Step-by-step Add fil­ters to your photos

Windows 7 Help & Advice - - EXPLORE -

1 Find your pho­to­graphs

In or­der to use fil­ter­ing we need an orig­i­nal im­age. Photos au­to­mat­i­cally dis­plays your im­ages grouped by col­lec­tion, but you can switch to Al­bums or Fold­ers if you pre­fer. You can also im­port photos from an ex­ter­nal drive, USB drive or mi­croSD card if they’re con­nected. You can fil­ter any­thing, but por­traits and ac­tion shots tend to pro­duce the most in­ter­est­ing re­sults.

2 Get ready to fil­ter

Photos’ in­ter­face is very sim­ple and straight­for­ward: there’s no sign of the var­i­ous pal­ettes, tool­bars and in­spec­tors that so many im­age ed­i­tors have. In­stead there’s just one sim­ple tool­bar at the top of the screen with op­tions for shar­ing, print­ing, dis­play­ing and edit­ing your pic­tures. The one we want is the Edit tool to­wards the right of the tool­bar, so let’s click it.

3 Try the au­to­matic op­tion

You should now see a num­ber of thumb­nails. Let’s look at the top one, ‘En­hance your photo’. The white line near the cen­tre is a slider, and if you drag it back­wards and for­wards you’ll see your photo change. This ad­justs the level of au­to­matic en­hance­ment, which is Photos’ best guess at im­prov­ing your pic­ture by ad­just­ing bright­ness and other at­tributes.

4 Fid­dle with the fil­ters

If en­hance­ment doesn’t do what you want, it’s time to use a fil­ter. Scroll through the list of avail­able fil­ters at the right of the screen and click on the one you want to try. Ev­ery­thing here is non-de­struc­tive, so you don’t need to worry about over­writ­ing the orig­i­nal im­age with a fil­ter you don’t want. The slider at the bot­tom of the im­age ad­justs the in­ten­sity of the ef­fect.

5 Ad­just the ef­fect

You aren’t lim­ited to the fil­ter’s de­fault set­tings. If you click on Ad­just at the top of the panel you’ll see a se­lec­tion of slid­ers that you can use to fine-tune or com­pletely trans­form the fil­ter. If a la­bel has a jaggy bracket (>) next to it, click­ing that un­cov­ers more op­tions – so if you click on the Light la­bel you’ll be given op­tions to ad­just ex­po­sure and re­lated set­tings.

6 Add a vi­gnette

In ad­di­tion to the in­di­vid­ual set­tings for light and colour, you can make other changes in the Ad­just panel: you can re­move red eye from photos; use spot fix to re­move mi­nor blem­ishes; and you can use the Vi­gnette tool to add a vi­gnette ef­fect as shown here, where the edges of the photo fade out. No changes are saved un­til you click Save, so you can ex­per­i­ment safely.

7 Try an­other app

While Photos’ fil­ters are good, other apps have dif­fer­ent fil­ters avail­able so it’s a good idea to ex­per­i­ment with a few to find fil­ters you’ll use most of­ten. A pop­u­lar op­tion is Fho­to­room, which has a se­lec­tion of free fil­ters and some paid-for ones. The app opens with a se­lec­tion of other peo­ple’s im­ages. To edit your own, click on Open Photo – it’s the box with an ar­row in it.

8 Ex­per­i­ment in the app

As you can see, Fho­to­room’s in­ter­face is a bit more com­plex than Photos’, but it’s ac­tu­ally quite straight­for­ward. The bit we’re in­ter­ested in is the Pre­sets icon at the top right of the screen. This gives us ac­cess to the app’s var­i­ous photo fil­ters. As with Photos, just click on the fil­ter you want to try and you’ll see the re­sults in­stantly. Changes aren’t saved un­til you click Save.

9 Ad­just the ef­fects

The Ex­po­sure tool en­ables you to ad­just the char­ac­ter­is­tics of your im­age – in­creas­ing the ex­po­sure level you can make the im­age much brighter, for ex­am­ple. You can also change colour sat­u­ra­tion, sharpen the im­age, ad­just high­lights and shad­ows and gen­er­ally mess around to your heart’s con­tent. The trick here is to make small ad­just­ments: too much can mean los­ing de­tail.

10 Try be­fore you buy

If you click the three-dots or More icon you’ll see ad­di­tional fil­ters in­clud­ing Tilt Shift, which is great for mak­ing land­scapes seem as if they’re mod­els, and de­noise, which can im­prove grainy photos. The other fil­ters here are in-app pur­chases, but you can try them out to de­cide if they’re worth pay­ing money for. You’ll prob­a­bly find that you can man­age hap­pily with­out them.

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