Did you just come back from a vacation trip and you want to share the photos you captured with the world?
Of course, it is as easy as clicking the upload button on any of the social media channels currently available. But why would anyone upload vacation photos or any type of photo on the internet without enhancing them first and this is exactly why people use photo enhancer software.
You can find a lot of photo enhancement software out there and a lot of them come with various different features. This makes it very tough for a user to choose a good photo enhancement tool. Two of the biggest platforms that people use are PC and Mac and they both come with their own default image management programs.
These photo enhancement tools come in handy when you capture a lot of photos and you don’t really have a lot of time to manually change the camera settings to get the perfect shot. Also, not everyone knows everything about camera tech and this is one more thing image enhancers help with.
These programs are a mixture of a bunch of tools for helping users in editing photos at a very basic level but for many users, they might serve the purpose. If you’re looking for more options, then we have a bunch of options, all with different features and specialities.
But let us start off with the basics which means we will take a look at the default Photos app on both Windows 10 and macOS Catalina.
A word on built-in Photos app of Windows & macOS
Both Windows 10 and macOS Catalina come with a Photos app that can do a lot of things. While things are a bit simpler on Windows, the Photos app on macOS takes everything to the next level. But what about the photo enhancement capabilities of these apps?
On Windows 10, the Photos app can sync your photos to and from OneDrive but when it comes to editing photos, you can do basic things like apply filters, set brightness, contrast and perform other things like Red-eye removal and Spot fix. On Windows 10, the app can only do these things. This is great for people who want a straightforward app to perform minor edits.
Coming to macOS Catalina, the Photos app gives you a lot of options to edit your photos. You can basically adjust the brightness, colors, white balance, sharpness and apart from that you can also edit Red eye and reduce Noise in the photos. This is a much powerful photo editing and enhancement experience when you compare the options available with the Windows 10 counterpart.
Apple also gives you an option to apply automatic adjustments with the Photos app on macOS which makes all this even sweeter for someone who doesn’t want to fidget with a lot of options. Out of both of these platforms, macOS Mojave definitely offers the best default Photos app with an amazing photo enhancement and editing experience.
While they’re fine for quick edits, doing anything remotely complex — adjusting perspective or smoothing out skin, for example — isn’t possible. If all you want to do is make minor changes to your last batch of vacation photos, they should suit you just fine.
For beginners and intermediate users: Photolemur
Photolemur is an automatic photo enhancement tool available for both macOS and Windows. When I open the product on my Macbook Air, I’ve been very pleased with the easy drag-and-drop interface, which wins the Red Dot Interface Design Award 2018.
This tool basically eliminates the confusing and tedious options like brightness adjustment, contrast settings, and more. You will be presented with an interface where you just have to load your photos in the app, and you will be able to see automatically edited photos quite easily.
Once the photos are loaded, you can edit each of these photos one by one and you will have a live preview of the edited image using the very useful Before and After slider. The slider lets you check the changes made by Photolemur to the photo and see if the enhanced image looks better than the original version.
As you can see in the image above, Photolemur automatically adjusts the colors, the sharpness along with brightness and contrast making the enhanced image much more vibrant. The background in the image has also been edited to make it have its own clarity which removes the dullness when it comes to color vibrancy.
When it comes to options, Photolemur focuses on enhancing the images automatically using Artificial Intelligence. As a user control, all you get is a slider that lets you control two main things – the faces in the photo and the eyes.
Take a look at the before and after results in the screenshot above. The before part of the face can be seen with a lot of facial features like blemishes, a darker skin tone, and an eye that isn’t as lively as the after version.
You can choose to edit the facial and eye features of a person in a photo and then you can use the slider to adjust the amount of enhancement that Photolemur applies to the photo. This is a very easy to use, yet very powerful tool for people who don’t have much experience in photo editing.
Photolemur – full features & pricing
Photolemur also comes with a lot of other features that will be at play when you edit photos on the app. Take a look at all the features below.
- Color Recovery & Sky Enhancement: Photolemur automatically checks for dull colors in a photo and detects the sky and the color range that it displays. After analyzing the photo properly, Photolemur will automatically apply the required adjustments to a photo to enhance it.
- Exposure Compensation & Natural Light Correction: The AI integrated into Photolemur automatically detects incorrect exposure in photos and fixes it automatically to bring out better colors in images. The Natural Light Correction also works in a similar way and corrects the colors and light in photos taken in natural lighting conditions.
- RAW format support: You can easily load RAW photos in Photolemur and use the program to adjust the colors, vibrancy and other features automatically. While RAW isn’t meant to be used with such a lightweight program, it is always a good thing to have support for RAW in image editors and enhancers.
