The growth of Instagram and the sharing of photographs online, from snapshots to more considered work, has produceda seemingly endless array of apps, both iOS and desktop based, to tweak and transform your images into infinity and beyond. Flare from The Iconfactory is one of best currently available to Mac users. See all Digital photography software reviews.

Flare 1.4 review

Flare offers a growing range of effects and textures, which can transform and enhance images, producing varied results that are a step ahead of retro obsessed alternatives. Crucially, Flare allows users to not only fine tune and save presets but effectively create their own by selecting dozens of individual photographic effects. Although it's still early days, these new effects can be shared online, both offered freely and as paid collections. Take a look at Ashampoo Photo Optimizer 5 review too.

Flare benefits from a clean and clear interface that makes editing simple and fun, givingpreviews of the various effects offered down the right hand side of your screen, with the ability to toggle effortlessly between original and processed image. A Shuffle option, introduced in the 1.3 update, automatically adjusts settings once you've selected a preset, to ensure the results don't look samey. Those results can be saved directly to your desktop, iPhoto, Aperture, Twitter, flickr and so on without producing a low res postage stamp size image. See also Group test: what's the best photo-editing software?

Flare doesn't claim to be a substitute for a full-scale image editing tool but users can easily do basic edits, including cropping images and rotating images ready for Instagram.The newly released 1.4 update adds support for those lucky enough to enjoy high-resolution Retina displays and fixes a number of bugs found in earlier releases. Modestly priced, and often available on sale, we only hope the community of Flare users grows, highlighted by an attractive flickr group, creating new presets along the way.

Flare 1.4: Specs

  • Intel based Mac, OS X 10.6 or later.
  • Intel based Mac, OS X 10.6 or later.

OUR VERDICT

Flare is an excellent tool for adding creative flare to almost any image and is both simple and intuitive, making light and fun work of adding borders, frames, light leaks, textures and blur to your photographs. The ability to fine tune existing presets and create and share new ones is a big plus here, one that we hope will grow significantly over time.

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