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I've been printing fine art greeting cards for years. But the process has never been easier than lately using Apple's Photos app.

card-layout.jpg

In addition to integrating these projects with my overall Photos library, I have dozens of stylish templates to choose from. And since Photos saves each card that I make as a project, I can easily reopen it, reprint it, or change the photo all together.

I write about this process in my latest book, The Apple Photos Book for Photographers, which you can download right now. But I'll also share the basic steps right here so you can create your own works of art at home with an inkjet printer.

Creating a Fine Art Greeting Card with Apple Photos

I use Red River Paper because it offers a wide selection of card stock at very affordable prices. (Plus you can get envelopes and ink there too.)

For this project I'm using one of my favorites, 60 lb. Polar Matte double-sided 7" × 10" (catalog #1958). It's a bright paper with a nice tooth that feels good in the hands. Your cards will look and feel like works of art.

The reason why you want to go with 7" × 10" paper is because it folds down to a standard 5" × 7" card - the same dimensions that Apple uses for its folded pieces. In a pinch, you could cut down a larger sheet if necessary. But the Red River cards are also scored in the middle, which makes folding so much easier and professional looking.

As for printing instructions, I'll remind you that what appears in the dialog box is based on the print driver. So what you see on your computer might look different than what I'm showing here. Hopefully, you'll be able to take this information and adjust accordingly.

10-14-PrintDialog.jpg

Instead of clicking on the Buy Card button, go to File > Print. You should see something like in the figure above. If you're seeing far less information on your computer, click on the Show Details button at the bottom of the dialog. That should expand the dialog box.

Since I'm only printing the outside of the card (I like to leave the inside blank for a personal message), I choose "Print from 1 to 1." Then we get to paper size. Chances are very good that you're not going to have a 7" × 10" option in this popup menu. But what you will have there is a Manage Custom Sizes option at the bottom. Choose that, and make your own preset. I named mine Greeting Card. The computer will remember the 7" × 10" preset you just created. So you only have to do this the first time.

After you have the paper size right, the card should look pretty good in the preview window. Mine came up just a tad short on the edges. So I set scale for 102 percent. That fixed the problem perfectly.

Now all that's left are the printer settings. You can add those in the popup that's labeled Layout. Click on it, and choose Printer Settings from the list. The most important part is having Media Type set correctly. In my case, the printer needs to know that I'm using matte paper. Check your settings one more time, then print!

Watching the card slowly emerge from the printer is the closest thing we have in digital photography to seeing an image magically appear in a tray of developer. Both are exciting. Let the card cure for an hour or so at room temperature before folding - that is, unless it's one of those emergency jobs you're making as you head out the door to an anniversary party. Then fold and go!

As you're sitting there in the car with the card in your hand, you might feel a little something. Let it wash over you and enjoy it. That's the feeling of being an artist.

The Apple Photos Book for Photographers

For photographers who are more than just casual snapshooters, or who are making the transition from Aperture or iPhoto, The Apple Photos Book for Photographers shines a light on the sophistication of this app and the ecosystem it taps into. Available as an eBook now, and coming to print later this year.

Get it for $15 using checkout code APPLE15!

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Apple RAW Update 6.20 adds compatibility for 9 new cameras for its Photos app and system wide on Mac OS X. The new cameras are (including the PEN-F):

  • Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
  • Canon EOS 80D
  • Canon EOS Rebel T6 / 1300D / Kiss X80
  • Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GF8
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GX7 Mark II / GX80 / GX85
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS100 / TZ100 / TX1
  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 III
  • Olympus PEN-F

olympus-pen-f.jpg

RAW files from these cameras can be processed natively on Mac OS X. For a complete list on cameras supported, see Apple Support Document

The Apple Photos Book for Photographers

For photographers who are more than just casual snapshooters, or who are making the transition from Aperture or iPhoto, The Apple Photos Book for Photographers shines a light on the sophistication of this app and the ecosystem it taps into. Available as an eBook now, and coming to print later this year.

Get it for $15 using checkout code APPLE15!

For hands-on tutorials, be sure to take a look at Photos for OS X Essential Training on lynda.com. I cover everything you need to know to get the most from this surprisingly powerful image management application.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

The 1.1 version of External Editors, a must-have 99-cent editing extension for Photos, continues to drive this application in the right direction.

