Like its smaller sibling iPhoto, Aperture has many tools to help you retouch and improve a digital photograph. They all reside in the Adjustments Inspector tab, accessible either from the sidebar or as a floating window. The tools displayed there show the most commonly used adjustments in your arsenal. Others are available by default and it’s easy to display them as well if you find yourself using them a lot. You can also install third-party plug-ins for even greater functionality.

Aperture 3 also introduced a powerful new feature designed to save hours of work: you can use ready-made adjustment presets, or even better, create your own and export them to use on other Macs. This masterclass will demonstrate how adjustment presets works.

1. Revealing the adjustments  Launch Aperture and select an image from one of your projects. You can also click on the Library’s Photos section to see all images, irrespective of project. To reveal the Adjustments section, click on its tab in the sidebar, go to View > Inspector > Adjustments, or press Control-A.

2. Displayed parameters  The Adjustments tab presents a list of tools which are pretty much laid out in the order you would need to use them when making adjustments to an image. Any tool with a tick next to it is activated, although you won’t see their effect, since none of the values are currently altered.

3. White balance  We won’t focus on this, but as an example, let’s alter your photo’s white balance. Click on the eye dropper icon to reveal the Loupe tool. Move the cursor over a white or light grey area and click on it. If no such area exists and you’re in the Browser or Split View, you can select a colour from another photo.

4. Adjusting values  You can make manual alterations by dragging the sliders to the left or right. If you place the cursor over a value, it turns into a resize icon (a line with two arrows pointing in opposite directions). When this happens, click and drag to the left or right to alter the value without having to type it in.