Photo Editing for Anyone

How To
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Description: Want to get your digital family photos edited faster, without compromising quality? Mylio offers a quick, nondestructive photo editing workflow for all skill levels.


By: Maggie King

What if I mess something up when I edit photos?

This is a very common fear for people who haven’t done a lot of photo editing, and it’s a legitimate one; you don’t want to make a permanent change to your family history that can’t be undone. 

Fortunately, Mylio’s editing is nondestructive. It uses an XMP file to store information about your photo edits (among many other things like your keywords and ratings) so that the changes don’t apply directly to the image, itself. 

If you’re new to XMP files, let me break it down for you:

Imagine you have a physical print of your image laying on your countertop. You put a sheet of transparent film over your print and with a dry erase marker, doodle directly onto that transparent film. When you’re done doodling, have you destroyed your precious family photo? Not at all! You just lift the transparent film off of your print and walk away.

That’s a pretty broad illustration and doesn’t explain everything, but it gives you the general idea. The edits you make in Mylio aren’t actually attached to your photo; they’re stored separately on that XMP file and can be removed at any time. In fact, you won’t even see the edits to a Mylio photo in other photo editing applications unless you save the metadata to the original file or export it, changes and all. 

Let’s do some basic photo editing

Now you know there’s nothing to fear, so have a little fun! We’ll take a minute to talk about some of the basic editing you can do in Mylio to get started.

Auto enhance: edit efficiently

If you just want to give your family photos a little boost and not bother with individual changes, Auto Enhance will be your best friend. Open your photo in Mylio and click  Edit on the tool panel on your right (next to Info and Map). Scroll past the histogram, which will cover in a moment, and look at your presets.

Auto-Enhancing a picture of fireworks is great for fast edits

Courtesy of Mylio Support

Auto Enhance is your first preset. It will just give a little bump of color and light correction to your image when you click it. It’s a decent fix for most images. However, there’s no perfect one-size-fits-all when it comes to photo editing. If you’re not a fan of what it does to a particular image, undo the change by clicking the symbol of an arrow circling around an X, just under Info, Map, and Edit

Red-eye editing

Look for the eye-shaped symbol (first in the options above your histogram) to fix red eye in your images. (In the app, you’ll need to look for the pencil icon at the bottom of Mylio to enter editing mode, then select the eye symbol.)

Hover the circular stamp that replaces your mouse arrow over the affected eye and click once you have it in place. (In the app, tap the affected eye with your finger.) Now you can make changes with sliders at the bottom of the screen to sensitivity (how intense the red eye removal effect appears) and radius (how big the effect is in circumference).

You can do more than one eye at a time; just click on each one until you’ve got them all. Click (or tap) a specific eye to make changes to its sensitivity or radius.

Cropping

The crop icon is at the very top right of your tool panel on the desktop, and it’s the second symbol you’ll see at the bottom of Mylio when you enter editing mode in the app.

Cropping a cityscape picture

Courtesy of Mylio Support

Each side and corner has three short lines for you to click and drag until you like the crop. If you want a standard dimension (important if you want to get this photo framed or put it in an album) look for Free at the bottom middle. When you click Free, you can select a standard ratio and make adjustments by resizing, dragging, and dropping the now-ratioed crop box to the right spot on your image.

Rotating

If you just want to do a little straightening, you can rotate using the slider that appears (above Free) when you open the cropping options. To rotate the entire image, look for the icon of an arrow going in a circle. It appears at the top of the toolbar on the right, in the same set of options you found the crop icon. It’s a one way deal; just click the circular arrow until your image is where you want it.

Editing for light

What if your images from the beach are a little on the bright side or those birthday photos in that windowless party room turned out muddy and dark? Mylio can make significant improvements to the light balance of your images, and it’s pretty easy, too.