External-Editors.jpg Version 1.1 of External Editors brings a new interface and nice improvements.

When I first wrote about the app in February, it didn't have a mechanism for handling RAW file transport. But version 1.1 features many refinements, including being able to convert RAW files to Jpegs or Tiffs in the extension itself.

This leads to many possible workflows. The one I've been using goes like this for RAWs.

  • In Photos, duplicate the RAW file and name it as an external edited version.
  • Open the duplicated RAW in External Editors and use the Convert To command to change it to Tiff or Jpeg.
  • Send it to the processor of your choice and edit.
  • Save the file and return to Photos.

silver-efex-photos.jpg Silver Efex Pro 2 running with External Editors and Photos.

The edited Tiff or Jpeg will be positioned next to your original RAW in the Photos library. You have other workflow options, such as Replace with Image from Disk. It's worth playing with to find the sequence that works best with you. Because the bottom line is this: Exernal Editors opens up all of your image editing tools to your Photos library.

The Apple Photos Book for Photographers

For photographers who are more than just casual snapshooters, or who are making the transition from Aperture or iPhoto, The Apple Photos Book for Photographers shines a light on the sophistication of this app and the ecosystem it taps into. Available as an eBook now, and coming to print later this year.

Get it for $15 using checkout code APPLE15!

And dont forget... For hands-on tutorials, be sure to take a look at Photos for OS X Essential Training on lynda.com. I cover everything you need to know to get the most from this surprisingly powerful image management application.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

DxO continues to refine their ONE Camera with Firmware Update 1.4. Among the list of goodies, one that really caught my eye was adding author copyright to each image's metadata.

copyright-screen.jpg DxO ONE shooters can now set up automatic inclusion of their copyright, author info, and even watermark to their images.

I updated the DxO ONE via my iPhone. The procedure was simple and fast. In general, I have to say that the software interface for the camera is one of my favorite aspects of it. It's so easy to use. And these days, it's quite powerful too.

After the firmware update, I added my copyright and www.thedigitalstory.com for the author info. After all, I want people to know how to get a hold of me. I then opened the image in Photos for OS X and ran the picture through the DxO ONE editing extension for fine tuning. I exported the shot to my desktop and opened it in Preview.

Copyright-DxO.jpg

The Get Info window displays all of the information that I entered in the settings for my DxO ONE. This is a wonderful addition to an already full-featured camera.

The DxO ONE is available for $439, featuring a 1" sensor and excellent feature set.

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A week from today many of us will be watching the WWDC keynote on our Apple TVs. Most folks will be listening for what's new in their favorite area of technology. For myself, I'm keenly interested in the next chapter of digital photography with Apple tools.

In many ways, I feel like we've been putting together a jigsaw puzzle the last couple years. The evolution of iPhone cameras, iOS photography apps, iCloud, and Mac-based software have all been spread out on a table while we try to figure out how to assemble them.

photos-for-osx-edit.jpg

The missing piece has been Photos for OS X. Although a lovely application in its own right, it's hardly the Aperture/iPhone replacement that enthusiast photographers were hoping for... at least at first.

The emergence of Editing Extensions has provided much-needed functionality for adjusting our pictures. And depending on which extensions you have available on your Mac, you can do everything from retouching a portrait to creating an HDR landscape. Add robust iCloud connectivity, and the pieces are truly beginning to make sense.

So what's missing? What I and many others will be hoping for on Monday, June 13 is improved digital asset management. Simply marking a picture as a favorite isn't adequate. If Photos for OS X is ever going to become that software that's it's capable of, then Apple needs to address the front end of post production.

It's then next chapter that I want to write for my book. And if Apple provides that missing piece, the picture that we've been hoping to see should be worth the wait.

The Apple Photos Book for Photographers

For photographers who are more than just casual snapshooters, or who are making the transition from Aperture or iPhoto, The Apple Photos Book for Photographers shines a light on the sophistication of this app and the ecosystem it taps into. Available as an eBook now, and coming to print later this year.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

In addition to the Polaroids I want to digitize, I have lots of snapshots that I'd like to share online. I haven't done much of that in the past because, quite honestly, it was just too much hassle. But now, I have a simple workflow using my iPhone and Photos, that has changed all of that.

