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Introducing: Photos Workbench

Photos Workbench is a companion to Apple Photos on macOS. It helps you organize, name, and compare your photos.

Photos Workbench: Batch Rename Photos

Batch Change Titles

Descriptive titles make your photo collection “readable.” A photo titled “Hawaii vacation 2022 – Maui #018” is much more telling than “IMG_9781.jpg”. Photos Workbench takes the effort out of naming your photos.

With the Name Format option, you set up a format for all selected photos to follow. A format comprises text you type and tokens that can provide values like date, time, camera make and model, image dimensions, or a sequence number.

For example: “{Year Created} – {Month Created} {Camera Model} #{Counter}” can translate to “2021-12 iPhone 13 mini #863”

With the Replace Text option, you can change photo titles by replacing text in the current titles. Photos Workbench will work from the original file name for photos with no title.

Locations: Map & GPS Coordinates

Photos Workbench makes adding location information to your photos easy. Location information will allow Apple Photos to show your images on a map. It will help you look up images that you did not otherwise file or tag.

Photos Workbench has a large map to see the selected photos’ locations. You can move the pins to adjust locations. You can also drag and drop photos onto the location where they were taken. Adding locations is a breeze and allows for placing photos with great precision.

You can also geocode photos using a GPS track log. Bring along a GPS device or record a track log using a mobile app. Photos Workbench can match all the photos from your trip to the recorded track. With just a few clicks, all your photos will have precise locations assigned.

Photos Workbench also borrows the unique “incremental geocoding” workflow from HoudahGeo. Center the map on the location of the first photo in a series: your starting point. Assign the location to the photo. Photos Workbench will automatically select the next photo, but leave the map in place. Now adjust the map by the distance traveled between taking both photos. You can compare the features in the photo to the satellite image and find the exact location where the photo was taken. Assign the location to that photo. Continue retracing your steps. Working incrementally, you will assign precise locations and only need a nudge of the map and a click for each photo.

Star Ratings

Use star ratings to identify your best photos and to classify images by their relative quality or relevance. Ratings range from 1 star (worst) to 5 stars (best).

Star ratings translate to keywords in the Photos application. Within Photos Workbench, the stars help you identify the photos you liked best. You can, for example, filter albums to see only the top-rated photos. Rating images is thus a quick and easy way to narrow down the number of images you intend to work with or share.

One method to assess the relative quality of photos is to rate the photos in multiple passes. In the first pass, decide if a photo is bad (1 star) or at least acceptable (2 stars). Then have Photos Workbench show you only the photos rated two stars or better. Find the better photos and rate these with 3 stars. Change the filter to see only 3-star photos. Again, find and upgrade the rating of the better photos. Repeat to find the very best (5 stars) photos.

Keyword Sets & Keyboard Shortcuts

Keywords are descriptive words assigned to images. These can be a potent and flexible tool to file and organize photos. When used wisely, keywords will allow you to find all photos made at a “wedding,” all “outdoor” images, or all “outdoor” “people” shots taken at a “wedding.”

Adding keywords is an investment in your photo library. It takes effort and pays off later. Photos Workbench aims to minimize that effort.

Photos Workbench provides groups of related keywords in sets you can easily select and use. You can also create your own keyword groups that include keywords you frequently use. Ready-made keyword sets maximize the benefits you’ll get from keywords: these keep your keyword vocabulary concise and consistent. The buttons in the Keyword Palette display the keywords in the selected keyword group. A click of a button adds or removes the keyword from your photos.

You can set up single-key shortcuts for keywords. For example, you can set the “s” key to add or remove the “Share” keyword to your photos. As you browse and evaluate photos, you can decide which images you plan to share and toggle the “Share” keyword with the press of the “s” key.

Compare Photos

We often take way too many pictures. Next, we edit the photos and produce several versions of the same image. We produce a heap of pictures we must plow through to find the best one. Of course, one can arrow through photos one at a time, but comparing images without seeing them side-by-side can be challenging.

Compare Mode helps you pick the best shot in a series or the best version of the same photo.

The key is to compare photos in pairs. In Compare Mode, you see two images side-by-side and pick the best one. Keep that photo and compare it to the next candidate. Continue until you have seen each photo and have compared it to the best one so far.

While comparing photos, you can apply star ratings to achieve a more fine-grained classification. You can also mark favorites, add keywords, and edit titles.