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Photos for macOS version 3 will ship with High Sierra. As part of the public beta, we're getting a chance to look at this app and some of its new features. One that I think a lot of photographers will be interested in is Curves.

after-curves-2.jpg Image after applying Curves in Photos 3. Image by Derrick Story.

As it stands now, this implementation of Curves is on the basic side in terms of features (no presets, etc.), but effective. We have highlights, midpoint, and shadows droppers. We can target specific tones and add them to the adjustment curve. And we can work in individual channels, or all channels rolled up in RGB view.

before-curves.jpg Before the Curves adjustment in Photos 3

There are also the normal controls that you would expect such as Auto Curves, reset adjustment, and the ability to turn it on and off without affecting the other sliders.

processed-image.jpg Final image output from Photos 3. Picture by Derrick Story.

Sometimes it's handy to target a specific tone and make an adjustment. In Photos 3, we'll be able to do just that with Curves.

Book, Videos, or Live Classroom: Photos for macOS

I'll be covering Curves and all the new Photos features in my upcoming Nimble Classroom on Photos for macOS, October 7. Interact with me and others from the comfort of your home.

You might also be interested in exploring the world of modern photography with my The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features insightful text and beautiful illustrations.

And if you'd like to cozy up to a video at the same time, watch my latest lynda title, Photos for macOS Essential Training

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Recently I wrote about ACDSee Pro for iOS and how easy it is to shoot in RAW with an iPhone.

clouds-over-aurora-1024.jpg "Clouds Over Aurora" captured with an iPhone 6S and ACDSee Pro. Photo by Derrick Story.

One of the subjects I was looking forward to capturing in RAW was the landscape from above while flying. I wasn't disappointed.

Using ACDSee Pro, my images were stored as both Jpegs and DNGs. I saved the RAW files to my Camera Roll, which added them to iCloud as well. Once I reached my hotel room, I opened the images in Photos for macOS and quickly processed them using Luminar Neptune and the native tools in Photos.

And this is just quick and dirty stuff. Later on, if I want to apply noise reduction or other advanced adjustments, those RAWs will hold together nicely while doing so.

Having those DNGs, instead of Jpegs, for challenging subjects like this made my iPhone all the more valuable as a travel camera. I really like this workflow.

Photos for macOS as Your Digital Darkroom

You can learn more about using Luminar as an editing extension in my lynda.com training, Photos for macOS: Advanced Editing Extensions.

And if you'd prefer to cozy up with a book, check out The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features chapters on basic editing, advanced post processing, and editing extensions.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

With the introduction of the Accent AI filter in Luminar Neptune, you can create what Macphun calls the "Quick and Awesome" workflow that yields beautiful images quickly.

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Photos for macOS users have it even better because Luminar is also an editing extension for their host application. So not only do you get the built-in tools in Photos, but you can tap the additional power of the rapidly evolving Luminar. Here are the steps.

  • Open your image in Photos, then press the Return key to enter Edit mode.
  • If you have a Jpeg/RAW stack, switch to RAW mode via Image > Use RAW as Original.
  • Click on Extensions at the bottom of the tools panel, and choose Luminar from the popup menu.
  • Once the file opens in Luminar, choose the Quick & Awesome Workspace (as shown in the illustration below).
  • Use the Boost slider in the Accent - AI filter to adjust your image.
  • Tap Save Changes to return to Edit mode in Photos.

quick-awesome.jpg

Once you back in Photos, you can use the M key to toggle the before and after. You can continue to refine the image, let's say adding Definition or Sharpness, if desired. But it probably won't need much.

Then, thanks to iCloud, your awesome photo will be updated and live on all of your devices.

This is a wonderful, powerful, and to be honest, fun workflow. If you haven't explored Luminar Neptune yet, I highly recommend it.

Photos for macOS as Your Digital Darkroom

You can learn more about using Luminar as an editing extension in my lynda.com training, Photos for macOS: Advanced Editing Extensions.

And if you'd prefer to cozy up with a book, check out The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features chapters on basic editing, advanced post processing, and editing extensions.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook, Craig Federighi, and the rest of the cast kept the audience waiting a few extra minutes before walking out on stage. But once Tim jogged into the spotlight, he and his crew had plenty to say.

"We have six important announcements to share with you this morning," the CEO remarked. He then rolled right into Apple TV, noting that Amazon Prime Video will be joining the family. (Yay!)

