Recently in Photos for OS X

  Page 1 of 12 in Photos for OS X  

I truly enjoy using the iPhone 12 Pro Max with the HEIC file format for my everyday pictures. The results are terrific, and the file sizes are compact.

But when I want to have a little extra fun with those images, I've been firing up ON1 Effects 2021 that works as both a standalone app and as an Editing Extension for Photos for macOS. Effects has a wide variety of adjustments that work great with HEIC files (Jpegs and RAWs as well), and the workflow couldn't be easier.

Effects is also an excellent plugin for Photoshop, Lightroom, and Capture One Pro. The steps are similar as these.

Basic Steps to Using Effects as a Photos Editing Extension

Here are the basic steps that I use to add a little punch to my everyday pictures.

001-ON1-for-HEIC.jpg Step 1 - Go to Edit mode in Photos for macOS and choose ON1 Effects from the Extensions dropdown menu.

002-Apply-Filter.jpg Step 2 - Once you're in Effects, experiment with the Presets on the left side of the interface.

003-Add-Filters.jpg Step 3 - Further enhance your image by tapping a variety of adjustments. ON1 calls them Filters.

004-Enhanced.jpg Step 4 - Collapse the pallet on the left side to get a better look at your image before sending back to Photos. Click the Done button when satisfied with your work.

006-Back-to-Photos.jpg Step 5 - Back in Photos. Exit the editing interface by clicking on the yellow Done button.

More You Can Do with Effects

There are many different ways to approach ON1 Effects. It works as a standalone app. You can use it as an editing extension for Photos, as shown here. And it's a very nice plugin for Photoshop, Lightroom, and Capture One Pro 21.

I usually start with browsing presets to get a feel for where I might want to go with an image. For my infrared photography, I create my own presets as starting points. These include the red/blue channel swaps and other adjustments that I commonly use.

Beyond that, local adjustments are available, as are gradient masks and more. There's really no limit to what you can do with your pictures in this app.

Creating a Totally Non-Destructive Workflow with Effects and Photos

When you send an image from Apple Photos to Effects, any settings you apply will be saved with the image, so that you can send the image back to Effects with your edits intact, as long as you do not subsequently edit that image inside Photos.

To re-edit an image processed inside Effects, click on the image in Photos and follow the same steps above. When your image is opened inside Effects, you will see all of the changes you made in your previous session.

Keep in mind however, once you make any editing changes to your image inside Photos, your Effects edits will be "baked in" to the image. You can send the image again to Effects, but your original settings won't be visible.

If you wish to keep your original Effects edits, duplicate the image inside Photos (Image > Duplicate), which will create a new virtual copy of the file. You can then edit one of the versions in Photos, using the other one to preserve your Effects edits.

Downloading a Free Trial or Purchasing ON1 Effects 2021

You can try ON1 Effects 2021 free for 14 days. If you decide to purchase, you can buy for $69.95. Save 15% off that price by using coupon code: THEDIGITALSTORY.

Bottom Line

I started using ON1 Effects for my infrared photography because of its excellent Channel Mixer, LUTs, and presets. But I've discovered that it's useful for all of my photography. It's a robust tool for both my Photos and Capture One Pro workflows. And it's a great way to get the most out of my iPhone shots as well.

Product Links and Comments

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

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

There are many features in Photos for Mac and iOS that I like, but until now, Filters was not one of them. My complaint was that there weren't many to choose from, and they often didn't look that great when applied full force. That's changed.

IMG_0192.jpeg Tapping Filters in Photos for iOS

The Filters in Photos for both iOS and macOS Big Sur are now adjustable. And that's a whole new ballgame. For example, I applied Vivid Warm to this historic building in Santa Rosa, CA. At full force, the filter was just too strong and was not the effect that I was looking for.

IMG_0193.jpeg

In the past, this was the "take it or leave it" choice I faced. So I often left it. But now, once I tap on a specific filter, a slider appears next to it that allows me to adjust the intensity of the effect.

