Make Your Season Merry Effortless photo editing with your iPad

You’re on that long ride up a chair lift at Bridger Bowl. Why not whip out your iPad and edit the photos you took on your last run?

Well, maybe you’d rather just be with the mountain and take photos. Later on, your iPad will help you MAKE photos. With the release of iOS 8, your iPad has become an amazing tool for photo editing.

Actually, it’s been an amazing tool all along: but most of us didn’t know that. In addition to offering easy-to-use and understand features, editing on an iPad feels like fun rather than work, especially for those of us who already spend hours on a computer every day. Join your family in the living room to watch a holiday movie, even if secretly you’re not tremendously interested in the film, and happily edit photos while they watch. Or, edit during the inevitable holiday wait in some airport, somewhere.

With thousands of photo apps, there’s no job you can’t do anymore. If Apple’s built in Photos app doesn’t have the editing tool you need then there are plenty more photo editing apps out there.

In any of the retina versions, an iPad is color calibrated, probably better than any calibrated monitor you’ve ever had. The iPad Air 2 is incredibly light, with gorgeous rendition from any angle, right out of the box. Its new screen technology offers 56% lower reflectance, so it’s easier on your eyes when you work on something like photo editing. It’s also extremely fast and very responsive.
But even an old iPad 2, updated to IOS 8, can do pretty awesome stuff. Briana Bell, who teaches “Get to know your iPad” at F-11 Photographic Supplies, describes iPad editing as “Super easy, interactive, and fun.”  

You can find plenty of online tutorials for how to edit in Photos but to whet your appetite, here are a few tips. To begin, open the Photos app, tap a photo to select it, and then click on the “edit” button in the upper right hand corner of your screen. If you access your Photo Stream it will ask if you want to duplicate your photo in order to edit it in the Camera Roll. Just click “yes” and you’re ready to go.
The top option in the editing menu is the Magic Wand. It’s for optimizing your photo and it adjusts contrast and brightness. Your second option allows you to crop and rotate a photo. Tap on it you’ll see a wheel for leveling the photo. In the bottom corner underneath your editing menu there will be a graphic showing overlapping rectangles. Tap that and you’ll get cropping options. Zoom in or out with your fingers, easily move the photo around within the cropping frame, or pull in the corners to crop closer to the central focus.  If you like your cropping changes you are now ready to move on to your next edits. Don’t like it? Tap the cancel button.

The third menu option offers presets for color, like chrome, fade, or black and white. You can immediately see how each changes your image. Fine tune? The 4th option offers a slider to make adjustments for saturation, brightness, and different black and white tones. When you are finished editing your photo tap on “Done” and your edited photo is now in your camera roll. In your camera roll, once you have tapped on a photo you will see a heart icon in the top right portion of your screen; tap on it and that photo will automatically be saved to your Favorites folder.

For editing holiday people photos, there’s an amazing red eye feature. Zoom in to get the eyes bigger, then tap on a red eye and presto, it’s gone.

Unless you have a new iPad Air 2, taking photos with an iPad isn’t the best choice. The camera hasn’t been as good as that in your iPhone. Take the photo on your iPhone or your camera, and then easily access them on your iPad. Sure, you can edit photos on your iPhone, but the screen on your iPad is bigger, allowing you to see a lot more detail— a handy feature when photo editing.  

It’s gotten simple to share images between devices. For instance, Apple’s airdrop technology allows you to wirelessly send files to your iPad for editing without having to go through email or other fancy gyrations. F-11’s Marsha Phillips also suggests trying something like an Eyefi Card. “It sends photos directly to the iPad so they can get in the Photo Stream and then upload to all devices, including your computer.”

Bell advises everyone to use iCloud and make sure the ‘photos’ option is turned on. It’s “free, with an option to purchase more storage if necessary, simple, and an awesome way to back your photos up automatically and share images between devices. After you have clicked on the ‘share’ icon in Photos, select iCloud photo sharing and you can share your photos with specific contacts (who also have iCloud), then people can add to that virtual album or download from it.” On your iPad they are labelled as PhotoStream when you open your photo library. The “camera roll,” is photos taken with your iPad or downloaded from a camera.
Ready to print? You can use the iPad’s built-in wireless printing capability or a third-party app, like F-11’s “Print and Share” which makes it simple and gives you a few more printing controls. You can order amazing photo gifts right from the couch — or the airport.

Editing photos on an iPad can feel a bit like making magic. What better gift to yourself this holiday season?    

Jenna Caplette learns about technology and photography by writing about them.