Now that today’s iPhones feature powerful built-in photo editing tools, you can make your pictures look amazing without having to download all your photos to a desktop computer or learn your way around complex (and expensive) photo editing programs. Read on for a simple guide to editing your photos directly on your iPhone using the pre-installed Photos app.
Getting started with the Photos app
The photo-editing tools in the Photos app aren’t the easiest to find. To begin editing a photo, the first step is to open up the Photos app and tap directly on the picture you want to edit. The photo will then display full-size on the screen. Next, look for the menu icon (it looks like three sliders) and tap it. A series of buttons will appear along the bottom of your screen: this means you’re now in editing mode, and you can use the buttons to make adjustments to your photos. Whenever you’ve made an alteration, always be sure to tap “Done” so that your changes to the photo are saved.
Cropping—When you have your chosen photo open in editing mode, you can crop the image by tapping the button at the bottom left of the screen that looks like a frame. Your photo will now display with a frame around it. To set the cropping area, simply drag the corners of the frame and reposition them where you want the borders of the picture to be. The area of the photo that stays lit up will be kept once the photo has been cropped; areas that are darkened will be cropped out. The cropping tool also offers a menu with a number of different pre-set options for displaying your cropped photo in a particular shape or based on a specific aspect ratio.
Rotating—To rotate your chosen photo, tap the crop icon at the bottom left, then tap the icon that resembles a square with an arrow in it. This will give you the option to rotate the photo 90 degrees at a time. You can also use the compass-style wheel displayed below the photo for a more free-form rotation.
Auto-enhancing—Do you think that your photos could look better, but you’re not exactly sure in what way or how to do it yourself? The Auto Enhance feature can help! This specialized feature analyzes the photo and automatically applies edits that will enhance the image, such as improving the color balance or adjusting the brightness. All you need to do is tap the Auto Enhance icon in the top right corner—it looks like a magic wand. It’s not always easy to see the changes, as they can be very subtle, so the wand icon will turn blue to let you know when the Auto Enhance edits have been made.
Removing red-eye—There’s no question about it: red eyes caused by the camera flash can ruin a picture. But now they don’t have to, thanks to the iPhone’s red-eye removal feature. Tap the button at the top left of your screen that looks like an eye with a line drawn through it. Then simply tap each eye in the photo that needs to be corrected; you’ll have the option to zoom in for greater precision if need be. Keep in mind, however, that this feature only applies to photos that were taken using the camera flash—the red-eye tool icon will be hidden if the photo was taken with the flash off. In addition, the tool won’t make any changes if it can’t detect any red-eye, so if the red-eye you are concerned about is very subtle, this feature may not be able to fix it.
Adjusting light and color—If you’d like more control over your edits than the Auto Enhance feature can offer, the Photos app has a number of editing tools that allow you to make adjustments to the light and color in your photos. Simply tap the button at the bottom of the screen that looks like a dial to bring up the menu of options. Under “Light,” you can make adjustments to the brilliance, exposure, shadows, brightness, contrast, highlights, and black point. Under “Color,” you can adjust saturation, contrast, and cast; and under “Black & White,” you can find settings for intensity, neutrals, tone, and grain. Choose the setting you want to adjust, and different options and controls will appear.
Revert to original photo—If you’ve made edits to a photo, saved the edits, and then changed your mind, don’t panic. The Photos app keeps a saved version of the image prior to editing, and gives you the option to remove all of your changes and revert back to the original photo. To do this, tap the edited image in question, tap the menu icon (the three sliders), then tap “Revert.” A pop-up menu will appear; select “Revert to Original” and your changes will be removed. You can revert to the original at any time; there’s no limit on when you can remove edits that you made previously in the Photos app.