Editing Photos In iPhoto

iPhoto has a set of photo adjustment tools that allow you to correct problems in your photos as well as add enhancements and fun filters. You can edit a photo, layering several effects on top of each other, and still revert to the original even after you are done editing.

Video Transcript
Hi this is Gary with MacMost.com. Let me show you the basic of editing photos in iPhoto.

So I am using iPhoto version 9.5. We're going to take a look at editing a photo. Really adjusting it not as much as editing it. Let's go into a sample photo here. Then I'm going to hit the Edit button at the bottom right.

We go into the iPhoto editor where we have three different tabs of things that we can do. So the simplest, most basic thing that you can do is to press this Enhance button. What it does is it automatically looks at the photo's colors and tries to basically make it look a little bit better based on whatever the computer finds. It is not always true that it makes it better but a lot of times you can just hit that button and make a photo look good. Especially if the photo is a little too dark or too bright or something is just not ideal about how you took the photo.

Now anytime you do any of these you can use the Revert to Original button here at the bottom or the Undo button. The Undo button undoes one step. Revert to Original undoes all the steps of all the different things you have done because you can keep adding more things.

So if there was a person in this photo we can use the Fix Red-Eye which would allow us then to use this target here and click on red-eye in the photo and then it will automatically fix that.

We also have the Straighten tool which basically allows you to straighten it up. There is no real problem here but you can see, for instance, the coast line here isn't perfectly straight with the photo and if for some reason that bothered us we could adjust it and actually you can see we have it straight there now. That might be more important in some photos than others.

We also can Crop the photo. So in this case it draws a box around the whole photo and we can bring this box in and move its edges and sides. Do whatever we want. We can also constrain the photo to a certain screen ratio. So if you wanted to make it sure it was a 4 x 3 or a 3 x 4 we can do that. All sorts of different constraints there.

There is the Retouch button which is the only real editing, perhaps beside red-eye, that you can do here. This isn't a tool like PhotoShop or something where we can play with the pixels in the photo. These are mostly adjustments. But the Retouch tool, you can change the size of it and you can see the size here is that circle, you can use to retouch things in the photo. It will basically take samples of the items around it.

For instance, this is a really good example. I've got this rock right here in the middle of the water. Well, I can get rid of it. Like that. That is a little blurry but if I play with it a little bit I find I can create some pretty decent effects here from the way I stroke the area to get rid of it. You know maybe if this photo was shrunk down and used on the web you wouldn't even notice that the area is a little blurry there.

So let's move on to the Effects here. We have a variety of different effects and you can kind of just click on them and click on them multiple times to enhance these effects. If I want to darken this photo I click on this once but I can also keep clicking and it gets darker, and darker, and darker. I can do that with any of these. So I can make higher Contrast. I can Saturate the colors.

Then these are more obvious of what they do. They can actually change the photo in a more dramatic way. You can also, you know, click these multiple times. It will even give you a number underneath. So I can do Fade 8 and I can actually reverse that all the way down to zero. I can also combine these. Fade and Boost. Maybe do a little bit more of a boost and then add an edge blur. So you can do lots of combinations of these to create the special effects for the photo.

Now the Adjust tab here brings you in closer contact to the actual colors in the photo. You can adjust it using a lot of these more pro level tools here. You know, adjust the levels very specifically. You can adjust the exposure. Some of these may actually be easier to use depending on your experience with photography or with the actual condition of the photo. There is a lot you can do in here to change the photo. You can even drastically change the colors that are in it. Even use the Eye Dropper tool here to grab. To optimize the color you should grab something that is white or gray to optimize the color but you could actually grab something that is not to dramatically change the color. So there is a lot you can do here. Pretty much everything you can do here in terms of adjusting the color.

Now let's just go and use the simple effect here and boost it and create a mat around it like this. Probably not something you would normally want to do but I just want to use this as a demonstration. When we are done with this photo and I can jump quickly to another photo in this event here. I just go back to the event and you can see the photo now apparently has that change on it. So I've got this photo and there is the change. But if I go to Edit I can still hit Revert to Original and go back to the original version because iPhoto remembers the original version plus all these changes that are applied to it.

So you can edit away. Change something like you want and still know in your iPhoto Library you've got that original version there should you ever want to go back to it.

Comments: 19 Responses to “Editing Photos In iPhoto”

    11/21/13 @ 11:22 am

    Can the edited photo be saved?

