MAC devices are extremely powerful and fantastic tools for photo editing. Many graphic designers and photographers use MAC’s exclusively for their post-processing work. Whilst you can install a myriad of photo editing programs on MAC computers, it is also possible to use the built-in software provided.
AKVIS Sketch is an award-winning program for conversion of photos into pencil sketches and watercolor drawings. Make any photo look like a B&W or color drawing, imitate the technique of graphite. Luminar 4 (Formerly Luminar Flex) Luminar 4 is one of the most advanced AI-powered photo editing.
Photos for MAC devices is a standard editing program that comes pre-installed. It is actually possible to extend the functionality of this program using photos extensions. In this article, we look at those photos extensions. We will show to you, how you can take this editing program to the next level!
A brief history of Apple, MAC and iPhotos
Before we look at the Apple photos plugins, we will turn back time and explore Apple’s editing programs. We have seen two major photo manipulation programs in the form of iPhotos and Photos for MAC. Both programs allowed MAC users to edit their photos.
iPhotos – the original MAC photo manipulation software
The original Mac photo editor was iPhotos. Initially released in 2002, this program was discontinued in 2015. It was part of the iLife suite which also included iDVD and iWeb. This program allowed users to manage their photos. It was possible to import them from a DSLR camera or USB device. Moreover, you could label and sort photos into groups. This made photo management a breeze. There was also a series of basic editing tools. iPhotos was well received and hugely popular for MAC users. It is still possible to download iPhoto and use it on MAC devices today.
Photos – an iPhotos replacement
The Apple photos app actually overlapped with iPhotos. It was initially released in 2014. Apple planned to discontinue iPhotos and Aperture; Apple photo editor would combine features from these two programs. Photos brought new features such as organizing photos into “moments”. Moreover, it diversified it’s photo editing features and added a range of automatic enhancement tools. Some people prefer iPhotos and Aperture, but others love the simplicity of Photos. Part of what makes Photos so accessible is its extensions feature. As you will see below, it is possible to install extensions that extend the functionality of photos.
How can extensions improve your editing and organization?
Extensions are programs or apps that extend the functionality of a piece of software. Many editing programs allow the use of extensions. These are often developed by third-party companies or dedicated freelance developers. They may notice a flaw in the product or an area that it falls short – they then create an extension to fill that void.
Photos is a basic program, as was iPhotos. Apple understands this and thus allows Apple Photos extensions. You can find a full guide here on how to enable and use extensions on Photos. We will quickly discuss the process below, however:
1. First, you must install the Mac Photos extensions you wish to use.
2. Secondly, you must enable the use of Photos extensions on your MAC device. This can be done in the system preferences menu. Simply open “System Preferences” and select Photos Editing in the left-hand menu. You can then tick which extensions you wish to be enabled in the right-hand list.
3. Now you can start using the extensions in Photos for MAC. Once the program is open, click on the extension’s icon in the top right-hand toolbar (it looks like a circle with three dots). This should show a list of available extensions to use. Click on the desired choice and then proceed to edit the photo as desired!
This process may vary for some extensions – we advise always checking the instructions and FAQ page of the extension itself. In the paragraphs below, we have gathered 14 exceptional mac photos extensions. Each one of these apple photos extensions provides awesome functionality – they offer photo management, advanced editing features and more.
15 Awesome Mac Photos Extensions
These extensions represent the best of the best. If you want to extend the usefulness of Mac photo editor then you have come to the right place. Anyone of these apple photos plugins will help your work process indefinitely. Skylum, in particular, has created a superb set of editing programs that are compatible with Photos for MAC for example. Why not give these Mac Photo editor extensions a try today:
Luminar from Skylum has long been one of the top editing programs. This color editor acts as a serious contender to the all-mighty Photoshop and Lightroom. It is also available as a fantastic Apple Photos extensions.
Using the Luminar extension you can edit your photos in great detail. You can make use of the layers function so that you can add different overlays and edits to separate parts of the photo. Furthermore, everything is non-destructive. As you would expect, Luminar contains basic editing parameters such as contrast, saturation, and temperature. Moreover, it has a myriad of pre-set filters you can use to give your photo a certain style.
The performance of this Mac photo editor extension is superb too. Editing is a quick process. Furthermore, there is no lag and you can load large image files in an instant. Overall we feel this is one of the best Mac Photos plugins.
2. Adobe Lightroom
Adobe Lightroom isn’t an Apple Photos extension per se but you can use it on iOS, store the photos in the cloud, and import them into Apple Photos. Basically, you edit your photos using a professional photo editor (Adobe Lightroom) and access and share them using your familiar Apple Photos.
