One of the criticisms of iOS apps is that rather than a lot of developers creating big apps for a wide range of tasks, you get much smaller products that only really do one thing. However, for us, that’s more of an advantage than a negative, because a small app typically provides a degree of focus and makes features accessible to more people. This is definitely the case when it comes to photography: it’s far easier for someone to prod the screen a couple of times to make a quick change to an image than be flung headlong into the Photoshops of this world.
Look at Aperture’s vast collection of adjustment tools and it’s obvious how much more powerful it is than its smaller sibling, iPhoto. When you consider that most tools can be turned into brushes to apply a change to only one part of a photo, the level of sophistication becomes clear.
Normally, digital cameras process image data captured by the sensor and save the finished photo as a JPEG file, but RAW files contain the image data in its unprocessed form. You need a program capable of processing these RAW files on your computer, but the advantage is better image quality and the ability to choose some of the settings later rather than having to commit to them when you shoot.
Making digital photos look old-fashioned is all the rage on mobile devices. Apps like Instagram and Camera+ are like virtual time machines, leaving you with retro images from your modern cameraphone. If you’re also looking to go vintage with pictures on your Mac, PhotoStyler is a fun, powerful, and easy-to-use way to get that old-school look without paying a fortune on eBay for antique photo gear.
Michael Orton is a fine-art and landscape photographer. He is also the creator of the “Orton Effect”. This finish is based around a process whereby a copy of an image is blurred and then combined with the original to produce a soft, dreamlike effect. It’s well-suited to portraits, but can be used to enhance many other subjects for which you want an ethereal, romanticized look.
There’s a lot to be said for the relentless progress of digital photography. These days, you can pick up a camera and memory card for a fairly small outlay that will store hundreds of pin-sharp high-quality shots. And recent iPhones are also capable of taking detailed, impressive photos.
Elements and Photoshop have a Reduce Noise filter that looks like it offers all you need to reduce the noise in high ISO images without sacrificing too much fine detail. In practice, though, it’s not so easy, despite the sophisticated controls.
When you’re out walking and you have a camera, it’s always worth looking out for interesting skies, because you never know when they might come in useful. You don’t have to snap loads – a single sky can often be used to enhance lots of different images.
This is what’s been done here to transform a dull-looking landscape, creating a vivid sunset effect that’s quite easy to achieve. Usually when you blend in a new sky, your first thought might be how to create the right kind of selection, especially if you’ve got a complicated horizon with tricky tree lines, for example.
Photographers use depth of field to blur distracting backgrounds and make their subjects stand out clearly. It’s a very effective technique, but it’s not so easy to do now as it used to be, partly because sensors are smaller and partly because most of us use zoom lenses with restricted maximum apertures, rather than the fast "prime" lenses of yesteryear.
Black and white is making a bit of a comeback, and you can create some surprisingly effective black and white images using the adjustment tools and effects in iPhoto. These might look a little basic at first, but the interaction between these two sets of controls is very interesting.