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Edit and Enhance Your Images

In addition to helping you organize and share the images stored in your iPhone or iPad, the Photos app can also be used to view, edit, and enhance each image. To use any of these editing or enhancement tools, first select the image you want to work with. This can be done in a variety of ways. For example, tap on the Photos, Albums, or Shared icon that’s displayed at the bottom of the screen, and then tap on the thumbnail for the image you want to work with. When you can see the large version of that image, tap on the Edit option that’s displayed at the top-right corner of the screen (see Figure 6-12).


FIGURE 6-12 Select one image at a time to edit or enhance by tapping on its thumbnail, and then tap on the Edit option that’s displayed in the top-right corner of the screen.

As you’re looking at the image you selected (not its thumbnail) on your iPhone or iPad’s screen, tap on the Edit option to begin using the tools built in to the Photos app to edit and enhance the image. When you tap the Edit option, the Edit Photo screen is displayed (see Figure 6-13 for the iPad version).


FIGURE 6-13 The Edit Photo screen offers five editing and image enhancement tools you can utilize on the photo you’re currently viewing. These tools are displayed as command icons along the bottom of the screen.

The Photos App’s Image Editing and Enhancement Tools

The image editing and photo enhancement tools that are built in to the Photos app are basic but powerful. One drawback to these tools is that when you use them, they impact the entire image. It’s not possible using the Photos app to edit or enhance only a portion of an image. In addition, the Photos app lacks some editing and image enhancement tools that many other photography apps offer.

Displayed from left to right at the bottom of the Edit Photo screen (refer to Figure 6-13), the tools available include Rotate, Enhance, Filters, Red-Eye, and Crop. As soon as you tap one of these icons, that tool will be used on the selected image.

To immediately undo the edits or enhancements you make on an image, tap on the Cancel option that’s displayed at the top-left corner of the screen. To save your edits and enhancements, tap on the Save option displayed at the top-right corner of the screen. In some cases, an Undo option also becomes available that enables you to remove the last edit you made to the image.

Keep in mind, while many of the editing and enhancement tools in the Photos app can either be turned on or off, you can mix and match these tools as needed to create a highly personalized image. For example, you can turn on the Enhance tool, crop the image, and also add one special effect filter—all within seconds while viewing an image from the Edit Photo screen.

The Rotate Tool

When editing a photo in the Photos app, upon tapping on the Rotate icon, the entire image rotates 90 degrees counterclockwise and is displayed sideways (see Figure 6-14). Thus, if you tap on the Rotate icon twice, the image rotates 180 degrees (and is then upside down). If you tap the Rotate icon four times, the image returns to its original orientation.


FIGURE 6-14 Each time you tap on the Rotate icon, it rotates the image 90 degrees in a counterclockwise direction.

After rotating the image, tap on the Save option (displayed at the top-right corner of the screen) to save the changes you’ve made and then return to the Edit Photo screen.

The Enhance Tool

The capabilities of the Enhance tool offered by the Photos app are somewhat limited. This feature often improves the brightness and contrast of an image and brightens its colors, but it has only an On or Off setting. It’s not adjustable, and the enhancements impact the entire image. If an image appears overexposed or underexposed, for example, the Enhance tool can often help compensate for this and improve the overall appearance of the image. However, in some cases, the impact this tool has on a photo is very subtle.

The Filters Tool

When taking photos using the Camera app on the iPhone, it’s possible to tap on the Filters option and automatically add a special effect filter to your images as you’re shooting them. However, whether you’re using an iPhone or iPad, from the Photos app, you can add any one of eight special effect filters after the fact, while you’re editing a photo.

To select and add a filter, from the Edit Photo screen, tap on the Filters icon. Then, if you’re using an iPhone, with your finger, swipe horizontally along the filter icons to scroll through your options. Select the one you want to add by tapping on it. On the iPad, all the filters are displayed along the bottom of the screen (see Figure 6-15).


FIGURE 6-15 Select the filter you want to add to an image. There are eight to choose from via the Photos app.

Your Filter options include None, Mono, Tonal, Noir, Fade, Chrome, Process, Transfer, and Instant. If you tap on the None option, no filter is used. However, if you want to transform your full-color image into a black-and-white image, use either the Mono, Tonal, or Noir filters. Each takes a different approach to removing the colors from your image.

