Review: Enlight Photo Editing App for iPhone and iPad

Enlight is an awesome photo editor for your iPhone and iPad. Think if it like a simple photoshop for iPhone. And I mean the word "photo editor" literally. Enlight is not just another filter tool. It has lots of different ways that you can use to enhance your iPhone photos right on the iPhone or even iPad. 

If you have some experience using other photo editors like Photoshop or Pixelmator on a computer, you'll find your way easily in Enlight. If you don't have previous photo editing experience, I still recommend to give it a try and learn how to work with Enlight. Its worth it. 

All the things Enlight has to offer could fill an entire book. So I can only give an overview of what Enlight can do in this review. More specific Enlight tutorials are coming soon.

 

Stuff you can do with Enlight

  • Crop, Skew and Refit your iPhone photos
  • Adjust brightness, contrast, exposure, offset, structure, sharpen, black point, shadows and highlights, saturation, hue, temperature, tine, white point, split toning and curves for all or just red, green and blue.
  • Improve clarity of your shot by sharpening, fine sharpening, overall clarity, blacks and saturation
  • Yes, you can use filters too and it comes with a set of analog filters, black and white filters and duo tone filters. All of them fully adjustable.
  • Layer two images. Great if you want to fix e.g. a sky and add some clouds for example.
  • Reshape your image
  • Remove stuff using a healing tool
  • Create a tilt shift effect
  • Apply artistic effects to your shots so it looks like a painting, urban style, sketch or it was made with brushes
  • Add text and decals. It even comes with a dedicated way to create fancy memes
  • Add borders, frames, fit to Instagram
  • Create collages.

That's quite a lot, isn't it? But we're not done yet. To give you even more options to enhance only a part of your photo, Enlight supports brushes and masks. By using a brush you can paint an adjustment only over a certain part of your shot. With brushes you can

  • Either wipe or apply a certain adjustment to your image
  • Set the brush size, opacity, feathering and edge

Plus, you can use the target tool to apply an adjustment only over a rectangular or circular region of your shot and adjust exposure, contrast, saturation and hue for that area.

Additionally, editing is non destructive. Enlight saves each adjustment and you simply can go back and remove each change you made step by step. It will even save editing sessions so you can continue later.

Pretty neat, right? Enlight has become my main photo editor on the iPhone whenever I need to retouch a shot or do some advanced editing that I previously needed my computer for.

And finally, Enlight runs on your iPhone and iPad and supports the Apple Pen on an iPad Pro.

 

The Enlight User Interface

The Enlight user interface might look a little confusing. So here is an overview about it and where you can find all the fancy tools I mentioned above.

Three main elements of the Enlight user interface

Three main elements of the Enlight user interface

The Enlight user interface has three main areas. Let's start at the bottom. 

  • The photo drawer is the place where you pick the photo your want to edit. Swipe left or right to scroll through your photos. Tap and swipe up on the handle at the top of the photo drawer to get a bigger view and to switch to a different album
  • The tool panel on the right side is where all the cool stuff is in. Here you chose the adjustments and tools you want to apply and use with your photo
  • In the main menu you'll find (from left to right) Enlight settings, access to the camera to shoot a photo right in Enlight, share menu and toggling the tool panel.

Before you being working with Enlight, please go to the settings menu to check if everything is to your liking. Tap the Enlight logo in the upper right corner, then tap the third bar. It's labelled Settings. Now check for the following:

  • Make sure Save Location is enabled under Camera. Otherwise Enlight will strip the GPS data from your photo (unless you want that)
  • Check that the Export Quality is set to JPEG 95, that will give you good quality with a decent file size.
  • Adjust the Max Export Size. I've set this one to Max.

The remaining options are sessions settings. They control how animated sessions work; a way to play back your editing process in a short video and finally you can control how many editing sessions Enlight will remember.

 

Recommended workflow for Enlight

I've tried various approaches working with Enlight. I found the following workflow perfectly fits my way of working. Your mileage may vary. After I load a photo into Enlight, I work with it the following way:

  • I start off by doing the basic stuff which is removing things with Tools > Heal and/or layering another image by using Tools > Mixer. So basically the first step is to do all the basic fixing of the photo.
  • Then I use Image > Adjust and start with a preset. Then I tap "tools" and fine tune it if necessary followed by clarity adjustments. The last step here is always applying some minor noise reduction.
  • Next step is cropping followed by sharing.

If you've just installed Enlight, then the app will help you by displaying animated tool tips for many functions if you use them for the first time. The tool tips are excellent and will demonstrate how a certain tool works. Take those few extra seconds and watch them.

Enlight tool tips will illustrate how a particular function works

Enlight tool tips will illustrate how a particular function works

 

Summary

Enlight is a powerful photo editor for your iPhone or iPad. For the regular price, was $3,99, at the time of writing you get a load of tools to improve your images. When Enlight came out, it replaced half a dozen of other apps for me. If I should name three highlights of Enlight, it'd be the fine granular adjustments, brushes and noise reduction.