Illustration of a workstation with the Photos App open on iMac

The MacOS Photos App: Importing, sorting and editing photos

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When photography was still purely analogue, every press of the shutter button was well considered. Because such a film contained only 24 or 36 photos, which could only be developed unseen. The selection of photos was therefore limited and the time required to sort the images remained manageable.

Digital photography, on the other hand, invites you to capture every moment and every subject from a variety of angles. The number of photos taken increases enormously and even the imperfect pictures can be transformed into pictures worth seeing. Photo management programs help to keep track of the numerous snapshots. This also applies to the pre-installed MacOS app “Photos”. We will give you an overview of the Photos app and introduce you to the most important features.

Import photos quickly and easily

Once you insert a memory card into the card reader of your iMac or MacBook, your memory card will appear under “Devices” in the Photos app. The app recognises all folders created on the camera and displays the images inside them.

In this view, you need to do the first viewing. Select all images you want to import. If you only want to import a few individual photos into the media library of the Photos app, select them by clicking with the mouse or touchpad. To select several photos, hold down the left mouse button and move the mouse over the area with the photos to be imported. Alternatively, you can use the Shift key to select an entire section. Select the first and then the last photo of the section while holding down the Shift key. This marks all photos between the two selected images. If you want to import all photos unsorted, you can click directly on “Import all new photos”.

Screenshot MacOS Fotos App - Fotos von einer Speicherkarte importieren

You can insert a selection into your media library by clicking on “Import selection”. The photos will then be copied into the “Photos” library. If you want the photos to be deleted from the storage medium after importing, check the box at the top right under “Delete objects after import”.

The import into the media library “Photos” is the default setting of the Photos App. However, by changing the location in “Import to”, you can select a specific album or other library to import. The album into which the photos will be imported must be created before importing. To do this, click on the “+” next to “my albums” in the sidebar.

The different albums in the Photos app

Besides the “normal” album, in which the photos can only be stored by your own manual selection, the Photos app offers the intelligent album functionality.

An intelligent album automatically groups together all the photos that meet the criteria you specify. Select an intelligent album by clicking on the “+”. A window will open immediately where you can set your criteria. You can create one or more conditions and at the same time select whether the photos should only meet certain or all criteria in order to be included in the album.

Screenshot Mac OS Fotos App - Bedingungen für ein intelligentes Album erstellen

You can not only assign criteria to the photo, but also define fixed keywords or specify the parameters the photo was taken with. In contrast to metadata, which is automatically provided with the photo, you must define the keywords for the individual photos yourself. You can add these to the image information by right-clicking on the image. The location of the image can also be entered in the same place. If you want to add the same information to several images, you can select several images before right-clicking and then add the information.

Sort and rate photos

Unfortunately, there is no automatic function to rate images in the Photos app. However, this function can be added quickly and easily with the help of keywords and intelligent albums.

Go to the “Keyword Manager” via “Window” in the menu bar. Depending on how many star levels you want to create, the more keywords you have to create. If you enter “1 star”, “2 stars”, etc., an automatic shortcut will be added when you end the entry by pressing Enter.

Screenshot Mac OS Fotos App - Erstellung unterschiedlicher Stern-Ebenen

Leave the keyword manager open when you view your photos. Select one or more photos and press the number corresponding to the number of stars on the keyboard.

To sort the photos by star rating, you can create smart albums. Assign a condition to each album. The first album with the condition “keyword – is – 1 star”. Repeat this step with all your star levels. Your rated recordings will then be automatically sorted into albums.

Post-processing in the Photos app

After importing, evaluating and sorting, it is time to take a closer look at the images that have been evaluated with only one star and, if necessary, improve them with the help of photo post-processing. Here, too, the Photos app offers an integrated solution.

Select the photo with a double click and click on the edit button in the upper right corner. At the top in the middle of the edit mode you can choose between three different areas. A distinction is made between “Adjust”, “Filter” and “Crop”. You will also find a magic wand in the same bar that you can use to leave the improvements of your recording to the program.

Screenshot Mac OS Fotos App - Bearbeitungsmodus

In the Crop area, you can mirror, rotate, and resize your photo. You can choose from several formats such as square, 16 to 9 and more. Under “Own” you can enter a ratio of your choice. In the “Filters” section you will also find 7 differently coloured and 3 black-and-white filters with which you can give each image the same look with little effort.

For all more individual edits you can select the “Customize” area. In this mode, you have the most options for improving your shots. At first glance, it offers a rough adjustment of the light and colour settings, as well as a setting for black and white. If the arrow next to the setting is clicked, further fine adjustments are revealed. Now you can set the brilliance, exposure, highlights, and more individually in the “Light” option.

Scroll down in the Edit panel to find more settings like a retouch brush, red eye correction, white balance, and more sliders and curves to get the best out of your shots.

Screenshot Mac OS Fotos App - Bereich «Anpassen» im Bearbeitungsmodus

Once the post-processing is complete, you can exit the editing mode by clicking on “Done”. Your edited photo is now saved. But don’t worry, if you’re not satisfied with your edit at a later time, you can always return to the original in Edit Mode.

If you want to edit several photos in a row, you can keep the edit mode open. The bottom row displays all the photos in the open album one after the other. So it’s easy to click or use the arrow key to go to the next image and edit it as well. To use the same settings, however, you don’t have to adjust each slider individually. Simply right-click on the image and select Copy Adjustments. This allows you to insert the same adjustments with another right mouse click on another image.

With a right mouse click on a photo and the command “Edit with” you can also copy your images to another, separately installed program. The advantage of this is that you can save the edited photo directly in the media library.

Create and order photo products with the MacOS Photo App

Most image editing and management programs stop after image editing. To further process photos for different photo products such as prints, photo books or calendars, you usually need to open another program.

In the Photos app you can easily integrate the functions of different photo product designers. Simply go to Projects in the left sidebar. Click the “+” and select “More” to go to the AppStore. There you can, for example, download the ifolor Designer app free of charge and integrate it into the Photos app.

Screenshot Mac OS Fotos App - Fotodienstleister in die Fotos App integrieren

Now simply select the album. Right-click “Create”, select the product you want, and the Photos app lets you design and order a photo book, calendar, or other photo product.

Conclusions

Since the digital photos of all occasions on our PCs, hard disks and other storage media collect photos in rough quantities, the use of a photo management tool makes sense. For all iMac and MacBook users, the pre-installed “Photos App” is a great way to store and keep track of all your snapshots. In addition, you can edit your photos in the same app and create and order individual photo products as a reminder.

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