Archives For os x

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Looking for an image editor on the Mac but don’t need the full power (or cost) of Adobe Photoshop? In Macworld, I just reviewed Pixelmator 3.5 Canyon, a great $30 alternative. This new version focuses on the application’s selection tools, adding a Quick Selection tool and a Magnetic Selection tool to make it easier to select and edit specific areas of an image.

It also adds a new Photos Editing Extension called Pixelmator Retouch, which gives you the ability to do retouching edits—like lightening or darkening specific areas, selective sharpening, and more—to images right in the Photos app, without exporting them to Pixelmator proper.

Read the review here: Pixelmator 3.5 Canyon review: Better selective editing and a new Apple Photos extension.

I edited the photo up above entirely in Pixelmator. Here’s the original version for comparison:

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The great folks at Macphun are currently including a short ebook I wrote for them with every Aurora HDR purchase: 10 Simple Steps to Make Amazing HDR Photos…but anyone can get it for free! It covers a few fundamentals, like tips for capturing good brackets in the first place, and points to features in Aurora HDR that give you more control over your HDR compositions.

If you already own my Aurora HDR Photoversity Guide, you likely know all the information in this new ebook (it also include several new photos by me)—but you could send it to a photo-loving friend who’s looking to bump up their HDR game. And if you don’t yet own the Photoversity guide, there’s a special offer at the end to get 40% off the guide.

To get it, go to the Aurora HDR Free Stuff page, enter your email address, and download the book (plus other goodies, too). Macphun designed the book to be read in the iBooks app on OS X or any iOS device. Take a look at some sample pages below:

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I’m happy to announce that the big second edition of my ebook Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac is now available!

The first edition came out two years ago, and in that time a lot has changed for Mac-owning photographers. The biggest shift for many people was Apple discontinuing iPhoto and Aperture, and replacing them with a single new application, Photos for OS X (which I’ve written extensively about, including my print book for Peachpit Press). As a result, I had to gut and rewrite sections of the first edition to include Photos and some of its quirks (such as not using star ratings).

The other notable change has been the massive ongoing shift to mobile photography. With great cameras in the iPhone and iPad, and iOS software and hardware to back them up, we now take more photos than ever. As a result, many services have cropped up that offer cloud storage and retrieval of your photos from any device. This second edition of the book includes an entirely new chapter that looks at services such as iCloud Photo Library, Google Photos, Lightroom mobile, and Mylio, and how they can integrate with your photo workflow.

If you already own the first edition, thank you! Click the Ebook Extras link on the cover to go to the Take Control store and upgrade for $5 off.

If you’re new to the book and looking to tame your photo workflow, go buy the second edition at the Take Control Bookstore.

Oh dear, did I say “workflow”? Hard to believe, but that doesn’t have to be an intimidating word—that’s the entire reason I wrote the book! I wanted to share a way to take control of the large number of photos we capture without it being a chore. Here’s the description from the Take Control Web site. If you have any questions prior to purchasing, please feel free to email me.

Why take photos if you can’t find them later? Digital photography expert Jeff Carlson has developed a simple system you can use to make your photos browsable, searchable, and generally navigable!

Jeff leads off by helping you understand the strengths and weaknesses of the three most popular photo-management applications: Photos from Apple, and Lightroom and Photoshop Elements from Adobe. Once you’ve picked the app that’s right for you (and there’s a chapter on migrating to Lightroom from iPhoto, Aperture, or Photos), you’ll learn to create a custom workflow for importing, evaluating, keywording, and tagging your photos so they are quickly sorted. For each of these essential aspects of your workflow, Jeff provides step-by-step instructions for each of the three covered apps.

It’s all too easy to lose everything if you don’t have backups, so Jeff discusses how to back up and archive photos to protect your irreplaceable photographic memories.

Jeff also helps you pick an online service that can put your photos everywhere, looking particularly at the pros and cons, and how-tos, of iCloud Photo Library, Google Photos, Lightroom mobile, and Mylio.

I love this book. I’ve given talks about the subject to packed rooms at Macworld/iWorld and to user groups remotely—it’s great to help people bring order to the digital photo confusion and see them actually enjoy the photos they captured. Click here to order the book: Take Control of Your Photos on a Mac, Second Edition.

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At last, it’s possible to take a movie you’ve edited in iMovie on an iPad or iPhone and bring it to iMovie on the Mac and pick up where you left off. Serenity Caldwell at iMore explains how to do it.

This is a capability iMovie had quite a while ago that disappeared with iMovie 9 on the Mac, I believe. I never understood why Apple was putting so many resources into iMovie on iOS—which can now edit 4K video shot by the iPhone 6s—and yet blocking the pipeline by limiting editing to just the mobile device. I’m pretty sure the impetus now is making sure people who edit video on the forthcoming iPad Pro will be able to start cutting projects on the iPad and then finish in iMovie or Final Cut Pro X on the Mac.

