The hidden editing power of Photos for OS X

“Photos for OS X is designed to appeal to a broad audience, with simple editing tools that let anyone improve their photographs,” Jeff Carlson reports for Macworld. “But is that it? Even though it’s a 1.0 product (replacing iPhoto and Aperture), a lot of editing power is actually hidden beneath that user-friendly surface.”

“For example, when you edit a photo and click the Adjust button, you’re presented with sliders for improving light and color,” Carlson reports. “Dragging a slider makes the image brighter or darker (Light), or more or less saturated (Color); you can also click the Auto button that appears when the mouse pointer moves over the tool. Clicking the down-facing arrow icon, however, exposes individual controls.”

Carlson reports, “That’s just the beginning… Photos for OS X turns out to be a much more capable photo editor than it first appears, which is a good place to start moving forward.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Overall, Photos is a marked improvement over iPhoto and lays a solid foundation for much more to come! (Now, if only someone would come tag each one of our 15+ years of digital photos!)

Next, hopefully, Apple will take iTunes out back and shoot it, too.


      1. Overall, the article appears to be almost apologetic in trying to suggest that the rollout of Photos wasn’t a disaster (shades of Final Cut X all over again) and that all of these parity-to-legacy-iPhotos stuff had been there all along.

        IMO, someone needs to write what I’ve seen for MS-Office … an “Old Menus to Ribbon Interface” translation guide (the one I saw was GUI based … very good) – – and what such a guide also needs to do is to be honest and disclose “No Equivalent Feature” so that people really understand what’s now missing.

        Insofar as performance (& iCloud “chatty”), the simple answer for me is that I’ve not yet risked transitioning off of iPhoto yet – – which also means I’ve not updated to OS X 10.10 because of this. I simply have far too much invested in iPhoto to consider Photo to be a low risk transition … and if I’m going to go through the effort, I’m also obligated considering just moving the whole thing over to Adobe Lightroom and onto a Windows PC, since Apple also did away with the tower Mac Pro (mine currently has ~13TB of storage internal), as the image-centric small business / prosumer customer base is being abandoned by Apple.


      1. These sorts of tools do “work fine” when the magnitude of the data being managed is only a couple of hundred (or even but a couple of thousand) images, but the reduction/elimination of data management tools & options become an increasingly significant burden as one scales up … even if said scaling simply comes from being a few years down the road.

        As such, when one says “works fine for me”, this needs to be qualified with some sort of statement regarding context. For example, is it working fine when it is 5,000 images … or is it 50,000+ images?

        FWIW, don’t try to assume that your use case’s needs will never grow, particularly since it wasn’t so long ago that we were drooling over 1GB hard drives as a wonderful upgrade from our MB-sized ones.


          1. Apple already knows quite well just what is missing from the transition … which is why “damage control” changes and articles like this are now starting to appear.

            But what’s more disconcerting is that they’re repeating the same types of errors that they’ve done before (hello, Final Cut X) and apparently not learned from their mistakes.

            As such, submitting yet another ‘feature request’ template is inadequate to address such leadership failures, because the underlying problem is bigger than a mere software feature or two.


            1. Jeez. You are making far more out of this than necessary. Just don’t use the damn software if you don’t like it. I see no reason to debate this because I just don’t give a damn whether you or anyone else likes Photos or not. It works for me. Period. Move along now. Thank you. Drive through. K. Thanks. Bye.

            2. Spoken with the arrogance we have grown to accept out of Microsoft’s spin doctors…

              …but not that we will ever tolerate from a company who claims that they strive to constantly “delight” their customers.

    1. So talk to your ISP about your slow connection and only turn iCloud-syncing on when you go to bed. Problem solved…but you go ahead and complain like a clueless fool…or troll.
      Works fine for me. The serious stuff goes to Lightroom for processing and printing.

      1. Sorry, but that’s being apologetic.

        First, I shouldn’t have to go pay my ISP for a higher tier of service because of a supposedly “improved” piece of software which is sucking up much more bandwidth at inopportune times.

        Second, needing to manually toggle something that should be a “screen saver” level background task is lame.

        Third, “Works fine for me” is lame also when it provides no context for how much (or little) you’re using the software tool. For example, the history of iPhoto included issues such as how early versions (IIRC, around v5?) would drag & crawl once users started to have 20,000 images…but these were also the days where a huge hard drive was 2GB – – times change and our demands have grown … not shrinked. Case in point: how large is your iPhoto/Photo directory size?

        Fourth, suggesting that the “serious” stuff should go to Lightroom for processing and printing also means that you’re giving up a part of Apple’s ecosystem, such as printing of cards & books…plus we had the effective death of iWeb a few years ago which was wonderfully integrated, but is now a lost capability.

        True, customer interests change, but it is really more that they evolve, and the days of Apple consumers really being actual content *creators* is a capability which is being abandoned by Apple.

