Photo editors are useful tools for perfecting our photos and preparing them for print, social media, and exhibitions. But we don’t want to spend a lot of time editing. Therefore, many photo editors provide automatic adjustments for photo retouching, presets for quick styling, and many other features designed to save you time. Affinity Photo is one of them.
As you probably know, Affinity Photo is a complete photo editing solution that allows you to control each step of the editing process. It’s amazing for applying local adjustments, overlaying multiple layers, RAW editing, stacking images, and styling your photos before publishing them.
Although Affinity Photo allows you to make each adjustment by hand, you don’t have to. The editor provides automatic features that can release you of repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Furthermore, using automatic adjustments gives your work cohesion and helps you develop your personal style. Here are the top five Affinity Photo’s automatic adjustments you need to know.
Quick automatic adjustments for photo retouching
Affinity Photo provides four quick fixes grouped in the Enhancement section of the Toolbar. They are Auto Levels, Auto Contrast, Auto Colors, and Auto White Balance and they do exactly what their names say. They modify levels, contrast, color, or white balance in order to correct the image. For many of your photos, these four automatic adjustments are enough. However, if you don’t like the result, Affinity Photo allows you to reverse the action or use it as the first step of your editing process.
Macros are prerecorded sets of edits that Affinity Photo applies as a single action. They are extremely useful for speeding up your workflow because they allow you to develop a series of editing steps and automatically apply them to similar images. You can record macros for frequent operations such as changing the color space or applying geometrical transformations. You can also record macros to edit photos from a photo session and fix lighting and color temperature for all pictures in the same manner.
Macros work with batch processing so you can apply them to multiple images at once. As usual, Affinity Photo gives you full control over the editing process. Choose to save the images in the .afphoto format after batch processing and you’ll be able to fine-tune them individually, although it would take up a big chunk of your hard drive.
Create a macro
To record a macro, go to View ->Studio -> Macro. Press the Start recording button and edit the photo as you wish. Affinity Photo will record each action and add it to the macro. When you finish editing, press the Stop recording button. You can replay the macro to see how it affects the image. Also, Affinity Photo allows you to edit each step’s parameters and choose whether you want to keep the step in the macro or not. When the macro is done you can either export it as an afmacro file and share it with others or add it to your library of macros for later use.
To see the macros you have installed, go to View -> Studio -> Library. Affinity Photo doesn’t come with many default macros but you can download and install Affinity macros created by others, or Photography-RAW’s macro packages. To import a macro, go to the Library panel and click on the Import button. Then choose the .afmacros file corresponding to the macro. Affinity Photo allows you to rename, modify, and save the imported macro. You can also edit any installed macro, whether created by you or imported, by choosing Edit Macro from the right-click menu in the Library panel. The macro you want to edit will open in the Macro panel.
A LUT (look-up table) is a way of matching pixel color values with a predefined matrix to recreate the aspect of specific types of media. You can use them as automatic adjustments to color grade or style your photos to resemble science fiction scenes, film effects, theatrical lighting, vintage photos, golden hour colors, and much more.
Similar to macros, Affinity Photos provides tools for creating and importing LUTs. Go to the Adjustment panel, LUT category, and see the default LUTs that Affinity provides. Press on the Import button to add LUTs created by third-parties. Affinity Photo supports 3dl, csp, cube, and look LUT files. These LUT file formats are supported by other photo editors such as Adobe Photoshop and Luminar 4 so it won’t be hard to find extra LUTs, even for free.
To apply a LUT all you have to do is select it from the list. A LUT settings window will open, allowing you to set opacity and blending mode; decide whether you want a new adjustment layer or merge the changes into the current layer; create an effect by comparing the source image with a previous adjusted version of the same image.
Any set of adjustments you apply to an image may become a LUT. After styling your photo, go to File -> Export LUT…, choose a name for your preset and a file format, and save a custom LUT. Affinity Photo provides a default image for previewing the result but you can use your own sample image instead. Custom LUTs are extremely helpful when you want to give the same vibe and atmosphere to multiple images.
There is a long list of image sizes and aspect ratios a photographer has to deliver. Social media uses custom sizes, publishers want specific aspect ratios, and photographic paper comes in specific sizes too. However, you don’t have to remember all these dimensions and ratios. All you have to do is use cropping presets.
Affinity Photo provides a complex cropping tool, which includes settings for dimensions, aspect ratio, and dpi, and instruments for rotating, straightening, and applying the rule of thirds. In addition, the editor provides a list of cropping presets that respect common ratios, standard photographic paper sizes, and screen sizes. But if you don’t find what you need on this list, you can always create your own cropping preset or import from third-parties.
To create a cropping preset, set up the parameters and go to Presets -> Create Preset… and choose a name and a category. Affinity Photo provides tools for managing cropping presets to make sure you won’t lose time searching for the right one.
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Tone mapping automatic adjustments
Affinity Photo has a dedicated workspace for tone mapping HDR images called Tone Mapping Persona. Tone-mapping means taking 32-bit files resulted from merging images with different exposure levels and converting them into 8-bit or 16-bit files any monitor can handle without affecting the quality of the photo. The Tone Mapping Persona provides dedicated adjustments such as Exposure, Brightness, Contrast, and Tone Compression. But it also provides automatic adjustments called presets.
In the Presets panel, you’ll find 40 default tone mapping presets that can completely transform your photos in seconds. Besides, you can always create yours or import from third-parties. To create a new tone mapping preset all you have to do is make the adjustments you want and then choose Add Preset from the Preset panel menu. Give it a name and the new preset will appear in the current presets category. Affinity allows you to manage the presets to your liking. After all, these automatic adjustments are here to save you time, speed up the editing process, and make the workflow comfortable and fluid.
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Affinity Photo doesn’t believe in one preset fit all requirements. But it does believe in having the right tools at the right moment. As a result, it provides multiple types of automatic adjustments for very specific tasks. It may seem easy to crop your images one by one but when you’ll have hundreds of images to resize a cropping preset will be a lifesaver. Furthermore, automatic adjustments provide consistency, which is very important for developing your artistic voice. You don’t want to present a series of 12 photos edited in 12 different ways. Automating the editing process allows you to focus on the creative part.
But having presets and advanced features isn’t all you need. You need a neat workflow, easy to customize and fit for your purpose. Landscape photographers and commercial photographers have different requirements, editing workflows, and habits. To thank everyone, Affinity Photo provides tools for managing tools. It allows you to customize the interface, organize presets in categories, export what you don’t frequently use, and keep the interface airy. It avoids clutter and allows you to grow at your own pace. Overall, it gives you the choice to use manual controls or automatic adjustments.
Do you use automatic adjustments or prefer to make everything by yourself? Let us know which workflow works best for you and which of Affinity’s presets you tried. Don’t forget you can download Affinity macros right here.