IMG_0194.jpeg Adjusting the intensity of the applied filter.

For this image, 25 percent was the look I wanted. And that is a completely different result than 100 percent.

Adjustable Filters is just one of the refinements in Photos for macOS Big Sur and iOS. At last, I can actually use this feature of the software... and like it!

How to Watch Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS

Learn more about Photos for the Mac and iPad by checking out my course on LinkedIn Learning and on lynda.com. This course is perfect for Mac and iPad based photographers who shoot with iPhone, Mirrorless, and DSLR cameras. It covers both photography and movies. And if I say so myself, it's a lot of fun.

I'm currently working on an updated title that covers the latest iPhones, Big Sur, and more. Stay tuned for its release date.

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

One of my favorite discoveries with the iPhone 12 Pro is the ability to change the depth of field while editing in Photos for iOS for my Portrait captures. It's truly amazing and very easy.

IMG_0179.jpeg Depth of field adjusted to f/2.0 in Photos for iOS after the shot was captured in Portrait mode on an iPhone 12 Pro Max.

IMG_0180.jpeg Depth of field changed to f/16 in Photos for iOS after the shot was captured in Portrait mode on an iPhone 12 Pro Max.

The steps are easy. First, capture your picture in Portrait mode with the iPhone. View the image in Photos for iOS on the iPhone or iPad. Go to Edit mode and tap on the "f" in the upper left corner. When it highlights, a Depth Scale should appear on the right side of the interface. Choose the depth you want for the picture. The background will change before your very eyes.

Now you have complete control over the softness of the background.

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

RAW Photography with Older iPhones

Only the latest iPhones (and top of the line models at that) can take advantage of Apple's new ProRAW format. But earlier models capture RAW quite well, and by following a few simple steps, can yield beautiful results.

I photographed this fall vineyard scene shooting RAW+Jpeg with an iPhone X using the Halide app. Thanks to the smarts of the iPhone, the Jpeg version looks good despite the strong backlighting from the sky.

unmodified-jpeg-Photos.jpeg Unmodified JPEG captured with an iPhone X using Halide.

But I wanted to get a bit more out of this image, so I decided to spend a couple minutes working with the RAW file. Here is the workflow that I use and recommend. I use Luminar 4 as an Editing Extension for Photos for macOS. Earlier versions of Luminar work well, as do other editing extensions.

  • Open the image in Photos for macOS on a Mac.
  • Go to Edit mode.
  • Go to Image > Use RAW as Original (this switches you to the RAW file from the JPEG).
  • Click on the 3 dots in the top toolbar and choose Luminar (or your favorite Editing Extension).
  • Enhance the RAW file to your taste in Luminar and click Save Changes.
  • Add any finishing touches back in Photos for macOS.

finished-vineyard.jpeg RAW version of vineyard edited in Luminar 4 and Photos for macOS. Images by Derrick Story.

The aspect of the image that I really appreciate being able to adjust in RAW is the sky. I can prevent blown-out highlights with the clouds and bring back some blue in the midtowns.That's far more difficult, if not impossible, with a JPEG version.

If you use iCloud with Photos, then the finished RAW file will be available on all of your Apple devices, including the iPhone that originally captured it. It's a good workflow for those times that you don't have one of your other cameras with you.

How to Watch Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS

Learn everything you need to know about Photos for the Mac and iPad by checking out my latest course on LinkedIn Learning and on lynda.com. This course is perfect for Mac and iPad based photographers who shoot with iPhone, Mirrorless, and DSLR cameras. It covers both photography and movies. And if I say so myself, it's a lot of fun.

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

Gentlemen Coders has released RAW Power 3.0 for macOS and iOS. It's a comprehensive update with much to unpack over the coming weeks, but the focus today is how it brings Star Ratings to Photos for both the Mac and iOS versions of the app.

star-ratings-photos.jpg Photos displaying the rating albums created by RAW Power.

