Exploring the new Photos app in Windows 10

Organize, edit and share your photos.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal Freelance Writer
Sarah is a freelance writer and CNET How To blogger. Her main focus is Windows, but she also covers everything from mobile tech to video games to DIY hardware projects. She likes to press buttons and see what happens, so don't let her near any control panels.
Sarah Jacobsson Purewal
3 min read

Windows 10 has a new Photos app that does more than just display your pictures as a slideshow. This new default app organizes your pictures by date taken (and even creates curated albums for you), features a few nice editing tools for image enhancement, and lets you share pictures via social networks and email. While it's not going to replace Photoshop any time soon, the Photos app is worth a look.

Collections and albums

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The new photos app has two main sections: Collection and Albums. In the Collection section, you'll see a collection of all your photos, grouped by date taken (in reverse chronological order). If you want to quickly find photos from a certain time period without scrolling through all of the photos in your collection, click or tap on a date to zoom out to a list of all past months.

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The Albums section is a little different. Here, you'll find albums that the Photos app creates for you automatically, based on date taken, location, and possibly facial recognition (people in the photos). At the moment, it doesn't look like you can manually create albums, so this section is a little barren.

Add a folder

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At first, the only photos in your Photos app will be those from your Pictures folder and possibly anything saved on your OneDrive. To add another folder to the Photos app, open the app, go to Settings and under the Sources section, click or tap Add a folder. Find the folder you want to add, select it, and click Add this folder to Pictures.

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If you'd rather not have your OneDrive photos show up in the Photos app, go to Settings and turn off Show my photos and videos from OneDrive.

Edit and enhance

The new Photos app does have some editing features, including filters and a one-click Enhance button that applies some basic fixes.

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To edit a photo in the Photos app, click on the photo to open it and click the pencil icon to open the editing platform. To the left of your photo, you'll see the different categories: Basic fixes, filters, light, color, and effects. Basic fixes include the one-click Enhance button, as well as rotation, cropping, straightening, red-eye, and "retouch," which lets you tap and smooth away blemishes.

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In the Light menu, you can adjust brightness, contrast, highlights, and shadows. Brightness and contrast are pretty self-explanatory, but the highlight and shadow adjusters are useful for fixing a photos that has different lighting levels (e.g., very bright spots that need to be dimmed or very dark spots that need to be brightened). In the Color menu, you can tweak temperature, tint, and saturation; there's also a feature called Color boost, which lets you pick out one color and make it more or less prominent.

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The Filters and Effects menu are where you can get your Instagram-style fix: The Filters menu offers six filters, including black and white, while the Effects menu lets you add a vignette effect (fade the corners of the image to black or white) or tilt-shift the focus.

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While you're editing your image, you can compare it with the original by clicking and holding the compare button at the top of the screen. The top menu also has undo/redo buttons, as well as the options to save the original image or save a copy of the image.

Share your pictures

Sharing your pictures from the Photos app is pretty simple, thanks to Windows 10's Share toolbar. You can share individual photos or several photos at once -- to share several photos, go to the collection section and click Select at the top of the screen. Select the photos you want to share and a Share button will appear at the top of the screen.

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Click this button or use the keyboard shortcut Windows key + H to open the Share toolbar, which will list the apps you can use to share your photos (this will vary depending on what apps you have installed, but Facebook, Twitter, and Mail should all be on there).