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How to Sort Your Images by Location in iPhoto


Geotagging is a great way to organise your snaps, and in iPhoto this is a simple thing to do. Geotagging benefits photographers by allowing them to find images quickly by location instead of date -- something which you are prone to forget.

In this tutorial I will show you how to add the location to images and then find them quickly using the built in map on iPhoto. Discover how easy this task is!


One of the most prominent views when deciding whether to geotag your photos is whether or not it's just time wasting. To those of you who take that view point I would disagree. Geotagging brings a third dimension to your images by allowing you to quickly relive or revisit the location in which a picture was taken.

Geotagging is also great for photographers who often post their pictures on the internet through websites such as Flickr and 500px. By offering the location, observers can interact with the image more and even try to recreate it if they like.

There isn't just one method of geotagging either. With iPhoto you have methods which make the whole process quick and easy. Meaning that you aren't consuming all your time by adding a location to your images.

GPS and Non-GPS Cameras

Recently, it has become possible to purchase one of a number of GPS-enabled DSLR cameras. This comes at a premium, but, it cuts all the manual work out. As soon as you take a snap the camera will automatically give your picture a location. iPhoto will then use this information and automatically pin the photos on your map. If you're more of a phone photographer there are automatic options which can enable you to record the location, too.

Canon 6D
An increasing number of DSLR cameras are now GPS-enabled, including the Canon EOS 6D

For DSLR cameras that don't have a GPS you have a two main options at your disposal. The first is only applicable if you have an iPhone or other smartphone which you carry around. Using GPX Master, an app recently highlighted on Digital Rev as a "photography hack", you can sync the two devices together on your computer and automatically assign locations to the images.

The other method of adding locations is through self-assigning them in iPhoto, something which is available to do to batch or individual images.

Adding Your Location

Before being able to change the location, if you haven't already, you need to enable locations in iPhoto. To do this you need to go to: Preferences > Advanced > Look up Places > Automatically. Once changing this to automatically you will now be able to change the location manually.

Make sure to turn this to automatically before starting to add locations.
Make sure to turn this to automatically before starting to add locations.

The first way I'm going to show you, is how to add a location to a whole event. In the screenshot below I've picked my trip to Portugal. To bring up the location interface click the Info button at the bottom right which will bring up a display on the right hand side. You will now see an interface which lets you type in a location. I'm going to type in Alvor, Portugal. Almost instantly Google Maps finds my location and adds it to every single image in that specific event.

Google Maps will find your location by simply typing in a name.
Google Maps will find your location by simply typing in a name.

To add a location to an image by itself, the process works in much the same way. After selecting an image the same interface will appear in the bottom right corner. The easiest way to add a location is the way I highlighted above, simply typing in a rough idea of the location. Similarly, you can type a building name such as The Empire State Building and you can tag more precisely than just New York.

Adding a location to a singular image works the same way.
Adding a location to single images is just as easy.

The second method for adding a location, and the most accurate, is using latitude and longitude. Again, you can simply just type in the co-ordinates, to as many decimal places you want and find the exact location.

Both methods I've shown above add a location to your images. The method you choose to use depends on whether you want a rough idea of the location or the perfect spot.

Copying a Location

Adding locations to images individually can be a pain sometimes, however, if you have many images in an event which were taken at exactly the same spot you don't need to keep adding it over and over.

Copy and pasting a location is easy.
Copy and pasting a location is easy.

To copy and paste an image location the first thing you need to do is find the image. Select it and either hit Command-C or Edit > Copy. Then select your other image and go to Edit > Paste Location. The image will now have exactly the same location.

The Map

Once you've added a location to images they will start appearing on the map. This is a built in version of Google Maps in your iPhoto window which is visible by clicking Places on the left hand side of your screen. On the Map you can change between: Terrain, Satellite and Hybrid to get the best view of a location.

When viewing the Map you will see lots of these red pins after adding locations.
When viewing the Map you will see lots of these red pins after adding locations.

One limitation of the Map is the fact you can't drag your pins to the location you want. But, there is another way. If you go to Window > Manage My Places. A drop down window will then appear with a list of all the locations you've added to iPhoto. You can now drag the pin and either expand or decrease the location which it concerns.

Moving the pins is an option is this window.
Moving the pins is an option is this window.


In this tutorial I showed you the benefits of geotagging, the differences between GPS and non-GPS cameras, the different methods of adding a location and how to change the locations on your map. With these techniques you should now feel confident enough to geotag all your snaps in iPhoto. If you have any questions or tips for us, comment down below!

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