The official Apple way to get snap-happy with your photos on the move is a well thought out creation.
iPhoto For iPhone : Photographers rejoice! The app you’ve been waiting for has `mostly’ arrived. If you’re a Mac user, iPhoto needs no introduction. If not, the desktop version is part of the iLife suite that comes with every new Mac, and one of its handiest additions for organising, touching up and sharing photos. It’s hardly Photoshop, but it offers the tools that most of us need to get the most out of our snaps.
This iOS version crunches that good stuff into a new format that’s not only portable, but one that adds touch controls, which actually make it preferable – at least on iPad. You get all the same features on the iPhone, but the oddly cluttered interface (by Apple standards) makes it quite the fiddly affair, especially when zooming and navigating your image. It works, but you’re probably as well off sticking with something simpler (like Instagram or Snapseed) as fighting with your own fingers to edit shots ‘properly’.
Scaled up to full tablet size though, and especially partnered with the Camera Connection Kit, iPhoto gives you an amazing editing studio, capable of polishing your favourite pictures to a shine and on a screen that can make them look better than almost any desktop monitor can manage.
The main editing tools are standard issue in function – crop/ rotate (with automatic horizon detection), exposure compensation, colour correction but much easier to use than normal. The exposure tool, for instance, puts sliders for brightness, contrast, shadows and highlights onto a single bar. Moving them by hand is the advanced option, though. Simply tap and hold on part of the image, like a deep shadow, and iPhoto lets you edit that part of it just by nudging your finger around. If you know what Levels control, this does the job just as well. If not, you now have access to the most important tool for turning a drab looking photo into something that belongs in an exhibition.
Not everything is quite as effective though, especially when you get to Brushes. When these work, they’re fantastic – Lighten, Darken, Soften, Sharpen and other edits can simply be painted onto your photo, by rubbing your finger gently over the areas you want to change. These edits are non destructive, with the option to see strokes as an overlay, erase areas, and detect edges for more precision. However, it can be tricky consistently cover the areas you want, and the eraser being much harder than the actual brushes doesn’t help you when tweaking. Having some way to simply smear a selected area without adding to it would be a big help.
The biggest issue, though, is ‘that each brush can only be applied once per image. For example, you can’t use Lighten to bring someone out of the foreground, then go back and apply a stronger version to brighten up their teeth. This is especially problematic with Sharpen, which should have its own entire section, not just one measly brush that only offers Low, Medium and High strengths.
Along with proper image sharpening, there are a few other tools missing in action, like fixing lens distortion/vignetting, and noise reduction. If you like applying quick effects to your image, you’ll also be disappointed by iPhoto half-hearted selection. Some are handy, like the gradient filters and tilt-shift blur, but they’re generally lacking in options, and poorly implemented. When you control exposure and saturation by dragging around the image for instance, you get a pop-up to tell you what moving in different directions does. With Effects, you’re not only left to muddle through, you have to press the Help button on the other side of the screen just to find out what each one actually is.
There are compensating features though, starting with the fact that iPhoto can handle and export 16 megapixel images more than enough for most cameras. It’s not unique in this, but it’s still notable when more powerful tools like Photoshop Touch still cap out at a mere 1600×1600. In addition, iPhoto uses your device’s standard Albums, and although you still can’t move images between them on the fly, once inside, it offers excellent sorting tools. For instance, double-tapping on any image brings up others like it, with options to hide any that you don’t want without actually deleting them, or the choice to simply mark them for future editing. This is a huge time-saver, especially with a camera full of holiday snaps, and one of the many, many good reasons you’ll want to edit on the move, instead of waiting until you get home.