Photo Lemur 2.1.1

Photo Lemur, the one-stop photo improvement app, has sped up a little in its latest version and improved the algorithms it uses to analyse, and then fix an image.
A slider along the bottom lets you decide how much ‘improvement’ Photo Lemur can deliver, from 0 to 100%. This is the least sophisticated tool as far as the user goes: no layers, selections, replacement or other area-by-area corrections are available; no brushes, correction tools, multiple undoes … almost no tools at all.
The interface is dauntingly simple (to those used to Photoshop). Open Photo Lemur and drop an image onto the Photo Lemur import window (left), and the app analyses the image (the wireframe animations as per the main image above, I suspect, are arbitrary rather than working, so you know things are happening).
The image opens, and you can drag a vertical Before and After slider to see what your image is like and what it could be like, which is invariably quite an improvement, lightening dark areas and showing otherwise hidden detail, and adding sparkle and contrast to better lit areas. Drag this slider left and right to to inspect your image.
Click the little paintbrush icon at bottom right, and the Boost level slider is revealed. What you saw in the After section is the 100% boost, so you can back off down to what you feel is a more acceptable level if that works better for you.

But does it work? Yes, and often the result is truly remarkable (click an image for a closer look). For a badly degraded, overexposed or faulty shot, there’s a limit to what it can do, but honestly, iPhones simply don’t deliver those kinds of results any more, since they also analyse the scene and balance the white point and exposure faster than the blink of an eye. That means 99% of the shots you send this app’s way will be improved with added sparkle, depth, detail and clarity to make them really ‘pop’.

This even applies to those images shot in low light, which feature noise in the darker areas as an unavoidable consequence of the way CCD sensors work when there simply isn’t enough light for a decent exposure.

Click Export to see several useful options: you can export back to Disk (your hard drive, or a connected hard drive) or choose to upload directly to Flickr, email it, add it directly to Facebook, tweet it or launch it into Snapheal, should you have it, so you can do those area-by-area corrections that Photo Lemur does not support.

Small frustrations — If you open several images at once, you can’t seem to resize the image you are working on to see it in more detail, as there’s no Zoom. Also, the window is not resizable. When you use the Boost slider, you’re actually subtracting, or at least selectively minimising the boost,. It means ‘Set Amount of Boost’ rather than Boost. And when you do this, the Before and After slider disappears – I’d prefer it if it stayed

Conclusion — This is like a more sophisticated, more analytical and more thorough version of the Enhance wand you can single-tap in the Photos app on iPhone and iPad, with the added feature that you can back off from the maximum level of change to the point where you think it’s best. It’s basic, interface-wise, sure, but with it’s smart background tech, works a treat to enhance your images in a much more sophisticated way considering most of its magic is hidden from view.

What’s Great — Improves most images you throw at it, without you having to do all of the legwork.

What’s Not — when you have several images open, you have a limited working space. Confusing payment options: for a while this was Subscriber, then it was a single price … often gets heavily discounted and specially offered, so look out for that (for example, Photo Lemur 2.2 ‘Spectre’ is currently 70% off until 4th January).

Needs — Those who feel their general shots are a little lacking. Photo Lemur is a very fast way to add considerable zing! to images. Its stock price is incredibly steep until you realise how much time and work it can save you.
Check out the developer’s How It Works page.

Photo Lemur 2.2 Spectre, usually US$151 (NZ$215) but US$45 (cNZ$64) until 4th January).
There’s also a Free Version,, for which you have to put in a name and email address. This is for those who want to try Photolemur before buying it. It’s limited and puts the product logo in the photo.

Online only— Visit the Photo Lemur site.