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How to Edit Photos on a Mac: The Complete Guide


Do you want to learn how to edit photos on a Mac, but you don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered.

Recent macOS updates have made it easy and free to edit your photos without using a third-party app. Photo editing doesn’t need to feel like a chore. With a few tools, your images can look just the way you want. 

Keep reading to learn how you can get started with the best photo editing tips for Mac users. 

Where to Edit Your Photos on a Mac

Though there are many photo editing apps that you can pay for, download, and use on a Mac, one of the best apps should already be downloaded. The latest version of macOS includes the Photos app. 

This app allows you to crop, relight, remove imperfections from your photos, and more. Other apps may offer more editing solutions. Yet, if you are just getting started Photos is readily available and easier to learn.

Getting started is simple. Open your photo in your photo library. Then, select edit on the top-right of the screen. Six options should open as a toolbar on the right side of your screen. Now you can begin editing.  

Cropping and Straightening

To crop or straighten your photos select the crop button that is third down on the toolbar. A well-taken photo follows the rule of thirds. If you didn’t follow this rule when you took the photo there is an easy way to fix it with editing.

The rule of thirds splits your photo into nine equal parts with two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. The subject of your photo should be placed on one or more of these lines. 

To crop, drag the brackets at the edges of your photo to crop it where you like. Gridlines will appear to help you with your composition. 

To straighten your photo, turn the wheel to the right of your picture to angle it left or right. 

You can also use the crop tool to exclude unsightly objects from your photos if they are near the edges. When you are finished cropping and straightening, select the yellow “done” button to save your work. 

Lighting and Exposure

Sometimes after taking a photo, you realize that the lighting was too dark or too bright. Without editing an under or over-exposed photo looks haphazardly shot. 

You can recover details within a photo like this by tweaking values from the lighting section of the Photos app. To brighten your photo, start by clicking on the adjust icon which is fourth from the top. 

If your photo doesn’t need much help, you can simply drag the slider on the light spectrum until you get the results you like. Alternatively, you may click the arrow by the word “light” to reveal even more precise controls.

Here, you can adjust the exposure, brightness, highlights, shadows, and more. Play with these controls until your photo looks its best. Sliding to the left will enhance the named control while the right does the opposite.

Color Saturation and White Balance

When taking a photo, it can come out duller than you would like. Though the colors look vibrant in person, sometimes the camera is unable to pick it up. The solution to this is adjusting color saturation and white balance. 

To change the colors in a photo on your Mac, select the adjust icon. Below the lighting controls, are the options for color adjustments. You can play with saturation, contrast, and cast. 

Each color option will change your photo to look more red, yellow, pink, green, and more. You can also play with contrast and saturation to make your picture look more vibrant all around.

Sharpening and Noise Reduction

When you find a photo in your camera roll that looks a bit blurry, you might want to increase its sharpness. If you have the opposite problem, you could play with Photo’s noise reduction feature. 

In the adjust menu, find the sharpness button. You can explore the intensity, edges, and falloff features to perfect your image. Or you can select auto to let your Mac decide for you. 

Noise reduction can be found under the sharpness button. Use the slider to reduce the grainy look of a photo. The purpose of noise reduction is to eliminate wonky pixels that make your photo look noisy. 

Removing Imperfections

When learning how to edit photos on a Mac, removing imperfections is often a top priority. If the subject of your photo has scars, blemishes, or markings they want removing, choose the bandage icon at the bottom of the toolbar.

Find your brush size by using the slider next to your photo. The best size to use is only slightly larger than the imperfection you want to remove. Click on the spot to remove it completely. For extra small blemishes, zoom in first.

If you are removing a larger item from your photo, refrain from painting it with sweeping motions. Instead, continue to click around until the problem is completely gone. Rubbing it will create an artificial look that’s easy to spot. 

Add Filters

If you’ve adjusted and relit your photos already, but you still want more, try filters. Filters are preset adjustments that make one big change to your photos. 

Select the filters button on your toolbar. Then explore your options. You can choose to change your photo to black and white. Or you can give it a vintage feel with their “dramatic” filter option.

Once you get good at photo editing, you may start to notice duplicate photos piling up from moving, editing, and reediting. We recommend that you merge them to keep free space on your Mac for more editing opportunities. 

More About How to Edit Photos on a Mac

Learning how to edit photos on a Mac can be a long process. Yet, once you get the hang of each tool, all you have to do is a practice to get better. Go out, take some photos, and try out this photo editing software today.

If you enjoyed these photo editing and photography tips, you should check out the rest of our page for more articles like this one. 

Written by
Suza Anjleena

Suza Anjleena is a Blogger, Tech Geek, SEO Expert, and Designer. Loves to buy books online, read and write about Technology, Gadgets, Gaming, LifeStyle, Education, Business, and more category articles that are liked by most of her audience. You can contact me via Email to: Thanks

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