Finding the right photo editing program for your specific requirements can be tricky. Some photo editing programs are incredibly complex, and are mainly suited for professional photographers due to the steep learning curve to understand and use all the tools. On the other hand, other programs and apps are very simplistic and don’t give you the control you need over your images.
Fotor is an excellent photo editing software that sits nicely in the middle of these two categories, giving you access to a wide range of editing and design tools and features. Let’s get stuck into our Fotor photo editor review so you can see if it’s the right application for you!
What is Fotor?
Fotor is a photo editing software which is available as an online photo editor, as well as a downloadable desktop version and a mobile app for editing on the go. Being able to choose between the three different versions is great, as it allows you to select the app that works best for you, or even switch between them.
With the Fotor web version, you can access it from any computer with an internet connection. If you prefer to edit your photos right on your phone, the Fotor mobile app is one of the best photo editor applications around right now.
The company masterminds have carefully designed each version, creating an excellent user experience and a seamless workflow. You’ll be impressed by the range of the tools available and the difference you can make to your images with this clever software. There’s even an amazing auto-colour correction feature which can work wonders with your images at just the click of a button.
Fotor has 3 main functions: Edit, Collage, and Design. Not only can you edit single images, but you can create beautiful collages in a whole range of styles, quickly and effortlessly within Fotor. You can also dig into the Design elements and produce some impressive graphic design projects, too.
How much does Fotor cost?
Absolutely nothing at all. That’s right – there is a basic version of Fotor which is completely free, now and forever. The tools and features included in the free version are generous and more than enough for light to moderate photo editing.
If you’re thinking about upgrading to the paid version, you’ll be pleased to hear that Fotor is very affordable, with competitive pricing. Fotor costs just $39.99 for an annual membership, or $8.99 if you choose to pay monthly. This is very cheap compared to the yearly price of Lightroom, for example, which comes in at $119.88.
Want to know exactly what’s included in the paid vs. the free versions of Fotor? Read on in our Fotor review to find out more details.
Fotor Review: Features and Benefits
Now you know what Fotor is, it’s time to explore Fotor’s features, tools, and benefits for photographers in detail. Here’s where we examine whom Fotor is suited to, the pros and cons, what it does well, and whether any essential functions are missing. So let’s get started!
Careful App Design for Great User Experience
While some online or desktop photo editors can be clunky, slow, or just plain annoying to use, that’s not the case with Fotor. You can tell that a lot of thought, time, energy, and money has gone into designing the Fotor apps. The functionality is exceptional, the interface is intuitive, and we guarantee that you won’t be disappointed with the user experience.
When you first install and open up Fotor, you get 3 options to choose from: Edit, Collage, or Design. On the desktop version, you get an additional Batch feature, too. We’re going to explain what you can do within each category, plus our verdict on how well each feature works.
Edit: Impressive Range of Tools & Effects
The photo editor module in Fotor has a wide range of exciting tools and great effects that will improve your photos significantly. With the powerful tools in this image editor, you can correct colours, crop, adjust, and retouch your images, and experiment with difference Scenes, filters, borders, and textures.
It’s simple and easy to use: just upload your image, and you’ll see it displayed with a menu of editing options on the right-hand side. Each of the different applications has a very similar look to them, so you can switch between them and quickly find the tool you need.
We were impressed by the range of image formats that Fotor supports, as well as the option to edit RAW files. It’s rare to find a free image editor that can open RAW file formats, so this is a real positive for Fotor. Do note that you can only do this on the desktop version but not on the online photo editor.
Effective Scenes Tool for Better Lighting in Your Images
Scenes is a great little tool which enables you to change the lighting of your image. You get access to 13 different free Scenes, from Portrait to Sunset, Darken to Flash, Fluorescent, and more. ‘Auto’ is the only paid Scene option that you get if you do invest in the upgrade.
However, I wouldn’t recommend using the Auto function within the Scene menu. I found that it did not improve my images at all or make them look eye-catching and high quality. Instead, the colours appear over-saturated, and you get a lot of noise too, particularly in the background.
Powerful Tools to Adjust Your Photos
The Adjust menu is similar to what’s available in Lightroom. You get a good selection of tools to use, such as Exposure, Brightness, Contrast, Vibrance, and Saturation. The sliders are a helpful and convenient way to alter your photos with precision, for your desired result. You can also use them to play with your image and experiment with different effects and adjustments. It’s possible to improve your photos significantly with these simple but powerful tools.
Amazing Effects Feature
Out of the Effects menu, you get 12 free Effects and another 7 paid options if you upgrade. The included Effects are subtle and aesthetically pleasing, without being exaggerated or too much. You can choose from Cinematic, Classic, Disposable, Retro, and Mono amongst others.
The paid Effects are Filmatic, Purity, Artistic, Groovy, Mellow, Returned, and Spring. It’s great fun to try out different Effects and see what suits your shots best. I was really impressed by the quality of these Effects in a free photo editor program – they compare favorably to much more expensive software.
