PhotoEQ ($33, 10-day free trial) is one of many image editors designed to make fixing common image problems quick and easy. It does a good job of combining an extremely easy interface with the most helpful tools for fixing common problems and providing just enough flexibility for users to make their own fixes.
Once you drag and drop an image from your files into PhotoEQ’s interface, the software automatically auto corrects for basic image problems like exposure, white balance, and contrast. In addition to auto fixing, you can match your photo to a particular style, choosing from a few different options, such as newspaper, portrait, and scenery. I was pleased with the auto correction for most of the pictures I tested, but not always; for instance, it chose to gray out a bluish sky in a photo that highlighted a rainbow. Once the program has done its thing, it’s easy to manually adjust color, exposure, contrast, and other parameters to create the look you want.
PhotoEQ works with a variety of photo formats, including RAW files. In addition to correcting individual photos, you can batch resize and batch save more than one photo at a time.
The interface is what makes PhotoEQ appealing. It’s small and compact, and vendor SoftColor has done an excellent job of putting the basic image editing tools that users need right in their hands. Still, it is meant to offer just the basics necessary to clean up an image, so look carefully at the specs before buying if you’re looking for a specific tool. There are many simple photo editors out there to choose from, including a number of free options, such as Picasa and Windows Live Photo Gallery and even ones with more high-end features, like GIMP. With all of the options, it’s a good idea to look around and try before you buy. PhotoEQ offers a free trial for 10 days, and if you want to buy, it costs $33.