Mac photos, Lightroom and RAW files

Ray Coe

Dec 27, 2019
Lightroom Experience
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Version
Lightroom 6
Operating System
  1. macOS 10.15 Catalina
I understand Lightroom can't see into Apple Photos so......

In Photos I have selected optimised storage for photos. That means the iCloud holds the RAW file and a lover version is on the MAC.
So when I want to edit an image in Lightroom, as I understand it you cannot import direct into Lightroom from Photos, so you have to create a copy image File in Finder and then import that file.

My question is... How do you ensure you I am working on a RAW file (that's saved in the icloud) and not from the JPEG held on the MAC hard drive?

I copied an image from Photos into a folder on my hard drive - but I feel its going to be a JPEG file and therefore any adjustments will not have access to the full RAW data?
Jun 20, 2009
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
I found Photos to be a nuisance and removed it from starting and don't send any of my iPhone photos to iCloud. Instead, I import everything into the mobile Lightroom automatically and syncs these to my Lightroom Classic catalog. The issue that needs to be managed is that these are full size RAW files and count against your 20GB storage limits. So once they have been imported into Lightroom Classic, you need to clear out your Adobe Cloud storage before you approach the limit of your plan.

To answer your question directly. You can choose to store your original files outside to yer Photos Library package and they will appear in a readable folder where they can be imported into Lightroom Classic. When you import these be sure and choose ADD in the import dialog so that Lightroom Classic will catalog the files where Photos knows where they are and not MOVE or make a duplicate COPY during import.

Normally Photos stores your original imports inside the Photos Library package in a folder named "Masters". Folders in the Photos Library package are not readable directly by other apps including Lightroom Classic. There are ways to create an ALIAS to the Masters package folder outside of the Photos Library package that can be read by Lightroom Classic to COPY to a location managed by Lightroom.

These last two options are "workarounds" to make Photos Lightroom friendly, but since the cloudy version of LR entered the scene. using Lightroom on mobile devices is much more efficient.