Photo editors for the Mac are anything but a dime a dozen. A few are free, many are expensive (Photoshop Creative Cloud, I’m looking at you), others are designed specifically for photographers with needs beyond Photos and Lightroom (Creative Kit comes to mind), and not many are as easy and fun to use as this new photo editor for the Mac. The name is a bit odd, spelled differently, but easy enough to remember– Polarr.
If Photoshop, Lightroom, and even Creative Kit are too much, but Photos, iPhoto and other entry-level photo editors are too anemic, then try Polarr. Why? It’s good. It’s fast. It’s easy. It delivers great photo enhancements. And you can try it and use it for free or on the web. Yes. Polarr exists on the web.
What I like most about Polarr, other than the end results, is the limited amount of time, effort, and education it takes to get enhanced photos. Point and click. Slider bar left or right. Choose from presets.
Polarr comes with a dozen hand-crafted presets to use as basic filters to get started. Basic inline adjustments include the following:
- Color: Temperature, Tint, Contrast, Saturation, Vibrance
- Light: Exposure, Highlights and Shadows
- Detail: Clarity, Sharpen, Denoise (color and luminance), Diffuse and Dehaze
- Optics: Distortions, Vignette, Fringing
- Eight channel HSL adjustments
- 3 channel curve adjustments
- Highlights/shadows toning
- Filter blending and mixing
- Highlights/shadows toning tools
- Grain simulation
Photos can also be cropped, tilted, zoomed into, mirrored, rotated, and it handles JPG, PNG and RAW photo file formats but exports only in JPG. Yes, there’s an undo built in so you never muck up an original photo.
Controls are straightforward and full self explanatory with presets in the lefthand sidebar and granular controls in the righthand sidebar. The slider bars make adjustments on-the-fly and in real time. The only things I would add would be a numeric indicator for each. That would provide for more precise controls, and an option to display both Before and After photos in the same window as the controls.
Polarr also includes an option for importing custom filters, and you can add a watermark when photos are exported (it would be nice to see the watermark while editing). There’s just much to like here and the Mac App Store also has a free Lite version so you can try out the basics before committing to the full version.
Interestingly enough, Polarr is so lightweight and powerful there’s a web version. That’s right. Polarr in a Safari tab. Give it a try. It works well. The app is deserving of the many five star reviews and priced about right.