Collage: Make Fun, Eye-Catching Collages
It’s quick and easy to create amazing collages with the Collage module within Fotor. There are loads of templates to choose from, in a wide variety of styles. All you need to do is upload your images, select your desired aspect ratio, and arrange the pictures so that they look great.
Design: Creative with the Design Function
The Design module is sufficient for simple design projects where you don’t need advanced tools. You can’t create designs from scratch, however. It’s only possible to edit available photos, for example, by cropping them to the right format for different social networks. The design functions are relatively limited, but what is available is useful. You’ll save lots of time that you would otherwise spend manually adjusting the format and size every time.
Batch: Speedy Batch Processing Feature
The Batch feature is available on the desktop version, and it’s a great, handy feature which you’ll use a lot. You can save time on your editing by sorting your photos into specific categories or batches. It’s quick and easy to select your desired effects and edit multiple photos at a time. For example, you can crop or resize a whole group of images at once, add borders, or select a specific effect to use on all of them.
Fotor Mobile Review
There are some exciting, fun features on Fotor’s mobile version (available on Android and iPhone) that you can’t find anywhere else. From the app, you can share your photos to Fotor’s social network, where others can comment or like your shots. You can also scroll through other images, either by looking at your feed or by selecting a specific category. With more than 50 categories to choose from, there’s something for everyone.
There’s also a Hotseat button which pulls up the most popular images on the app. You can check out what other successful photographers are doing with this feature, and see what’s working right now.
Fotor has even found a way to offer users an incentive to edit their photos through the Fotor app and upload them for others to see. The best photos in each category win cool prizes such as money or jewelry – check out the ‘Missions’ tab to see what’s happening. This is an interesting way to encourage people to get creative, shoot amazing images, edit them within Fotor, and share them on the app. It seems to be working, too – everyone likes the chance of winning a prize.
As to the editing capabilities of the mobile app, the range of tools is impressive. Almost everything is free – the only paid tool is the Scenes feature. If you do decide to upgrade, you only have to part with $0.99, so that’s not a big deal anyway. You can select effects, remove them if you don’t like them, and set a specific order for the effects.
Fotor Review: Pros:
- With a mobile, desktop, and web software, Fotor gives photographers lots of options. You can choose the application that suits you best.
- You can edit on the go with the excellent mobile app.
- You can share images, get inspiration, and even win prizes on the Fotor network.
- One of the best free photo editors around.
- It’s easy to make an eye-catching collage quickly, with lots of templates to choose from.
Fotor Review: Cons
- There’s a lot of bright, distracting advertising on the free Fotor web application. These ads cover a lot of the screen, making it hard to concentrate on the photo you’re editing. You can’t remove the advertisement by clicking on it, either – the only way to get rid of the ads is to upgrade.
- Deep image retouching is difficult to do within Fotor.
- You can’t make images from scratch.
- On the web version in particular, effects can be very slow to load and even cause your browser to freeze. When you reload the page, you lose all the progress you’ve made so far on your image which is frustrating.
- Around 70% of the tools and features aren’t available in the free version, so you’re very limited to what you can do.
- Fotor doesn’t have the same range of powerful editing tools to compare to Lightroom.
- The customer support doesn’t seem to be very helpful.
Fotor Reviews: What Are People Saying about Fotor
We’ve covered what Fotor can do for you, plus the pros and cons of this software in our photo editor review. But don’t just take our word for it! We scoured the Internet to see what other people have to say about Fotor, too:
Dhruv Gupta loves Fotor: “Great and feature rich photo application with both online and desktop versions with less or very little learning curve and very to use interface.”
Nia Durnion is another fan: “Excellent photo editing software – some of the options are only available to premium suscribers but the fee is not large and the tools are easy to use.”
Although Fotor has its flaws, it’s still one of the best free/budget photo editors around. The carefully designed apps contain a wide range of quality editing tools, much more than you would expect for this price. You have the versatility of working on your images online, through a desktop Windows or Mac software, or from your phone.
If you’re a beginner photographer just looking to get started with photo editing and graphic design, Fotor fits the bill. It’s also ideal if you want to make collages, or edit images on your phone and upload to social media. Fotor is a fantastic image editor with lots of free services and an affordable subscription. You can start off by using the free software to get the feel of the product. If you like what you see, you can upgrade your account to Fotor Pro for the full range of features.
Admittedly, Fotor doesn’t have the same in-depth photography tools, brushes, and plugins that Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom offer. However, we would happily recommend it to any amateur photographer who is looking for a comprehensive photo editing software. We love to hear your opinions, so why not send us a comment below or share this review on Facebook? Let us know what you think of Fotor, or if there are any other alternatives that you prefer.
New Zealand travel photographer based in London, UK. He was taking photos from a very young age in the backcountry of New Zealand before moving abroad. Since doing so he has taken workshops and tried to help get as many people into this art as possible. Featured in NZ Herald, Stuff.co.nz and many photography publications it’s safe to say he loves his photography!