and Photos opens the image you were viewing.
④ Click and drag over a thumbnail collage to see larger versions of the photos.
Zoom in one step and you see collections of thumbnails grouped around shorter periods of time. These are what Photos considers “events,” but unlike in iPhoto they can’t be manually organized—Photos uses date and location information to create these events. Again, locations are in the header; click that header to see your event’s photos on a map.
Keep Your Sidebar Clean
If you keep the sidebar visible, you can minimize visual clutter by hiding the contents of a particular sidebar section.
Move your cursor over a section header in the sidebar and the word Hide appears to the right. Click it, and the contents of that section are temporarily hidden. To reverse the process, move your cursor over the header and click Show.
Perform Quick Group Actions
Photos provides some handy buttons to let you perform quick actions on an event. When you hover over a collection, three buttons appear on the far right side of the header ⑤:
⑤ The three buttons at the far right of an event header let you quickly create a slideshow, add items to a project, or share items with friends.
· Play lets you kick off a slideshow of all the photos in that event.
· Add adds the event’s photos to an album or project.
· Share lets you share photos via iCloud, social media, AirDrop, and other methods.
Enter Thumbnail View
Keep zooming in the Photos pane and you find yourself looking at a series of single thumbnails at a reasonable size. This view is the one you’ll likely spend the most time in, and the best way to interact with individual items. You can tell you’re in this view because a small slider ⑥ appears on the left side of the title bar. Use it to control the size of the thumbnails on your screen.
⑥ The presence of this slider (right) in the Photos pane means you’re in thumbnail view; you can use it to adjust the size of thumbnails.
Even in thumbnail view, your files are organized by event. Clicking the header displays a map containing that particular cluster of images.
Once you’re at thumbnail level—and this is true when you’re browsing the contents of albums in the Albums pane, too—you can start interacting with your photos individually ⑦. You can select an individual photo by clicking it, just as you might expect, and double-clicking one opens it at full size. (For a list of other things you can do in this view, see the nearby sidebar, “Things to Do with a Thumbnail.”)
⑦ Once you’re in thumbnail view, it’s all about interacting with individual items.
Things to Do with a Thumbnail
When you’ve selected an item:
· Favorite it: Press Period (.).
· Flip: Choose Image > Flip Horizontal or Image > Flip Vertical.
· Rotate: Press Command-R to rotate clockwise. To go counter-clockwise, press Command-Option-R.
· Zoom: Press Space bar.
· Edit: Press Return.
· Hide: Press Command-L.
· Duplicate: Press Command-D.
· Delete: Press the Delete key.