Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Litely Looks to Improve Mobile Photo Editing

Intriguing new app from photographer Cole Rise. Billy Steele of Engadget:

[H]e’s quick to tell you that the features in Instagram and other mobile editing software help mask bad photos and are generally too heavy-handed to churn out truly compelling images. So with that in mind, and with a library of presets for Lightroom, Photoshop and Aperture already in his toolbox, he set out to make a non-destructive editor with a simple UI and subtle tools. Something to make film-like tweaks to good photos rather than improve mediocre ones.

I’ve been playing with Litely for the past hour or so, and it’s very exciting. It feels kind of like a mashup between VSCO Cam’s more subtle filters and Snapseed’s gestural UI, and that’s a really great start. Its UI feels very tailored to iOS 7, with blurred layering and a Facebook Paper-esque way of showing the edges of the photo when tilting your device.

It’s a pretty clever little app. Because it’s so gestural, it’s certainly easier to use one-handed than VSCO Cam. However, it’s also a very limited app: aside from presets, only controls for exposure, colour vibrancy, vignetting, sharpening, and cropping are available. That may not be a bad thing, requiring you to take great photos before you touch the editing options, but it is limiting.

This subtlety carries through the app: presets are applied at 50% to start, and it’s really hard to get cartoonishly oversaturated colours. And you can forget any textures or stupid “comic effect” filters; the app is called “Litely”, after all.

I quickly edited a couple of photos in both Litely and VSCO Cam so you can get an idea of what it does. I did my best to make everything look great, but I put this together quickly, so consider it a general example. I’ll probably end up using it in conjunction with VSCO Cam, but the latter will still be my go-to editing app.

Litely is free on the App Store, and includes something like nine presets to start; additional presets are available for about $2 per set.