Apple announced the third leg of the iLife suite for iOS during the new iPad announcement on Wednesday, March 7th. Accompanying GarageBand and iMovie, iPhoto brings what may be the be the best iLife app from Apple to date. It contains a suite of photo editing tools which work at various degrees to help you make your pictures the best they can be. Join as as we take a dive into iPhoto for iOS.
Compatibility and Pricing
iPhoto is available as a $4.99 universal App, though there are some differences between the iPhone and iPad versions. While I will not hit every single one of them, I will mention a couple I believe to be the most important. First, there are sliders which have combined elements in the iPad that when used on the iPhone are broken up into separate sliders. For example, the exposure slider contains brightness, contrast, and white balance touch points within one slider on the iPad. On the iPhone, each has its own. Second, considering the software does not come with an instruction manual (as is the case with almost all iOS apps), Apple has graced us with tool tips. The caveat? You need to be using an iPad to get them. This makes learning the software on an iPhone exponentially more difficult. Have no fear though, just head into your local Apple store for a one on one if you would like to get some direction.
When the app is first launched, you will see it imports your photos and configures them for use. This process can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes depending on how many photos you have on your device. Now, because there are so many features packed into iPhoto, the User Interface may be a bit much to get a grasp on at first. However, like most things, the more you use it and play around, the better you will understand where to go for each feature. iPhoto is broken up into 4 primary starting points. Albums, Photos, Events, and Journals. Each view provides a method to allowing you to open your photos in order to begin editing them. Albums will organize your photos into mirror copies of what you see in the stock Photos Album. The Photos view is your Camera Roll. Events will show synced events from iTunes. Journals are collections of photos organized into beautiful, scrapbook type views.
Here is where the real power of iPhoto makes it’s entrance. Take a half decent photo and turn it into something great looking. That’s the point of the whole thing right? Well, there is more than enough horsepower built in to do just that. The main features of Photo Editing are Crop, Exposure, Color, Brushes, and Effects.
Many of us are accustomed to using crop in the Stock Photos app. The method here is the same, though the added feature of leveling a picture (rotating at small degrees), is also built in. Simply click the Crop tool, and drag the picture with 2 fingers, or from the bottom degree tilter. Easy as cake.
While the method of using exposure tools is different between the iPhone and iPad, both versions provide all of the pieces. Exposure is broken up into White Balance, Brightness, Contrast, and Settings. Each of these tools provide a slider which, unsurprisingly, allows you to increase or decrease the effect accordingly. As mentioned above, the iPad blends all of this into 1 slider, while the iPhone breaks each up separately.
The color tools allows you give your photos that extra pop of color. Bluer skies, greener trees, and more balanced white tones can all easily be achieved. All of these work together to provide you with phenomenal results. My favorite of the set is a white balance feature which allows you to put an eyeglass over a piece of skin on the photo in order to balance the rest to match that tone. It works surprisingly well.
I believe this section to be the most powerful section of iPhoto. Multiple brushes including Repair, Red Eye, Saturate, Desaturate, Lighten, Darken, Sharpen, and Soften. While I have only experimented with each to a small degree, the lighten brush appears to be of the most powerful. Simply look at the pictures below to see what i mean.
A nice animation of effect swatches will swing into view upon clicking the effects schedule. This provides filters similar to popular programs like Instagram. Some of these are for fun while other can make a great picture, awesome. Simply click on the swatch and an associated effect to see your photos really come to life.
There are many options for you to share your photos. By clicking the iOS ubiquitous share/send icon, you can summon the options to send. Among them are the normal options including Photo Album, Twitter, Flicker, Facebook, Email, and Print. However, the options for Photo Beaming also appears. This option allows you to wireless send your photo from iPhone to iPad to Mac and every combination within. In order for this option to work, all devices need to have the feature enabled.
One of my favorite features so far are Journals. This powerful feature allows you to select photos, either by album, range, or one at a time, and automatically mesh them into a truly stunning scrapbook type view. I love this feature, especially considering I have so many albums already setup. With a couple taps and some fun editing, I have already created a bunch of Journals and shared them with friends and family. This past weekend I shot a whole bunch of photos at a friends wedding. The next day I quickly created a journal and sent it to them. It was a hit to say the least.
I am not sure there are many that would rate this app anything other than superb. There are so many features, options, capabilities, and ways to present and share your photos that this app is a steal at $4.99. What’s better, its Universal. If I had to list one thing that can be improved upon, its that the app does every once in a while update the Photo Library. Because I have so many photos, this occasionally causes me to have to wait 3-4 minutes for completion. I am not sure how this issue can be remedied, but I suppose a manual option could do the trick. Even still, this is definitely an app for anyone serious about making the most of their photo library on their iPad or iPhone.
iPhoto retails for $4.99 and is available from the app store for purchase and download.