The next topic was Apple Watch. Kevin Lynch took the stage and introduced watchOS 4. Machine Learning makes a substantive appearance with the predictive Siri watch face. The watchface dynamically updates, depending on time of day and the data the watch knows about you. Plus, there's lots of new fitness stuff, as you would expect, and a redesigned Music app. But there was nothing specifically about Photos for watchOS 4 (maybe next time). Free upgrade for Apple Watch owners coming this Fall.

Next up, was the Mac. The next macOS will be named High Sierra, with an updated Safari that features auto-blocking video (yay!). Safari will also apply machine learning to incorporate Intelligent Tracking Prevention. So those creepy ads that follow you all over the Internet can be eliminated. macOS High Sierra with launch a public beta soon, then be available for all users this Fall. If will run on any machine that can currently run Sierra.

Updated Photos for macOS

photos-mac-os-high-sierra.jpg

Much to my delight, Photos received a reasonable amount of airtime on stage. More machine learning organization, as I anticipated. But a few unexpected surprises included the addition of curves, selective color editing, and synchronized adjustments with third party apps. Apple has also upped its game with photo books.

The UI for Photos for macOS also receives some polishing, as you can examine for yourself with the above illustration. All in all, this looks like a solid update to Photos. I'm looking forward to learning more of the finer details.

Beefy iMacs

As the keynote rolled on, Apple covered updates to the iMacs, MacBook Pros, with a new configuration for the 13" MacBook Pro that starts at $1,399. The MacBook Air seems to be sticking around as well.

We also got a sneak peek at the upcoming iMac Pro (the most powerful Mac Apple has ever created). Will ship with 8-Core, 10-Core, or 18-Core Xeon Processor options. This workstation will be a blast for photo and video editing. The new iMac Pros will ship at the end of the year, starting at $4,999.

iOS 11 is Crazy Good

On the iOS front, ApplePay will now work for person to person payments. Siri will be using on-device learning to start suggesting things that we would like.

The Camera in iOS also gets an upgrade. On the photo front, HEIF provides better compression and quality (still sharable). Better low light capability for the camera as well.

Photos for iOS sees plenty of improvement. We can select the frame we want in Live Photos to be the key image. Apple has also added effects, like long exposure, loop, and bounce, to our image editing options for Live Photos. Memories movies can be viewed in portrait orientation as well as landscape. And Apple has added more categories to Memories, such as pets, sporting events, night out, anniversary, and more.

The introduction of AR kit will provide developers with sophisticated augmented reality tools, enabling them to develop apps and incorporate this technology into their existing software.

iPad Pro 10.5"

A new tablet joins the family, the 10.5" Retina Display iPad Pro. Lots of performance improvements, including the new ProMotion, with refresh rate at 120Hz. You will be able to choose the refresh rate you want, depending on the task at hand and how much battery you want to use. This also makes the Apple Pencil even more responsive and natural.

The Serif software chief walked into the spotlight, with an iPad Pro demo showing off their Infinity Photo software that performed every bit as well as something that you would see on a desktop workstation, but with the portability and tactile experience of a tablet. Serif demonstrated blend modes, lighting effects, and object selection (including hair!).

The new iPad Pro will start shipping soon for $649 to $949. And with iOS 11 for the iPad, which is coming this Fall, users will get a Dock, a new App Switcher, and drag and drop functionality. A new app called Files will make organization so much smarter, not only on the device itself, but across iCloud and the other file sharing systems. And the Notes app gets a huge upgrade as well, thanks in large part to the enhanced integration of Apple Pencil.

Apple Reinvents Music for the Home

Phil Schiller returned to the stage to introduce HomePod. "Just like iPod reinvented music in our pockets, HomePod will change it in our homes." Crazy speaker technology controlled by an Apple A8 chip, that provides real-time acoustic modeling. No matter the design of the room, the HomePod will provide a tailored music experience.

The speaker system can interact directly with Apple Music via audio commands ("Hey Siri"). It can provide all sorts of music-related information, what Apple calls a built-in Musicologist. Additional, the HomePod can play our podcasts, control our home, and provide general information. HomePod will set you back $349 when it ships.

All in all, it was a marathon keynote presentation (2.5 hours), will plenty for photographers to sink their teeth in to.

