We show you how to use the new pro-level photos features that arrived with High Sierra.
How to use the new photo editing features in the Photos app
There are some welcome changes to the Photos interface in High Sierra, from a new selection counter, batch rotation and favouriting within the library views, to some pro-level photo editing features worthy of Aperture. To reach them click on Edit then Adjust.
Where previously you had options to Enhance, Rotate, Crop, Filters, Adjust, Retouch, and Extensions. Now you’ll find Levels, Curves, Definition, Sharpen, Noise Reduction, Vignette and two new editing tools: Curves and Selective Colour.
To view the editing options within each tool, click on the disclosure triangles beside them.
How to use new Colour Curves in the Photos app
With the Colour Curves adjustment you can adjust the tonal range of your image. It’s a little more complicated to use than some of the other tools, but you could use it to lighten a dark scene, boost contrast and colour, or make colour shifts.
To use Curves, scroll down the list and click on its disclosure triangle to reveal the tools and a graph. The images tonality is represented by the line, the highlights of the image are found in the top right section of the graph, the low lights are found in the bottom left segment.
You can choose RGB, or focus on Red, Green and Blue separately, dragging the anchor points on the graph until you get the affect you are after.
For example, to brighten up the image, click on the line in the bottom left and drag it upwards until you see a curve form. The image will change in real time so you can decide when you have achieved the designed effect.
You could also create an S-curve, dragging one anchor point up in the highlights, and another anchor point down in the shadows. This would boost contrast and the colour saturation.
You can also use the pipets to pick a colour to set as a black point, grey point, and white point, just as in Photoshop. You can also choose a colour in the image to set as a point on the curve.
How to use new filters in Photos app
Photos in High Sierra also brings with it nine new pre-built image filter presets.
Where previously Photos offered Instragram inspired filters, such as Fade, Chrome, Process, Transfer, and Instant, now the filters are variations of three different styles: Vivid, Dramatic, and black and white, with warm and cool options.
To access these filters click Edit > Filters and click through the options until you find one you like.
When you have selected your filter you can continue to edit it using the Curves and other editing tools until you have the style you are after.
Turn a live photo into a Gif
There's a new Media Types folder in Photos which makes it easy to find your videos, selfies, Depth Effect images, Panoramas, Time Lapse, Slow-mo, and Live Photos. A new feature in Photos in High Sierra is the ability to turn those Live Photos in to a Gif like repeating loop.
You can also manually change the Live Photo’s representative image to a different segment of the video, trim the Live Photos video, and, in addition to the new Gif-like Loop, you can set one of three other effects: a traditional live photo, a back-and-forth bouncing effect, or a Long Exposure image that mimics a photo taken with the shutter left open for a long time.
To turn a live photo into a looping ‘Gif’, open your Live Photo in Edit mode. Below the photo you will see a slider (this allows you to change the still image associated with the Live Photo, as well as change the start and end points of the Live Photo).
Next to that is a drop down box with the options: Live, Loop, Bounce and Long Exposure. Choose Loop. Immediately the image will start to loop. If you were hoping to change the start and end points unfortunately you can’t, but you can choose to turn the audio back on (it’s turned off by default in Loop mode).
The other similar option is Bounce. Where loop sort of fills in the gap between the different movements, in Bounce the sample is shorter and the one movement is repeated over and over. You cannot play audio in Bounce.
We have a complete guide to turning Live photos into Gifs here: How to make a GIF on iPhone.
How to create a long exposure shot in Photos
If you have a Live Photo of something like a waterfall or fireworks you can make a Long Exposure image from it.
Note: this image won’t be any good if you moved the camera. Ideally you want to keep the camera completely still when taking the live photo (as you would if you were taking a Long Exposure shot the traditional way.
As before, select the Live Photo, choose Edit and in the box beside the sliders choose Long Exposure.
We’d like the option to make a Long Exposure photo out of a Slow-Mo video. Live Photos by their nature aren’t really long enough to give a really good Long Exposure effect.
Open a Photo and edit in Photoshop
The Photos app now lets you make edits using Photoshop and other third-party editors.
From Photos right click on the image you wish to edit and choose Edit With > Other, and then select Photoshop from your applications (or any other photo editor you might prefer).
The image will open in the third-party photo editing app and you will be able to use all the features of that app to edit it. For example, you could choose a Photoshop filter and apply that to your image.
Any edits you make will automatically be saved to your Photos library.