        …and what that means is that the next time I drop $5K for computer hardware to support my photography, it is more likely going to be for a Windows PC tower with Lightroom, rather than another Mac Pro. Sure, you can try to disregard this by writing it off as a “serious” consumer rather than a superficial teenybopper, but my wallet is much fatter and should be of interest to any retailer who’s interested in actually making money.


  1. Jeff Carlson of Macworld, answer this:

    How do I display photos in my iPod albums by their names, when the name option has been removed by Apple?

    Apple Photos only offers view-by-date, which means my thousands of photos are forced into a sort order that does me no good at all.

    I want to see photos in their A-Z order, but Apple forces me to see them in order from 2015 to 2007. Nobody at Apple’s forum has found a decent solution.

    We are stuck with a mess in Apple Photos, no matter what propagandists argue.

    1. Still pissed off they removed the star ratings, which means my “last year 4 stars” smart album ONLY shows photos with the 4-star keyword unless I manually tag all 5-star photos with the 4-star keyword as well.

      No it’s not a difficult workaround. But it is wasted time since Apple could’ve used the scaled rating system that’s part of one of the standard photo metatag systems.

  2. Marked improvement over iPhoto?

    Only when it comes to editing capacity.

    In all other ways Photos is a clear setback, some examples:
    1. No support for using other software to edit pictures unlike iPhoto.
    2. Organisation of pictures is very limited compared to iPhoto. Apparently Apple thinks no one is using folders or keywords for organisation, otherwise they would have improved iPhotos capabilities for organisation instead of removing them!
    3. Metadata support and editing is pathetic compared to iPhoto.
    4. Interface is ugly and dysfunctional, preferences is a joke. Apparently Apple decided to shoot its own User Interface guidelines!

    If iWorks fate is any indication Photos might be usable in about 5 years assuming Apple improves it enough. I am very sceptical because iWork is currently nowhere as good as iWork 09 was.

    1. Really?
      1. Coming in El Capitan
      2.File menu: you can make folders, albums and smart albums. You can add keywords and descriptions in the info window.
      3. Don’t know. Never edited metadata much except date and time which you can still do.
      4. Interface? I like it. Very fast. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

      1. 1. Not the same thing because it depends entirely if third party developers add such capability to their software. In iPhoto you can choose what software to use, no limitations.
        2. And those options are slimmed down when compared to iPhoto, maybe Apple will improve it in future, maybe not.
        4. I haven’t noticed any speed improvements.

  3. Been using it for all my iPhone vacation pictures. Turned out great! Didn’t realize it had those extra Aperture like controls. Makes it even better. Still using Aperture for my Nikon 7100 pictures.

  4. The hidden editing power of Photos.

    As in… all the features that were hidden under the edit-> adjust -> “add” button that doesn’t look obvious.

    Nice move Apple. /s

  5. If you’re putting photos on Facebook or instagram then iPhoto is fine, otherwise it’s garbage for anything even remotely more changeling. Since Apple left me with my weewee hanging in the wind with the Aperture debacle, I’ve abandoned anything Apple for photo editing. Switched over to lightroom and Photoshop at least I know they’ll be there and not just decide to discontinue a good product.

  6. Making an Apple book is annoying when Apple decides that the photos must be in date order. Most photos I use when making books are scanned photos, and even if I sort them manually in Photos, as soon as I start working on a book and the photos are displayed in the lower window they are changed back to date order and it is all a mess. It’s a lot of extra work. There are also errors in Photos, sometimes you will get a surprise when you receive the book; something is missing from the text you wrote…

  7. They were to busy at the time designing there illustrious watch. Yay, how about concentrating on what got them here. Software, usability. They use to be a strong player in a/v etc. market. it seems there interests have turned towards those who think there iPhone is a piece of pro-grade photography equipment and Facebook and Instagram are all there pictures are good for.

  8. Photos seems to pale in comparison to iPhoto. The adjust functions alone are too broad and not nearly as flexible. Thank you tho for pointing out where to find the stuff Apple hid, although in limited functionality. The histogram is just for show, you cannot adjust as in iPhoto.

  9. I have 6000 photos in the cloud and still get confused when trying to organize them. It seems the organizational functions are different by device or OS X vs iOS. Regardless, I can’t sit to organize all into neat albums in one sitting so I work at it on the iPad at times and on the MacBook Pro or Air at other times. I can never remember if I like the mobile better or OS X better. One will let me grab individual photos and add them to an album while the other forces me to add all in the event to the album – NOT what I want to do. I’m sure it’s probably something I haven’t figured out yet but so far, Photos is a nightmare for me. If anyone has any constructive pointers, I’d be grateful. (As far as the UI, Photos beats iPhoto hands-down so this is by no means an across the board attack on Photos!)

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