External Editors For Photos

In keeping with my Photos App train of thought I wanted to bring you a new discovery for the Photos editing workflow. I am indebted to Gary at Macmost website for this heads up. External Editors For Photos is yet another Extension that can be installed into the Photos App. Here is how it works.


External Editors For Photos

In my previous articles I covered using external plugins to do specific types of editing inside the Photos App. But, what if you want to use an app that does not have a Photos App plugin? Enter a very cool Photos App Extension call External Editors For Photos (hereinafter referred to as EE). EE costs a whopping .99ยข on the Mac App Store. It is an ingenious bit of coding in my humble opinion. Once you buy and download this little app you have to go into the Extensions area of your System Preferences:

Here you will “Activate” the EE extension so it can be used by the Photos App:

When you are finished doing that I recommend going into your Applications Folder and opening EE. Yes, it is a standalone app of sorts:

Here you can choose a Default Editor, more on why you might wish to do that later.

Next, just open the Photos App, select a photo and go into the “Edit” mode. Then click on the Extensions dropdown and choose “External Editors”:

EE opens the photo, but leaves the Photos App open in the background. You can see a list of apps on your Mac that EE thinks you can use to edit that particular photo. Here is a heads up for people who are using RAW photos for your photography workflow. For EE to work properly you have to convert the RAW into a JPEG. So, if you click on that dropdown there all you have to do is select JPEG like so:

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When you do that EE shows a bunch more apps in the right sidebar that can edit your JPEG photo. In my case I chose the fun Acorn app. All you have to do is click on your selection and EE opens the app with your photo in it. I am not going to show you all that I did in Acorn, but really all I did was apply a “Sepia” effect to the photo. Once you are done in your editing app of choice you must save the photo in that app. The save process signals EE to save the photo as well. Then, just quit your editing app, in this case Acorn, and your stylized, edited photo will be sitting back in EE like so:

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All you have to do is click “Save” and you are taken back into the Photos App:

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That is all there is to it. I have tried Photoshop Elements 14 and also Pixelmator using this method and it works just fine. As I mentioned earlier, if you use one external app to do this type of editing then you can set it as the Default in the EE Preferences. Also, when you have the edited photo back in the Photos App you can still “Revert To Original” to undo all the editing if you decide you do not like it.


If you are an amateur like me you will do most of your editing in the Photos App using the builtin settings and/or the capabilities of the various plugins available. However, on occasion you may wish to use an external app for this purpose. External Editors For Photos makes this very easy.