This is the second part of my two part article on getting the most out of iPhoto on your Mac. The first part focused mainly on a few things you can do to organize your iPhoto Library, and you can check that article out here! This portion will focus on a few editing things that you can do to easily clean up your photos, and make them much nicer without too much effort. I am not a professional photographer, but I did work at Apple for many years, and these little tips are easy to do, and they can make a big difference. All of these options will be on the editing panel that slides in from the right when you click the edit button!
Another area of iPhoto that is extremely useful in dealing with your photo library is the basic editing functions that it offers. The most useful and commonly used ones are red eye, enhance, cropping and image straightening, and using the retouch tool. Let’s take a look at each and see how they can help. The first thing that you have to do is click on the “Edit” icon in the lower right part of your screen. This will bring up an editing menu for you to choose from.
The Enhance tool is a great place to start, because this is a feature that Apple really wants people to use. Simply put, Enhance adjusts all the brightness and color levels for a photo exactly the way it thinks it should be. This means no messing around with colors, no adjusting the brightness, just a better photo with one click of a button. Apple loves things that are so simple all you have to do is click, and this one button can certainly make a difference in many of your photos. In particular, photos with low light are brightened up very nicely by the Enhance tool. However, it is not perfect, and some photos it will actually make worse. Naturally, there is always the Undo or Revert to Original buttons at the bottom right of your iPhoto screen if you think Enhance didn't do such a good job! It's a great place to start, and worse case scenario, it makes your picture worse and you hit Undo. Nothing to lose!
What Apple does best, is create hardware and software that just know what you want to do. This is exactly the case with the red eye function. On the editing panel, you'll see a button that says "Fix Red Eye." Now once you click on this, iPhoto will scan the photo automatically, and remove any red eye that it sees. Most of the time, this works very well and can be a huge time saver! Things like this are what makes Apple software appealing, and it’s also what makes it so easy to use. Sometimes, the Auto Red Eye does not catch everything, especially if it is a very small piece of red in the eye. In this case, you have the option of selecting the size of the red eye tool, and then manually clicking on that area yourself. A great tip here is to use the zoom function at the bottom left of your screen to bring it in nice and close for precision editing. If the red eye is actually not red, and simply a reflection of white light, then it's usually best to use the Retouch tool which you can read about below.
Along the same line as the Red Eye tool, the Retouch tool is for fixing blemishes and small areas that are slightly off color. In the case of "red eye" that is actually a reflection of light, the eye is left with either a white or silver color that makes the person look almost possessed. The red eye tool won't catch this no matter how close you zoom in, because as you can probably guess, it is only for picking up the red in a persons eye. A great way to smooth this over is to zoom in again, and use the retouch tool. The purpose of the Retouch tool is to sort of blend the colors around an area so that whatever is sticking out is less visible. For instance, if there is a large pimple or color splotch from the lighting, you can use the retouch tool to drag the natural color of the skin onto the blemished area and fix it. In the case of light reflecting back, you do the same thing. You can resize the Retouch tool on the right, and then simply start clicking around the area that is white on the eye. If you zoom in, it will be much easier to be precise, and you can use a finer setting for the Retouch tool. At first it will look a little silly (especially if you're zoomed in) because it will basically take the dark colors around the eye and drag it in. I can look a little bit splotchy, but once you zoom out you don't notice it at all! Of course, if you blow it up to be a huge picture, you might notice it, but for personal prints you won't notice a thing.
Straighten, Crop, and Rotate
The last three features on the editing panels are ones that can really help you clean up the appearance of a photo and make it look a bit nicer in your library. They are very simple to use, but they can very easily make your iPhoto library look much more organized and less hectic.
The most obvious way to quickly improve the appearance of a photo in your library is to fix the orientation! This is what the Rotate button is for, and it will simply rotate your photo around counter clockwise until you get it in the direction that you want. A lot of times when you take a picture, you rotate the camera or the phone to get a landscape picture or a better frame around what you're shooting. The only thing is, when you important it into your library, it may not know what you were going for and it will put it in sideways. This means pictures of people that are in the wrong direction, and those draw your eye to them immediately and make things like unorganized and cluttered. Rotate will fix that with just a few clicks.
The Cropping tool is also a really quick tool to make a photo look much better. Often times when you take a picture, there is more than you want in the background, and you'd like to cut some of it out. Whether you didn't zoom in far enough, or the background wasn't as pretty as you'd hoped, the Crop tool helps you cut out what you don't want. When you click Crop, a grid pops up over your picture, and you slide the frame either horizontally or vertically. Once you have the area of the photo that you'd like, just hit "Done" and it will cut away the unwanted portion. It should be noted that this isn't like Photoshop, and you are restricted to a square or rectangle shape when choosing. Still, it is really useful to cut out a noisy background and focus on the people that the picture was intended to be of.
The last tool is the Straightening tool. This one is used less often then it should be, and it provides a more subtle fix for your photos. It's very common to take a photo and not be perfectly straight. After all, most people don't carry around a tripod, and not everyone has extremely steady hands. Thankfully, with the straighten tool, you can adjust the angle that the photo is rotated very easily. Simply click on the Straighten icon, and a grid pops over the picture (much like the cropping tool). From there, there is a slider right under the Straighten button will appear, and it will slightly rotate the picture by degrees as you move it. When you find an angle that you consider straight, and looks good to you, just hit done!
Thanks for reading!
That's all for now! I hope you enjoyed the iPhoto ediitng tips in this article, and hopefully they will help you really get the most out iPhoto on your MacBook, MacBook Pro, or iMac. Also, if you want some tips on organization for iPhoto, check out Part 1 of this series.
Is there anything else you'd like to know about your Apple Computer, iPhone, iPod or iPad? I have a lot of knowledge, and I'd love feedback on what you want to know! Simply leave a comment, and I'll add it to my list of articles to start working on!