Flare 2 is a solid photo effects editor for your Mac

Flare 2 for Mac (currently on sale for US$9.99 regularly $14.99) is a well thought out and executed app for photographers who want to get beyond the basics in photo effects.

The app comes with dozens of filters, and each can be adjusted by the user, making the options almost infinite. In addition to things like the usual color washes, there are textures, borders, frames, tilt-shift, Bokeh rings (out of focus points of light), vintage film effects and more.

RAW formats are supported, along with niceties like unlimited undo and batch processing. Photos can be exported as JPG, PNG and TIF. There's a complete online user guide which is detailed.

Using the app is simple. Import your image, select a filter, then modify to taste. Previews are real time, and the layout of the app encourages experimentation.

The effects are artistic, and I never wound up with anything horrible looking. The developers know their way around image editing, so you don't get cartoonish photos at the end.

As a bonus, Flare 2 offers a free, universal iOS photos extension called Flare Effects, which adds Flare's filters as editing options to Apple's Photos and Camera app. That is to say, after installing and setting up Flare Effects for iOS (it walks you through the dead-simple instructions) you can use the filters and effects that that Flare offers from within the two apps from Apple. Note that I'm not calling Flare Effects for iOS an app, because it's an extension. Don't think of it as an image editor like many others. Instead, it adds Flare's great filters to two apps you're probably already using: Camera and Photos. It sounds confusing, but once you launch the app and follow the setup instructions, it's not.

Flare 2 for the Mac requires Yosemite. It's a well done photo editing app that offers some things the 'big boys' like Photoshop don't have.