Adding Captions In Photos

You can easily add captions and other elements to a photo right in the Photos app on your Mac. While there doesn't appear to be a captioning tool in Photos, you can edit a photo and use the default Markup extension to add text without leaving the app. You can always revert to the original photo or go back and edit your caption.

Video Transcript
Now I often get asked about adding captions to photos on your Mac. You may want to add a caption before you post something online. Create a meme or just like coloring up a photo with some text. It doesn't seem like you can do this in the Photos app. Obviously you can do it in an app like Photoshop or something else that you buy. But it seems like the Photos app has all these great imaging tools but no way to actually add text. But there is. It's just maybe not in the obvious place to look.

So you're on a photo here and I'm going to go to Edit. You still don't see any type of captioning tool. But if you click here under extensions you may think, well, of course you can have an extension that does this. But you don't even need to add an extension because while these are extensions that I added the Markup extension here is actually something that comes pre installed on your Mac. It's part of the markup tools that you use in Preview, you can use in Mail, you can use all sorts of places. Even in the Finder now to markup PDF's and images. You can use it right here in Photos.

So I can select Markup and then I can have all of the markup tools here just like you get everywhere else when you're doing markup. One of them is Text. I'll click there to add text. I can move this here. I can double click it and then Edit it. Then I can move it around. I can click the little font tool there and adjust the size, adjust the color. I can, you know, do things like iliac or bold or however I want to do. Actually I like that. I can go to a different font. I can even adjust things like, for instance, with it selected I can go and add a border to it. I'm going to undo that. I don't want a border. You can do different things with the border.

The shadow here though underline actually adds a shadow underneath the text. There you go. So that shadow could be really important for making some text standout. You can position this where you want. You can, of course, add arrows. You can add different shapes and different things. But just focusing on the text for caption we've done that and I can Save changes.

Now it appears that the text is imprinted right on the photo. As a matter of fact I hit Done and I go back and I can see here it has the text right on the photo there. If I export this, unless I export the original image if I'm just exporting normally, I will have this on it. If I Share it, it's going to share with that text on it. So it's a great way to add captions.

The real cool thing about this is it's reversible and editable. So you think, oh great I just imprinted over these mountains here in the back. What if I want the original photo back. Well I can go back to Edit and one of the things I can do is Revert to Original. I can even click here on this button and see the original versus the edited version. Revert to Original will get rid of this completely. If I go back into Markup you can see I can edit this and move it around. So I can now change it where as if I went into another app and I actually made these changes I could revert to the original in Photos but I wouldn't be able to necessarily edit the stuff that's there. That's really nice. So you can work on your caption or changes later on.

Comments: 16 Responses to “Adding Captions In Photos”

    11/1/18 @ 11:34 am

    What a great feature from Gary. I have huge library of photos from having previously used Aperture and now using Photos app on my Macs. Being able to add captions from within the Photos editing section is a big time saving and I had not realised it was possible until I saw Gary’s latest “pearls of wisdom” in the latest MacMost. Thank you so much.

    Pavla Bajgar
    11/1/18 @ 1:15 pm

    Hi, I am following your instructions how to use captions in Photos, but my screen is not showing Markups extension. I’m using Photos 3.0 and High Sierra OS. Do I need to update to Mojave? You are my life line, Gary! Thank you.

    11/1/18 @ 1:16 pm

    Pavla: I’m using Photos 4.0 (Mojave) here. Yes, I don’t think this was available in High Sierra.

    11/1/18 @ 5:14 pm

    It must be turned on in System Preferences >Extensions although I believe it is on as a default.

    Linda DesGroseilliers
    11/1/18 @ 7:07 pm

    What a great tip, Gary! I’ve been so frustrated by not being able to add captions to photos easily. This solves my problem. If I use this technique to “watermark” a photo, will it appear on other places that I post the photo such as Facebook and Flickr?

    11/1/18 @ 7:22 pm

    Thanks very much for that information, and can you tell us if it is possible to have a dark/black background in Photos after upgrading to Mohave without using the Dark Mode elsewhere? The dark makes it too hard to read mail, etc, but photos stand out beautifully on a black background.

    11/1/18 @ 7:48 pm

    Linda: Yes. Try it.

    11/1/18 @ 7:49 pm

    Jeanette: Do you mean have Dark Mode on for Photos and off for everything else? No, you can’t do that. But you can just turn it on when you want to work in Photos for a while, and then off after.

    Heather B
    11/2/18 @ 7:13 am

    Thank you for that very helpful “markup info”-it’s going to save so much time.

    Howard P
    11/2/18 @ 1:35 pm

    Its in a different location but Iʻve got it in Photos 2 in Sierra. Great tip and it seemed to be turned on in Preferences by default.

    11/2/18 @ 7:16 pm

    I just checked and I have it in High Sierra/Photos 3. Never knew it was there! Thanks so much for this great tip.

    Michael Kirby
    11/3/18 @ 8:43 am

    Thank you for sharing this. I can use it to make my slideshows more interesting, i.e. providing the name of a mountain or hiking trail.

    11/5/18 @ 12:41 am

    On my photos screen, the top left icons do not include the “edit” icon. There are four other icons in view, but not the icon to “edit”. How do I get to access that important icon. I am using Photos 4 with Mojave

    11/5/18 @ 12:52 am

    Further to my earlier post, I should have said the icons group on the top right of my screen, not the top left!

    11/5/18 @ 6:59 am

    Peter:First, make sure you are using the latest version of Photos (4, Mojave). Then, make sure you are viewing a single Photo. The Edit button won’t appear until you have double-clicked on a single photo to view it.

    11/5/18 @ 12:52 pm

    Re my query the “edit” icon on photos above.
    Gary, you are a star. Very grateful for your speedy response, which needless to say solved the problem
    Many thanks

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