The Fade option subdues the vivid colors displayed in your image, while the Chrome, Process, and Transfer special effect filters alter the colors in an image to create entirely different visual effects. The Instant filter transforms your modern-day digital image into one that looks like it was shot using a Polaroid Instant Camera.

Once you select a filter you want to use by tapping on it, your image is transformed immediately. To save the image, tap on the Apply option that’s displayed in the top-right corner of the screen. To remove the filter, either tap on the None or Cancel option. Keep in mind that only one filter can be added to an image using the Photos app; however, if you want access to a broader selection of special effect filters, as well as the option to apply multiple filters to a single image, consider using another photography app when editing your photos.

Figure 6-16 shows the same image as what’s seen in Figure 6-15, but with the Tonal special effect filter selected.


FIGURE 6-16 The Tonal filter has been added to transform this full-color image into black and white.

The Red-Eye Tool

Red-eye in photos of people is caused when you use the flash built in to your camera (in this case, your iPhone) and the subject’s pupils are not able to adjust fast enough to compensate for the sudden burst of light that’s flashed into their eyes when a photo is taken. As a result, bright red dots appear in their eyes within the photos. How close you are to your subject when the iPhone’s flash is used, as well as the natural color of the subject’s eyes, impacts the severity of the red-eye that winds up being captured within a photo.

As you’re taking photos, to reduce or eliminate red-eye, consider moving farther away from your subject and then using the zoom. You also can turn on HDR mode and turn off the iPhone’s flash altogether (to utilize the existing and ambient light). If you can somehow increase the natural light where you’re taking the photo, this too can help reduce red-eye when the flash is used.

However, if you wind up with the unwanted red-eye effect in your photos, which makes the person’s eyes look bright red, this can also be fixed after the fact using the Red-Eye tool that’s built in to the Photos app. To use this tool, load the photo that showcases the unwanted red-eye, and then tap on the Edit option. Next, tap on the Red-Eye tool. Using your finger or a stylus, tap on the subject’s eyes, one at a time, directly over the unwanted red dots. The Red-Eye tool digitally fixes the image.

Unfortunately, the Red-Eye tool does not compensate for a person’s natural eye color. It simply removes the unwanted bright red dots and gives your subject’s eyes a darker, more natural looking appearance.

The Crop Tool

The Crop tool that’s built in to the Photos app (and many other photography apps) is used to resize, reframe, and reposition your image after it’s been taken. For example, it can be used to remove some unwanted background in an image after it has been shot, to simulate the zoom, to readjust the focal point of an image, or to change the image’s dimensions.

From the Edit Photo screen, tap on the Crop tool to access it. Upon doing this, a crop grid is superimposed over your image (see Figure 6-17). Notice that the corners of the grid have darker corners. Using your finger, drag any one of these corners inward at a diagonal (toward the center of the image), or drag it upward, downward, or to the side (depending on its current position) to adjust the size and shape of the crop grid.


FIGURE 6-17 The Crop tool can be used to resize, reframe, or reposition an image. What appears in the crop grid is the portion of your image that will automatically be saved.

Whatever portion of your image that appears within the crop grid is what will be saved when you tap on the Crop option (that’s found in the top-right corner of the screen).

Move around one or more of the crop grid’s corners to reframe and resize your image as you see fit. It’s then possible to place your finger near the center of the grid and drag it around to reposition the image itself within the grid.

When the Crop tool is activated, the Aspect option is displayed at the bottom center of the screen. Tap on this to manually resize the image or adjust its aspect ratio accordingly, based on how you plan to use the digital image once it’s been edited.

Tap on the Original option from the Aspect menu (see Figure 6-20) to retain the image’s original, rectangular aspect ratio. However, if you want to change the rectangular image and crop it into a square shape (for use on Instagram, for example), tap on the Square option.


FIGURE 6-20 Adjust the aspect ratio of an image to resize it from the Aspect menu.

If you ultimately plan to create a print of the image in a specific size, such as 4" × 6", 5" × 7", or 8" × 10", select that aspect ratio from the menu. If you change the aspect ratio for a specific print size, but then attempt to make a different size print from that edited digital image, the image showcased in the print is typically distorted or does not fit properly within the selected print size.

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