If you’re at all like most iPhone users, then you add a few hundred photos to Photos on your Mac every month, and more during the holiday season. That brings up a minor problem with Apple’s free photo management app.
Photo enhancements. Photos and iPhoto don’t offer much in the way of visual enhancements and filters, and most digital photos taken by camera or smartphone could use a little post processing to bring out the best of your shots. If Photos doesn’t do it for you then you need Flare.
Better. Photos. Easy.
It’s not that Photos (or, iPhoto) is bad. The enhancements are useful, but rather pedestrian, and Apple doesn’t want to give away too much for free. Instead, astute Mac users look around to the many and varied Mac photo enhancement apps. One that’s on most lists of popular photo apps is Flare.
I think of Flare as Pixelmator for the rest of us. No, it’s not Photoshop, and not even Pixelmator, but Flare makes quick work of making photos better. Here’s what you get in Flare.
There are dozens and dozens of built-in presets for photo styles and effects, each customizable which makes for even more presets.
Basic color effects include exposure, saturation, brightness, contrasts, filters, and gradients. Those can be combined with lens effects such as Gaussian blur, motion and zoom blur, vignette and others.
Select the Preset tab, select a preset, and it’s automatically applied to the photo you selected. Flare comes with textures, borders, frames, and an easy way to drag and drop photos from iPhoto, Aperture, and even Photoshop or Lightroom. This affordable app is better than the basic photo enhancement apps and includes support for RAW photos, and exports in JPG, PNG, and TIFF, and even uploads to Flickr.
Controls are mostly point and click and even Edit mode with blending uses a simple slider bar to make adjustments. Preferences won’t overload your brain with additional non-descriptive options, either.
If you’re a Mac user who wants better photos and iPhoto just doesn’t do it for you anymore, then look at Flare. It’s affordable, straightforward, loaded with professional level effects and presets, and I don’t think I know of a better Mac photo enhancement app that’s easier to use.
One more thing. There’s a free companion version of Flare for iPhone and iPad, I’m just not sure why given the few thousand photo enhancement apps available for iOS.
Otherwise, Flare for Mac is a good choice for those who find Photo’s enhancements to be a bit anemic but don’t want to master the complexities of Pixelmator.