Apple Photos app: Will I lose picture quality if I edit pictures in extensions?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by keaide, Apr 8, 2016.

  1. keaide macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2010
    Hi there,
    If I use different extensions to edit a pictures in the Photos multiple times, will I lose picture quality or are Photos app and extension exchanging the picture somehow in a lossless way? I use the Affinity Photo and MacPhun extensions.
    I just wonder about that because I cannot really what is happening there under the hood.
  2. Dave Braine macrumors 68040

    Dave Braine

    Mar 19, 2008
    Warrington, UK
    If you are editing a JPEG, you will lose quality every time that it's edited. RAW photos will keep their quality as long as they are saved in their original format.
  3. keaide thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2010
    That's really bad news since I have mostly JPEGs. So it seems I should make every single edit count and hope that the compression is not too high. Is there a setting for the JPEG quality somewhere?
  4. cruisin macrumors 6502a


    Apr 1, 2014
    Photos doesn't have any settings for quality. In the traditional Apple way, they hide complexity and use settings that are good enough for most people.

    You need an actual image editor, something like Pixelmator ($30) or GIMP (free). They allow choosing image quality settings but more importantly you can make multiple edits to an image and then export a copy when you are happy. They can save the edits in separate layers, so you are not losing quality each time, and you can go back and add more edits without affecting anything. This is not automatic, but you can make it work like this.

    I see that Affinity supports PSD files based on the website, that will help as long as the app saves its results in another layer and doesn't apply it to the original. Then you can open the PSD in the other program and add your other edits, and make a copy with the current edits. If your apps can't do this, then you need to see if you can standardize on a single app or perhaps change to a new app, as it appears that your needs have exceeded your current workflow.
  5. keaide thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2010
    @cruisin: Thanks for the explanation!
    With time being my main constraint I think it's quite convenient to manage my photos in the Photos app. All my iPhone pictures and subscribed photo streams from my family go there automatically and importing pictures, sharing and organizing them into albums is easy as well. Plus, it's well integrated into the Apple eco system. Extensions now just seemed to be a such a convenient way to do edits and be a bit creative here and there. But of course I don't want to degrade the quality of the pictures (while I am not a professional, I still appreciate the absence of visible artifacts in my pictures).
    So I might need to be a bit more careful and probably keep the RAW files archived somewhere as a backup, just in case. I do not want to import the RAW file directly into the Photos library because I plan to start using iCloud Photos soon and do not want to bloat the size of the uploaded / synced library. But - since this topic got me thinking - I might just archive them on some external hard drive or store them with Amazon as a cloud backup...

    BTW: I really like Affinity Photo. I prefer the UI to Pixelmator's (other people might feel different, of course). Wish I had the time to dive deeper into using it :/

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4 April 8, 2016