Lightroom provides full control over each aspect of a photo but also presets for quick styling and easy editing. You can use it to retouch photos and deliver natural-looking results or to apply special effects and create unique artworks. All edits are non-destructive, safely saved in the cloud, and automatically synchronized with all your devices. Lightroom also includes automatic adjustments, lens correction, dehaze and noise removal, RAW processing, and HDR editing.
3. Aurora HDR
Another flagship product for Skylum is the exceptional Aurora HDR. This program is primarily used for creating stunning HDR photos. It uses a powerful processing engine combined with superior AI technology to turn your bracketed photos into believable and natural HDR shots.
Using this program as one of the photos extensions is a relatively easy task. Skylum has created one of the best mac photos plugins. Once you have enabled the extension you can then unleash the full power of Aurora HDR.
You can create realistic and natural HDR photos using the built-in processor. Furthermore, you can style your photos using a wonderful array of pre-defined HDR pre-sets. Some HDR processors create unrealistic end products – you can tell they are artificial. With this fantastic Apple Photos HDR plugin however you cannot tell – the photo looks natural!
Photolemur is a powerful editing program that utilizes AI technology. It is primarily aimed at casual photographers and offers a more automated approach to the editing process. If you don’t have hours to spend editing each photo in painstaking detail, Photolemur could be a great iPhoto replacement and photo editor for Mac.
Using the extension couldn’t be easier – simply open a photo in Photos and click on the “edit” button. If you have the extension enabled, Photolemur should appear in the drop-down menu. We love the fact that Photolemur offers quick and seamless editing capabilities. You can literally edit photos in a few simple clicks. Furthermore, you can utilize batch processing techniques to edit entire folders of photos at once.
The AI really does help provide an edit that matches the mood and style of your photo – the end product is superb.
Hydra is an awesome Apple Photos HDR plugin for your iPhone or iPad. This powerful app uses innovative capture technology. Using your iPhone or iPad camera, the app takes a series of individual photos using different settings. It will then automatically merge these photos to create a fantastic HDR type composite.
Features such as highlights, shadows, and contrast will be improved. Moreover, background noise and sharpness will also look much better. Aside from the basic functionality, Hydra also has some cool tools such as Low-light mode and even a Video-HDR mode.
You can combine the features of this free Mac photo editor and camera app together with Photos for Mac to produce some excellent smartphone pics. If you maintain social media accounts such as Instagram or Twitter, Hydra can really help improve the quality of your photographic content.
BeFunky is a cool Mac photo editor and collage maker for Apple devices. The BeFunky Express app was purposefully built to serve as an extension for Photos. It is optimized for use with Photos for MAC and delivers excellent performance and usability.
Using the BeFunky Express extension, you can improve the quality of your photos indefinitely. Firstly it features an Auto-Fix function. This allows you to improve and enhance your photo with just one click – the results are excellent.
Secondly, we have other useful features such as skin smoothing and teeth whiten – any portraits you have can be transformed into A-grade masterpieces! We like how this app has been built specifically as one of the Apple Photos plugins – it runs smoothly too.
7. Affinity Photo
Despite the abrupt death of iPhotos, many companies continue to produce excellent extensions for photos. Affinity Photo is a top range editor that is available for both Windows and MAC devices. It is also available as an extension for Photos on MAC devices. It serves as an excellent iPhoto replacement.
The program actually shows as six individual extensions in Photos – Affinity Develop, Liquify, Miniature, Monochrome, Retouch and Haze Removal. Each tool allows you to edit your photos in a different manner. The combination is powerful and it makes editing photos on Mac a breeze.
Monochrome, for example, allows the creation of stunning black and white photos with depth and clarity. Retouch on the other hand allows you to remove any blemishes and marks. The extensions are easy to use and you can perform both quick edits and more complex retouching if you wish.
8. Pixelmator Pro
Pixelmator is one of the best iPhoto replacement tools available for Photos for MAC. If you want to learn how to edit a picture on Mac devices then use this app! Pixelmator is a superb editing program. The Pixelmator Retouch Extension compacts its functionality and adds it to the core features of Photos.
This extension primarily deals with retouching photos as opposed to editing. You are essentially improving the overall quality of your photos as opposed to creating a stylish edit. Main features of the extension include repair, clone, light, color, soften and sharpen.
For example, the light tool allows you to alter the light and dark patches of a photo to create a more balanced end product. Alternatively, the clone tool allows you to remove unwanted items, and clone other areas of the photo to mask them.
9. DxO Photo Lab
DxO has a long history of creating quality and dynamic photo editing programs. The DxO photos extensions is a great tool. It condenses the usability of the DxO Photo Lab suite and allows you to edit your photos easily. One of the great things about this extension is that it provides support for a wide range of DSLR cameras and lenses.
