Remember when we sent off our tiny rolls of film to be developed? These days, powerful photography is a mere click away with the incredible photo editing software available for personal computers and smartphones. Try your hand at photography for personal or professional use using Polar Photo Editor. A feature-packed and impressive editing tool.
If you are looking to touch up some photos without the expense or large footprint of professional programs like Adobe Lightroom, then check out this app. For a free and lightweight program it is a remarkably empowering tool. From the basic functions of cropping and color correction to curve adjustments and haze removal. An award-winning app that is said to be one of the best free photo editing tools on the market.
The one-stop photography shop for beginners and pros alike
Thorough toolbox for efficient editing
Today even a simple photo editing app can transform your photos using auto-enhance features and inbuilt filters. Why go to the trouble of downloading a new app? Polarr Photo Editor for Mac has a free version that will give you more powerful tools for complex photo editing, without your bank account or hard drive taking the hit of bigger paid programs.
Crop, edit or add text to your photos using the inbuilt tools. You can also customize your own filters (and save them for future use) or select one of the comprehensive library of tools on the menu on the right hand side. Make adjustments to the color, play around with the exposure and add highlights, a vignette, or a border. The drop-down menu of tools on the right is encyclopedic – add photorealistic effects, radial or gradient masks, change the perspective, or amount of “noise”. You can use the curve tool to radically change the color balance or make more subtle edits with the temperature or saturation tool.
Instead of walking you through the features of this program (which are in abundance) let’s see where this app stands ahead or behind of its competitors.
Compared with industry behemoths Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop, this app is lightweight and easy-to-use. This may come at the price of lacking some complexity offered by the others. The free version of Polarr Photo Editor does not give you the option of adding or removing layers for example. Nevertheless, for only 44.9 MB of space (both Lightroom and Photoshop are over 1GB) you get a huge array of editing options in a sleek and simple user interface. When you install the app you can choose the “Express” for personal use or “Pro” version, and then select to view it in Light, Dark or Dark+.
Compared with Photoshop, this app was refreshingly uncluttered and intuitive. Open a photo with the upward facing arrow, save your image with the downward arrow below. For personal photo editing you have all the tools you need and more, and you can tailor your own menu on the right with the instruments you want quick access to. For first-timers to the program or photography beginners there is whole library of short tutorials and links to online resources. The tutorials offer a succinct snapshot of the program features with clear and illustrated examples. You can personalize the app with keyboard shortcuts, and if you choose to go Pro then there is the possibility of family sharing between six accounts.
When you have finished editing your photo you have the option of adding a watermark, logo, or metadata like the artist name or copyright. Unlike Windows Photos however there is no geotagging or keywords and the shadows and highlights tool has a shorter range.
This is not the only area where Polarr Photo Editor falls short however. The “sharing” button is pretty limited. On the Mac version you can only share your photo through Mail, Message, Airdrop, or you can add it to your Photos (there is no button for instant upload to social media platforms). Also if you are using the free version be wary of what tools you use; edit with “Pro” tools and you will have to upgrade in order to save your photo.
Where can you run this program?
Polarr Photo Editor is multiplatform. The app is supported on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, and both Android and iOS devices. You will need Windows 8, 8.1, or 10. For Apple users, Mac OS X v10.9 or up. The program is also optimized for Windows 10 tablets so you can use touch screen. For mobile devices you will need Android 4.2 or iOS 10.0 with at least 512 RAM.
Is there a better alternative?
For more complex photo editing then the Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are the most popular programs – for a reason. Both offer options for geotagging your photos and an even greater range on tone contrasts and shadows. Software such as Adobe Lightroom Classic, or Dx0 PhotoLab are the programs of choice for professionals for their vast range of enhancement features and in-depth edits. You will need to pay however as all these programs come with stiff price tags. For budget alternatives the Google Photos Editor is a surprisingly powerful unsung free option that allows you to enhance images or organize them into collages.
If you are looking to edit photos from your smartphone Photorr is an insane armory of editing tools. Radically improve and correct your photos right from your phone and it is entirely free.
As photo editing software goes, Polarr is far from perfect. It could be improved by an auto-enhance tool to give you a basic leg up before you start editing and the limited sharing option is frustrating. That said, for a free program you would be hard to beat this app. It supports a whole range of images and allows for RAW camera import. There are tons of ready-made filters available and if you are new the editing game then the tutorials will get you familiar with the program in no time at all. The Express version will allow for complex editing like dehazing photos or distorting the lens to add a wide angle or fish-eye effect. For even more features there is a paid upgrade, but the free version is pretty thorough.
Should you download it?
Whether you simply want to tweak some photos, or you are a budding professional this is an ace program full of editing options. Do download it and see it for yourself, it won’t cost you anything!