My girlfriend always used Picasa to import photos from the camera, but since upgrading to OS X 10.11 El Capitan that doesn't work anymore.

Using Photos.app, she is able to import the photos, but they're hidden away in a Photos Library file which Photoshop cannot open, meaning she cannot add photos as a new layer.

Any suggestions, please? In the open dialogue of Photoshop I've tried clicking 'Photos' hoping it'd show the entire photo library, but it doesn't bring up any photos.

  • if you right click on the Photos Library there should be an option that says something like "Show Package Contents" or "Show Folder Contents". Click on that and dig around a bit and you should be able to find all of those photos. Sorry, don't have my mac with me so i can't give you exact places to check
    – celeriko
    Jun 12, 2016 at 14:00
  • You could probably just drag photo from Photos.app to Photoshop (or whatever image program). Jun 12, 2016 at 18:44

5 Answers 5


You can use Image Capture in the /Applications folder. This allows you to select a normal folder and import photos to that location, which can be accessed in Finder or Photoshop as usual.

In addition, this application allows you to setup the preferred application to open when connecting your camera (or smartphone, ...). There you can select Image Capture itself as the default application.

  • Thank you to everyone for your great replies and suggestions! This is her favourite solution though, and it works pretty much exactly like it did before :) Cheers
    – Nick
    Jun 18, 2016 at 9:19

What do you mean by "import", if you're not copying to the special internal organization?

Just copy the files from the camera media.

If you're using Photoshop, maybe you can consider using Lightroom too. It can "import" with some flexibility in where you store the files.

Normally I just copy files, no special import process, to put he files where I want them, which is especially handy as I can do that on any computer to store to a file server. Then Lightroom "imports" (really, discovers) in-place without moving or changing those files.

  • copy paste from the SD card.
    – StefanS
    Jun 12, 2016 at 14:43
  • Maybe the connect the camera directly and it uses PTP. I also prefer to just put in the SD card, though.
    – Carsten S
    Jun 13, 2016 at 6:39
  • There's a big discussion of that on the Photography SE.
    – JDługosz
    Jun 13, 2016 at 8:15

You can use Dropbox, (free version is Ok, you get 2GB free could storage) when you sign up and install it on your mac, every time you connect any device (including iPhone, iPad, digital cameras, etc..) it comes up with a window asking if you want to transfer the images stored in that device to your Dropbox folder (which is in your computer, but also backed up on the cloud), once transferred you can move them anywhere. Hope it helps


If your girlfriend likes using Photos.app, she can still do that but import her pics elsewhere. You can do this by going to the "Photos" menu and choosing "Preferences". There's an option to store photos in the Library and it's checked by default:

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If you search the help for "Change where Photos stores your files", it says:

When you import photos and videos into Photos, they’re copied to and stored in the Photos library. If you prefer, you can store photos and videos outside the Photos library (for example, in a folder on your Mac or on an external drive) and still view them in Photos. Files stored outside your library are called referenced files. For more information about referenced files, see Where are my imported files?

and then:

Store imported files outside the Photos library Choose Photos > Preferences, then click General.

  1. Deselect the “Copy items to the Photos library” checkbox.

  2. Now, when you import photos or video, Photos leaves the files in their original location and accesses them as referenced files.

What this means is that you'll need to import with another app, such as Image Capture.app, and then go into Photos, go to the File Menu and choose "Import" and select the folder where you put them.

Note that doing an import directly from the camera in Photos.app will still copy the photos into the Library, even when that setting is checked.

  • This leaves the photos on the SD card or other external storage media, which means they're not actually imported. This could cause loss of data if the user thinks their photos are imported but they are actually not.
    – grg
    Jun 12, 2016 at 14:56
  • No it doesn't (I just tried it). What it does is any imports you do in the application directly from the camera will still go into your library. So you can import the photos with, say, Image Capture and then re-import them into Photos.app, I guess. I'll update my answer to reflect that. Jun 12, 2016 at 15:28

There are a variety of ambiguities in this question, but ultimately - your best bet is to take the steps necessary to mount the camera as an external drive.

Some cameras are built to present themselves as external drives, but not all.

When you connect your camera, first check Finder and see if the camera is appearing as a drive.

If you can't find it, there are apps out there that will mount your camera as an external drive - it's a common action.

Once that's done, the convention is that the camera will have the photos under a folder named "DCIM".

With a little fiddling, navigation, and testing - you will be able to drag and drop (copy) your original format images anyplace you want.

Be sure to remember to back up - photos are precious.

  • Easier just to take the card, if your device has a card reader built-in. No fiddling needed, and it's typically much faster.
    – JDługosz
    Jun 13, 2016 at 8:17

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