Using this extension you can edit a variety of photo types including JPEG and even RAW files. The RAW editing, in particular, is fantastic. Furthermore, you can automatically enhance your photos using the smart lighting, noise removal, and clear view features. All of this can be accomplished with a single click! Your RAW images can also be exported into high-quality JPEG’s.
10. External Editors for Photos
This photo editor for Mac is not an editing program as such. What the External Editors extension does, it allows you to use a myriad of other photo editing programs within Photos for MAC. When this extension is enabled, you have access to a wide variety of editing software. Programs you can use include Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Designer, and Pixelmator.
What is so clever about this extension is that it finds relative programs to use based on the image you have open. Furthermore, you can edit RAW files and even save the file metadata too which is useful for storage and cataloging. Use this extension to boost the programs you can use for editing photos on Mac devices.
After discontinuing iPhoto, many people wanted an alternative to the program and to Aperture Picktorial fits this role and provides an easy and comprehensive approach to editing. This extension has a minimalistic feel and is really easy to get to grips with.
The main premise of Picktorial is that you use brushes to edit your photos as opposed to sliders. You can edit things such as contrast, curves, exposure, white balance, and vibrancy – simply tick which parameters you wish to edit, change the settings, and then use the brush to apply the edit. It is a fantastic free Mac photo editor and a brilliant extension.
HayPhoto is a minimalistic photo editor. As far as Photos extensions go, this one is easy to use and is based around offering a plethora of pre-set edits. To be precise, it has over 150 different effects and adjustments. The quality of the effects is fantastic and they are easy to apply.
HayPhoto offers all of this in a non-destructive environment, therefore, your original photos will remain intact. Moreover, if you require organizational features, the HayPhoto extension delivers. Using this plugins for Photos for Mac, you can organize your pics and add metadata to them. You can also flag them and sort in a myriad of ways.
Mimeo actually offers something different to the other editing extensions mentioned above. This is one of the most interesting photo editing apps for Mac. Using Mimeo you can create a multitude of photography related items such as photo books, calendars, and even cards.
This extension is free to download and is so much fun to use. You can create individual projects – this makes organization a doddle. Furthermore, if you are struggling for inspiration, you can browse the Apple themes library and use their pre-set styling. The photobooks and other products are exceptional quality and great mementos or gifts.
Lockhamera is both a standalone editing app but also an extension for the Photos workflow. This excellent app offers editing functionality and can also sync with your iCloud account. Using this extension you can apply a range of exciting and stylish filters to your photos. The app is extremely easy to use and you can apply these filters in a few clicks.
This is perfect for editing photos on Mac devices, especially if you are a hobbyist. If you do not require complex editing tools then this is a superb choice. Moreover, it is great for creating social media content or stylish pics for your Instagram feed.
15. RAW Power
As you would expect, RAW Power is an extension primarily aimed at editing RAW photos. This extension uses the built-in power of Photos ability to edit RAW files and takes it to the next level. It provides a non-destructive set of editing tools for your RAW photos – many of which are missing from the original iPhotos and Photos for MAC programs.
Furthermore, it brings a plethora of features that were present in iPhotos Aperture such as the boost function. To top all of this off, it has native support for a range of DSLR camera lenses. This extension is a pleasure to use and the end results are brilliant too.
We hope you have found this article useful. Both iPhotos and Mac Photos are two excellent programs. You really can take your editing and photo management to the next level. By using Apple Photos plugins such as Luminar and Aurora HDR, you can easily perform professional work on your MAC device.
Photos in macOS Catalina has an immersive, dynamic look that showcases your best photos. Find the shots you’re looking for with powerful search options. Organize your collection into albums, or keep your photos organized automatically with smart albums. Perfect your images with intuitive built-in editing tools, or use your favorite photos apps. And with iCloud Photos, you can keep all your photos and videos stored in iCloud and up to date on your Mac, Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, and even your PC.
A smarter way to find your favorites.
Photos in macOS Catalina intelligently declutters and curates your photos and videos — so you can easily see your best memories.
Focus on your best shots.
Photos emphasizes the best shots in your library, hiding duplicates, receipts, and screenshots. Days, Months, and Years views organize your photos by when they were taken. Your best shots are highlighted with larger previews, and Live Photos and videos play automatically, bringing your library to life. Photos also highlights important moments like birthdays, anniversaries, and trips in the Months and Years views.
Your memories. Now playing.