Chris Polaroid Portrait.jpg "Chris" by Derrick Story with a Polaroid MiniPortrait 203 Passport Camera.

First, I scan the print with the iPhone 6S and the Unfade app for iOS. This gives me an excellent source file that is semi-corrected too.

The image is automatically saved to my iCloud account, so it's there waiting for me on my Mac. I open it in Photos for OS X and apply the Enhance tool in the Edit menu. If I need to do more, I can use one of my favorite Editing Extensions such as Pixelmator Retouch or BeFunky.

The adjusted image is saved back to iCloud and is available on all of my iOS and Mac OS X devices. From there, I can share at will. The entire process takes about 5 minutes.

Do You Like Film?

Take a look at theAnalogstory - Film Photography in the Digital Age. We cover great 35mm cameras, personal stories from film photographers, quick tips, and even a camera shop. Stop by, won't you?

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Apple Photos Book Cover.jpg

Do you think that Photos for OS X is some lightweight app just for iPhone-toting snapshooters? You're wrong. And I explain why in my latest guide, The Apple Photos Book for Photographers.

Photos for OS X has two things that neither Aperture nor iPhoto ever had: Amazing iCloud integration and a far more sophisticated architecture for third party software.

Let's address the later first. I'm not talking about roundtripping. Editing Extensions don't require creating bulky Tiff files to send to outside applications. You stay within the Photos ecosystem when applying advanced techniques such as HDR, B&W, skin softening, etc., even to the point that you can undo the changes from the editing extensions in Photos itself. You can even see the before and after in your Photos editing environment.

As for iCloud integration, it's amazing. Work on an image in Photos for OS X or Photos for iOS, and the changes are propagated to the other devices automatically. Backup is handled for you. The flexibility and response time is incredible.

So how do you take features like this and integrate them into a photography workflow? That's just one of the many topics I address for photographers in this book.

Photos-Book-Spread.jpg

So who is this for? Any shooter who likes the Apple ecosystem, wants powerful simplicity in their software, and enjoys using tools designed by great developers such as Macphun, DxO, and Affinity.

The Apple Photos Book for Photographers takes you on a journey into the world of photography like you've never read in a software guide before. I open chapters with anecdotes about my experiences as they pertain to the subject at hand. I cover the tools and techniques that help you simplify your workflow without giving up craftsmanship or creativity. You're going to love this ride.

We're releasing the eBook version right now. And you can get it for only $15 if you use Coupon Code APPLE15 at checkout. The print book will be out later this year. Start your journey now and explore what Photos for OS X can do for your photography.

I've just finished testing Aurora HDR Pro 1.2.2 standalone app and Editing Extension for Photos for OS X, and this version includes some terrific enhancements plus additional RAW compatibility.

Red-Tractor-1024.jpg "Red Tractor" - Captured with an iPhone 6S and processed in Photos for OS X using its editing tools and Aurora HDR Pro Editing Extension. Image by Derrick Story.

One of my favorite improvements is the ability to sync Favorite presets between Aurora HDR Pro standalone and the Aurora HDR Pro Editing Extension. Very nice. The RAW compatibility for new cameras includes:

  • Canon 80D, 1300D, 1DX MkII
  • Leica M (Typ 262)
  • Nikon D5
  • Olympus Pen F, SH-3
  • Panasonic DMC-GX80/85, DMC-TZ80/81/85/ZS60, DMC-TZ100/101/ZS100
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 (SM-G935F)
  • Sony ILCA-68, ILCE-6300, RX1R II, RX10 III
  • DxO ONE Digital Camera
  • Fujifilm X-Pro2

hdr-pro-tractor.jpg To complement all of the powerful slider tools, there are dozens of presets to help you get your image on the right track.

Aurora HDR Pro is a wonderful Editing Extension for Photos for OS X. In addition to being a robust HDR processor, the software includes many advanced sliders such as Top & Bottom Lighting, Tone Curve, Layer Control, and Denoise. Plus, it features seven categories of presets, which is a great way to figure out the starting point for your editing.

You can get $10 Off Aurora HDR Pro plus receive $90 worth of bonuses here.

Master Photos for OS X

(It's More Powerful than You Think)

For hands-on tutorials, be sure to take a look at Photos for OS X Essential Training on lynda.com. I cover everything you need to know to get the most from this surprisingly powerful image management application.