Book or Videos: Photos for macOS

Explore the world of modern photography with my The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features insightful text and beautiful illustrations.

And if you'd like to cozy up to a video at the same time, watch my latest lynda title, Photos for macOS Essential Training

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

On Monday, many of us will fire up our Apple devices and tune in to the WWDC Keynote Address. Rumors of new MacBooks and iPads have been swirling around for some time. But this is a developer conference, so software enjoys a spotlight as well. And for photographers, there may be a few unanticipated cameos.

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Among the predictions of more integrated Artificial Intelligence in Apple technologies, few are talking about the ongoing evolution of Photos for macOS, an application that already leverages AI, and is bound to increase its role on that platform.

As Photos helps us make the transition from manual organization (star ratings, color labels, etc.) to object recognition, facial awareness, automatic geotagging (iPhones, et al), and intelligent grouping, we most likely won't see many UI changes, but will indeed experience greater depth in capability. And that's why this software is such a dark horse.

Experienced users know what I'm talking about. If I enter "San Jose" in the search box for my Photos app, it displays all the shots from that city. I've never used a San Jose keyword, caption, album, or anything else. But I do record an iPhone image or two that has a nearby timestamp with my other cameras, and Photos puts it all together. As it does with search words such as ocean, building, car, and hundreds of others. I don't spend time organizing stuff in this app. That's its job.

Yet, unless there's something really big in the works, I doubt that Photos will get much airtime on stage Monday. Maybe a mention. Something like, "and Photos is much smarter too." Somehow, that seems fitting for this little gem on an intelligent app.

Book or Videos: Photos for macOS

Explore the world of modern photography with my The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features insightful text and beautiful illustrations.

And if you'd like to cozy up to a video at the same time, watch my latest lynda title, Photos for macOS Essential Training

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Late-day lighting is more than just adding a orangish-yellow cast to the scene. There's a bit of magic mixed in there too. And you can infuse a little of that vibe into your images by using the Golden Hour filter in Luminar.

goldern-hour-filter.jpg

In this free video on the Macphun site, I demonstrate how easy and powerful the Golden Hour filter is. Then you can add a little magic to some of your landscape work as well.

Luminar is an Editing Extension as Well

You can learn more about using Luminar as an editing extension in my lynda.com training, Photos for macOS: Advanced Editing Extensions.

And if you'd prefer to cozy up with a book, check out The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features chapters on basic editing, advanced post processing, and editing extensions.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Sometimes it's the little things that make our Mondays just a bit easier. Like automatically straightening a horizon with just a single click (or tap). Let's start with Photos for macOS

crooked-horizon.jpg Nice grab shot with the iPhone. Unfortunately, the horizon is a bit askew. Photo by Derrick Story.

Open the image in Photos for macOS, and hit the Return key to enter editing mode. Click on the Crop icon, then click on the Auto button. The horizon will automatically level out.

auto-horizon.jpg Click on the Auto button in the Crop tool, and the horizon levels out.

It's even easier if you're using Photos on an iPhone. Just open the crop tool and Photos will automatically fix that horizon without you even asking it to. And in either case, if you don't like what you seen, just tap on Reset. Also, regardless of where your make the correction, the edited image will be saved to all of your devices via iCloud.

Bonus Tip: Polarize the Sky

I also added a little bit of oomph to the sky. I used just three sliders to achieve this. Here's how.

In editing mode for Photos for macOS, click on the Adjust button. In the Light panel, move Brilliance to the right. Then, in the Color panel, move the Saturation and Contrast sliders to the right, as shown below. These sliders are also available on your iPhone in Photos.

dramatic-sky.jpg Make that sky even prettier.

What a difference just a few seconds of editing makes. You can see the Before and After by pressing the M key on your Mac, or by long-pressing the image with your finger on the iPhone. Now, your picture is ready for sharing.

Book or Videos: Photos for macOS

Explore the world of modern photography with my The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features insightful text and beautiful illustrations.

And if you'd like to cozy up to a video at the same time, watch my latest lynda title, Photos for macOS Essential Training.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Sunday, May 14th is Mother's Day. And I'm guessing that if you're lucky enough to still have Mom in your life, that you want to do something nice for her... maybe create a fine art card to give her?

mothers-day-card.jpg

I use Photos for macOS to create all of my fine art cards. And because I'm a good son, I just mailed this year's version to Mom. Here's how I did it.

