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How to Import, Organise and Edit Your Way to Great Photos With iPhoto

by
Gift

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Most of us have a digital camera in some form, whether smartphone, compact or DSLR, but while it is easy to snap photograph after photograph, knowing how to maximise their potential is another matter entirely.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to import, organize and edit images with iPhoto, an Apple-developed application dedicated to cataloguing your photograph collection.


Import

Start by importing your images into iPhoto. Every photograph that you import is stored in your iPhoto library where it is categorised by Event, Place and Face. From here, you can select an image to edit, create a calendar, book or greeting card, or share a photograph with friends and family.

Launch iPhoto.
Click iPhoto.

Click the iPhoto icon in the Dock.

Launch iPhoto.
Click Import to Library.
Click Import to Library.

Click File and then Import to Library.

Click Import.
Click Import.

Highlight the images you wish to import and then click Import to add them to your iPhoto library.


Organise

iPhoto can categorise your image collection by Event, Place and Face.

Rename an Event.
Rename an Event.

Each batch of imported images is automatically grouped as an Event and organised by date. You can rename an Event by double-clicking the Event title. Enter the name of the Event and then press the Return key on your keyboard to finish.

Click Assign a Place.
Click Assign a Place.

If you would like to categorise your images by Place, highlight an image or Event and then click Info. Click Assign a Place to add a location, then enter the place where the photograph was taken.

Enter a location.
Enter a location.

Adjust the location of the pin by clicking and dragging the pin around the map.

Click Faces.
Click Faces.

If you would like to categorise your images by Face, click Faces on the sidebar. iPhoto will then display the Faces pane, along with a handful of unidentified faces to get you started.


Edit

For the purpose of this tutorial, I will edit the following photograph of the sun setting over Bolnuevo, a small town in southeast Spain. Feel free to do the same by downloading a high resolution copy of the image or, alternatively, choose your own.

Before.
Before.

This image has not been edited in any way, and is straight from the camera to show you exactly what iPhoto is capable of.

Click Edit.
Click Edit.

Double-click an Event to view. Highlight the individual image you would like to edit and then click the Edit icon on the toolbar.


Quick Fixes

Clicking Edit will display the Quick Fixes pane. Quick Fixes comprises six features to help enhance your image in under a minute: Rotate, Enhance, Fix Red-Eye, Straighten, Crop and Retouch.

Quick Fixes pane.
Quick Fixes pane.

My chosen photograph is a landscape, therefore the Fix Red-Eye tool is redundant here, as is the Rotate tool, because my image does not portray a person and is already the correct orientation.

Straighten

Straightening the horizon of a crooked image will ensure that your photograph closely resembles the scene it has captured.

Click Straighten.
Click Straighten.

Click the Straighten button.

Adjust the angle.
Adjust the angle.

Move the slider to adjust the angle of your image and then press Done.

Crop

Cropping is used to improve the composition and aspect ratio of a photograph, and can turn a mediocre image into something more striking.

Click Crop.
Click Crop.

Click the Crop button.

Click and drag the selection rectangle.
Click and drag the selection rectangle.

Click and drag each corner of the selection rectangle to resize, or drag from the centre to reposition.

Check the Constrain checkbox.
Check the Constrain checkbox.

Check the Constrain checkbox to crop your image to a specific dimension and then click the drop-down menu to select a size. Alternatively, leave the Constrain checkbox unchecked to choose your own.

Click Reset to reset the composition of your image, or Done to crop.

Retouch

Retouching is the art of digitally removing any unwanted blemishes from an image, such as a pimple or, in my case, the rocks in the sea.

Click Retouch.
Click Retouch.

Click the Retouch button.

Click and drag the brush over each blemish to remove.
Click and drag the brush over each blemish to remove.

Move the slider to adjust the size of the Retouch brush and then click and drag the brush over each blemish to remove.

Press Z to zoom.
Press Z to zoom.

Press the Z key on your keyboard to zoom in and out for extra precision. Drag the rectangle in the Navigation window to navigate your way around.

Enhance

Enhance enables iPhoto to automatically correct the colour, tone and contrast of your image, as well as boost the saturation.

Click Enhance.
Click Enhance.

Click the Enhance button. iPhoto will then enhance your photograph.


Effects

Introducing the Effects pane. Here, you can add a variety of filters to your image, or play around with the exposure.

Effects pane.
Effects pane.

I will use Contrast, Saturate and Edge Blur to enhance my image further as I prefer to tweak the exposure (Lighten and Darken) and temperature (Warmer and Cooler) via the Adjust pane, but more on that in just a second.

Contrast

Contrast is the amount of difference between tones in a photograph. Images low in contrast can appear flat and dull-looking, while images high in contrast are punchier due to exhibiting a full range of tones.

Click Contrast.
Click Contrast.

Click the Contrast button.

Each click will increase the contrast.
Each click will increase the contrast.

Each click will increase the contrast of your image.

Saturate

Boosting the saturation of your image will produce bright, vivid colours.

Click Saturate.
Click Saturate.

Click the Saturate button to increase saturation.

Each click will boost the saturation.
Each click will boost the saturation.

Each click will boost the saturation of your image.

Edge Blur

Give your photograph a dream-like effect by using the Edge Blur tool.

Click Edge Blur.
Click Edge Blur.

Click Edge Blur to blur the edges of your photograph. Press < or > to decrease or increase the blur or click None to remove all filters from your image.


Adjust

Finally, the Adjust pane allows you to adjust the exposure, contrast and saturation of your image further, as well as other technical aspects such as definition and noise.

Adjust pane.
Adjust pane.

Adjust the exposure, contrast and saturation of your image by moving the corresponding slider. If you are editing a portrait, I highly recommended that you check Avoid Saturating Skin Tones to avoid turning your subject into an Oompa Loompa.

Move the slider.
Move the slider.

You can also adjust the definition, highlights, shadows, sharpness, noise, temperature and tint via the Adjust pane, too. For my image, I ramped up the sharpness to 45, the shadows to 17, temperature to five and lowered the tint to -15.

Tip: Press the Shift key on your keyboard at any time to compare your newly edited photograph with the original version.


And Relax!

Before.
After.
Before (above) and After.

In this tutorial, I have shown you how to import, organise and edit your image collection with iPhoto. Did you find this tutorial helpful? If you have any questions, go ahead and ask them in the comment section below.

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