The rating system is easy to use, and is ingenious in its design. If you're running macOS Catalina, the RAW Power app allows you to use your Photos library in real time. This even works if you have the Photos app open. Within RAW Power you can tap all the powerful tools to enhance your images and have those improvements saved directly to your iCloud Photos library. But now, you can also rate and tag those pictures, and they too will be saved to iCloud and acknowledged in the Photos apps.

RAW-Power-3-Photos.jpg RAW Power 3 tapping my Photos library.

RAW Power creates Star Rating Albums that are displayed both in RAW Power, and in the Photos app. RAW Power uses Aperture style keyboard shortcuts for the ratings allowing you to move quickly through the images. What's really cool, even if you're running Photos on macOS Mojave, which doesn't allow the library sharing as in Catalina, the Star Rating Albums still appear in the app if they were added in RAW Power running on a Catalina machine using the same Photos library. The overall approach is both clever and works great.

This update, over a year in the making, includes tons of other stuff as well. Here's a brief overview.

RAW Power 3.0 for Mac and iOS creates the first real option for serious photographers in the Apple ecosystem. RAW Power 3.0 is now the first and only third-party app to include full support for Apple Photos libraries on Mac and iOS, allowing photographers to rate and edit their images anywhere and any time. New features introduced today include flexible storage options, synchronized ratings and flagging for Photo libraries, support for Files.app on iOS, advanced auto enhance, LUT support and one-tap integration with the popular Halide camera app on iOS. RAW Power 3.0, developed by Nik Bhatt, a former Apple engineer who led the iPhoto and Aperture teams, is available for download today on the Mac and iOS App Stores.

Choose-Photos.jpg macOS Catalina photographers can choose the Photos Library from within RAW Power 3. Or they can use the file browser.

The new RAW Power app for iOS introduces the much-requested ability to manage photos either in Photos or in Files.app. Now, photographers can easily work on their collections of images in either or both environments and switch seamlessly between them. Users can import images from an SD card into RAW Power using the Files app. Additionally, the new Copy to RAW Power Share Extension makes it easy to import images from other apps into the Files storage for RAW Power.

I'll be covering more of the features in upcoming posts. But after my initial testing on both macOS and iOS, I can comfortably say that this elevates the Photos/iCloud environment to a high level for serious photographers.

RAW Power 3.0 runs on macOS Catalina and Mojave and is available for $39.99 or as a free upgrade for existing users of RAW Power for Mac 2.0. (It does not support the iCloud Library sharing on Mojave, however.) RAW Power for iOS 3.0 is available for $9.99 or as a free upgrade for current RAW Power for iOS customers. RAW Power for iOS 3.0 runs on iOS 12 and 13, but does not support iPhone 5s, 6 or 6 Plus, or iPad mini 3 or earlier.

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

iPadOS has changed a lot of things for photographers who use Apple tools. Now we have a robust Photos app on the iPad, including tools for editing videos that we don't have on the Mac. I'm serious. Take a look at this short movie to see what I'm talking about.

Why it's better to edit video on an iPad than your Mac from Photos for macOS Catalina Essential Training by Derrick Story

Sure we have lots of video editing options for both platforms. But in this case, that's not the point. If you're an iPhone-toting photographer connected to iCloud, then when you record video with your smartphone, it's right there in the ecosystem waiting for you.

You don't have to transfer it to another app or platform; just open Photos for iPadOS, click on your movie, then adjust exposure, white balance, crop, straighten, and even apply filters. The adjustments are non-destructive and the completed work is available on all your devices via iCloud. It's really slick.

