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Tips and tricks for iPhoto for iOS

Chris McVeigh | May 16, 2013
Although iPhoto for iOS isn't quite as robust as its OS X counterpart, it's a very capable image editor--and it can do a few cool tricks you simply can't do on your Mac.

Ink Effects give your photos texture and serrated edges that make them look like they're on a tattered canvas. As with Vintage, there are six effects you can choose from. When you've found one that you like, you can swipe left and right on the photo to increase or decrease the saturation, and swipe up and down the photo to increase or decrease the appearance of the texture. Note that while these effects are applied over other edits, effects cannot be combined.

Expand dynamic range
Taking a photo in certain lighting conditions can result in a constrained dynamic range, or more simply put, the darkest parts of the photo are not pure black and/or the brightest parts of the photo are not pure white. As a result, your photo may look dull or washed out.

Luckily, iPhoto for iOS gives you a quick way to fix the exposure and make your photos pop. Open iPhoto, choose a photo and then tap Edit. Now tap the Exposure icon in the bottom left. Under your photo you will see a slide control that lets you adjust the exposure and contrast of the image. Ah, but there's something more to this slider! The position of the controls actually gives you important information about the dynamic range of the image, similar to a histogram in a desktop app. At the left end, you'll see a silver rectangle showing  the value of the darkest pixel in your photo, and at the other end you'll see a silver rectangle showing the value of the lightest pixel in your photo.

You can expand the dynamic range of your photo by dragging those controls towards the thin dividers at either end of the slider, which represent the darkest and lightest points possible. (Notice that if you go too far beyond those dividers, the ends will glow red, indicating that you're now dropping out shadows or blowing out highlights.) Once you've set the correct dynamic range, you can then fine-tune the photo's exposure using the slider's brightness and contrast and contrast controls. And remember that you can tap the Show Original icon in the top right at any time to gauge your progress.

Use Show Strokes and Edge Detection for precise editing
Although iPhoto gives you a great collection of adjustment brushes such as Saturation and Sharpen, it's sometimes difficult to make precise edits using finger swipes. Invariably, your finger will go out of bounds and areas that you don't want changed will show the effects of your edit. A good solution to this issue is to use Edge Detection in combination with the option to Show Strokes.


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