Editing photos and videos on your iPhone
Make what you shoot the best it can be with simple but effective editing tools
The best thing about taking photos and videos on your iPhone is that you can quickly and easily edit them to ensure they are the best they can be before you share them. There are some surprisingly useful tools built into iOS to let you do this, and there’s a wealth of other apps and services you can use.
Let’s start with photos. Even before you press the shutter, you can apply filters to your shots; tap the three overlapping circles at the bottom-right corner of the Camera app and you’ll get a live preview of the eight filters you can apply. Tap the one you want, and when you hit the shutter, that filter will be applied – you can change it or remove it entirely in the Photos app afterwards.
The Photos app is where you make most edits. Select an image and tap Edit. Here, you can have the iPhone try out some completely automated correction by tapping the magic wand icon, apply or change a filter by tapping the icon that looks like three overlapping circles, crop and straighten the picture, or tweak the colours and exposure.
When you tap the crop/ straighten icon in the bottom-left corner, you might notice a wonky picture straightens automatically; iOS analyses and rotates the image to straighten the perceived horizon. If it gets it wrong, or you actually want a dramatic angle, tap ‘reset’.
To crop, use pinch and unpinch gestures on the photo, or drag an edge or a corner. A ‘rule of thirds’ grid appears, helping you to make your compositions more interesting and dynamic. Rather than positioning the focus of your shot dead centre, crop the shot so that it’s roughly at one of the four points where the lines intersect.
You can also snap the aspect ratio to a standard preset – tap the icon at the bottom-right corner. By default, iOS devices take photos with a 4:3 aspect ratio, but if you plan to print them, because the standard 6x4-inch format is 3:2, it might be worth manually cropping so you can control the results rather than have the top and bottom sliced off. You can crop for other reasons too; you might find 3:2 just more pleasing – it’s what pro cameras tend to shoot, after all – or have taken a shot that lends itself more to a widescreen 16:9 crop. Whichever you choose, the original is still there, so you can recrop, or remove the crop entirely, later on.
Make light work
Now we come to adjusting colours. Tap the icon that looks like an oldfashioned knob on an amplifier and three controls appear: Light (for brightness), Colour (for saturation) and B&W. Tap one and then drag the long strip of adjustment previews left and right to change the image. (What the B&W filter is doing is changing what colours in the original become what shade of grey in the mono version.)
What you might miss is that you have more fine-grained control over the adjustments you can make. Instead of tapping Light, say, tap the downward-pointing arrow to its right and then pick Exposure, Highlights and so on to tweak individual characteristics. Alternatively, use the main Light adjustment to get things roughly right, then tweak by tapping the list-like icon at the right to reveal the individual controls.
You can also tap the icon that looks like three dots in a circle to get access to the editing tools from certain third-party apps. Not all you have installed will be available here, but try tapping More and checking ones you expect to see aren’t turned off. You might have to go into the apps the old-fashioned way, though.
You can edit video too. The Photos app can only trim the start and end points: grab either end of a clip and drag it towards the centre. Pausing for a moment zooms in to give you finer control. Once done, you can trim the original or save it as a new clip. You can also either switch to the iMovie app for further editing, or tap the ‘dots in a circle’ icon and choose iMovie for simple cropping, filters, titling and scoring without leaving Photos.
Most edits you make on the iPhone are non-destructive, so you can edit without losing quality
Taken a wonky shot? No problem, now iOS will straighten it up automatically.