How to edit photos on your Mac

Learn how to edit like a pro with the intuitive editing tools built into Photos for macOS.

 

Photos comes with every Mac and provides powerful, easy-to-use editing tools along with photo organization and sharing features. Use Photos to perfect your images, and don't be afraid to explore all of the tools—if you don't like a change you made, you can go back to the original photo any time.

Before you begin

iCloud Photo Library keeps your photos organized and up to date everywhere that you use it. So any edits that you make on your Mac appear on your other devices too.

Get started

To open a photo in Edit view, double-click a photo in your library, then click Edit in the toolbar. You can also select a photo and press the Return key to open a photo in Edit view. Click a tab in the middle of the toolbar to select from the three groups of editing tools: Adjust, Filters, and Crop.

The toolbar also has buttons for editing with extensions and quickly rotating or enhancing your photo.

While you edit, you can use the slider on the toolbar's left side to zoom in on your photo for greater detail. When you finish making your adjustments, click Done.

Adjust

Use the powerful tools in Adjust to fine-tune your photo's light, color, sharpness, and more. Use sliders or the Auto button to easily adjust your photo—or dive deeper with detailed controls.

Click the triangle next to each Adjust tool's name to show its controls. Some tools allow even more detailed adjustments; click the triangle next to Options to see everything the tool offers.

You can toggle individual adjustments on and off by clicking the blue circle that appears next to each tool when it's expanded or when hover your pointer over it.

If you want to apply the adjustments you make from one photo to another, just copy and paste them. Open the photo that has the adjustments that you want, click Edit, and choose Image > Copy Adjustments. Then open the photo you want to apply the edits to, click Edit, and choose Image > Paste Adjustments.

Filters

The nine filters in Photos emulate three classic photography styles—vivid, dramatic, and black and white—and are optimized to enhance your image while keeping skin tones natural.

Choose Vivid, Vivid Warm, or Vivid Cool to enhance the vibrancy of your images; Dramatic, Dramatic Warm, or Dramatic Cool to add contrast; or Mono, Silvertone, or Noir for a classic black and white.

Crop

Straighten your photo, improve its composition, or get rid of parts that you don't want.

Drag the selection rectangle by its edges or corners. When you let go of the selection rectangle, your cropped photo appears. Use the numbered dial to the right of your photo to straighten it. As you move the dial, a grid appears on your photo to help you with alignment.



Aspect: Choose from a range of ratios—like square or 5:7—or leave it as freeform. 
 

Flip: Horizontally flip your photo, or option-click  to flip it vertically.
 

Photos can also automatically straighten and crop your photo—just click the Auto button. Or click Reset to undo all cropping and rotation and restore your photo to its original dimensions.

Edit with third-party apps

You can edit images from your Photos library with third-party apps, such as Photoshop and Pixelmator, right from the Photos app. Select an image, then choose Image > Edit With and choose the editing app that you’d like to use.

When you’re finished editing in the app, save your work or use the Command-S keyboard shortcut. Any edits you make are saved in Photos as a non-destructive change, so you can always revert your image to its original state.

More editing tools

Extensions: Third-party extensions expand your editing options in Photos. You can apply edits from multiple extensions to one photo, or use any combination of extensions plus the editing tools built into Photos. Learn more about editing with third-party extensions.  

You can also use the Markup tool in the Extensions menu to add drawings, shapes, and text to your photos.

Rotate: Turn your photo 90 degrees counterclockwise. If you want to rotate the other direction, hold down the option key.

 

Enhance: Improve your photo with just one click. Automatically adjust your photo's color, light, and contrast.

 

Learn more

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