External Editors for Photos Connects You to Photoshop, Others

External Editors is one of the most affordable, and exciting, editing extensions for Photos for OS X. It's available in the Mac App Store for 99 cents.


It allows you to connect practically any image editor to your Photos library. I tested it with two of my favorites: Photoshop CC and Alien Skin Exposure X. It worked perfectly on both counts.

The workflow is simple. Open your image in Edit mode in Photos for OS X. Choose External Editors from the list of editing extensions you have loaded. Editors will open your image and present you with all the available editing apps on your Mac. Choose the one you want, then it takes you there for adjustments. After you've finished working on it, just click Save.

You're back in the External Editors interface. Choose Save Changes and your edited image is returned to Photos for OS X. And here's the kicker, if you press the M key, you can see the original version of your shot. And if you want, you can Revert to Original.

As some readers have pointed out, this workflow doesn't work when you send RAW files to Photoshop. So this doesn't sound like a solution for RAW shooters, or for artists who add layers while in Photoshop. So if you fall into these categories, then you might want to save your 99 cents. (Thanks John for the heads up!)

But for Jpeg shooters, this workflow is far better than the old style of roundtripping, because even though you're using an outside app, the workflow remains non-destructive. And in that case, I can't think of a better way to spend a buck.

Master Photos for OS X

(It's More Powerful than You Think)

For hands-on tutorials, be sure to take a look at Photos for OS X Essential Training on lynda.com. I cover everything you need to know to get the most from this surprisingly powerful image management application.

More Help and Insights on Photos for OS X

Don't forget about the Photos for OS X Special Feature Section on The Digital Story. It's a roundup of tutorials, videos, and articles focused on helping you master Apple's latest photo management software. You can also find it under Photography in the top nav bar.

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