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How To Use Windows 10 Photos App

How to use the tools and options available in the Windows 10 free photo editing app 'Photos'.

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The free Windows 10 upgrade is finally here and with it comes a built-in photo editing app which is simply called 'Photos'. Those who used the Windows 8 operating system may be familiar with the app but for everyone else, it'll be completely new. If you're worried it's a rebooted version of Paint don't be; it's actually a rather good basic photo editing app. Here, we take a look at the tools on offer and how you can use them to enhance / edit your shots. 



Before and after editing in Photos app

Enhancements applied in the Windows 10 Photos app. (Left before, right after)


How To Open Photos App

Click in the 'Search the web and Windows' box and type Photos. Click Photos, which should appear at the top of the list, and the app will open.


search for Photos App


How To Open Images In Photos App

To view / edit images they need to be located in your Pictures folder. You can find this folder in the File Explorer which is accessed via the start menu. When images are added to the Pictures folder they appear on the front screen of the Photos app where they are automatically placed into collections. There's also an option for viewing images as albums which are automatically created for you. To edit an image, simply click on it and the app will expand its size as well as show the various editing options that are available to you. 




Basic Navigation Of The Photos App

Before we move on to image editing, we thought we'd give you a quick guide of the various options available on the front screen (see numbers on the image): 

1. Expands / Reduce the size of the column on the left side. 

2. View image collections

3. View image albums 

4. Select images for sharing, deleting or copying. A small box appears on each image which can be clicked so a tick appears. 

5.  Expands / Reduce menu size 

6. Settings 


Photos App


Editing An Image In Photos App

Once you've clicked on your image it will expand in size and editing tools will appear. You'll also notice there are arrows to each side of the image which can be used to rotate through the other images found in the Pictures folder. You can also use your mouse wheel to rotate through these, too. In the bottom right corner are + - keys which can be used to zoom in and out of the image and again, the mouse wheel can also be used to scroll in and out. In the top menu bar (going from left to right) are the following options: Share (Win+H), Slide show (F5), Enhance (E), Edit, Rotate (Ctrl+R), Delete (Del) and a button which lets you hide / see more of the menu. 

  • Share - This brings a menu up from the right-hand side of your screen with options for sharing your image(s) with others. 
  • Slide show - Presents the images found in the Picture folder as a slideshow. 
  • Enhance - Makes automatic adjustments to your image. 
  • Edit - Brings up manual controls for editing the image
  • Rotate - Turns the image around
  • Delete - Removes the image from the Photos app 

The ... symbol opens a drop-down menu that has options for viewing the images in other programmes, printing, copying and setting the photo as the lock screen image. You can also access the file info here. 


Photos App


Edit Options

If the Enhance option doesn't produce the results you're looking for or if you simply like to edit your images manually, click on the pencil icon (Edit) to access more editing options. 5 different options are available (they appear on the left-hand side) all of which we look at in more detail below. 


Basic Fixes

Under Basic fixes you'll find the following options: Enhance, Rotate, Crop, Straighten, Red-eye and Retouch. As before, Enhance makes automatic adjustments while Rotate allows you change the image's orientation. Across the top menu for both of these options you'll find undo / redo buttons, a button which toggles the effect / change you've applied on and off, an option to save a copy and a save button. Save a copy won't edit your original file but clicking save will. You can also close the image you're working on from this menu by clicking the cross icon. 


Crop - This presents you with a grid with anchor points so you can crop unwanted items out or simply change the aspect ratio of your shot. There's a custom option as well as preset adjustments available which can be found by clicking the button highlighted in the image below. The tick icon will apply the crop while the cross icon will exit back out. You can also apply the crop by clicking the enter key on your keyboard. 


Crop in Photos App


Straighten - If you have a wonky horizon this is the tool for you. Clicking on it covers your image in a grid which you can use to determine when your image is straight. To adjust it, click and pull on the circular tab that appears on a larger circle. As you do, a number will appear showing the angle you've adjusted it to. 


Straighten in Photos App


Red eye - This removes red eye from portraits. Just click on each eye and the red eye is removed. 


Retouch - Remove blemishes, spots etc. with this tool. Simply click on the blemish you want to remove and the software does the rest. 

The top menu for the Straighten, Red-eye and Retouch options presents you with undo / redo buttons, a button which toggles the effect / change you've applied on and off, an option to save a copy and a save button. You can also close the image you're working on from this menu by clicking the cross icon. 



Here you'll find presets that alter the overall tone / colour of your image. For example, one option adds a vignette while the last one on the list will convert your image to black & white. 


Filters in Photos app



Under Light are options for tweaking the brightness, contrast, highlights and shadows. To adjust the controls, click on the one you wish to edit and pull on the circular tab that appears on a larger circle.



Under the Color option you'll find controls for adjusting temperature, tint and saturation as well as an option for boosting colour. As above, the temperature, tint and saturation options are adjusted via a circular control but the color boost tool works a little differently. With this tool you click on a colour in the image you wish to boost then use the circular control that appears to alter it. Moving the circle clockwise boots the colour while moving it anticlockwise saturates it. 

Colour boost in Photos app



The final option allows you to add a vignette or apply selective focus to your shot. Moving the circular control clockwise will add a black vignette while moving in an anticlockwise direction will add a white vignette. Selective focus places a circular line on your image which has adjustable anchor points. The parts of the image inside the circle will remain in focus while everything on the outside will be blurred. 


Selective focus in Photos app


For all of the above options you'll find  undo / redo buttons, a button which toggles the effect / change you've applied on and off, an option to save a copy and a save button along the top menu. 

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