If you are looking for a budget photo editor for the desktop that has lots of features for very little money, Photo Editor | Polarr is one you should definitely try. It has some great photo correction features and it is free.
It enables you to repair the faults in digital camera photos and scanned images, such as colour casts, sharpness, exposure, lens distortion, tilt and many more problems.
It is easy to learn and you can experiment with effects and undo them if they don’t work out or accept them if they enhance the image.
This is not an alternative to Adobe Photoshop and the app has limitations, but it makes a fine alternative to the photo editor that is bundled with Windows 10. This is a modern app, so it won’t work on Windows 7, but if/when you upgrade, you should check it out.
Load a photo
There is a button to browse the disk for a photo and load it, but you can also drag a photo from an Explorer window and drop it on the photo editor.
The image slopes to the left. Whenever you photograph lakes and the sea, you can immediately tell when the camera was not horizontal.
The Crop & straighten button in the toolbar at the top displays various aspect ratios for cropping images. There are rotate and flip buttons, but what is needed is the free rotation tool. This is the vertical scale with degrees.
To straighten a photo you just click and drag the mouse on the scale. A grid overlays the image as you do this, which helps you to judge how much to rotate the image.
Adjust the photo
The Adjustments icon displays a panel on the left that has a large number of controls for making various adjustments to the image.
Here are just a few of them:
Each of the controls has a bar in the middle and you click and drag it left or right to adjust the image. There is colour temp, tint, vibrance and saturation. There is exposure, brightness and contrast, and highlights, shadows, whites and blacks.
You can simply play around with each of these controls and experiment with them to get the best effect.
Scroll down this Adjustments panel and there are many more controls, such as dehaze, clarity, sharpen, colour, luminance, vignette options and so on. I tweaked several of these to make the image more eye-catching.
A panel can be opened on the left that contains collections of filters. You get Modern, Art and Film categories, each with 12 filters in, making a total of 36. There are nine other categories that are only available if you unlock the Pro version (on offer for $0.99 if you are quick, otherwise it might go back to the regular $19.99).
I’m not that impressed by the free filters and I have seen better, but you might find some uses for them, such as this one that turns a colour photo into a black and white print. I suspect that all the best filters have been held back for the Pro version.
If you don’t like a filter, you can undo it. In fact, the whole history of changes you have made are listed and you can step back and forward through them.
Save your edits
Edited photos can be saved to disk as JPG or PNG files. You can choose the quality from four settings and there is an option to add a watermark, such as a logo or your name. Just choose a watermark image and set the opacity and scale.
The final result
So after fiddling with my photo for 5 or 10 minutes, here are the before and after shots. I'm sure you can do better:
Photo Editor | Polar is not ideal for every photo editing task and when compared to features in Photoshop or even the free GIMP, it doesn’t look good. However, it is great for simple fixes and the interface encourages experimentation. For correcting basic flaws like exposure, colour and so on, it is very useful.
If the huge discount is still on for the Pro version I would grab it straight away. It is a bargain, otherwise try the free version and then ask yourself whether the extra filters and a few other Pro features are worth it.
Title: Photo Editor | Polarr (Windows App Store)
Developer: Polarr Inc.
Size: 4 MB
OS: Windows 10
Verdict: Great for making simple fixes to your photos.