How to Watch Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS

This is just one of the many cool topics that I cover in my latest course on LinkedIn Learning and on lynda.com. Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS is perfect for Mac and iPad based photographers who shoot with iPhone, Mirrorless, and DSLR cameras. It covers both photography and movies. And if I say so myself, it's a lot of fun.

videos-iPadOS.jpg

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

With Photos for macOS, you can easily manage, enhance, and share a large library of images. And thanks to macOS Catalina and iPadOS, the latest version offers a new level of compatibility across devices, aligning the user experience as well the editing and AI-powered organization tools.

photos-catalina-intro.jpg

In this course, Derrick Story takes you on a detailed exploration of this powerful app. Learn how to manage thousands of pictures quickly and easily, and edit and enhance the color, contrast, and compositions of images and video with the built-in editing tools. Derrick also explains how to export images, create slideshows, and prepare photos for printing. Along the way, he highlights the new features that make Photos for macOS Catalina such an important upgrade.

Here are some of the topics covered:

  • What's new in Photos for macOS and iPadOS
  • Creating new Photos libraries
  • The latest Editing Extensions for Photos
  • Importing images
  • Enabling iCloud syncing
  • Backing up a Photos library
  • Organizing images
  • Deleting, removing, and hiding images
  • Editing videos
  • Editing images
  • Working with pictures
  • Exporting images
  • Creating slideshows
  • Printing at home

The thing that I really like about this course, is that I show you the best of both worlds. Some techniques are better on the Mac, while other things, such as editing your videos, are actually better suited for the iPad version of Photos.

And regardless of which way you go, all of your work is automatically backed up to iCloud and shared across all devices. It's really a wonderful workflow. Check out the course intro video.

Get the most from Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS from Photos for macOS Catalina Essential Training by Derrick Story

If you haven't looked at photos for a while, then I think it's time to revisit. And if you are a Photos user, then I think you're really going to like this update.

How to Watch Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS

Learn everything you need to know about Photos for the Mac and iPad by checking out my latest course on LinkedIn Learning and on lynda.com. This course is perfect for Mac and iPad based photographers who shoot with iPhone, Mirrorless, and DSLR cameras. It covers both photography and movies. And if I say so myself, it's a lot of fun.

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

Whether it's a cherished photo from a family album or an artistic image captured on expired film, you can easily breath life into the picture while still retaining the unique qualities of analog photography. And the best part is if you're a Mac user, you already have the app to do so.

Original-Film-Shot-1600.jpg Del Monte Plant No. 1 captured in expired Kodak Gold 200 with a Nikon FM and Nikon Series E 50mm f/1.8 lens. I like the shot, but it was just a bit too off-color for my tastes. Photo by Derrick Story.

Finished-Editing-1600.jpg After just a few clicks in Photos for macOS, I found a sweet spot between the original image and one that I much prefer, but still retaining the original film feel.

Once the image is digitized, here are the 3 steps.

  • Auto Enhance - Photos does a very good job of analyzing film images and applying light-handed corrections to them. I always start with Auto Enhance (what looks like a magic wand), then fine tune from there.
  • White Balance - I prefer using White Balance with the eye dropper to Cast correction. I think WB is better suited to film. I select the Temp/Tint option in the WB popup menu, then click the dropper on a neutral tone area. You can adjust to taste from there.

  • Improve Detail - Definition is great for enhancing midtone contrast and sharpness. If you feel the image needs a bit more, then apply Sharpen as well.

At this point, you should be in great shape for sharing or making a print or two. If you want to keep fiddling, then take a look at the Retouch Brush for any dust spots, Vignette for directing the viewer's eye, and Noise Reduction if you want to tone down the grain a bit.

Your finished product will still have that lovely analog feel to it, but will be fine tuned to your tastes.

Coming Soon! Look for my training on LinkedIn Learning and lynda.com titled, Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS that shows you all the amazing things you can do with this new software. Hope to release this title in late November/early December. In the meantime, you can watch Photos for macOS Mojave right now. It will provide you with the info you need for making great slideshows!

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

Portrait mode on current iPhones is incredible. Just open the Camera app, slide the options to Portrait, and shoot away. And as impressive as the results initially look, you can make them even better with just a few clicks. Here's how.

001-Original-Portrait.jpg The original photo is good. But we can make it better.

