Apple just announced the availability of its new photo application, Apple Photos. While its not shipping yet, there is a public beta program available. Apple also released more details about the application.

Migration from Aperture

Aperture libraries can be moved to Photos for OS X. This includes photographs, their adjustments, keywords and albums. The Aperture library will remain intact after migration. Aperture and Photos do not share a library. Any changes made to the same photo in Photos will not appear in Aperture. Remember, Aperture will be removed from the Mac App Store when Apple Photos is released.


Details About Photos

Photos for OS X sports a new, streamlined design according to the Photos page on Apple’s website. iCloud Photo Library is a core feature of Photos allowing a users to store all of their images in iCloud. Every photo becomes available on Macs, iOS devices and of course on The unified Photos navigation means that operation is familiar across all platforms.


Change a photograph with an adjustment, add it to an album or mark it as a favorite on a Mac; those changes are shown on iPad, iPhone and iCloud. It doesn’t matter which device edits a photo, the changes update on the other devices automatically. Enhance improves photos with a single click. Smart Sliders adjust lighting and color using algorithms to make the “just right” adjustments to photos. Seven tools comprise the editing suite...

  • Light changes highlights, shadows and contrast.
  • Color adjusts saturation, color contrast and color cast.
  • Black & White removes color, allows control of intensity and tone. Grain can be added to mimic black and white film.
  • Levels tonal balance tool to modify shadows, mid-tones and highlights.
  • White Balance has options for neutral gray, skin tone as well as color temperature and tint to make photos warmer or cooler.
  • Definition ups image clarity.
  • Vignette shades image edges to draw attention to the central subject.
  • Revert Press M to compare the original to the newly edited version. If you don’t like the changes revert back to the original.



Photos for OS X offers eight effects: Mono, Tonal, Noir, Fade, Chrome, Process, Transfer and Instant. There a great demo on the Photo’s web page for each one. Interestingly Process, Transfer and Instant imitate cross processed film, Polaroid emulsion transfer and the look of SX-70 instant film respectively.


Photo’s Share menu distributes photographs via iCloud or AirDrop and on Facebook, Twitter and other websites that offer compatible sharing extensions.


Books & Prints

Beautiful, high quality books may be made right from Photos. This continues Apple’s book making tradition that extends all the way back to early versions of iPhoto. Additionally prints can be ordered of iPhone panoramas up to thirty-six inches wide. There are a variety of new square sizes too.


The Photo’s library is stored on iCloud so devices never run out of room for photographs in full resolution. The same holds for video. Both are stored in their original formats. Storage saving versions are kept on mobile devices. iCloud provides five gigabytes of space for free. Up to one terabyte, that’s a thousand gigabytes of storage, can be purchased.

Photos Beta Program

If you are excited about Photo’s and don’t want to wait for warmer weather or Spring to get here, Apple has a public beta program to allow uses to test drive Photos and provide their ideas. This link takes you Apple’s beta sign up page (or sign in, if you did the earlier Yosemite beta.) You will need to sign up for the Yosemite beta to gain access to Photos (this is free to do so).

Closing Thoughts

Photos promises to be exactly what an iPhoneographer or amateur DSLR shooter has been pining for. An elegant interface, simple to use and understand adjustments, filters with flair and a consistent navigation method from computer to device to web combine to make Photos a potentially great photo app.

I have one caveat. Apple touts user’s being able to “automatically upload your lifetime’s worth of photos on your Mac to the cloud…” which for non-photographers makes a lot of sense. For professionals and serious amateurs it’s not practical. While a terabyte of storage works for most people on the planet, it’s not enough for heavy users. Apple’s price of $240.00 a year for a terabyte is not unreasonable. Considering that a 6 terabyte hard drive can be purchased outright for $290.00 today, it’s not a totally good deal. The bigger the library the longer it takes to upload the first time. Too, it’s a really good idea to keep a copy locally. What would happen, heaven forbid, if your credit card expired without you knowing and the plug got pulled on that lifetime of photographs? Trust the cloud is good. Verify that you have a current local copy or two is better.2192-PSW LV lightingKevin is a commercial photographer from Atlanta. He works for fashion, architectural, manufacturing and corporate clients. When he’s not shooting, he contributes to Photoshop User magazine & writes for