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iLife ’11: How to Retouch and Enhance Photos in iPhoto

When you begin retouching and enhancing photos in iLife, photos can begin to depart from reality. You can literally alter the photo with iPhoto in such a way that even a judge and jury couldn’t tell the difference. You can remove anomalies and blemishes by using the Retouch button and enhance the colors in a photo by using the Enhance button.

To retouch a photo, follow these steps:

  1. Browse your iPhoto library and select the thumbnail for the image, and then click the Edit tool on the toolbar.

  2. Zoom in to the photo.

  3. Click the Retouch button in the Quick Fixes pane.

    The Retouch tool displays a circle over the image as you move your pointer. The circle defines the area that will be changed. You can adjust the size of this circle by dragging the Size slider under the Retouch button.

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  4. Click the circle on the image or drag over the circle.

    Click once to retouch evenly within the circled area, or drag over the circled area as though you’re using a brush. The circled area blends into the surrounding pixels, removing (or at least blurring) the blemish or spot. Life would be so much easier if getting rid of real blemishes were this easy.

  5. To apply the change, click Done.

The Retouch feature clones neighboring pixels and uses them to replace the pixels in the circled area, blending them by manipulating color values. (And you thought cloning was for sheep!)

The Enhance button works on the entire photo. It performs a combination of operations, including subtle adjustments to the exposure, contrast, saturation, and other color settings to bring out more clarity and saturated color in the image.

To enhance a photo, select the picture’s thumbnail and click the Edit tool, and then click the Enhance button in the Quick Fixes pane. The essential effect of Enhance is to make the colors, and the overall photo, more vivid.

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