Adjust exposure, contrast, colors, and other qualities

You can quickly improve a photo’s overall darkness or lightness, color saturation, and other qualities.

Important:  Editing a photo changes its appearance in the photo library and in every album, slideshow, and project (such as a book, card, or calendar) that it’s used in. To edit a photo without changing it everywhere it appears, duplicate the photo and then edit the duplicate.

To adjust a photo automatically:

  1. Open the photo in edit view.

  2. If the Quick Fixes tab (at the top of the Edit pane) isn’t selected, click it.

  3. Click the Enhance button.

Your changes are saved automatically unless you click Undo or “Revert to Previous.”

To adjust a photo manually:

  1. Open the photo in edit view.

  2. Click the Adjust tab (at the top of the Edit pane).

  3. Drag the controls to adjust the photo:

    Screenshot of Adjust window


    Histogram and Levels slider: Adjust the photo’s light and dark levels


    Exposure: The photo’s overall lightness and darkness

    Contrast: The amount of difference between light and dark

    Saturation: Color richness

    Avoid saturating skin tones: Keep skin tones the same while you adjust color intensity


    Definition: Improves clarity, reduces haze; affects contrast in parts of the photo

    Highlights: Reduces the brightness of highlights

    Shadows: Brightens shadows to improve detail in shadowy areas

    Sharpness: Crispness or softness

    De-noise: Graininess

    Temperature: Color tone coolness and warmth

    Tint: The photo’s overall color cast


    Eyedropper: Use to automatically adjust temperature and tint based on gray or white area

To balance a photo’s overall color using the Eyedropper:

If there’s an area in a photo that you know should be white or gray, but appears off-color, iPhoto can automatically balance the photo’s overall color.

  1. Open the photo in edit view, and then click the Adjust tab (at the top of the Edit pane).

  2. Click the Eyedropper button (near the bottom of the Adjust window, shown in the task above).

  3. Position the crosshairs over the gray or white area and click.

    iPhoto adjusts the Temperature and Tint sliders to make the area a neutral gray, which should improve the photo’s overall appearance.

Your changes are saved automatically, unless you click Undo or “Revert to Previous.”

You can also boost or fade color using the Effects pane.