OS X El Capitan: 6 great Photos extensions you can use today

I simply can’t stress enough how effectively extensions help transform Photos on a Mac into a professional quality imaging application.

One of my favourite improvements in El Capitan, Photos now lets you apply third-party image editing extensions within the application. These improve the built-in editing functionalities of Photos, helping you achieve far more with your images. Developer MacPhun says extensions support in Photos means “Apple’s app will finally get close to Aperture or Lightroom with its editing capabilities.”Introducing the first few extensions to arrive at the Mac App Store.

befunky BeFunky

BeFunky Express

Developed specifically to exploit Photos Extensions on El Capitan, BeFunky Express is free, so it’s going to be a great way for Mac users to experience them. It offers tools – auto fix, skin smoothing, highlight and shadows adjustments, teeth whitening and eye brightening -- to help improve self-portraits, family photos, landscapes. (Developed by BeFunky).

intensify MacPhun


Running the Intensify extension with Photos will boost the colors on your photo and make more image details visible. Intensify uses proprietary tools to enhance pro contrast, improve details and structure selectively based on tonal range. It also offers Layers, a customizable brush you can use for selective editing, a histogram and vignette mode. The software provides over 60 presets covering a range of effects, from dark photo fixes and beyond. (Developed by MacPhun).

tonality MacPhun


Black and white images are incredibly effective, somehow people relate to them, but getting the most from the images you take takes skill – and Tonality. The software provides dozens of professional presets, 16-bit RAW processing and powerful controls for clarity, structure, split toning and more. That’s alongside a huge host of effects, lens filters, textures and frames and support for layers, selective editing and a histogram. (Developed by MacPhun).

noiseless MacPhun


Digital images often carry a little image noise. You can reduce this in Photos to some extent, but Noiseless improves what you can achieve. Not only this, but it can also automatically identify and reduce noise and provides a range of additional tools to fine-tune details after noise has been reduced. The developers (MacPhun again), recognize that lots of us use iPhones to grab snaps, so they’ve created a special algorithm to fine tune images captured with Apple’s smartphones. (Developed by MacPhun).

snapheal MacPhun


Photos hosts its own healing and a clone & stamp tool, but sometimes you’ll need more sophisticated image improvements than you can get using these. That’s where Snapheal steps in with a number of additional features, including the capacity to remove multiple objects and a wider range of tools (brush, lasso) you can use to select image areas that need healing. There’s also a range of healing modes for different types of images and different tasks. (Developed by MacPhun).

affinity Affinity

Cat picture...

Affinity Photo

Apple Design Award winning software, Affinity Photo is about to offer its retouching tools within Photos on El Capitan. This powerful collection includes dodge, burn, clone, patch, blemish, and red eye tools, frequency separation capability, and more.(Developed by Affinity/Serif. Free trial available).

More are on the way

Apple has published a website page to explain use of third-party extensions in Photos for OS X, and these make it pretty clear that other developers (including Pixelmator and DxO Optics) have been looking into supporting this feature – keep an eye on the Mac App Store for more releases in future.

To enable Photos extensions

Once you’ve installed an extension you must enable it. Launch System Preferences>Extensions, select Photos and you may then click the check boxes to enable those you hope to use (they’ll be made available in the Extensions control of Photos).

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