Getting the Best Results from iPhoto

July 13, 2011, By Christian Cawley

If you own a Mac and take plenty of photos on your digital camera or smartphone, the chances are that you also have a copy of iPhoto that you use regularly. This useful tool allows you to both manage images on your hard disk drive and edit them slightly to achieve the best results.

While iPhoto might look less advanced than an application such as Photoshop, the truth is that it is packed with features that you would use specifically for editing and adjusting digital photos.

The following tips and tricks should allow you to get the most out of your photographs by taking advantage of iPhoto’s editing tools for retouching, cropping and zooming.

Getting the best results from iPhoto

Enhance and Retouch

One of the first things that you might notice about even the best images that you have loaded up in iPhoto is that they are often just a little short of perfect. While the framing of the photo and the composition might look great, there is always something not quite right, which is when the Enhance button comes in handy.

Using this feature, you can apply automatic enhancements which add saturation and tweak the white balance, allowing you to then apply further alterations via the Adjust panel.

Similarly, you might notice blemishes or other issues on a photo that you want to remove. This might be wiping a splash of chocolate from an otherwise perfect snap of a small child, or dealing with creases or tears in a scanned image.

The Retouch tool in iPhoto is ideal for this, and can be used by choosing a brush size slightly larger than the blemish. Use the tool sparingly; don’t brush it around, but apply it in single dabs.

Create and Edit Duplicates

While any changes you make to your snaps in iPhoto can be undone at any time, you might prefer to create a duplicate of the original photo before you start making any changes. This is ideal for many reasons – you might want to be able to switch back to the original image to compare the changes, for instance, and creating a duplicate is so easy you would be daft not to take advantage of it.

With the selected photo open, press COMMAND + D on your Mac to create a duplicate; this will cause the words “version 2” to be appended to the original title to avoid confusion!

Straighten and Crop

In many cases, to get the most satisfying images from a digital photo you might opt to crop it down. However, while this is easily done in iPhoto, you might opt instead to first straighten the image.

Why?

It’s all a question of image quality, really. If you straighten the image after cropping, there will be less of it left to adjust, and this will also cause you to lose even more of the photo.

Controlled Zoom

Finally, you can acquire quick control over the zoom tool (which doesn’t display the current strength of magnification) and zoom right in or resize your image back to the standard “screen fit” size using the 1 and 0 keys on your Mac.

Hitting 1 will zoom your image to 100% magnification, while 0 will pull back to the standard “fit to screen” option.

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