I know that many genealogists frequently use photo editors to improve or restore old family photographs and for a myriad of other uses. If you would like to do the same, you might already be aware that the two leading photo editing products are Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud) which is only available as a subscription service for $20.99 US per month, and Photoshop Elements, which retails for $99.99 or is also available as a subscription service for $9.99 per month.
NOTE: Adobe, the producer of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, often bundles other products along with the company’s mainstream products and prices vary frequently as various bundles go on sale. Always check the Abode web site at http://www.adobe.com for the latest offers.)
While Photoshop CC and Photoshop Elements are both great products, they tend to appeal primarily to professional photographers and to other business users who can justify such expense. The prices often discourage casual users who only want to edit a few pictures on their home computers. As a result, a number of lower-cost alternatives to the Photoshop programs have become popular, including:
- Acorn (available only for Macintosh)
- Affinity Photo
- GIMP (which is free but difficult to use)
- Paint.net (which is free but only available on Windows)
- Pixelmator Pro
- Pixlr (which is free)
- SumoPaint (a limited version is available free of charge but the full version costs money)
While each of these alternative programs are good at editing photographs, each has some drawbacks. One more program might be worthy of adding to the list: Polarr Photo Editor.
Polarr Photo Editor is a FREE photo editing program although a “Pro version” is also available. For $2.49/monthly (or $1.99/monthly if paid 12 months in advance), Polarr Pro offers additional masks, blur, feathering, batch export, and more. Details on the differences may be found at: https://www.polarr.co/web/0?platform=polarr&label=homepage_website.
While to Pro features will indeed appeal to professional users, I suspect that most casual, in-home users will be happy to use the FREE version forever. If you find that the free version of Polarr Photo Editor doesn’t meet your needs, you probably are a candidate for Photoshop.
The biggest advantages of Polarr Photo Editor, in my opinion, is that it works on a wide variety of platforms, including Windows, Macintosh, Chrome OS, Linux, Android, Apple’s iOS (iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch systems) and as a web-hosted app. That last option, a “web-hosted app,” makes it ideal for use on Chromebooks and Chromebox computers.
Even if you are using Windows or Macintosh or Linux, you may find that you prefer the web-hosted version of Polarr Photo Editor. With no need to install software in your computer, the web-hosted version of Polarr Photo Editor can be launched at any time as long as you have an Internet connection. The web-hosted version of Polarr Photo Editor can even be used on borrowed computers, such as at school, in a library, or in an Internet café.
The downside of the web-hosted version of Polarr Photo Editor is that it will run a bit slower than a version that is installed in your computer. The exact speed will depend upon the speed of your Internet connection.
In the short time I have used Polarr Photo Editor, I am happy with its free version. Admittedly, I am not a heavy user of photo editing software who needs professional-level editing. I especially love using the free version of Polarr Photo Editor’s web-hosted version on my low-cost Chromebook, my primary computer when traveling.
Make no mistake: Polarr Photo Editor certainly does not have all the features of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. Then again, it doesn’t have the price tag of those programs either. For my light-duty usage, I find the free web-hosted version of Polarr Photo Editor to be an excellent choice. I especially appreciate the fact that it works well on my Chromebook.
For more information about Polarr Photo Editor, or to use the program on your computer, go to https://www.polarr.co. And, yes, that address ends in “.co,” not “.com.”