Enlight was lately introduced on Digital Photography Review. It came as no surprise because everyone is craving for a good mobile photography retouching app.

Enlight app

Enlight app

My daily mobile is an iPhone 5s.  It is on a 24 month-contract with a Australian teleco so making me hard to switch to any new device. The built-in app Camera of the iPhone is sufficient to capture good images with decent details, just like another powerful app 645 PRO. 645 PRO may be a better tool in terms of TIFF format it captures.  However, you may need to think carefully about the storage limitation of your phone as the size of every digital image from 645 PRO is very huge, although retaining greater detail for larger prints or editing.

Snapseed

Snapseed

Snapseed from Google has no doubt been one of my favourite photo editing apps. The latest version 2.0.1 update, a redesign, has never failed to disappoint me. I admit I was puzzled by the new icons but later on I think in theory the app is still capable. It does not set a new learning curve to me.  One thing surely wins everyone’s heart: it is free.  It has retained all the necessary filters and enhancement tools.  The initial screens shows the option of Open an image from the device or taking a image from the camera.  Once you have opened an image, the screen stays quite simple.  Notice the histogram at the bottom left which is a useful reference:

Snapseed

Snapseed

Tap the + icon and you will open the tools:

Snapseed tools

Snapseed tools

Scroll down and you will see the filters:

Snapseed filters

Snapseed filters

Two of them I like most are Black & White and Drama.  On a tiny screen of an iPhone, you still can manage to see what roughly how the tools and filters bring about the changes.  Of course you can enlarge the image easily by spreading two fingers apart to see the details:

Enlargement of image

Enlargement of image

If you are really satisfied with it, saved it back to Camera Roll and ready for upload to the social media.

The user interface of Enlight, is quite traditional, placing everything on the screen:

Enlight screenshot

Enlight screenshot

The menu button on the top right extends a range of tools:

Enlight tools

Enlight tools

Unlike Snapseed, Enlight is not free and only available on iOS.  It seems to encourage you to work from the top to the bottom following every single tool. Hence you find the menu called FINALISE.  Of course when the menu shows, it blocks one third of the size of the vertical screen. My comment is that if the titles are in small letters, wouldn’t the size of the sidebar be smaller?  The most powerful tools are those found under TOOLS: MIXER, RESHAPE and TILT SHIFT.  This is an example showing the use of Reshape to bend a tree and the nearby environment, making it so surreal:

bending a tree

bending a tree

I have never seen such a powerful app of image retouching.  You can simple call it alternation.  When finalising the image, you can enter some text, set borders or fix the image into an Instagram ready square.  The pop-up instruction is everywhere so that you won’t get lost:

Enlight instuction

Enlight instuction

To be honest, overdoing will definitely damage the image. In a word, compare Enlight and Snapseed, you will see Enlight has more potential and it is not simply an image re-touching.  It goes beyond reality into the realm of creativity.  It is the user that unlocks its potential and capability.

Featured image: The parrot.  Canon 6D with EF70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM, ISO1600, f/5.6, 1/100 sec

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