On the Mac, there’s no shortage of photo editors: from Aperture and Lightroom for those users who want more control over how their photos are processed and organized to more lightweight and user-friendly solutions like FX Photo Studio or The Iconfactory’s Flare, one can stay assured photos imported on a Mac will always find a proper companion app to be edited, sorted in collections, and shared online on Facebook or Flickr. On iOS, the situation is quite different: because the iPhone is a portable camera itself, there’s been a surge of apps like Instagram or Camera+, which allow users to shoot, edit, and upload photos using a single interface to do it all. Whereas the insanely successful Instagram has managed to gain millions of users because of its simple approach to lightweight photo editing and one-tap uploading, others apps like the aforementioned Camera+ or Camera Genius give users more options and functionalities such as advanced image filter adjustments, effects, and presets. And with iOS 5 on the horizon, it looks like developers of photo taking/editing apps for the iPhone and iPad will have even more tools and APIs to play with in order to natively integrate their software with new built-in image editing functions offered by iOS.
Being able to shoot a photo, quickly edit it and upload it in seconds from your iPhone is fine, but sometimes you want to sit down, check out all the photos you’ve taken, and take your time to process them, adjust them to your liking, and file them away onto a collection or social network of choice. That’s what desktop image editing tools are for — they give you the peace of mind to go through hundreds of photos without needing to quickly fire them off to your Instagram followers. You could argue that image editors are meant for a desktop computer (you sit down with your laptop, connect your camera, and start editing), but why avoid the fact that iPhones and iPads are powerful devices capable of doing just about anything nowadays? PhotoForge 2, an image editor I’ve reviewed before here on MacStories, proved that it’s possible to work with a full-featured image editing environment on iOS without feeling constrained by real screen estate and lack of mouse cursor.
Luminance, a new image editing app for the iPhone and iPad available at $0.99 on the App Store, provides a more streamlined alternative to PhotoForge and other image editors I’ve tried on iOS, offering an interesting set of effects, presets and basic versioning system that makes it easy to import photos from a device’s camera roll, and start editing in a focused space right away. (more…)