Photos App Export

I have established a photo workflow (for now anyway) using the new Photos app and Aftershot Pro 2. It took a while to see what both apps can do and how to make them work together for my families needs and a more serious editing workflow for me as well.


The Workflow

This workflow between the two apps involves importing all my photos from my various cameras into the new Photos app in Yosemite. The Photos app is quite fast, and, as I have said previously, has fairly decent editing features for the average user. Once my photos are imported I end up just leaving them there in what Photos refers to as the “System Photo Library”. That is the photo library that is used by your Mac OS and iCloud.

However, many of the photos I take I want to edit in my Corel Aftershot Pro 2 app. So, after the images are imported into Photos I end up exporting some to a folder on the hard drive for Aftershot Pro 2 use. If you do any exporting from the Photos app then read on for an important heads up.

Photos Export

At first, I was just dragging and dropping photos from the Photos app. Most of the photos that I am editing are in RAW format and are about 23 MB. I discovered that when I drag a RAW photo off to the Desktop, Photos makes it into a JPEG that is about 7-8 MB in size. That is fine if you are going to just send it to a friend or something, but if you wish to edit the RAW photo then you have to use the “Export Original” command.

Lets use this photo as an example. I took this with my Panasonic Lumix FZ-1000 digital camera which shoots very nice RAW photos:

Here is the “Info” window on this photo in the Photos app:

You can see that it is RAW format and is about 23 MB in size. If I just drag the photo off it ends up like this:

It is about 7 MB in size and it turns it into a JPEG. If I want to do some high end editing, that does not work for me. But, Photos allows you to export the original photo using the “Export Unmodified Original” command:

This feature works quite nicely. And, you can export multiple photos at one time as well using this command. Then, when the photos are migrated to wherever on your Mac, they are in their original state, ready for editing.


I need to briefly mention photos in the JPEG format. As previously mentioned, I have two other cameras that take photos in JPEG only format, a Canon point and shoot and my iPhone 5s. I do not do as much high end editing with these photos, but once in a while I do send them over to the Aftershot Pro app.

The Photos app is a little more forgiving when dragging off JPEG images. It keeps them in JPEG format, but does reduce the size slightly. If I have a 1.8 MB photo in the Photos app it ends up about 1.6 MB after being dragged off to the Desktop. Not a big deal I guess, but if you wanted to sqeeze every bit of quality out of a JPEG photo you still might consider using the “Export Unmodified Original” command.


Yes, this workflow is a bit convoluted, but it is working for me. I primarily use it to export my RAW photos for Aftershot Pro 2 editing. They are in their original state when I import them into the program. YMMV on this, but if you are working with RAW photos and do not own an expensive RAW editing program like Lightroom, etc. that allows direct import into a catalog, then you might be able to use this workflow just fine.