Photolemur can edit RAW, JPEG, PNG, and TIFF image formats and currently, Photolemur is in its version 3.0 and it is a premium editing tool which means you will have to pay in order to use it. A family license that supports five systems in a single purchase costs $55 which is a one-time fee and if you want a single license, you will have to pay $35.
People will be able to upgrade to Photolemur v3 from older versions of the same app by paying an upgrade fee of $15 which is a nice price for sure.
My personal opinion about Photolemur v3
I think Photolemur is a great photo enhancement program and it is very impressive to see it edit the photos with such accuracy automatically. Most photos that I edited on the program were landscape photos, sceneries, game screenshots and a bunch of RAW images.
The app is perfect for people who don’t want a lot of confusing options when it comes to image enhancement and with the automatic image processing that Photolemur provides, it becomes a great choice for beginners and people with intermediate photo editing skills.
The DxO PhotoLab is an image editing and enhancement tool for advanced users which means it is suitable for people who already have a lot of experience in enhancing and editing images. It gives you a lot of options like Noise Reduction, Denoising, Exposure Correction, Contrast Optimization and more.
You can also use pre-set profiles that you can apply to your pictures with DxO PhotoLab with just a few clicks. Not only that, but PhotoLab also detects the kind of camera and lens used to take a picture and downloads the essentials to help you edit the photos using the downloaded extensions. These extensions will help you correct the photos and enhance them using the profile that your camera captured using its own photo processing engine.
In the screenshot above, you can see the image correction applied to a photo after a few edits made through PhotoLab. The comparison system will let you compare the image and how they look both before and after the enhancement is applied to them.
The photo in the top part of the window is a natural photo taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF17-40mm lens. Once the DxO Optics Modules for the image were downloaded, editing the image through the downloaded optics module was quite easy and fun to use.
Some major differences in the edited photo include better color vibrancy along with a better color and view of the hill in the background. The image was edited to represent a warmer color temperature which you can easily change to colder temperatures using a slider.
The Apply Filter button will load several pre-set filters which you can apply and continue editing by tweaking various settings of the same filter. The version we used was the DxO PhotoLab Elite which comes with every single PhotoLab feature that is available for the program right now.
DxO PhotoLab is available for both Windows and macOS and comes in two editions – Essential Edition and Elite Edition. Both of these editions have a significant number of differences where the Elite Edition has features such as PRIME Denoising for RAW photos, DxO ClearView, Presets Editor and more.
Another difference is the pricing where the DxO PhotoLab Essential Edition can be bought at $129 for two licenses while the Elite Edition is priced at $199 for three licenses. The price is quite OK if this is a program that you need in your everyday life to have an easy way to enhance photos with a lot of features.
My personal opinion about DxO PhotoLab Edition
If you ask me, DxO PhotoLab is an amazing software and comes with a plethora of great photo enhancement features. I will complain about the complex controls and that it has a learning curve, but it is meant to be for advanced users who know what they’re doing and they know changing a specific setting for an image will result in an assumed outcome.
Other than the learning curve, it is quite nice to see a program available with so many features which are also very easy to use once you have gone through the interface once. To make the deal even sweeter, you can use DxO PhotoLab as an extension of Adobe Lightroom which is Adobe’s solution for photo enhancement purposes.
If you prefer online photo enhancer: LetsEnhance.io
For those who don’t want to download on your computer, you can easily consider LetsEnhance.io. The tool doesn’t ask you to manually tweak and enhance the image. Instead of that, you upload an image on the website and select what you want to do with the image.
As you can see in the screenshot below, you can choose the type of enhancement you want to apply to a picture. Once it receives your photo, the neural network goes to work, upscaling your photo by 4x, removing JPEG artifacts, and “hallucinating” missing details and textures into your upscale photo to make it look natural. You’ll need to wait a couple of minutes for the work to be done, but it’s worth the wait — the results we’ve seen are impressive.
LetsEnhance.io is a great web tool for those who don’t want to spend too much time tweaking colors, temperature, blur and more. Every time you upload a photo, three results are produced for you: the Anti-JPEG filter simply removes JPEG artifacts, the Boring filter does the upscaling while preserving existing details and edges, and the Magic filter draws and hallucinates new details into the photo that weren’t actually there before (using AI).
LetsEnhance.io lets you enhance five images per month for the free tier but you can upgrade your account and subscribe to the service on a monthly or yearly basis. This upgrade will cost you $6.99 per month and for a yearly subscription, you pay $51.99 which gives you a quota of editing 999 images per month.
Other image enhancement tools
Wondershare Fotophire Editing Toolkit
Wondershare is known to make programs and apps that make your life easier when it comes to using a computer and doing everything things. The Fotophire Editing Toolkit is a really functional and easy to use tool that comes with different modules.
