Polarr Photo Editor is a program that can be used to edit digital images. The program can be used for free, but despite this, it's just as good as many professional paid photo editing programs.
Polarr has been updated to version 3 for the Web, but is also available for download as a extension for Google Chrome browser. In addition Polarr can be downloaded as a app for Windows 10, iOS, Android and BlackBerry. You can find all the options on their official website, polarr.co
You have to pay for the apps (currently $14.99), but the web-based version is free, and runs directly in the browser. Chrome extension is also free.
The company behind Polarr believes that their service can compete with commercial programs like Adobe Lightroom. They believe Polarr is both easier to use and it offers many of the same functions as program such as Lightroom.
Nevertheless, we must emphasize that overall Pollarr is not as good as Adobe Lightroom, but when it comes to fine-tuning of images and adjustments of light, shadow, exposure, contrast and detail, you will find the program does a mighty good job.
How to use Polarr
Once the web page loads, you get two choices. You can proceed with a so-called Filmstrip (manual) or click on the Close button to go directly to the service itself.
If you continue with the Filmstrip option, you will get a brief tutorial on how to use the service.
Polarr Photo Editor
The service automatically starts with two test images that you can play with to get used to the service, and otherwise do what you want with. You can also import your own pictures via the menu button on the top left of the program window.
It is unclear whether Polarr supports various types of raw files, but we had no problems opening and editing CR2 files from Canon cameras.
One of the advantages of Polarr is that it displays Exif information of a particular image, ie information about aperture, shutter and ISO.
At the top of the screen you'll find buttons "show me how to improve this photo" and "No, thanks". Click on the first button if you want to get guidance from the service about how to edit that specific image. Or you can click on No, thanks.
If you choose to follow the instructions, you will in the next window see two images showing the original image and the second image of how it looks after editing. You can close the window via close tutorial button, or you can get further guidance on how to improve the lighting in the image.
Select Start tutorial gives you a step by step guide that shows how you can improve your image with Polarr Photo Editor. You click the Next button to go through the tutorial. This guidance works only as a guide and is not editing the image.
Options on the left-hand side
On the left side in the Polarr window you can select the filters, history, import and export.
There is also the opportunity to read more about Polarr, change language and you can subscribe to newsletters from the company that develops Polarr.
You also have the "undo button" which will reverse any changes you have made to your image.
Options on the right-hand side
This is where the magic lies and where Polarr impresses as a photo service, because here you will find adjustments that can be compared with tools that professional photographers use, for example, Adobe Lightroom.
It contains the following editing capabilities: zoom, full screen mode, displaying before / after, viewing the original image, cropping option and masking tools.
Under the adjustments button you can adjusts exposure, brightness, contrast, shadow, white, black and so on, including histogram.
You can adjust the image by dragging the scales on the image properties under Basic, Dynamics, Atmosphere, Detail, Optics, HSL colour adjustment, Curves and Toning.
This is very user-friendly, and you see changes on the actual image while you are editing. Not only that, undo capabilities are also very good, you can double-click on each of the scales to reset the specific scale, and you can reset the whole image by clicking the reset adjustm button.
Is Polarr an alternative option to the big boys?
Polarr has similar options to image editing program like Adobe Lightroom, which is tailored for professional photographers. It is quite amazing that this program is free and web-based.
However, there are features missing, such as the opportunity to organize a large number of images. Polarr also lacks advanced features such as virtual copies and snapshot, to mention a few. Nonetheless, if you after basic editing that is nearly as advanced and user-friendly as Lightroom, Polarr is a great choice.