What are the most important uses we have for our modern, 21st century Macs? Sure, there’s email and web browsing for most of us. Microsoft Office for some of us.
iLife makes photos, music, and movies easy to manage. So, why don’t our photos look like those photos you see in the magazines? You know it’s true. Even with an expensive camera my photos are not ready for National Geographic.
If you’re a Photoshop genius, you know why. If you have a good digital camera and LightZone you can get professional-looking photos from your Mac. And you can do it point and click simple.
What we Mac users like about iPhoto is the storage capacity, searching ability, and the occasional color tweak. Still, try as we might, iPhoto doesn’t take your Canon Elph digital photo and get it on the cover of National Geographic.
LightZone might give you a running chance. Why? A huge list of very powerful, often professional editing tools without all the palettes and mumbo jumbo required of those who speak Photoshopese.
I’m the queen of point and click. If I can’t figure it out quickly by mousing around, then whatever software I’m trying out is too difficult. That’s why I like LightZone. Simple. Elegant. Powerful. Inexpensive. Easy to learn, easier to use, and, once you see some of your photos altered and actually look good, fun.
See, LightZone does something special. It takes whatever digital image your throw at it and then layers in any or a few or many of a long list of effects, filters, and tools. Click, click, click.
You can click and improve the photo’s dynamic range, add filters, change the color toning (it’s how blondes like me get a tan), modify the shadows, sharpen the image, change the color saturation.
Click, click, click. Seriously. All those effects, filters, tools, and changes are done without changing your original photo so the worry factor is removed right away. Since it’s all layered changes you can mix and match what you do to get a unique effect.
In fact, you can grab just a section of a photo and apply changes to that while leaving the rest of the photo alone, unchanged. Sweet, huh?
Also sweet is the rapidity with which changes are made to each layer. Can you say instantly? LightZone takes ordinary photos and gives you options to create extraordinary photos.
Did I mention ease of use? Sure. It’s a powerful Mac application so that makes it complicated, you know, like Photoshop, right? Uh uh, Grasshopper. Life should be simple. So should good photography.
LightZone starts with simplicity. Open a photo up in LightZone, directly from iPhoto if you like, then click to get started. LightZone has a familar Finder-like browser on the left. Your photo goes in the middle.
Tools show up on the left once you select a photo from the browser window. Changes made by point and clicking the tools, called Styles, take place live, in real time, on your photo.
The right column of LightZone displays all the Styles you’ve selected, and each has additional adjustments and configuration possibilities. They stack, one on top the other.
If you’re a professional or semi-professional then you’ll appreciate the quick ability to improve your photos with sophisticated effects and filters. If you just want professional looking photos, you’ll appreciate the point and click attitude in LightZone.
Good photos don’t just appear once you click the shutter.
All too often good photos are doctored, tweaked, improved beyond the original. That’s what you get to do with LightZone. You just don’t need to have that night course on Photoshop from the local community college.
The LightZone site is loaded with simple, elegant, attractive photos, many with before and after effects so you can see the plain become the extraordinary.
If I had four thumbs, LightZone would get three and a half, plus a pinky.