The first module is the Photo Editor that lets you enhance and edit the image by providing you tools to apply color corrections, filters, contrast and blur settings and more. You can also choose from the provided pre-set filters that will automatically make changes to the image as per your liking.
Next module in the toolkit is the Photo Cutter which is mainly used to remove the background in photos. You have two main options for doing this. You can choose the areas you want to remove using the tool provided while the green brush tool will let you choose the areas you want to keep in the image. Once you have selected everything properly, you can see that the background will be removed.
The last module is the Photo Eraser which essentially will be used to remove unwanted elements from a photo. In the image above, you can see that the shot has a Seagull bird in it which needs to be removed. In order to do that, we will the Erase and the Clone tool.
After using the Erase tool, we removed the Seagull from the picture and this was done without the Clone tool which is also present in the program. The Clone tool essentially lets you take the area you want to replace from another source in the same picture and you can then clone the selected area over the Seagull, thereby hiding the bird.
Fotophire is definitely one of the most user-friendly image enhancement programs out there. It isn’t as easy as using Photolemur but it does have a bunch of great options. But the toolkit does seem to have a limited number of features in the Photo Editor and this is one of the many reasons why someone who is new to photo editing would love using this program.
The one-year license of the Fotophire Editing Toolkit will cost you $49.99 while the lifetime license can be bought at an extra $30 making the final amount to be $79.99.
BeFunky is another great choice to edit and enhance your images online. It comes with other tools like Collage Creation, and a Graphic Designing tool that you can use to create things like social media banners, invitations or anything you want.
Our focus is on the Image Enhancement option that BeFunky has to offer. Just open BeFunky.com in your browser and start editing photos right away. The UI of the editor inside the browser very closely looks like a desktop program but it is all running in the browser. BeFunky is available as two options/variants. One is the free tier where all you need to do is create an account and start using the tool.
In the free version, you can use the Auto Enhance feature that will automatically apply a bunch of edits to the image in order to correct it in terms of brightness, contrast etc. You can then choose the intensity of the applied enhancement and set it to something that you feel is suitable for the image.
The premium tier is known as BeFunky Plus and it costs $4.95 a month when signed up for a monthly subscription while the annual subscription comes down to $2.91 a month. The free tier comes with very basic features where you can adjust a few things.
Other features include Vibrancy settings, Fill Light settings, Beautify and more. Coming to the BeFunky Plus version, you have many options like Color Replacement that lets you get rid of a specific color in the whole picture and then you can choose a target color to replace the original color.
There is another feature named Enhance DLX which will provide you will a bunch of presets to choose from. Once you have chosen a pre-set, you can easily set the intensity of the selected pre-set along with the number of tweaks you want to make in the image.
BeFunky’s best for newbies who don’t want many confusing options to edit images. It has a very nominal pricing plan but it fails to cater to the advanced group of users who are also looking for a web-based powerful image enhancement tool.
Canvas Photo Editor
If you want to edit, recreate, and enhance images online, the Canvas photo editor is a smart pick for you. Even if you are at the beginner level of understanding design, color combinations and photo manipulation you are good to go.
Canvas photo editor is a free online tool introduced by “Canvas Prints UK.” It is not as advanced as Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator, so it is not so ideal for professional graphic designers. However, it is undoubtedly a smart and handy tool for beginners.
The canvas-editing toolkit is multi-functional. You can enhance and edit HD images, using filters, color corrections, blur, crop, transform, draw, shapes, and frames to enhance the images.
The main feature, which I love the most, is the merge tool. You can edit and merge two or more images flawlessly, just the way you want it. You can add fun to the image with various stickers, shapes, and funny backgrounds.
Canvas also offers multiple options for adding text. It’s not just plain text. You can add outlines, texture, gradient, and shadows to the text.
It’s a free tool, so you don’t even need to create an account to edit the images.
Wrapping it up
Image enhancement tools for both Windows and macOS comes with a lot of great options. We looked at DxO PhotoLab which is definitely one of the best photo enhancement programs available for Windows and macOS but the learning curve that it has makes it a program for advanced users.
For most people, Photolemur v3 will be enough for their photo enhancement purposes and to be honest, as an automatic tool, it does a really great job in enhancing the images while still leaving a lot of control in the user’s hand. You can tweak facial and eye features with the program which is great.
If you want more than just a photo enhancement tool, you may look at Fotophire Editing Toolkit which comes with a Photo Editor, a Photo Cutter, and a Photo Eraser and this tool is surprisingly well at what it is developed for. In the end, we will recommend going with Photolemur to get the best photo enhancement experience on both PC and Mac.