  • Open Photos for macOS and choose a picture for the cover of your card.
  • Click on the + icon in the top toolbar and choose "Card."
  • Design your card, starting with one of the Mother's Day templates in the application.
  • Order your card and have it sent directly to her, or print it out yourself.
  • If you're printing it yourself, use the Print command in Photos for macOS, and output one side at a time. (Then turn it over and print the other side.)

I printed mine on Red River Paper 60lb. Polar Matte 7x10 card stock (Item #1958) using my Epson R2000 inkjet printer. The card folds nicely to 5" x 7", with a lovely design inside and out.

I have more detailed printing instructions in my Apple Photos Book for Photographers. It's worth doing. They look great. And if you've never tried your hand at creating your own fine art cards, I can't think of a better time to start.

(Happy Mother's Day, Mom!)

Book or Videos: Photos for macOS

Explore the world of modern photography with my The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features insightful text and beautiful illustrations.

And if you'd like to cozy up to a video at the same time, watch my latest lynda title, Photos for macOS Essential Training

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Some shots we can take our time improving in post, and others we have to turn around quickly. For those portraits that need to be posted right away, I have a speedy Luminar workflow that only takes 1-2 minutes.

final-portrait-TDS.jpg "Leah at Railroad Square" - Pentax KP, Pentax 70mm f/2.4 HD lens, speed edit in Luminar. Photo by Derrick Story.

Take a look at my article, Speed edit portraits with Luminar where I outline the steps for this workflow. You can use this technique with the standalone version of the app, the Photos for macOS editing extension, or as an external editor for Lightroom. If you don't need to save your changes and history, feel free to use the editing extension for a one-off. To return to the app for more work later, I would go the standalone route, and follow the instructions in the article.

After you use this approach a few times, you may want to save your favorite filters as a custom Workspace instead of starting with the standard Portrait Workspace. I've been very impressed at how much better my shots look after just a couple minutes in Luminar. Try it for your portraits and see what you think.

Luminar as Your Digital Darkroom

You can learn more about using Luminar as an editing extension in my lynda.com training, Photos for macOS: Advanced Editing Extensions.

And if you'd prefer to cozy up with a book, check out The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features chapters on basic editing, advanced post processing, and editing extensions.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

I've been using Photos for macOS for all of my personal work, and I've yet to regret adding another image to the stack. Why is that?

Ready-to-Fall.jpg "Victoria Winning the Game" - Olympus PEN-F, Lumix-G 20mm f/1.7 lens, ISO 1600, f/4, 1/320th, cataloged in Photos for macOS, processing with the Luminar editing extension. Photo by Derrick Story.

There are a number of reasons why Photos is such a good fit for my personal work. Here are five of them.

  • Mindless Backup - Thanks to iCloud, the moment an image enters my Photos library, it is backed up and available to all of my connected devices. I spend a lot of time archiving and organizing my commercial work. But I don't spend a moment thinking about the safety of my personal shots.
  • Face Recognition - If you haven't worked with this technology for a while, it's worth another visit. Much of my personal work features people I love and care about. And using Faces in Photos, I can find all the shots that I have of anyone in just a matter of seconds. Faces is easy to use, and it works really well.
  • Easy Geotagging - My iPhone shots are automatically geotagged. But the other images need location information added in post. This is so easy to do in Photos. I just start typing the place, and my options automatically appear. And just like that, the photo is geotagged. Again, simple.
  • Object Recognition - This technology is still developing. But even in its early stages, I find it useful. More and more, I'm entering search words such as "Vineyard" or "Ocean" to find images in my library. As these algorithms improve, so will my fondness for this feature.
  • Editing Extensions - More and more, I'm using Luminar and other editing extensions for my work. As a result, I truly enjoy working on images in Photos. And the results are top notch.

If you're already a fan of the Mac/iOS ecosystem, and you're not using Photos, then I suggest you give it another chance - not because Apple needs your patronage, but because I think it will bring happiness to your personal work.

Photos for macOS as Your Digital Darkroom

You can learn more about using Luminar as an editing extension in my lynda.com training, Photos for macOS: Advanced Editing Extensions.

And if you'd prefer to cozy up with a book, check out The Apple Photos Book for Photographers that features chapters on basic editing, advanced post processing, and editing extensions.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.