More Help and Insights on Photos for OS X

Don't forget about the Photos for OS X Special Feature Section on The Digital Story. It's a roundup of tutorials, videos, and articles focused on helping you master Apple's latest photo management software. You can also find it under Photography in the top nav bar.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Macphun has created a new Editing Extension for Photos users, and it's a blast. Filters for Photos is a quality, editable, effects app that allows you to apply a variety of filters, then edit them with an easy to use masking tool. And if that wasn't good enough, the download is free.

03-Comparing-web.jpg An array of interesting filters to choose from. Images by Derrick Story.

When you first download the app, you get 15 filters. If you opt-in for their mailing list, you'll receive another 15 filters (they're automatically added to the app) for a total of 30. You can use the app as a standalone, or enable it as an Editing Extension for Photos for OS X (System Preferences > Extensions > Photos > Filters for Photos).

When you first load an image, it appears in the browser with thumbnails of the filter options below. Simple click on the effect you want, and it's applied. You can use the contextual sliders to adjust further. Or, click on the Mask button and paint the effect specifically where you want it. The masking toolset has everything you need, and it's easy to use.

masking-in-filters.jpg The masking tool is easy to use and powerful.

After just a half an hour or so of playing with Filters for Photos, I was quite comfortable applying and editing the effects. And if you're using it as an Editing Extension, which I recommend, then the image is integrated into your Photos for OS X library, and the work is totally non-destructive.

Filters for Photos is a fun app that belongs in the toolbox for any Mac photographer.

Coming Soon: The Apple Photos Book for Photographers

PhotosPromo-1.jpg

I've been working on a guide to Photos for OS X that's written for photographers who want to use this application at a high level. I cover workflow, iCloud integration, and editing... at the enthusiast level.

We're releasing the eBook version soon, then will go to print after Apple announces its updates to the app at WWDC. This is an exciting, ongoing project that I think you'll want to be a part of. And you can join me every step of the way via the signup page we've created. This is going to be fun...

Master Photos for OS X

(It's More Powerful than You Think)

For hands-on tutorials, be sure to take a look at Photos for OS X Essential Training on lynda.com. I cover everything you need to know to get the most from this surprisingly powerful image management application.

More Help and Insights on Photos for OS X

Don't forget about the Photos for OS X Special Feature Section on The Digital Story. It's a roundup of tutorials, videos, and articles focused on helping you master Apple's latest photo management software. You can also find it under Photography in the top nav bar.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

For only $5, you can add an exhaustive (but easy to use) collection of filters to your Photos for OS X app. The editing extension is called Color Filters for Photos, and it's worth a look.

pre-process.jpg

Like any Editing Extension, the easiest route is to purchase and download from the Mac App Store. In this case, Colors will only set you back $4.99. Once the download is complete, go to System Preferences > Extensions > Photos and turn on Color Filters. Now you're ready to have fun.

Open an image in Photos for OS X, then press the Return key to go to editing mode. At the bottom of the list on the right side, click on Extensions, and choose Color Filters from the popup menu.

color-filter-applied.jpg

In the Color Filters interface, you're presented with some nice pre-processing adjustments, such as highlights and shadows. Then you can move down to the filters themselves. There are six different sets, each with a healthy list of options. Just mouse over the different items on the list, and you'll see your image temporarily transformed with the filter. Find one you like, and click on it. The filter is applied. Click the Save Changes button to return to Photos.

Just like anything else in Photos, this process is totally non-destructive. While in Edit mode, you can press the M key to see the unedited version of the image, or choose Revert to Original to remove the effect altogether.

Color Filters is a well-coded, well-designed application. The performance is snappy, and the effects are terrific. Seems like a must-have investment for any Photos for OS X photographer.

Master Photos for OS X

(It's More Powerful than You Think)

For hands-on tutorials, be sure to take a look at Photos for OS X Essential Training on lynda.com. I cover everything you need to know to get the most from this surprisingly powerful image management application.

More Help and Insights on Photos for OS X

Don't forget about the Photos for OS X Special Feature Section on The Digital Story. It's a roundup of tutorials, videos, and articles focused on helping you master Apple's latest photo management software. You can also find it under Photography in the top nav bar.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.