Super Easy Photo Editing on a Mac

Introduction: Super Easy Photo Editing on a Mac

Full credit is to be given to fungus amungus for his Instructable mentioned below that inspired this one. Thanks fungus! :)

Okay. Google doesn't offer Picasa for the Mac. Why? Because we don't need it! If you purchased your Mac over the last few years or you've purchased the awesome iLife package ($74US Retail), then you already have iPhoto. iPhoto does everything Picasa does and quite a bit more! (Can Picasa work with RAW files?).

This Instructable is the Mac answer to' fabulous, but Windows-centric Quick and Great Photo Editing with Picasa. To be fair, we will just import a picture, straighten it, color correct it, crop it and resize it in under a minute. While there's a great deal we could do more, this just shows the procedure to duplicate on the Mac what was done on a PC with Picasa.

Note: Like all of my Instructables, this one was done entirely using iPhoto, Preview and Mac OS X's built-in screen capturing features. Okay… Some of my Instructables have diagrams that were created in Appleworks or Eagle.

Step 1: Nothing to Download!

It's already on your Mac. To open it, either launch it from your Dock or plug in your camera and let it auto-launch...

Step 2: Import a Picture

Just plug in your camera and iPhoto will automatically run, bringing you to the Import window. Just Click the "Import" button to continue. Now double-click the photo you wish to edit and it will be expanded into the Edit mode window.

If you're working with a photo from the internet or off of a memory card, just drag it to the iPhoto icon in your dock. It will self-import.

Step 3: Rotate and Get Lucky

Okay. I reversed this and the next steps. There's just an order that I like to do things.

To rotate, just click the Rotate button in the lower left of the window. If you hold the camera the other way around, hold the Option (Alt) key to rotate in the other direction

The Retouch feature is great, but in order to work, you need at least some white in the picture. My backdrop wasn't white, so the effect is minimal.

Step 4: Straighten the Image

Click the Adjust button on the right. This gives you a number of areas that you can make corrections. Don't worry about messing everything up. You can always click "Reset Sliders" and start over. Drag the Straighten slider to get the positioning you want.

Step 5: Adjust Temperature

Few cameras are ever right on, except for the uber-expensive RAW data cameras. For this reason, I just to adjust the temperature and perhaps the exposure at this point.

When you're done making adjustments, just close the Adjust palette.

Step 6: Effects

Here we can make a number of quick changes including Black & White, Sepia, Antique, Fade, and various masks. For this project, I used Antique and Sepia. You can mix, match and multiply any of the effects.

Step 7: Cropping

Yes, of course you can crop! There are many presets to adjust for photo paper or screen dimensions from the "Constrane" pop-up menu. To do a custom crop, just click the Crop button, drag the edges to where you want them and click the Crop button again.

Step 8: Square Cropping

Make it square? Just select "Square" from the Constrain menu.

Step 9: Exporting

At this point, there are a number of things we could do… We could send it to the printer, upload it to our iWeb site, send it to Apple to be professionally printed at a very reasonable price, make it our desktop image among many other options under the "Share" menu. In this case, we just want to export the picture for the Instructable.

Pull down the File menu and select "Export…" Adjust to your prefered size, click the Export button and name it.

Step 10: Ready to Upload

Now that you have your work of art, you're ready to upload it to your Instructable and add the text to explane exactly what you've done. Like fungus amungus and other PC users, were ready to continue on to bigger and better things. In the Mac user's case though, it's likely already included with your Mac!



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    16 Discussions


    11 years ago

    Alas, iLife isn't free, and the "churn rate" of the applications means both that things may stop behaving the way you want, AND you start missing out on "standard" features. I've got iLife 04, and there's NO "adjust" or "effects" options, for instance. I recently install SnapNDrag as an alternative screen-capture tool, and I think I prefer it slightly to the Grab (Apple included) utility...

    2 replies

    Forget Grab! OS X has so much better tools. The old standby "Command-Shift-3" still takes a screen capture including menus and selections. The newer variant, "Command-Shift-4" is even more powerful! • Use the crosshairs to select any area of the screen. • Hold the Control key to put it in the clipboard rather than save as a file. • Press and release the Space-bar to change the cursor and snapshot any visible window.

    That is the most immensely helpful piece of information. Thank you, I don't know how nobody thought of this sooner, but anyways. This tool basically replaces MS paint for me, since i only used that to combine photos. Now i can just do it in anything and cut it! niceeee

    I know there wasn't any mention of it. And I'm not saying anybody would do it. But Photoshop is the #1 pirated software. I was just trying to say that nobody shouldn't do it. Maybe it was kid of random. Sorry.

    Firstly, I own a PC and a MAC so no hatemail please ;-)

    I bought the MAC because I thought that the photo editing tools were so superior.
    Now that I used the MAC for a year I have to admit that I seldomly edit the pics and that I am only in need of a good data repository tool for pictures.
    And for that Picasa is clearly the winner.

    check out my longer post on

    Picasa versus iPhoto

    1 reply

    You know? When they write Picasa for Mac or iPhoto for PC, I'll consider a head to head between the two. Right now though, it's Apple's and Oranges. For now, most of my real editing is done in Photoshop. For quick tweaks, iPhoto does everything necessary as I'm sure Picasa does.

    Picasa most certainly handles RAW files. In many ways, I liked Picasa a hell of a lot more than I like iPhoto. :-( But I'm happier on a Mac so it's all good.

    phu...Mac's are dead now because they're made with the same crap PC's are. You're not special anymore and those new comercials annoy me. When was the last time you saw a Linux commercial?!? Maybe the next flavor of crap from Apple will be called Granny Smith or Golden Delicious...I can see the comercial now, Apple present the (I'm not a mac hater...just drunk and ignorant) Flame on.

    3 replies

    It never ceases to amaze me the level of intelligence of the anti-mac postings. They don't even merit an argument.

    You failed to mention exactly what the level of intelligence was that managed to amaze you. I'm guessing it was probably pretty high due to you never having not being amazed. I'm not anti-mac, I'm anti-mac-users.

    And judging from your post above, you're either severely misinformed or just stupid. Either way, keep your PC.

    Heh. I knew that iPhoto was a good solution as well, but I don't own a mac. Thanks for putting this up. Now we can hopefully see better pictures on here. PS. Look at all those hand photos on the project page!

    Per lebowski's suggestion, you can upload your photos directly from iPhoto too!
    Get your Instructable Upload Email and use the Email option from iPhoto to send the whole set of pictures!

    Picture 1.pngPicture 3.pngmail.png