The artist’s palette icon in iPhoto holds a selection of powerful tools for improving the colour and white balance in your photos.
The colour controls allow you to bolster certain tones or ramp up the colour as a whole, so you can make a blue sky stand out more, bring out the best in skin tones or simply create a more intense look by raising the overall saturation. You can also reduce the colour for a more washed-out feel. Meanwhile, the white balance controls offer a range of presets to help correct for all sorts of lighting conditions.
Used in conjunction with the Exposure tools, these controls can completely transform photos and atone for a multitude of in-camera sins: when used judiciously they can elevate even flat, washed-out photos into something much more presentable.
More iPhoto tutorials
As recently featured in iPad & iPhone User, we have a series of seven tutorials covering different aspects of iPhoto for the iPhone and iPad. This superb app will make editing your photos a dream.
Time required: 5 mins
What you need:
iOS 5.1 or later
Step 1: Pump it up
For photos that feel a little washed-out, the saturation control is a good place to start. Use the slider, or tap and hold anywhere on the image for swipable saturation controls. As with most photo-editing controls, less is more: it doesn’t take much saturation before photos start looking gaudy.
Step 2: Blue-sky thinking
iPhoto adjusts the options for colour adjustments depending on where you press. Tap and hold on an area of sky and the Blue Skies slider lets you ramp up the tones. Colour changes alter the image’s colour balance, but Preserve Skin Tones in the cog icon helps keep skin tones looking natural.
Step 3: Clever colouring
Similarly, holding your finger over a flesh tone or an area of greenery brings up context-sensitive options for adjusting warmth or green tones. Double-tapping zooms in. The results can be extremely subtle when using the swipe controls – compare it with your original image frequently.
Step 4: Lighting conditions
White balance controls offer you a quick means of compensating for less-than-ideal lighting conditions. It’s a good idea to fix the white balance before tweaking the colour levels too much. Press the WB icon to bring up the menu of lighting presets.
Step 5: Bright whites
The white balance options are designed to compensate for natural sunshine, cloudy conditions and shade, and artificial lighting conditions. You can manually set the white balance based on neutral tones in the image, or using skin tones: tap the two icons on the right, then use the colour picker.
Step 6: Colour copying
Although you can’t batch-edit images in iPhoto, you can copy and paste the colour and white balance settings from one photo to others. When you want to do so, tap the cog icon in the bottom right and select Copy Colour; you can then open another image and ‘paste’ your colour settings.