When you scroll all the way down the Edit toolbar, you’ll see several sliders. Certain ones can help you out with lighting:

  • Exposure – This makes broad changes to the level of brightness in your image. If the whole thing is consistently dark (or consistently too light) a small bump here could help.
  • Contrast – Contrast is about how the levels of brightness in your image relate to one another. If you slide it to the right, your darks will get darker and your lights will get lighter. Slide it the other way, and your darks and lights will become more similar.
  • Highlights – This addresses the light portions of your image on a broad scale. If you drag it to the left, you may be able to bring back lost detail to “hot spots” in the photo.
  • Shadows – Highlights’ counterpart for dark areas in your image. If you bump it to the right, you may be able to recover details that disappeared into the muddy shadows of your photo.
  • Whites – Sounds like highlights, right? Not quite. Whites determines the “whitest” point in your image. So if you’re not careful, you could create new hot spots with this one. Whites is best used in small doses.
  • Blacks – As shadows are to highlights, blacks are to whites in photo editing. This sets the black point in your image. 

To find these options in the app, tap the Edit icon (it’s the pencil at the bottom of the app). The second icon from the right looks like three lines, each one intersected by a dot. Tap that to open your light (and color) balancing sliders.

My personal preference for light balancing:

I like to set Highlights way down and Shadows way up to recover as much detail as possible, then I increase both Whites and Blacks slightly to give a little bit of pop to the brightest and darkest points in the image. If the whole image is on the dark or bright side, I adjust Exposure accordingly by very small degrees. I rarely use Contrast, since I can get a much more custom solution by adjusting the other sliders myself.

Editing for color

Editing for color is very simple in Mylio. Your family photos likely don’t need precision color balancing, so stick with these few, specific sliders as you learn, then branch out as you get more comfortable:

  • Saturation – This slider will make your colors more colorful when you slide it to the right. Sliding it to the left “drains” that color from the image a little bit at a time, ultimately leaving you with a black and white photo when you go all the way to the left.
  • The Color/Black & White Buttons – If you already know you want a black and white image, you can click that button (immediately below Saturation) to make the change instantly. Click Color (to the left) if you change your mind.
  • Temp K – This slider and the next one are all about complementary colors, but if you don’t want to get into that, you don’t have to. All you need to know is that dragging this slider to the left will increase the “blues” in your image, while dragging it to the right will increase the “orange/yellows”.
  • Tint – Same dance, but with greens and magentas.

My personal preference for color balancing:

Small changes are key here, although you can certainly make big ones just for fun. I’d recommend looking at the same photo in Mylio on multiple devices when you are making significant edits, to make sure you’re completely happy before exporting.

Before and after view

As a professional photo editor and when playing around with my personal family photos, I often reach a point where I can’t remember what the image originally looked like. Therefore, I don’t know whether I’m actually fixing what I wanted to fix anymore! 

When I reach that point in Mylio, I click the Compare Before and After icon (up there with the red eye removal icon). It shows me the original photo. When I click it again, it shows me the edits I’ve made so far. I like to click back and forth a few times to evaluate whether I’ve gone down the right path or a rabbit hole.

And when in doubt…

If you know you’ve gone down the wrong path with your editing and want to start fresh with the original, scroll all the way down to the very bottom of the Edit panel. If you’ve made any edits at all to your image, there will be a purplish-pink button down there that says Reset all edits. Click that bad boy to go back to your original photo.

Fix only the spots that need it in your family photos

Only want to change a specific part of your image? Click the Brush symbol, right next to the red eye icon. At the bottom of Mylio, you’ll now have a Radius slider that controls how large or small your brush tool is. 

Brushes help edit select parts of a photo

Courtesy of Mylio Support

Hover over your image where you’d like to apply an effect, then click and hold to paint over the specific area. Now, adjust the appropriate sliders. You can make big edits this way (brightening and adding saturation to an entire sunset) or minute ones that pack a big punch (whitening teeth, maybe, or emphasizing the color of a striking set of eyes).

To go back and change a brush adjustment later, just click the brush icon again and select the circle that pops up where you made your adjustment on the image. You can now make changes to the position of the sliders you’ve already moved, as well as add new changes to previously untouched sliders. 

Edit photos faster with presets

Here’s a scenario you’re probably familiar with:

After the family reunion is over and the suitcases have been unpacked, the hundred or so irreplaceable photos you took now sit on your device, taunting you. You avoid them despite their intrinsic value, because you know how dark the event room was and that every single shot you took is going to need some tweaking before you’re ready to share it with the world. 

On your social media, family members who weren’t able to attend beg for photos and you promise to get to it as soon as possible…but then you don’t. 

