Apple’s new photo app, simply called “Photos,” released last month to developers for testing, and to consumers on the public beta. If you’ve signed up for the Yosemite 10.10.3 beta pre-release, you can now get it on your machine. Being a public beta, you don’t need a developer account or special access: just sign up, download, and install the beta utility, and you can receive the update via the App store.
Photos will be replacing both iPhoto and Aperture, so you might as well get used to it. And today, we’re here to help you with some simple tips for using the app more effectively.
The program is more user-friendly and less cluttered than either iPhoto or Aperture, operating out of a single window with a sidebar that you turn on and off via the preferences window. In terms of power, it sits somewhere between the two: it offers more customization and functions than iPhoto, but fewer than Aperture.
It’s very fast, with incredibly smooth animations and interactions. You can scroll through your images at a lightning pace, and they’ll open with one click, and maximize with another. With the touchpad, you can pinch in and out to zoom, just like on an iOS device.
Getting the images is also incredibly convenient, no matter the source. For those of importing from a DSLR, it can open RAW photos with no conversion or delays. For those of you with iOS devices, PhotoStream is integrated into the program. When you take a picture with an iOS device, it goes straight to your photo library.
Open Other Programs’ Libraries - One of the features kicks in before you even open the program: you can use it to open an Aperture or iPhoto library by holding down the Option button while clicking on the icon for the Photos App. You can also create a new one, but be warned that it won’t be backwards-compatible, or able to be opened with any other program.
Add and View Info - Control-clicking a photo, or clicking the info icon in the bar at the top right of the screen, brings up a dialogue that shows you the metadata, the camera information (and lens information if applicable), resolution, and size, a feature that was previously available in Aperture. You can also add a title, which is great for searching.
Create Smart Albums for Easy Organization - Like both of its predecessor programs, Photos creates Smart Albums based on several factors like photo location, type of photo—panoramas and videos are given their own sections, for example—and what photos you’ve liked; they’ve taken away the ability to rate photos, but you can still like them for a simpler organization method.
Sync Photos To iCloud - If you shoot with a DSLR, especially in RAW, I’m sure you know how quickly high-res photos can gobble up memory. This is a problem, since iCloud comes with only 5 gigs of free memory, and if you try to sync an entire device’s contents, it can easily consume all of that at once. That’s where albums come in. If you have just a few photos you want on your cloud, you can simply create an album and sync only that.To make an album, go into the event folder. You’ll see albums, then click the plus sign on top of the folder. After you name it and select the photos you want in it via the windows that will come up, it’s easy to sync it to your iCloud: simply hit “share image” and select iCloud photo sharing.You can also import anything from Aperture or iPhoto, but it creates a whole new library and copies it, so it doesn’t let you manipulate an existing library like iPhoto or Aperture.
Learn Some Helpful Keyboard Shortcuts - Mastering keyboard shortcuts is the key to efficiency in any application. Here are a few important shortcuts to start you off. Import is Command-Shift-I, and Export Photos is Command-Shift-E. New album is Command-N, and Command-Option-N makes a new Smart Album.To rotate an image clockwise or counterclockwise, hit Command-R or Command-Option-R, respectively. To hide it, Command-L. If you want to view one in full-screen, Command-Shift-F. To select an image as a key photo, option-Command-K. Command-K by itself opens the keyword manager.Upon opening the program for the first time, there’s one keyboard shortcut you might want to know most of all...
Get Your Sidebar Back - For those of you who were used to iPhoto, you might find the program’s initial lack of a sidebar a bit weird. Don’t worry: getting it back is simple: Just find “Show Sidebar” in the view menu (right under “Projects”), or hit Command-Option-S.