I took thousands of time-lapse photos and imported them into a few albums in Apple Photos app on MacOS. It wasn't until later I realised Photos doesn't store albums literally in an album:folder mapping.

I don't even know if Photos retains the original file-name or not?

I have software that expects photos to be in a single folder, with sequential naming (like how they normally are on a camera), to create a time-lapse video.

How can I get this out of Photos from an album?

  • Does the Imports album retain the import organization you seek? – bmike Dec 7 '19 at 14:58

If you select all the photos that you want to export, you can go to File -> Export. You can then chose to export the original files or compress versions. In either case, you can choose to have the exported files keep their original file names, or just be pure sequential (1.jpeg, 2.jpeg, 3.jpeg, etc), optionally starting with a prefix of your choice.


You can use AppleScript to do this if you fancy a bit of automation through scripting. Although there doesn't seem to be a specific scripting option to name the exported files numerically, the photos will get exported in the order that they were in on your camera, and they'll retain the same filenames too.

In Script Editor, create a new script and try this code out, adjusting the album name and export path accordingly:

tell application id "com.apple.photos"
    set photos to every media item in the album named "Seville"
    export the photos to "/Users/CK/Pictures/Seville"
end tell

In my case, the album "Seville" was a top-level album, and not one that was nested deep inside other folders. But Photos.app is pretty smart, and if the album name you provide is a unique name, then it doesn't matter where it is or how deep it's nested within a hierarchy, it will grab it for you. If there are two albums that share the same name, it will grab the top-most album by default, unless you specify exactly which one you're after, e.g.:

    set photos to every media item in the album named "Camera 1" in ¬
        the folder named "SwannView" in the folder named "London II"

Simple, right ?

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