Memories finds your best photos and videos and weaves them together into a memorable movie — complete with theme music, titles, and cinematic transitions — that you can personalize and share. So you can enjoy a curated collection of your trips, holidays, friends, family, pets, and more. And when you use iCloud Photos, all edits automatically sync to your other devices.
The moment you’re looking for, always at hand.
With Search, you can look for photos based on who’s in them or what’s in them — like strawberries or sunsets. Or combine search terms, like “beach 2017.” If you’re looking for photos you imported a couple of months ago, use the expanded import history to look back at each batch in chronological order. And in the My Albums tab, you’ll find your videos, selfies, panoramas, and other media types automatically organized into separate albums.
Fill your library, not your device.
iCloud Photos can help you make the most of the space on your Mac. When you choose “Optimize Mac Storage,” all your full‑resolution photos and videos are stored in iCloud in their original formats, with storage-saving versions kept on your Mac as space is needed. You can also optimize storage on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, so you can access more photos and videos than ever before. You get 5GB of free storage in iCloud — and as your library grows, you have the option to choose a plan for up to 2TB.
Make an edit here, see it there. When you make changes on your Mac like editing a photo, marking a Favorite, or adding to an album, they’re kept up to date on your iPhone, your iPad, and iCloud.com. And vice versa — any changes made on your iOS or iPadOS devices are automatically reflected on your Mac.
All your photos on all your devices. iCloud Photos gives you access to your entire Mac photo and video library from all your devices. If you shoot a snapshot, slo-mo, or selfie on your iPhone, it’s automatically added to iCloud Photos — so it appears on your Mac, iOS and iPadOS devices, Apple TV, iCloud.com, and your PC. Even the photos and videos imported from your DSLR, GoPro, or drone to your Mac appear on all your iCloud Photos–enabled devices. And since your collection is organized the same way across your Apple devices, navigating your library always feels familiar.
Resize. Crop. Collage. Zoom. Warp. GIF. And more.
Create standout photos with a comprehensive set of powerful but easy-to-use editing tools. Instantly transform photos taken in Portrait mode with five different studio-quality lighting effects. Choose Enhance to improve your photo with just a click. Then use a filter to give it a new look. Or use Smart Sliders to quickly edit like a pro even if you’re a beginner. Markup lets you add text, shapes, sketches, or a signature to your images. And you can turn Live Photos into fun, short video loops to share. You can also make edits to photos using third-party app extensions like Pixelmator, or edit a photo in an app like Photoshop and save your changes to your Photos library.
- LightBrilliance, a slider in Light, automatically brightens dark areas and pulls in highlights to reveal hidden details and make your photo look richer and more vibrant.
- ColorMake your photo stand out by adjusting saturation, color contrast, and color cast.
- Black & WhiteAdd some drama by taking the color out. Fine-tune intensity and tone, or add grain for a film-quality black-and-white effect.
- White BalanceChoose between Neutral Gray, Skin Tone, and Temperature/Tint options to make colors in your photo warmer or cooler.
- CurvesMake fine-tuned contrast and color adjustments to your photos.
- LevelsAdjust midtones, highlights, and shadows to perfect the tonal balance in your photo.
- DefinitionIncrease image clarity by adjusting the definition slider.
- Selective ColorWant to make blues bluer or greens greener? Use Selective Color to bring out specific colors in your image.
- VignetteAdd shading to the edges of your photo to highlight a powerful moment.
- Editing ExtensionsDownload third-party editing extensions from the Mac App Store to add filters and texture effects, use retouching tools, reduce noise, and more.
- Reset AdjustmentsWhen you’ve made an edit, you can judge it against the original by clicking Compare. If you don’t like how it looks, you can reset your adjustments or revert to your original shot.
Bring even more life to your Live Photos. When you edit a Live Photo, the Loop effect can turn it into a continuous looping video that you can experience again and again. Try Bounce to play the action forward and backward. Or choose Long Exposure for a beautiful DSLR‑like effect to blur water or extend light trails. You can also trim, mute, and select a key photo for each Live Photo.
Add some fun filters.
With just a click, you can apply one of nine photo filters inspired by classic photography styles to your photos.
Share here, there, and everywhere.
Use the Share menu to easily share photos via Shared Albums and AirDrop. Or send photos to your favorite photo sharing destinations, such as Facebook and Twitter. You can also customize the menu and share directly to other compatible sites that offer sharing extensions.
Turn your pictures into projects.
Making high-quality projects and special gifts for loved ones is easier than ever with Photos. Create everything from gorgeous photo books to professionally framed gallery prints to stunning websites using third-party project extensions like Motif, Mimeo Photos, Shutterfly, ifolor, WhiteWall, Mpix, Fujifilm, and Wix.