Review: Manually color black & white photos, using InstantPhotoColor for Mac

Add color to black & white photos in a time-consuming way with InstantPhotoColor for Mac.

With InstantPhotoColor for Mac you can add color to black & white photographs, but the largely manual process makes this a tool better suited for adding splashes of color and not colorizing the entire image. You must choose each shade and add it manually with a brush, which adds more difficulty to the process than some will be willing to deal with.

The free program opens immediately after downloading and presents a small, bare-bones interface. The main window on the left is where InstantPhotoColor for Mac displays the current photo. It would have been helpful if the program offered a drag-and-drop feature, but like the rest of the program, it's a manual process to find and open an image file. The right side contains one button labeled "Color" and a slider to determine the size of the brush. It also has two small buttons to zoom in or out of the image, but aside from a button linking to the developer's Web site, there aren't any other features or options on the main interface. Clicking the "Color" button brings up a separate small menu containing a color wheel. This includes several sub-menus with options to select a color, including by name and using a slider, and all these were easy to use. In our tests, it took some practice to get the color where we wanted it, even using the Zoom feature to enlarge the image. If you wanted to add a lot of different colors or wanted to color most of the image, you could end up spending a good deal of time to get it just right.

With its limited options, InstantPhotoColor for Mac isn't technically hard to use, but it isn't always easy to get the results you want. If you just want to add a touch of color to accent an image, this isn't a bad choice, but photo editing tools are plentiful and you might want to check out some other options before committing to this one.

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