Fotor: The Newest Simple Photo Editor for Your Mac

I’m in desperate need of a good photo editor, but I don’t want too many bells or whistles. Being honest, the reason I need a photo editor is the same reason I need a simple editor. I’m not that great at making my images look good, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still want to show off all my amazing snaps to my friends.

Recently released Fotor may be my saving grace. It’s simple enough that I can make my way through it without turning all of my family photos green, but does Fotor have the goods to make my photos great?

Say Cheese!

Scenes is sort of an autocorrect tool for images. You may already be familiar with some of these filters from other photo apps, either on Mac or iOS, but they may not act exactly the same. Expect filters like Backlit, Darken, and Cloudy. You can click through each to see which works the best for your image.

You have a surprising amount of control in the Adjust tools.

You have a surprising amount of control in the Adjust tools.

Adjust is where the color tools live. Change your image’s exposure, brightness, contrast, and saturation. You can also refine your image with the blur and sharpen sliders or adjust the temperature and tint. If you’re working on a photo that looks a little off kilter, straighten it up here, too.

Effects gives you a bunch of colorful filters and is sort of the image tool you’d get if Scenes and Adjust had a tool baby. This one will look pretty familiar to anyone who’s ever used Instagram or seen Instagram or knows Instagram exists, so it will be familiar to everyone. Here, though, you can adjust the intensity of the Effects filters, giving you a lot of control over the final product.

Adjust the intensity of Effects.

Adjust the intensity of Effects.

Borders and Tilt-Shift will probably be your last stops as you edit your image. The borders feel a bit tacked on to me, especially the more cartoony, but some will love them, and who am I to deny a person a photo border? There are a few I could see myself using, paired with vintage Effects filters. Tilt-Shift will bring a section of the image into focus and leave the rest blurred out. There are lots of neat ways to use these blurring filters, and I can tell by the filters’ names that they’re referencing a fancy camera technique that’s far beyond me but that I’m happy to have at my disposal in Fotor.

Select areas to remain in focus while the rest of your image is blurred.

Select areas to remain in focus while the rest of your image is blurred.

Even More Great Tools

The crop tool is pretty fantastic, and I’m not sure why I’d ever crop in any other application ever again. There are lots of ratios programmed in, things I would never think about, like the Golden Ratio. Fotor also has all the cropping ratios you’re going to need to print or move your image to another device. If none of those quite work for you, you can always just crop freeform or enter a custom width and height.

Each tool has Undo and Redo buttons, located at the bottom of the tool’s settings. Not sure if you want to get rid of your edits? Click Compare at the bottom to see a before and after of your image. But if you want to burn your changes to the ground and salt the earth beneath so that nothing will ever grow again–or just revert to the original file–click Reset All. This will get your image back to its pre-Fotor state.

Share your image or review the Exif data.

Share your image or review the Exif data.

When you’re finally all done and you’re sure you won’t be undoing anything, there are two ways to get your image out of Fotor. The first is Export, which works like Fotor’s save, but it gives you more file format options, including JPG, PNG, TIF, and the oft-overlooked BMP. The second way to get your image out of Fotor when you’re through is to share it. Fotor only connects to Twitter and Facebook, which is a little disappointing for an image-editing app; I’d like to see Flickr and Instagram, too.

Final Thoughts

Fotor was much better than I was expecting from a free photo editor. It’s simple and easy to use, and I don’t have to know anything about photography to create beautiful images on my Mac. Which is great, because I don’t really know anything about photography but I want my pictures to look like I do. There are way more features than I’d hoped for, and I love the ability to undo and even reset my image, so I’m completely unafraid when trying out new filters.

That said, there are a few things missing. You can’t print from Fotor, but I’ll admit this had to be pointed out to me, since I’d never print an image from home anyway. It’s also lacking some pretty key sharing options, like major image services and Messages, which is one I did pick up on my own. Even so, it’s so spot on everywhere else, I have trouble getting that upset over a couple of missing features. Fotor’s brand new, too, so this may even get addressed in a future update. If not, it’s still a fantastic photo app.


A great photo editor, simple with lots of features to make your images shine!



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  • Interesting. And I would have like to try it for a few people I know who do not want to hassle with a full blown graphics programs. Would have… if it was not in the AppStore but truly free to download.

    • You don’t have to provide a credit card, if that’s what you mean…

      If you visit their site, I think they have a comparable web app.

    • Its free now :-)

  • This software is phoning home, sending private information back to the developer, without the users knowledge.

  • Seems like a clone of Snapseed to me.