In a nutshell: 

  1. You have a lot of images to sift through. 
  2. Most of those images need the same changes, because they were taken around the same time in the same place. 
  3. You don’t want to spend the time to do that, at least not now when you’re so busy with work or life or both. 

Eventually, you’ll flip through them, pick out a few that seem like winners, make edits to those and never look at the batch as a whole again. Unless! You edit them all in one big batch, applying the basic changes they all need without having to trigger them individually each time. Presets, my friend. Presets. 

We already talked about one preset, Auto Enhance. Let’s go back now and learn how to get a little more out of this feature.

Existing presets and how to apply them

Remember how we found Auto Enhance by selecting our photo, going to the Edit panel (next to Info and Maps), and finding it at the top of Presets?

You probably noticed at the time that there are several other existing presets that apply different effects to your image. Go ahead and play around with them, if you like. Remember: you can’t mess photos up in Mylio! The edits aren’t saved directly to your image. 

Creating your own preset

To make a custom preset tailored to the exact needs of a batch of images, pull up a single image from that batch. Make the changes you want, then go to the bottom of the existing presets and click Add

Create your own editing presets

Courtesy of Mylio Support

Up pops a dialogue box, where you can name your new preset and choose which changes you want to share with other photos. Click Save when you’re done.

The new preset will appear right there with your existing ones, and you’ll even get the same preview thumbnail to show you how those changes will translate to the next image, once it is selected.

Time to copy and paste!

Now we’re ready to get those changes applied to your whole batch. Go to the folder, album, or event where all of your photos are in one place. Select the first one (or the second, if you used the first one for the original edit) without bringing it up to the full screen. Just click it once to get that pretty blue box to pop up around the thumbnail. 

Now go to Edit > Presets and click your own preset. You’ll see it change on the thumbnail of the actual image. Now use your right keyboard arrow to move to the next image. Click paste. Continue doing this through the rest of the photos. It will take you no time, flat. 

Keep in mind that this doesn’t work on videos. Mylio only offers photo editing, so if a video throws you off your groove, just tap your keyboard arrow to move to the next photo and continue pasting, tapping, and pasting.

Histogram Edits

We’ll cover the histogram last, even though it’s toward the top of the editing options, because it’s confusing to some. Not Mylio’s version of it, just histograms, themselves. There’s never a bad time to explain histograms.

What it is

You’ll probably see the full version at first, which shows your reds, greens, blues, and luminance (lights and darks) all on one graph. I recommend clicking on your histogram and selecting just one option at a time from the list that pops up. 

Adjusting the histogram on a kitty picCourtesy of Mylio Support

Easier to read, right? 

The leftmost side of the histogram is the darkest of the darks. The rightmost side is the lightest of the lights. That jagged line going across is where your image lies. If you’ve got a big hump in the middle that drops off on either side, then you mostly have midtones. If you’re seeing several peaks and valleys, that’s okay, too. 

How to use it

There’s a wide variety of what is “acceptable” on a histogram. What you’re looking for is mostly clipping. Clipping is when you have an area so bright or so dark that there’s no visible detail in that part of the image. To “cheat” the histogram and find clipping without deciphering that jagged line, hover your mouse over the dark dot on the top left or the light grey dot on the top right. If part of your image lights up bright red, that’s where you have clipping. 

You can edit photos with the settings we covered earlier (Don’t forget about your brush tool!) to try and regain some of that detail if it exists in the file. 

Remember: at this point you only have one option selected. You’re either looking at how a specific color (red, blue, or green) impacts your image, or at the luminance of the image as a whole without reference to color. Click the histogram and select RGB to see everything at once. 

File formats in Mylio

If you were lost the minute you read the words “file formats”, you are very likely using JPEG files, and that’s just dandy. For most family photos that you shoot on your smartphone or point and shoot camera, you don’t need to do extensive, deep editing and won’t care too much about your file type. 

If, however, you like to shoot in RAW, first of all you will want to use Mylio Premium, which allows for RAW editing. And you probably already know that you’ll have a better shot at things like recovering detail and walking back clipped highlights and/or shadows. You may also be pleased to learn that Mylio supports TIFF, PNG, and many other still file types that allow for flexibility of changes.

Mylio does also support video and document file types, but again, not editing on those files at this time.

Ready to try photo editing with Mylio?

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