Photo editing basics in Photos on Mac
You can use the Photos editing tools to easily make simple changes to your photos, such as rotating them or cropping them to get the best framing. You can also use over a dozen sophisticated adjustments to change exposure and color, remove marks or blemishes, eliminate red-eye, change white balance, and more.
To make more advanced adjustments, you can use Levels and Curves controls to alter brightness, contrast, and tonal range in different areas of a photo. See Apply levels adjustments to a photo and Apply curves adjustments to a photo. You can also enhance and change videos and Live Photos. See Change and enhance a video and Change a Live Photo.
When you change a photo or video, Photos keeps the original so you can always undo your changes and revert to the original look.
Changes you make to a photo or video appear everywhere it appears in your library—every album, project, and so on. If you want to give a photo or video a unique look that appears in only one version of the item, first duplicate it and work on the copy.
Edit a photo or video
In the Photos app on your Mac, do one of the following:
Double-click a photo or video thumbnail, then click Edit in the toolbar.
Select a photo or video thumbnail, then press Return.
Do any of the following:
Zoom in or out on a photo: Click or drag the Zoom slider.
Make adjustments: Click Adjust to display the adjustment tools. See Adjust a photo’s light, exposure, and more.
Apply filters: Click Filters to display filters you can apply to change the look of your photo or video. See Use a filter to change a photo’s look.
Crop the image: Click Crop to display the options for cropping a photo or video. See Crop and straighten photos.
Rotate a photo or video: Click the Rotate button in the toolbar to rotate the image counterclockwise. Continue clicking until you get the orientation you want. Option-click the button to rotate the image clockwise.
Automatically enhance a photo or video: Click the Auto Enhance button to have the color and contrast of your photo or video adjusted automatically. To remove the changes, press Command-Z or click Revert to Original.
To stop editing, click Done or press Return.
While you’re editing a photo or video, you can press the arrow keys to switch to other items.
Duplicate a photo
To create different versions of a photo or video, you duplicate it and work on the copy.
In the Photos app on your Mac, select the item you want to copy.
Choose Image > Duplicate 1 Photo (or press Command-D).
If you’re duplicating a Live Photo, click Duplicate to include the video portion, or Duplicate as Still Photo to include just the still image.
When you create a duplicate item, the Duplicates album appears in the sidebar. The duplicate items remain in the Duplicates album until you adjust or change the look of one of them. Duplicate items that you add or import into your library may require some processing time to be recognized as duplicates and placed in the Duplicates album.
Compare photos or videos before and after editing
While editing an item, you can compare the edited version with the original.
In the Photos app on your Mac, double-click a photo or video to open it, then click Edit in the toolbar.
To see the original image, click and hold the Without Adjustments button, or press and hold the M key.
Release the button or the M key to see the item with edits.
Copy and paste adjustments
After you adjust a photo or video, you can copy the adjustments that you’ve made and paste them on other items. You can only paste adjustments onto one item at a time.
Note: You can’t copy and paste the settings from the retouch tool, red-eye tool, crop tool, or third-party extensions.
In the Photos app on your Mac, double-click an item you’ve made adjustments to, then click Edit in the toolbar.
Choose Image > Copy Adjustments.
Double-click the item to which you want to apply the adjustments, then click Edit.
Choose Image > Paste Adjustments.
You can also Control-click an item in editing view and choose Copy Adjustments or Paste Adjustments.
You can quickly remove changes to a photo or video. To undo the last change you made, choose Edit > Undo, or press Command-Z. To discard all changes and start over, select the item and choose Image > Revert to Original.