Copyright Scott Bourne 2004 - All Rights Reserved

There are lots of Photoshop/photography-related plugins. I’ve probably tried or tested every major plugin ever made that relates to photography. So when I heard about Magic Bullet PhotoLooks my first thought was, “Oh, another photo plugin – MEH.” I’m glad to report that this product is anything but MEH!

At $199, this may be the only plugin you ever need. PhotoLooks offers 100 stylized looks that you can apply with the click of a button. If you’re a newbie and just want to jazz up your photos with the presets, you have options baby and they’re COOL options.

But each preset and look is fully customizable. You can make your own presets. You can mix and match and the only problem I had was that I had too much fun. During my first test I probably spent two hours just being amazed at all the cool looks I could give my pictures. The time flies when you’re having fun.

This plugin comes from a company that usually provides software for movie makers. Perhaps that’s why they offer so many features and looks that match what we’re seeing on both the big and small screen.

You can adjust light, color, diffusion and even HDR images, using tone mapping and offering 32-bit support.

The program was very responsive. It relies on the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) rather than the CPU (Central Processing Unit) in your computer to do the heavy lifting. That translates to speedy execution. The interface is very easy to use once you understand it. It took me a few minutes to figure it out. I strongly suggest you watch the video tutorial. It’s short, entertaining and illustrative. Once you’re done with that, you should be able to master the program in 10 minutes.

There are a couple of other cool features I want to mention. The Swing Tilt Look is addictive. The plugin has vignette controls. You can share PhotoLooks! PhotoLooks also works around light. Yes that one thing all serious photographers love to think about – light. You can actually use PhotoLooks to change an image based on how light interacts with your camera.

If I have a beef with PhotoLooks it’s that there isn’t any Aperture version yet. That’s the smallest of nits to pick and hopefully it will become available soon.

Don’t just take my word for it. You can download a free trial of Magic Bullet PhotoLooks 1.0.

Highly recommended.

This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store