If you have iCloud enabled (and why wouldn't you?), your picture is automatically saved to Photos on the Mac and your other iOS devices. With just a few clicks in Photos, you can take that good image to then next level.

002-Switch-to-Studio.jpg Choose the right lighting scheme. I captured in Natural, but I think Studio looks better.

Regardless of which lighting scheme you captured in, you have the option of switching in Photos. In this case, I think the Studio lighting scheme is more flattering. (Notice the options displayed at the bottom of the image.)

003-Adjust-Skin-WB.jpg Improve skin coloring.

iPhones are generally pretty good with image color. That being said, I've found that there's room for improvement as well. Because we took this portrait in the shade, her coloring was still a bit cool.

I selected White Balance in Photos for macOS, choose Skin Tone from the popup menu, and enabled the eye dropper. I then clicked on her face to adjust the white balance for her particular skin tones in this environment. They looked much better afterward.

004-Soft-Vignette.jpg Adding a soft vignette puts more emphasis on the subject.

One trick that many portrait photographers use is to add a soft vignette to put more emphasis on the subject. The technique is to start with full Strength, adjust the Radius and Softness, then back off Strength until the vignette isn't detectable to viewer. However, even as a subtle effect, it makes a noticeable improvement in the image. (Here I only needed about 20 percent strength for this portrait.)

005-Sharpening.jpg Finally, just a bit of sharpening to clean things up.

The last step is add a dash of sharpening as well. Move the Intensity slider (don't worry about Edges and Falloff - they are fine where they are) to about 20 percent. You don't want to over-sharpen portraits, just restore crispness to the overall image.

If you're in Photos for macOS, press the M key to see your before and after. Using Photos in iPadOS, while still in editing mode, just tap on the image to see the original version.

side-by-side.jpg Side-by-Side: A good portrait gets even better. Photos by Derrick Story.

Now, thanks to iOS 13 and iPadOS, all of these techniques can be applied on the iPhone and iPad as well, with the exception of White Balance. When in Photos for mobile devices, use the Warmth and Tint adjustments instead.

Portraits captured with iPhones are truly impressive thanks to computational photography. But the artist in you can take them to the next level. Your subjects will thank you.

And stay tuned for my upcoming training on LinkedIn Learning and lynda.com titled, Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS that shows you all the amazing things you can do with this new software. Hope to release this title in November. Stay tuned! In the meantime, you can watch Photos for macOS Mojave right now. It will provide you with the info you need for making great slideshows!

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

The iPhone does a great job of recording panoramas. But what do you do with them afterwards? They are hard to share on social because they're quite small when displayed in their entirety. As a result, those tiny details defeat the original purpose of sharing an impressive scene.

Beach-Pano.jpg Maui Beach Pano - There has to be a better way to display this! Photo by Derrick Story.

I have two suggestions for you. The first, for viewing on the iPhone, is to use a dedicated app, such as PanViewer. You can have your image fill the entire screen, then tilt or swipe to enjoy the image details.

But my favorite way is to incorporate the panorama images into a Photos slideshow, then output it as a movie. Here's an example, titled Maui - Morning to Night that incorporates two iPhone panoramas with a few still images.

These movies are easy to create. Start in Photos for macOS. Click on the plus sign that appears when you mouseover My Projects in the Sidebar. Name your presentation. The click on the Add Photos button (+) at the bottom where the thumbnails are displayed. Mix in a few standard images with your panoramas, and arrange them in the order that you want. Finally, apply the Ken Burns theme, and play. You will be delighted with the presentation.

You can export the slideshow as an HD video, then share on Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook, and anywhere else you display your stuff.

You probably have a nice stockpile of panoramas right now. Put them to use! And show them to the world.

And stay tuned for my upcoming training on LinkedIn Learning and lynda.com titled, Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS that shows you all the amazing things you can do with this new software. Hope to release this title in November. Stay tuned! In the meantime, you can watch Photos for macOS Mojave right now. It will provide you with the info you need for making great slideshows!

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