It’s in this section that things begin to open up a bit more, and you’ll have several panels you can add in or kick out, with controls available for light, colour, and black and white conversion to name but a few.
In these sections, you’ll find you just need to drag up and down in the areas to bring exposure up, to pull back the black point, to change brightness and contrast, but you’ll also find presets available in each section that you can guide your mouse through to start you off in the right place.
Some might even be close to what you’re looking for, and you can leave them at that, fiddling and playing only if your heart desires it, making this whole thing quite simple.
Black and white buffs will find it very easy to get different type of monochromatic looks and feels, too, and once you’ve switched to black and white, you can even play with the colour settings to change the way the black and white is being filtered, potentially bringing out the blue, red, yellow and green information differently, all of which can change the way a black and white picture looks even though there is no colour to be found in the photo.
Aside for the simplicity Apple has applied to the photo editing, there are some neat little things included here, many of which will likely grab old school photographers and even those new ones too, picking up film in the past few years and deciding to shoot on the old school medium because it is old and lovely to work with.
We reference film specifically because Apple has scanned film stock to replicate the grain in different sensitivities, meaning that when you crank up the grain in the new Pictures app, the on-screen grain of your photos will be closer to what you would find in film people had shot and processed in the past.
Apple didn’t tell us specifically what film stock it used, really only citing that it was anything it could get its hands on, but in action, the results were enough to give most people a walk down memory lane, for when photos shot with films that worked well with low light had a nice floral grain to them, and less of the square pixels we’re so used to seeing in modern cameras.
There are other applications that do this on Windows and Mac, mind you, with Adobe’s Lightroom and Alien Skin’s Exposure all capable of emulating film, with Visual Supply Co’s VSCO Film also capable of getting the look and feel of film handled in digital, but these all cost money, and won’t necessarily appeal to anyone given that there is usually a learning curve to apply these.
Apple’s option, however, makes it easy, and takes the experience people are familiar with on an iPhone and iPad, and applies it to a desktop and laptop environment.
And while this writer is generally a Windows and Android person, using Photos with an Apple Trackpad recreates the feeling that you’re using a touchscreen, partially because the surface area of the touchpad is so great and the Photos app is so responsive, so even if you’re not necessarily touching the screen, you still get the feeling that you are.