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I like the new Photos for OS X application on the Mac (I just finished writing a book about it!), but not everyone is ready to switch from iPhoto or Aperture. However, Apple is certainly ready, because it opens Photos automatically whenever you connect a camera or a memory card.

In my most recent column for The Seattle Times, I explain how to make Photos take the hint if you’re not ready to use it yet: Apple dumps iPhoto and Aperture, but you don’t have to.

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Apple dropped OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 today, and with it the release version of the new Photos for OS X. You can read my detailed review of the replacement for iPhoto and Aperture at Macworld here: Review: Photos for OS X is faster than iPhoto but less powerful than Aperture.

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I’ve mentioned my latest book in a few earlier posts, but allow me to formally introduce it: The Connected Apple Family: Discover the Rich Apple Ecosystem of the Mac, iPhone, iPad, and AppleTV, coauthored with Dan Moren, is available now in print and as an ebook! Click here to order the book for as low as $22 for the print edition. If you order through Peachpit directly, use the discount code APPLEHOME to get 35% off (applies to print and ebook versions, even a bundle that includes both).

Despite the long search-engine-friendly subtitle, just what is The Connected Apple Family? It’s an acknowledgment that our Apple devices no longer exist as separate entities, and a guide to making them work together in the best ways.

With the releases of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite last year, Apple has brought Macs, iPhones, and iPads closer together. The new Continuity features like Handoff and the ability to take phone calls on any device make them part of an ecosystem (or geekosystem as one friend pointed out) that are stronger when used together.

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For example, the book contains an entire chapter about security that isn’t just a rehash of the oft-ignored advice to “choose a good password.” Using iCloud Keychain, you can create secure passwords that are automatically copied to your other devices; the next time you log in to a secure Web site, your iPhone already knows your password, even though you set it up on your Mac.

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We also go into detail about the utility 1Password, which adds more security and convenience to the mix. (Did you know you can safely share groups of passwords with other users? It’s in the book.)

The “family” in the title is partly inspired by Apple’s new Family Sharing features, where you can create a group of Apple IDs that share the same music, videos, and apps library and offer parental features like requiring approval before a child purchases an app or song. (“Family,” of course applies to any shared group, and not necessarily a traditional nuclear family.) We also detail how to share essential information such as calendars and contacts among people and devices.

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Dan and I use Apple technologies almost as much as we breathe, so know that you’re getting top-tier advice from experts. (And let me also add that Dan is a fantastic writer and co-author, if you’re looking for someone for projects.)

The book’s 204 pages are illustrated with lots of full-color photos and screenshots to make everything clear. To get a better sense, feel free to download a sample chapter as a PDF. You can also read the chapter online in a Web browser, if you prefer.

Or, how about getting a free copy? To celebrate the release, I’m giving away an ebook copy to two readers of my free low-volume newsletter! Sign up here. I’ll choose two names at random on Monday, February 23 from the list of subscribers—if you already get the newsletter, you’re already eligible.

[Update: The names have been randomly selected, and I’ve sent emails to the two lucky subscribers!]

Remember, you can buy it from Peachpit directly at 35% off if you use the discount code APPLEHOME. It’s also a great guide to give as a gift to someone who wants to better use their connected devices. We hope you check it out and enjoy the book!

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Do you use iPhoto or Aperture to manage your photos on a Mac? In my latest article for, I look at what you need to start considering as Apple shifts to the new Photos for OS X application (currently available as a preview version for developers). I talk about the iCloud aspect of the photo ecosystem and bring up conversion issues to keep in mind when the app ships in the spring.

Read it here: Photos for OS X: What You Need to Know. articles don’t include comments, but you can post them to Facebook here or comment below if you have questions or feedback for me.

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

While Apple was announcing its record-breaking quarterly financial results (not just breaking its own records, but earning $74.6 billion, the most revenue of any company in any quarter in history), elves at the Apple site were busy.

According to 9to5 Mac, there’s now no mention of the successor to iPhoto and Aperture on Apple’s Web site.

Has the application been delayed? Shelved? Is Apple on the verge or releasing it and we’re seeing the preparation for new information to appear? I don’t know. I’ve reached out to my PR contacts at Apple to see if they can shed light on the situation.

But I’m certainly curious.

Chris Breen at Macworld posted a useful article about how to remove duplicates and get rid of bad photos from an out of control iPhoto library. With the Photos for OS X app expected sometime this year, now’s a good a time as any to clean up before the transition.

Read it here: Cull iPhoto library of duplicates and bad photos (Macworld)