Improving your pictures on a Mac

There are lots of photo editing programs available for the Mac but the one built in to every Mac is always the one I use first. Its simple to use and has some good capabilities if you look carefully.

Importing you pictures

The first place to start is to import the pictures you want to edit into Apples Photos program.   If you have a camera that can plug into a USB port, the Photos program should start and offer to automatically import any or all of the pictures on the camera after you plug it in.

Otherwise, on the File drop down menu, choose Import. This opens a window that lets you find the pictures you want to use on your computer. After navigating to the place where the pictures exist, click on the one you want. If there is more than one listed there, click on the first one, then hold down the shift key then click on the last one to select them all.  If they are not listed in order – one after the other, hold down the “Command” key and click on them one at a time.

Next you select the “Review for Import” button. You are then presented with a window with the pictures you chose in the last step showing in thumbnail view at the top of the window. Clicking on each picture puts a blue tick in the bottom left hand corner to show you the ones you want to import. If you want them all, click on the “Import All” button at the top. But if you don’t wan them all,  select the ones you really want to import, then click the  “Import Selected” button.

The Photos program then shows you a window with just the imported pictures to convince you it has done what you asked.

Begin Editing.

Double clicking on any picture, opens that picture. Then clicking on the edit button on the top right hand side of the screen opens the editor with its black background. The edit button is the one with three horizontal lines and on it. It’s supposed to look like adjustment sliders!

On the window that opens there is a list of adjustments you can make to your picture on the right hand side.


The top one is Enhance. Clicking this button automatically adjusts the brightness and contrast and the colour settings. It’s always worth a try and if you don’t like the result, hold the command key down and press Z. This will undo the adjustments it just made.


The next button is Rotate.  You use this button if the picture is on its side or upside down.  It will turn the picture by 90 degrees anticlockwise for each click. If you prefer to go clockwise hold down the “Option” button and click.


The next button is “Crop.” It enables you to remove any extraneous material from the sides or top and bottom of a picture. It also is useful to rotate a picture slightly. This picture for example has the horizon sloping down on the right hand side. To correct this click on the crop button then on the scale that appears and drag until the picture is correct.  Here is a video to show you how this works – watch the right hand side to see it in action.

Horizon adjust final

Adjusting the horizon this way, crops the edges of the picture as well, so the height and width of the original picture is maintained. You can adjust both if the final picture need a bit of a twerk to remove extraneous material.


Next there is a selection of filter for you to use. Some filters increase the colour content, some turn the picture back and white or increase the contrast. It’s always worth a look to see if one of the filters there does the job for you.


The next button down on the right hand side is the adjustment button.  This gives you access to many aspects of the picture you are trying to improve. There are brightness and contrast sliders,  there is a Brilliance slider, exposure etc. Open a picture yourself and have a look at the options here. They are easy to use and if you make a mistake, you can press Command Z to go back one step at a time or select “Revert to Original” at the top of the screen to go right back.

When you first open the adjustment button, you have a list of common adjustments. But you can see a full list of the option by clicking on the add button at the top then selecting the type of adjustment you want to use. I have selected nearly every adjustment and saved it as the default.

Even when you have selected all the adjustments listed, there are still more available which you can see by clicking on the down arrow at the top of each adjustment category. It should open that particular category and show all the adjustments. Maybe I’ll write about each of these adjustments in another blog in the future. I don’t want to jump too soon as Apple is about to bring out an update to its Photos program. So I’ll wait and see.


After the adjustment button there is a band aid button that will automatically correct flaws in parts of the picture. So if for example I wanted to remove the leaves from the lawn behind the two girls in the picture, I select the band aid button, adjust the size of the correction circle to be about the same as the leaf I wanted to remove, then click on the leaf. It will magically disappear and be replaced by a lawn coloured circle. The circle may be a bit fuzzy sometimes because it tends to use an average of the colours around it, but can remove blemished including scratches and dust from imported slides easily. By adjusting the size, you can adjust the correction to an extent. It usually maintains an edge in a picture. So, for example, so if I click on a blemish covering the bottom edge of the seat in the picture above, it should fix it and not remove the edge of the seat. It should leave the top half of the correction circle, seat coloured and the bottom half would be concrete coloured. Adjusting the size of the circle can effect how well it does it.

Red Eye Correct

The next button down is the red eye button used to remove the red eye you get from using a flash. After selecting the button, you will be presented with a circle. Adjust the size slider until the circle matches the eye size then click on the red eye you want to remove. The red area of the eye will go black and the red eye will be no more. The circle size simply tells the program where to look for the red eye so it doesn’t have to exactly match the red area of the eye but it does have to cover the red area.


The final button on the right hand side is the Extension button.  This gives you access to other programs that can be used to adjust the picture you are looking at. Unfortunately Photoshop is not supported (except through a program called “Open in” but it doesn’t always work.) The MacPhun suite – Luminar, Snapheal, Noiseless, Tonality and Aurora can all be added to this button by clicking “more” in the extension area then selecting the checkbox beside each program. You will need one of these extensions if you want to adjust only a certain portion of the picture because, except for the repair and red eye button, all of the other adjustments change the whole picture.

When you have finished,  the adjustments you made are saved automatically when you press the “Done” button at the top or the arrow buttons to select another picture.

So have a go. Import your picture and adjust them to your hearts content. You can’t go wrong – well you can but you can always reverse anything you do.


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One Comment

  1. very good, i actually love this web site, keep on it

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