Apply Image Adjustments to Other Photos on Mac with Copy & Paste

Aug 6, 2016 - 9 Comments

Copy and paste photo adjustments on Mac

If you have spent a while adjusting a picture to your liking in Photos app for Mac, you can easily apply those image adjustments and edits to other pictures in Photos app as well.

This is accomplished through a handy but little-known copy & paste adjustments ability, and it’s quite easy to use.

Essentially what you’re doing is adjusting one image and then you’ll be copying those adjustments (but not the image) and applying them to another picture. Here is how it works in Photos app for macOS and Mac OS X, using the same copy and paste shortcuts you’re already familiar with.

Copy & Paste Photo Adjustments on Mac

  1. Open Photos app on the Mac if you have not done so already
  2. Photos app icon in Mac OS X

  3. Double-click on any picture and choose “Edit” as usual, then make adjustments to that picture as you typically would (adjustments to brightness, color, sharpness, vignette, etc)
  4. When satisfied with the image adjustments, go to the “Image” menu and choose “Copy Adjustments”
  5. Copy photo adjustments on Mac

  6. Now return to the primary Photos app browser and open another picture, then choose the “Edit” option again for the new picture
  7. Go to the “Image” menu again, this time choosing “Paste Adjustments”
  8. Paste photo adjustments on Mac

  9. The image adjustments made in the prior image edits are now applied to the picture
  10. Repeat for additional pictures if desired

This offers a really great way to apply bulk image color corrections and other fine image adjustments to many pictures.

The video below demonstrates the copying of image adjustments and pasting of the same adjustments to another picture, in this case it’s copying specific black and white photo settings and applying them with the paste effort:

At the moment there is no ability in Photos app to select multiple pictures and paste adjustments across them, but perhaps a future version will enable that as well.

You might find this to be particularly useful after you have enabled additional advanced Photos adjustment options on Mac, since you can then apply those optional image adjustments to many photos very quickly.

I use this often when applying a vignette to pictures in Photos app, since the vignette adjustment tends to be a generic enough adjustment that it looks good on just about any picture where you want to use one to draw focus to the middle.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Kevin says:

    I am pretty disappointed with a lot of the recent changes Apple has made the last couple years and this app is one of them. They dumbed this down so it can be understood by non-technical people but now it is worthless. How can you apply adjustments to multiple pictures at once? You can’t. Good thing I have Aperture. And what about iTunes, Contacts and Calendars?They suck too! They must have been designed by the same people. It’s coming down to which platform sucks the least, and it may be time to switch back to Windows.

  2. Gérard says:

    Very clear information for copying photo adjustments. You have made this very simple to solve.

    Is there a way to treat a batch as we could in Aperture?


  3. Rod Dalitz says:

    Right now I am deeply unhappy with new iPhone Burst mode. Apart from being unable to turn it off so other people typically hold the button too long and record a burst (well my Pentax uses a long button press to set focus and take the picture when the button is released), after holiday I have over a hundred burst mode images which imported at .MOV and as I write I find no way to choose one retroactively in iPhone, and there is certainly no way to choose one or to convert to .JPG in OSX Photos. I don’t mean to nag but I am sure Steve Jobs would not have let anyone get away with that one. ******* disaster as far as I am concerned, I walked into a trap I have no way to get out of.

  4. Rod Dalitz says:

    Does this work with time adjustments? I made a mistake failing to set the time on my Pentax W80 on holiday, and now I have 2970 photos from two sources, and need to adjust 846 times all 8 hours. So nice to have help!

  5. Hamza Sheikh says:

    The new Photos app sucks big time. I hate it because of the bugs and lazy interface.

  6. Marcy says:

    I am not holding my breath on this one after apple dumbed down a perfect iPhoto app to match their IOS version. Batch naming and batch editing was brilliant 3-4 years ago. I may be older , but I am not dumber. I HATE what apple has done to photos for Mac.

    • Rod Dalitz says:

      Typical if trivial but a perfect example of the issue, I used to be able to rotate left or right. Now only one way, my camera naturally goes the way which used to need *one* click because edit buttons stayed resident, now I have to choose edit, rotate three times, close edit. FIVE times the clicks.

  7. Dominik Hoffmann says:

    Does this copy and past geolocation data, as well? I have looked for that functionality ever since the deprecation of iPhoto.

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