An automatic photo-editing app, Photolemur promised to remove the pain points of image enhancement by offering a smarter approach based on artificial intelligence – analyzing a scene for recognizable objects, from faces to foliage, and performs enhancements as needed. We last wrote about Photolemur when it was in beta and MacOS-only, but the recent release of version 2.0 brings Windows support, an entirely new interface, and many improvements to the core technologies made after nearly one million photos were run through the app in training.
While the user interface we experienced in the beta certainly wasn’t bad, the new version has been completely redesigned for ultimate simplicity. It is also very responsive, even if the actual AI processing and image exporting does take a few seconds. Open the app and drag a photo onto its launch window, and Photolemur gets started on its fully automated workflow, performing steps like “looking for faces,” “improving exposure,” “recovering colors,” and even “doing magic.” You can also drag multiple photos for batch processing, although you won’t be shown a before/after comparison for each image, as you would if you choose to process photos individually.
It’s clear that Photolemur is designed for the most casual of photographers; it is not intended to replace a hands-on editing workflow, although it can be used as plugin within Adobe Lightroom. Rather, it provides a simple way to enhance images before sharing them that goes beyond the “auto enhance” functions of other photo apps. You can even share straight to Facebook or Twitter from Photolemur’s Export menu.
In practice, we found the difference between the base image and Photolemur’s enhanced version to be subtle. To be clear, though, this is not a bad thing. The app does a good job of pulling out detail from shadows without introducing noise, even from JPEGs right out of an iPhone. High-contrast details, like foliage or sunlight reflecting on water, also look noticeably better, but the effect is not overdone.
One area where Photolemur shows a heavier hand is with portraits and selfies. In one test, we noticed it shaved a pound or so off of our subject’s face, narrowing the cheeks and chin ever so slightly. In another example, using a different photo of the same subject, the face was left in its original shape. There’s no telling exactly how Photolemur’s algorithm determines when to apply this digital diet, but as with every other element of the app, it can not be toggled on or off by the user.
The one thing that may be holding Photolemur back is simply the fact that it’s a desktop app. It would seem to us that the target user base would be happier with a mobile version, and the app’s focus on simplicity seems well tailored to such an environment. Photolemur confirmed to Digital Trends that a mobile version is in development, but isn’t expected to be available until early next year. We look forward to its release and think it will make the app even more approachable.
Overall, Photolemur presents an interesting take on photo editing, combining complex technology with an effortless and simple user experience. This new version is quite far ahead of where the app was when we previously tested it, but we’re still not sure how much value it will bring to the average user on a daily basis. Photolemur is priced on a subscription model, currently discounted at either $4 per month (or $3 per month if you pay for a full year). That’s not a ton of money, but we wonder if casual photographers will enjoy it enough to warrant a subscription.
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