iPhoto and Photoshop integration: Editing iPhoto images with Adobe Camera Raw

Published by | Friday, May 18th, 2012

After watching our popular Photoshop CS5 Essential Training course, and hearing all about the photo-developing power of Adobe Camera Raw, one of our members wanted to know how to open her JPEG files in Adobe Camera Raw directly from within iPhoto. With a few Preference-setting hoops to jump through, it is entirely possible to set up iPhoto and Photoshop so that you can use iPhoto as your Photo organizing database of choice and still use Camera Raw in Photoshop to edit your JPEGs. Here’s a quick video tutorial that shows you the path of least resistance:

Note that for quick one-way edits (meaning you don’t have any need to go back to iPhoto with your newly edited image), you can set the Photoshop preferences as shown in the video, then simply drag an image from your iPhoto preview window onto the Photoshop icon in your dock  and the image will open in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). Also note, while I recorded this in Photoshop CS5, the preference settings are identical in Photoshop CS6. As a bonus, if you’re already using Photoshop CS6, expect to see some improvements to ACR developing, too.

Please keep the feedback and the thoughtful questions coming, we appreciate it. Do you have any follow-up questions you’ve noted after completing a lynda.com course? We’d love to hear them!


Interested in more?
• All Design courses on lynda.com
• All Photoshop courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
Photoshop CS6 Essential Training
Photoshop CS5 Essential Training
Photoshop and Bridge CS5 for Photographers New Features
Photoshop CS6 for Photographers: Camera Raw 7

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12 Responses to “iPhoto and Photoshop integration: Editing iPhoto images with Adobe Camera Raw”

  1. Barb says:

    Thank you for this quick handy tutorial.

    I am dropping you a comment, question since the instructions did not work for me in the iPhoto.

    I followed smoothly the instructions for PS, however my iPhoto ’09 does not allow me to edit the settings for the external editor. Are you on iPhoto 11?

    Very Respectfully,

    • Hi, Barb. Yes, I was using iPhoto ’11 in the movie. I don’t have an iPhoto ’09 installation to check directly, but it just so happens I do have access to our iPhoto ’09 Essential Training course. It looks like you choose your external editor from the General preferences tab instead of the Advanced tab like in the video. For iPhoto ’09, open Preferences from the Edit Photo pop-up, you should be able to choose ‘In Application’ and navigate to Photoshop on your computer. (I gleaned this from the first movie in Chapter 11 of iPhoto ’09 Essential Training.) Thanks for checking in about it here so that other iPhoto ’09 folk can get the right info too.

  2. Randy says:

    I tried and save as by replace choice, and the original photo was covered. It doesn’t show a second image like what you instructed.

  3. pam says:

    extremely helpful – thank you!

  4. Nicolas says:

    I am using Photoshop CS6 and iPhoto 11. Trying twice as you lectured, I agree with Randy that the original photo was covered if I save as by replace.

  5. Anisha says:

    Thanks so much, I am having a problem. The edited picture saved as jpeg from raw file is not showing up in iPhoto again. Are my settings wrong? ps…using Photoshop elements 11

  6. Simple, easy and to the point! Thank you.

  7. Margaret says:

    I am having the same trouble as the people above. Not getting the second image. What are we doing wrong??

    Thank you!!

  8. David says:

    I think in the latest upgrade of iPhoto the behavior of the program changed from what is shown in the video. Now if you save over the file as in the video you do not see two versions of your photo, only the edited version. The original version is still available and you can revert the edited file back to the original file. I think that if you wanted to have both the edited and unedited files in your album you would need to save the edited file elsewhere then import it.

  9. David (and those of you who came before) is correct, the behavior has changed with Photoshop CS6. iPhoto only displays the modified file. You can discover your original by choosing File > Reveal in Finder > Original File. You can also revert to your original by choosing Photos > Revert to Original. So you’re still working non-destructively, but it’s not as handy as it was before.

    David’s workaround will work, i.e. reimporting the original into iPhoto, but I’m curious if anyone has found a way to have iPhoto automatically display both like it used to.

    Anisha, I’m curious, did you have to set Elements 11 to open in the Editor mode in order to get it to work? (I’m using a trial to test it out, and the trial splash screen seems to disrupt the process entirely.)

  10. AD says:

    I am using iPhoto 11 and Elements 11 and when I save the photo the original does not show. I am wondering if anyone found a way to have iPhoto show both versions of the photo.

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