I recently changed my main form of computer to a Chromebook. As I go on my journey of practicing external minimalism, I also wanted to move to a world of digital minimalism, and the Chromebook for me was the perfect tool to achieve that. What it also meant however, is that I had to say goodbye to my beloved Lightroom, a programme that had been the driving force of my photo editing for many years (Chromebook does not support Lightroom). In result I had to find something that was powerful, dynamic, easy to use and that made editing simple. Step in - Polarr.
Whilst most Chromebook applications are web based, meaning you can only use them when connected to the internet, Polarr offers itself to Chrome users as an internal app based programme. This means you can edit your photos anywhere at any time - a huge bonus for anyone who operates their work space mainly through the digital clouds.
The design of the programme is clean, well laid out and simple enough to use even for the most novice of photo editors. The programme offers many of the same editing tools as Lightroom, such as white balance editing, clarity and sharpening tools and I was impressed to find it offered a tone curve panel, allowing you to really get to grips with your lights, darks and mid tones.
For those of you who prefer to keep your editing quick and easy, Polarr has a wide range of filters that you can play around with. The app currently offers 124 different filters for free to its users. If you fancy putting your hand in your pocket, there are a further 96 filters on offer as part of their premium service.
Polarr currently offers two forms of subscriptions; one that is free to use, and another that costs £18 for a 12 month subscription - much cheaper than the Adobe platforms. With the paid subscription you will enjoy added features such as: Gradient filter, Skin softener, Luminance mask and other more detailed editing tools which you may find the need to use.
No RAW file support
Where Polarr will fall short for some people, is that it does not currently support RAW file editing. Pollar’s file management is also something that is less desirable compared to their rivals in the photo editing market. At present you can only load up a maximum of 50 images at a time, so if you shoot events or weddings for example, this will really slow your work flow down.
If you’re a street photographer however, and someone who takes their time rather than spraying and praying, this should not be too much of a problem - although you may need to cut down your shots in another application prior to loading them up in Polarr if you have a few days of shots built up.
Polarr was a great choice for me, especially as Chromebooks are not heavy devices, further allowing me to travel lightly and edit on the go.
The programme is offered across all major operating systems. So, if you are looking for something new, either for use or to cut cost then I highly recommend you give Polarr a try.
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