Photography just ain’t what it used to be. It wasn’t that long ago that photography consisted of cameras, extra lenses, add-on flash units, film, processing, and prints. If you wanted to do anything special with a photograph, that required a dark room or an expensive scanner.
Today an iPhone takes great photos and all you need to enhance photos are a few apps. One of the more interesting for Mac photography apps is called Photo Lab FX (as in ‘effects’), a modestly priced app packed with loads of effects and filters that render photo lab-like results with simple point and click effort.
Photo Lab FX doesn’t blaze any new trails other than an option to mix photo effects and filters with a few drawing and painting tools, seemingly tossed in as an afterthought. So, instead of using two apps to dress up a photo, one app will do (unless the one doesn’t have the right tools, which is often the case).
The app’s interface is familiar and simple to master. Basic tools line the top Toolbar while each effects, filter, or drawing tool can be dropped in with a click to the Sidebar palette.
The list of effects and filters you can apply to a photo is extensive, though. Brushes toolbox, color picker tools, canvas and image cropping and rotation, color tools, a text toolbox for fonts, shapes (part of the drawing package), and a variety of filters.
This is where Photo Lab FX is competitive. I counted a dozen blending options from color to burn to screen blend and overlays. Distortion effects are many; from bumps to glass to pinch and twirl.
The app does blurs, color, luminance, unsharp mask, color maps, and color masking. The list is extensive and mostly point and click.
Most of the standard Mac file formats are handled in Photo Lab FX, including JPG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, BMP and even HDR files.
The problem I have with Photo Lab FX is one I have with a number of such Mac apps which pile in a long laundry list of filters and effects without giving thought to long term value or a customer relationship. In terms of capability, it doesn’t hold a candle to Pixelmator; far more features, less money, and a long-time Mac citizen.
The link to Photo Lab FX’s support and website is to a Domains For Sale page. Attention to detail is nominal, too. Note the floppy disk icon in the Toolbar used to save a file. Macs haven’t had floppy disks since what? The last century?