You could say the Effects palette is iPhoto’s equivalent of the dressing-up box: a cursory rummage reveals options for creating arty black-and-white looks, those Lomography-inspired hipster-ish styles that are so popular with Instagram aficionados, or adorable toytown-seeming tilt-shift effects. You can also mimic the effect of analogue photography by adding grain, or take things truly retro with vignettes.
But Effects isn’t all about mimicking the photographic tropes of bygone eras: there are also options that offer real potential for transforming run-of-the-mill photographs into something far more striking through subtle colour modifications. And the results you’ll find here will give anything you can find in the Color Balance palette a run for its money.
And while the options don’t approach the sophistication of what you can achieve with Photoshop, there’s enough choice here to give even quite demanding amateur photographers the power to jazz up their photos. Best of all, Effects are incredibly simple and quick to apply.
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: 45 mins
What you need:
iOS 5.1 or later
Step 1: Blowing hot and cold
Even a simple shift in the tonal palette of your photos can radically change the feel of an image: the Warm & Cool swatch is your destination for experimenting with this. Dragging your finger left and right along the swatch changes shifts the photo’s tonal range.
Step 2: A shady world
The Duotone option strips out the colour range from your image, replacing it with shades of a particular colour. Think sepia, but in purple, green or beige. Pressing the colour wheel icon brings in subtle colours from your image – this works best on photos with a wide range of colours.
Step 3: Shades of grey
You might think there’s only one type of black and white, but you’d be wrong. The Black & White palette offers an impressive selection of options at various exposures, while the buttons to the right add old-school vignette effects, a film-grain effect for ‘classic photo’ points, and a sepia effect.
Step 4: Selected highlights
The Aura palette takes the brightest colours in the palette and allows you to dial them right up – or turn them all the way down, while easing the rest of the image towards monochrome. On the right type of picture this is brilliant for creating moody, unusual results.
Step 5: Beyond retro
Next comes the Vintage swatch. iPhoto offers a small palette of convincing retro film effects, with none of the naff fake scratches you get on some of the retro iPhone photography apps. These range from the subtle to the garish, and work best on photos with wide colour ranges.
Step 6: The arty bits
The easiest way to explain the Artistic panel might be that it gets steadily more abstract as you move to the right, ranging from small colour adjustments to all-out paint effects that mimic oil paint or watercolour media – although the latter is more pop-art than dainty watercolour painting.