I have imported a bunch of photos from my iPhone into iPhoto. I notice that it saves my full photo library as a single file (12 GB in my case) and when I open iPhoto it works fine.

I now want to open a particular picture in Photoshop (CS 5) on my Mac and I cannot figure out how to choose a specific photo (given my whole library is just a single file).

Is there some special way to do this? It seems like everyone who uses Photoshop and iPhoto would have this issue.

  • You should accept terrydev's answer. It is the best one and the most correct. – CajunLuke Sep 4 '12 at 15:51

In the open file dialog, the images from iPhoto are available from the media selector in the Finder window as the screenshot shows.

enter image description here

  • This only gets you the iPhoto Preview not the original image – terrydev Sep 4 '12 at 13:39

You can set Photoshop (or any image editor) as an external editor in iPhoto. (Preferences -> General -> Edit Photo: Choose from the Drop Down Menu.) This way, when you double click a pic to edit in iPhoto it will open automatically in Photoshop or your Image Editor, and when you save it it's sent back to iPhoto automatically.

This is the only way that edits made in another application will be displayed in iPhoto.

  • … and you can always go back to the original file in iPhoto, because changes are saved as a separate file! – myhd Sep 4 '12 at 14:38

You can also directly drag the image thumbnail graphic from iPhoto to the Photoshop icon. Generally, I would like to encourage you to try dragging stuff around — it amazing to discover what actually works!

  • This only gets you the iPhoto Preview not the original image – terrydev Sep 4 '12 at 13:40
  • @terrydev I think you are mistaken here. An arbitrary Image opened the way I described has the path /Users/user/Pictures/iPhoto.photolibrary/Masters/2012/07/13/20120713-120000/imagename.jpg -- Masters is the master image. – myhd Sep 4 '12 at 13:51
  • Finally figured it out: If you had already edited the photo from within iPhoto or like described in @terrydev’s tip, only the (misleadingly named) "Preview" file is sent to Photoshop – and not the "Master" original. – myhd Sep 4 '12 at 14:43
  • Simple test: Import a Raw (say a NEF) to iPhoto. Using the media browser search for that Raw. Drag it from the MEdia Browser to the desktop. What do you get? The Jpeg Preview. This is how the media browser works. It only offers the Preview – terrydev Sep 4 '12 at 15:47
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    +1 for encouraging trying dragging. Too few people drag things, and they never find out about the coolest parts of the Mac! – CajunLuke Sep 4 '12 at 15:50

I don't have a Mac with a recent OS in front of me, but what you have described is my workflow at home -- I import to iPhoto (mostly so I can share casual images quickly) and then open images I want to work with in Photoshop from inside iPhoto.

If I'm remembering correctly there is a preference in iPhoto to set an external editor and then if you right click on a photo in iPhoto there is an option to open the image in an external editor. Again if I remember correctly, the preferences can even tell iPhoto to send Photoshop the RAW image if that is what you imported.

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