How to use Levels adjustments in Photos and how to use Copy Adjustments to tweak other images

In my previous column I illuminated some hidden features in Apple Photos that can quickly make your cherished images look their best. In this column, you’ll learn to adjust brightness in specific areas and copy all your adjustments from one photo to many others.

How to use the Levels sliders

Photos for Mac sports some seriously advanced image editing controls in its Adjustments panel, the most powerful of which is Levels. Amazingly, while a Levels adjustment in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements has just three sliders, Photos has eight. This gives you precise control over the brightness levels of all the tones in your image. For example, you can control brightness levels in just the darkest shadows, just the midtones, just the lightest highlights, in the tones that fall between shadows and midtones, and in the tones that fall between midtones and highlights.

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4 secrets for editing images in Apple Photos

As holidays pass, we’re often left with dozens of cherished family photos. You certainly want to make them look their best, so here are a few tips for quickly getting dramatic improvements in Photos for Mac and iOS.

Enhance tool

To quickly improve a picture that looks a little dark, dull, or washed out, press the Return key (Mac) or click the Adjustments icon (iOS) to make sure you’re in Edit mode, and then give the Enhance tool a click. (In Photos for iOS, all you see is a magic wand icon without a label.)

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How to create custom greeting cards in Photos for Mac

Photos for Mac makes it ridiculously fun to create custom greeting cards and yearly newsletters. As you may expect from any Apple product, the cards you create in Photos are extremely high quality and thus perfect for any occasion. Cards can be folded or flat—if you’ve got extra dough, you can opt for letterpress, wherein each letter and image is physically pressed into textured paper.

There’s no minimum order for cards, either.You can order one or 100. On the other hand, there aren’t any quantity discounts, but the cards do come beautifully packaged with matching envelopes.

Creating a card

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How to use Siri in macOS Sierra to find pictures in Photos on the fly

When guests visit, we love having a Photos slideshow playing on our Mac. However, if guests show up with little or no advance notice (as they tend to do during the holiday season), you’ve got little (or no) time to go picture hunting. Happily, macOS Sierra lets you tell Siri to track down certain pictures for you. From that point, all it takes is a couple of clicks to get a slideshow rolling.

Make sure Siri is enabled

The first step is to ensure Siri is enabled. If it is, its colorful, round icon should be sitting pretty near the far right end of your Mac’s menu bar. To summon Siri, either click the icon or hold down the Command+Spacebar for a second or two. A window slides into view from the right edge of your display and you hear a friendly sound to indicate that Siri’s listening.

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How to use Photoshop Elements to combine images like a pro

One of the most exciting projects you can tackle in image editing software that supports layering—Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Pixelmator, etc.—is to combine images in interesting ways. Whether you’re crafting a surreal piece of art or swapping heads, the process is similar in each program. In this column, you’ll learn how to use Photoshop Elements to combine a photo of an Italian villa and a glass of red wine in order to create a version of Italy you can drink.

Combine the images into a single document, rotate and resize

  1. Fire up the Elements Editor and click the Expert button at the top of the workspace.
  2. Choose File > Open and locate the image you want to base the composite on, such as the wine glass shown here.
  3. Summon the Layers panel by clicking the Layers button at the bottom of the workspace.
  4. If the image needs rotating, choose Image > Transform > Free Transform. Point your cursor near one of the corner handles and when it turns into a curved arrow (circled), drag to rotate the image to your liking. To reposition the image, click and drag inside the box. When you’re finished, click the green checkmark beneath the image to accept the transformation (or press the Return key on your keyboard).
    composite 1
  5. Add another image to the document by choosing File > Place. Navigate to where the other image lives on your hard drive and click Place.
  6. When the image opens, Elements surrounds it with resizing handles. If you need to resize it, peek in the Tool Options panel and make sure Constrain Proportions is turned on, and then drag any corner handle to resize the image. Drag within the box to reposition the image if necessary. Click the green checkmark beneath the image when you’re done.
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How to watermark multiple photos in Lightroom

Watermarking your photos is a fantastic branding opportunity. It can also deter photo theft, and including your URL in the watermark ensures anyone who sees the image online can easily find you and book a session.

Lightroom users can create graphic or text-based watermarks quickly and easily, though in Photoshop it takes far more effort. This column teaches you how to make a simple text-based watermark in Lightroom and apply it using the Export command.

Creating a watermark

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How to use Photoshop to turn a photo into a realistic painting

One of the most frequently asked Photoshop questions is how to turn a photo into a painting. Unless you’re a fine artist who’s skilled at digital painting, it can be a daunting task. Fortunately, the mortals among us can use a combination of Photoshop filters to get it done.

This technique works especially well on landscape shots, wherein you don’t have to worry about distorting facial features. This column teaches you how to use Photoshop CS6 or CC 2015, specifically, to create a fairly realistic painting complete with canvas texture (your author learned this technique from Jack Davis of

Prepare the photo

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