The number of stunningly useful, non-Adobe photo enhancement apps for the Mac continues to grow. A few are free, many of the best are modestly priced yet provide professional levels of editing tools, filters, effects, and enhancements.
The best free photo editor for the Mac is Fotor. Yes, I’m climbing out on a limb here, but if you find a better one, let me know. Fotor is very good and it’s free. There’s even an iPhone version (also free but with a few in-app purchase options for additional filters).
Alright, what do you get for free? Fotor starts with a simple splash screen so you know exactly what you get. Edit a photos. Create a photo collage. Or, apply settings to a batch of photos with a single click.
Editing is about as straightforward and Mac-like as you can get.
Fotor comes with a scrolling list of Scene presets so enhancing a photo is little more than selecting the preset you want, then click. Each preset can also be customized. Click the Adjust button in the right sidebar menu and sliders and options appear.
I don’t want to denigrate presets because they’re beautifully implemented in Fotor, and each one can be adjusted with ease. Photos can be cropped, effects added, even change borders or drop in text overlays.
The first impression upon using Fotor might be to think it’s rather simplistic. It’s simple to use, yes, but not simplistic thanks to a rich array of user configurable options beyond the presets.
For example, the Focus option drops in resizable loupe-like circle on the photo which can be moved around. The options include various lens settings which put outer parts of a photo out of focus, while leaving the inner circle in focus.
You’ll need some trial and error to get the hang of it but the results can be stunning.
While Fotor is simple to setup and use initially, it’s also packed with options beyond mere photo editing. You can create photo collages, use the built in design tools to create a stunning and unique image, even handle HDR images.
Yes, there’s retouching options, too, and they’re all just point and click. For a Mac photo editor you might expect a laundry list of complicated configurations and settings.
What’s the business model for such a quality free app?
First, there’s an advertisement inside each screen; it’s not subtle, but it’s not annoying, either. Second, more professional features can be added with Fotor Pro, which is not available in the Mac App Store.
The only negative with the Pro version is the Facebook requirement to ‘sign up’ and purchase the upgrade, which comes as a monthly or annual subscription. What Adobe and Microsoft have done is change the way many of us use software; it’s essentially a subscription model. Pay and use, stop paying and don’t use. Word on the streets is that Apple is planning exactly that model later this year for App Store apps.
The times, they are a changing.