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Summary:

I’m starting to use iPhoto for iOS more often in my photography workflow. While it’s unlikely it’ll ever fully replace a true post-processing program like Aperture or Lightroom, for shots that don’t require that high degree of editing I find iPhoto for iOS to be suitable.

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I’m starting to use iPhoto for iOS more often in my photography workflow. While it’s unlikely it will ever fully replace a true post-processing program like Aperture or Lightroom, for shots that don’t require that high degree of editing I find iPhoto for iOS to be quite suitable.

For instance, an afternoon at the ballpark yielded about 180 photos that were culled and edited solely on the iPad.  While I’m faster sorting on my Mac in Lightroom or Aperture, not having to drag my laptop around when sorting out shots is a big advantage. I’ve found this to work best for daytime photos in decent light, or candid shots where I used the flash. Some of my photography is shooting bands in low light areas, and while I may use iPhoto to sort through them, I won’t be doing any post processing with the program.

Here are five tips I use that might help you if you’re just starting out using the software.

1. Plan ahead with photos.

One of the big failures with iPhoto is how little photo management you can actually do in the app. It’s fine for enhancing and cropping photos, but you can’t delete photos or organize your albums in iPhoto. Instead, after you’ve imported your photos into Photos, take a few moments and clear out the rejects and create the associated albums with your shots. This way, when you do access the album in iPhoto, your best shots are ready for the final touches.

2. Use the Face Balance setting.

Under the Color area (the pallet icon), you can choose to adjust the white balance to favor skin tones by using the Face Balance setting. Pressing this puts a loupe on the screen that you’ll position over a face and it’ll adjust the white balance of the rest of the image. If you do use a post-processing app, it works similarly to the white balance picker in those apps. Your results will vary depending on how well shot and lit the image is; sometimes the effect is subtle.

3. Use the loupe to zoom in up to 3x.

To use the loupe, press and hold on the image with two fingers. After a second or so, the the loupe will appear and you can adjust the zoom. This will only affect the areas under the loupe. I’ve found this handy for checking image clarity if I’m not sure if that area is sharp.

4. Flag and favorite photos for showing.

My bag limit for photos to show from an event is five. I’d rather show five great images than 10 merely OK images. When I show Mom the photos from Fenway, I’ll just flag five so she doesn’t see the 20 images I’m sorting through to see which is the best one of a favorite player. After I’ve shown them to her, I’ll likely un-flag them. However, a truly amazing photo — one that I’d want to show when someone wants to see some photos — will get favorited. Flagged and favorited photos have their own albums automatically created by iPhoto.

5. Use Photo Stream to send the file to your Mac.

The isolated nature of iPhoto on iOS gets even more frustrating when you try and send a photo back to your Mac. Right now, photos and albums don’t sync back to iPhoto on the Mac. I can only hope and pray that when iPhoto gets the inevitable OS X Mountain Lion upgrade this summer, this will get easier. At least with an updated version hopefully Journals might sync.

Until then, the most painless way I’ve found to get an edited photo back to the Mac is to simply export it back to the Camera Roll in iPhoto and let Photo Stream carry it back over. If need be, I’ll recreate an album in iPhoto or Aperture and move it in there.

If you have any iPhoto for iOS tips that you use frequently, please feel free to add them to the comments.

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  1. Shouldn’t the title be: 5 handy tips for…

  2. This unfortunately highlights how iPhoto in this case is a wasted innovation in user interface because no one considered workflow. The tricky part about photos is getting them off camera, sorted, tagged, edited and then back somewhere again, preferably without quality loss or caring about specific format of the photo. This is not trivial on the desktop and even worse on the iOS. But Apple has consistently ignored workflow in most of their consumer grade apps, and in how they built iOS in general.

  3. Q3 technologies Monday, May 28, 2012

    Just heard about a new camera application that RIM is coming out with, it can click the perfect photos as we can go back in time at selected portions of the photo and edit them.
    So no more closed eyes or weird expressions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=62WpA5HwPOo

  4. Does iPhoto retain EXIF data after editing? The standard photo app on iOS doens’t.., is why I asked.

  5. Plymale Cottage Tuesday, August 21, 2012

    My 5000 iphoto were all organized in albums. Something has happened and they are not in iPhoto and in Pictures they are all numbered and not in their albums. What can I do? Thank you, Loni

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