Most of us are acquiring loads of images on our computers and iOS devices. Many are pretty dull, spur-of-the moment photos that are taken and forgotten.
Photo Sense (US$33.99) is a nifty, automated photo editing app for OS X that can bring forgotten photos back to life. It's great for those that don't want a high-end app's expense or steep learning curve. Photo Sense also has an iOS app, but more about that later.
On the Mac, you drag your images into Photo Sense where they sit ready for editing. I use the term "editing" loosely, because usually, it's just a one-click operation. After the click, your image will, in most cases, be greatly improved. If not, you can do some manual tweaking. The app features full undo, and you can see before and after views simultaneously. Photo Sense can be used as an external editor in iPhoto, Aperture or Lightroom. You can try multiple operations on an image while keeping the original intact. There are several filters available too, like black and white and various textures. Of course, color balance and saturation adjustments are also available.
Batch Processing is supported, and you can downsize images and change the image type if you like.
How did it work? Surprisingly well. I brought in some unprocessed pictures taken with my Canon DSLR, and in every case it made improvements. Yes, I could have done much of that in Photoshop, but for the average casual shooter, this is a very nice solution. You have control over what is done to the image when you auto-fix it, but I think most people will stick with the defaults. The program is quick to do its work, and I saw no crashes or bad behavior. The user interface is straightforward and easy to figure out.
On to the iOS version. It's not as fully featured, of course. This $1.99 universal app will automatically enhance your photos, but there isn't any range of adjustment, other than turning a feature off like sharpening. I thought the app improved most photos without any negative effects, but with Snapseed now free, that's probably a better iOS option with a broader range of features.
Photo Sense for Mac OS is a different story. I liked the way it worked. There's no real effort involved in improving a photo. The technology behind the app is strong, and all the behind-the-scenes work is done in the LAB color space, which can give you superior results.
While Photo Sense isn't cheap, it is competitive with other image editors that are more complicated and don't always give such good results.
There is a lite version that lets you try the Mac app for $3.99. I think the developer would get more buyers if the lite version was free. Photo Sense for iOS requires OS X 10.6 or later and a 64-bit processor.
I've included some screen shots from both the Mac and iOS versions.