The lamest thing about iPhoto is its keywording functionality.
It’s quite surprising, actually, considering how much benefit a more advanced keyword system could bring to other, more capable features like smart albums.
I investigated using Aperture as an alternative. Unfortunately this pro-level software from Apple is extremely resource intensive. With just a few thousand photos loaded into its library, Aperture brought my dual-core Power Mac G5 to a grinding halt. In comparison, iPhoto handles my 33,000+ photo library without issue. I also took a look at Adobe’s Lightroom, but didn’t like the photo management process it tried to force me into.
So I was pretty stoked to find a way to supercharge iPhoto’s keyword capabilities a few months back.
Keyword Manager is a plug-in for iPhoto from Swedish developers Bullstorm that provides keywording capabilities that rival either Aperture’s or Lightroom’s. It doesn’t operate very differently than iPhoto’s built-in keyword system, save for the fact that it uses semi-transparent “Heads-up Displays” (HUDs) for its interface. It also ties in very nicely with other Mac OS apps like Address Book to automatically draw in information like the names of photo subjects.
I’ve read in online forums that some people find the $19 licensing fee a bit steep for this product. But when you consider it could potentially save you the upgrade cost to either Aperture or Lightroom if all you want is better keyword capabilities, then it’s a very small price to pay.