Rather than scrolling through all your pictures and videos, search can be a quick way to find just exactly what you want.

You can use search in Photos for OS X almost like Spotlight to filter through your library based on the year, month, and/or day a picture or video was taken, the place it was taken in, who appears in it (if you're using faces), and the text that appears in the keywords or even filename. There aren't any advanced search or boolean options — you can use smart folders for something closer akin to that — but you can stack terms and that means there's still plenty of power inside that little box.

How to search for your pictures and videos in Photos for OS X

  1. Launch Photos on your Mac.
  2. Enter the terms you want to search for. You can enter multiple terms, e.g. "San Francisco Serenity March 9 2015 apple".
  3. Choose the picture or video you want from the list Photos populates.

How to use smart albums as "advanced search" in Photos for OS X

The smart folder system in Photos for OS X is really clever and allows for a lot of options. If you need something more complex than standard search, especially if you think you might run it even semi frequently, a smart folder might be a good alternative.