1. Technology

FX Photo Studio Pro Review

OS X App for Adding Creative Effects to Photos

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


FX Photo Studio Pro share presets dialog

FX Photo Studio Pro allows users to save and share combinations of effects that produce new effects.

© Macphun (interface)/Ian Pullen (image)


The Presets feature is a subset of the Effects, but is worthy of note as it does allow you to combine effects and then save the result. This effectively allows you to expand the number of effects available and quickly and easily repeat similar results when you find combinations that you particularly like.

Presets are extended further by the built in option to share your presets with others via Facebook and Twitter. This gives users the option to pool new image effects and for the user base to extend the application organically. When this option is selected, a code is generated that other users can use to import Presets into their version of FX Photo Studio Pro by going to the File menu and selecting Add Preset Via Code.

Value for Money

At the time of writing, the Pro version is listed on the Mac App Store at $39.99 and I noticed some user comments suggesting this is high. Personally, considering traditional pricing models for desktop apps, this strikes me as reasonable and it should be noted that the Pro app can handle image files up to 32 mega pixels, meaning the final results could be printed to large sizes while maintaining good image quality.

Obviously mobile apps can be sold in much higher volumes, meaning development costs can be covered at a lower retail price point. Even with the popularity of the iMac and MacBooks, there is a much smaller potential user base for desktop apps such as this and I would imagine this accounts for the higher price point.


FX Photo Studio Pro is designed to offer users a quick and easy way to produce creative image effects using their digital photos and it does achieve this end very effectively. There appears to be a sufficient number of effects on offer, though the usefulness of some may seem questionable. However, with the ability to combine effects and create new Presets, it would perhaps be unfair to accuse some effects of being fillers as they could become important elements of new user generated Presets.

This is a tool that really does target less advanced users and anyone could produce some impressively creative and artistic images in minutes. That's not a claim that I'd make of Photoshop or GIMP, which both confront users with a relatively steep learning curve.

Serious photographers may consider this app gimmicky and not suitable for their needs. However speaking as a fairly advanced image editor user who started using Photoshop at V3 and also as a competent photographer, I could see a place for FX Photo Studio Pro within my tool box. It's not the kind of app I'd use every day, but it does offer a fun way to experiment with photos that might otherwise be discarded.

If you want a creative image editing tool for your Mac, then I think FX Photo Studio Pro is definitely worthy of your consideration. How you feel about the price may depend on whether you're used to the low price of mobile apps, but if your camera produces images of less than 16 mega pixels, then the standard version is currently half the price of the Pro version.

I see the application as complementary to an image editor (such as GIMP), rather than a full alternative, and on that basis there is very little to fault it on. The ability to select and apply custom colors to some of the filters would bring a greater level of flexibility and applying effects while zoomed in would be another nice to have, but they don't seriously undermine the app. However, if this were seen as a full blown image editor for day to day use, it doesn't offer as strong a proposition and its rating would be one star lower.

All in all I think it offers a sound value for money solution for less advanced users who don't want to spend time learning how to achieve these kinds of artistic results with an image editor like GIMP.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.