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Photos: A Take Control Crash Course
Oct 05, 2016

Photos: A Take Control Crash Course

Take control of your photo collection in Photos for macOS Sierra and iOS 10!

Make the most of Apple’s Photos app in macOS Sierra and iOS 10, and on an Apple TV! This book by Jason Snell, publisher of Six Colors and former lead editor at Macworld, explains Photos’ new machine-learning features, like Categories and Memories. It also teaches you how to extend your Photos experience across all your Apple devices—take a photo on your iPhone, put it in an album on your iPad, edit it on your Mac’s large screen, and show it off via your Apple TV!

Jason walks you through the Photos interface and describes how you can organize your images, both with Apple’s automatic albums, categories, and Memories, and with your own keywords, albums, and smart albums.

You’ll learn how to make standard edits like cropping and removing red-eye along with more sophisticated improvements via the powerful Adjustments panel. If you want to go further, Jason explains how how to add third-party editing extensions. For those who are feeling crafty, there’s a chapter about using Photos to create your own books, cards, and calendars.

The book also provides invaluable advice on using iCloud Photo Library, sharing your photos via social media, and working with or merging multiple libraries.

For those new to Photos, Jason covers what to expect from Photos in comparison to Apple’s older iPhoto and Aperture apps, and he guides you through importing your existing libraries.

More Info

Jason answers a bunch of burning questions, including:

  • What should I expect from Photos when I first start up in Sierra?
  • How do I use the new Places album?
  • What can I do with the new Categories feature?
  • How do keywords and Categories interact?
  • How can I customize a Memory video?
  • How do I match people to faces?
  • What if I want to remove a photo from a Memory?
  • What’s important about the System Photo Library?
  • If I delete a photo while running iCloud Photo Library, how deleted is it?

You’ll find directions for editing photos, including help with:

  • Using basic editing controls, like rotation and crop
  • Taking advantage of the blue checkmarks on the Adjustments pane
  • The utility of each of the special adjustment controls
  • Creating a default set of adjustments
  • Applying a specific set of adjustments to more than one photo
  • Removing a blemish from a face in a photo
  • Editing a raw file (instead of the JPEG)
  • Using a third-party photo-editing extension

The book also provides advice about:

  • Why the search field is so important in Photos
  • Sorting your albums and sorting photos within albums
  • Applying location information (geotags)
  • Working with keywords, and using the heart-icon Favorite button
  • Setting up albums and smart albums
  • Sharing an album online via iCloud Photo Sharing
  • Configuring the Ken Burns effect in a slideshow
  • Exporting a slideshow as a video file
  • Using Apple’s print service for printing photos
  • Editing a photo while working in a book, card, or calendar

What versions of OS X does Photos run in?

This book, which is about the new versions of Photos that Apple released in September 2016, covers Photos 2 in macOS 10.12 Sierra, as well as Photos in iOS 10.

Do you have a book about Photos 1?

Yes, we do! Photos 1 runs in 10.10 Yosemite and 10.11 El Capitan. If you’re using Photos in either of those operating systems, the book that you are looking for is the “parent” book to this one, Photos for Mac: A Take Control Crash Course.

Update Plans

October 6, 2016 – We’re happy to have released this title with Sierra and iOS 10 coverage, and are hoping that it won’t need an update for a while.

Posted by Tonya Engst

The Author

Jason Snell has been writing about Apple since it was doomed—1994, to be exact—and was the lead editor for Macworld for more than a decade. He also oversaw editorial operations for PCWorld, TechHive, and Greenbot. He currently writes about technology at, and hosts the Upgrade and Clockwise podcasts at, and produces and hosts many other podcasts at