      11/21/13 @ 11:34 am

      Not sure what you mean. The editing is automatically “saved” in iPhoto. If you mean export, then yes, you can export just like you could before you edited it.

        11/21/13 @ 5:31 pm

        Yes, export is what I meant. It wouldn’t seem logical if one could not export the finished product. I will have to investigate iPhoto a bit more.

    11/21/13 @ 11:34 am

    I never edit my original photo. Before doing any edits I always duplicate my original and do my edits on the duplicate, so the original is never touched. If I like my edit, I go back to the event and make duplicate of the one I just edited – so it’s “saved” – then go on experimenting with whatever other edits I want to.

      11/21/13 @ 11:37 am

      There’s really no need to do that. iPhoto has the original. You can always revert to the original by hitting the Revert to Original button. Duplicating it will just create a second copy of the original as a separate photo.

        11/21/13 @ 12:19 pm

        I freely admit to backing up everything, multiple times. Two external hd’s plus flash drives, LOL. I also thought playing with the original might reduce the image’s quality, even if you did “revert to original”. Would it?
        I like to be able to compare my edits side-by-side with the original, too, to decide which one I like better, or what other edits might be beneficial.

          11/21/13 @ 12:23 pm

          Sounds like you would really enjoy upgrading to Aperture. There are many more editing options, plus you can “show original” to compare, and effects have a preview that comes up before you apply.

            11/21/13 @ 2:17 pm

            I’ve heard of Aperture, but haven’t ever looked at it. Thought it might be a bit too advanced for me. My son uses Lightroom and loves it – can do incredible things, but it sounds very techy. I don’t think I really need more than what iPhoto gives me, with Effects and cropping. I have v.9.4.3 – noticed you are using 9.5 – I haven’t been offered that update – should I see if I can purchase it? Or is it just for OS Mavericks?

              11/21/13 @ 2:20 pm

              You need Mavericks to upgrade to 9.5.

                11/21/13 @ 2:25 pm

                I’ve been scared off Mavericks by the comments I’ve been reading, so I’m going to wait awhile on that. I’m going to take your suggestion though and have a good look at Aperture. Thank you! And, thanks for your articles, I really enjoy and benefit from them :)

    11/23/13 @ 3:33 am

    I have old family photos in iPhoto downloaded from a disc, several are photos with 4-6 separate photos together and I want to crop individual photos and use for a calendar. When I revert to original to crop another photo I lose the single photo. I did this last year for a calendar but either I forgot how or Mavericks won’t let me. Please help, sorry for the long post.

      11/23/13 @ 9:09 am

      The way I would have this is to duplicate the photo. Then crop the duplicate so it contains only one of the images. Then repeat for each image in there so you have a separate photo for each.

        Anusha Jain
        1/17/14 @ 8:23 pm

        Sorry, if it sounds too silly, but how to duplicate a photo within iPhoto? I’ve been using iPhoto for some time now, but am unable to figure it out. Except for importing the same photo again… Which is unfeasible for too many pics every time.
        Wasn’t able to do it on iPhoto for iOS either.

          1/17/14 @ 8:29 pm

          There are several ways. Select the photo and choose Photos, Duplicate. Or, in some cases you can Control+Click on the photo and choose Duplicate from the context menu.

            Anusha Jain
            1/20/14 @ 5:27 am

            Thanks Gary. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a notification for your response. Saw it only when I came back to share my mistake :) I was trying “Copy” from menu or with Cmd+C and couldn’t paste either in the same event or other. Duplicate was in the photos menu with Cmd+D as shortcut, and silly me, I missed it :) Thanks again.

    11/24/13 @ 11:02 am

    I’ve done a lot of editing using iPhone but want to expand my capabilities. I’ve heard Aperture is good but Apple hasn’t kept up with its support of the program. Any thoughts? Also what do you think of Lightroom as an alternate to Aperture?

      11/24/13 @ 11:27 am

      You mean iPhoto, right? As for Aperture, what makes you think Apple isn’t keeping up with it? There have been regular updates. I use Aperture, but can’t compare it to Lightroom as I don’t use it. But the features of both are easy to find online.

    12/17/13 @ 9:39 am

    Please help with the cropping. I never know what to crop the picture to when I’m not sure what size I want to print. If size is unknown, what is the best way to crop?

      12/17/13 @ 9:45 am

      Not sure I understand your question. If you don’t know what size you’ll need, then the best cropping is no cropping at all. Why get rid of some of the image until you need to?

Comments Closed.