In this video, Seán Duggan walks us through the Ultralight iOS app for photography. For more LinkedIn Learning videos about photography, click here.

Hey everybody welcome back to Mobile Photography Weekly, I’m Seán Duggan and this week we’re going to take a quick look at a very interesting processing app that’s been around for about four years, but it’s one that I just recently became aware of. The app is for iOS and it’s called Ultralight.

I’m going to tap on the All Photos button there in the middle to go out to access some of my other albums, then go into my favorites, and I’m going to choose the Golden Gate Bridge picture. I really like that I get a preview of the different images before I actually start working on them. Now one thing to notice about that Golden Gate Bridge image down on its thumbnail is that there’s a little pencil there and that indicates that I’ve already edited this image in the Ultralight app. And so I can revisit the changes that I made and even remove them if I want to. So those changes are non-destructive and I really appreciate that type of functionality.

This video is from Mobile Photography Weekly by Seán Duggan

I’m going to tap on that to enter into the main part of the app. And another clue that I’ve already edited this is that I have the option to create a filter from the last edit. You can see that down there in the center. And if I press and hold on the image you can see there’s the before version, and there’s the after version. So a pretty subtle change. There are a lot of filters here in several different categories starting with the tree for nature, and there’s black and white, portrait, film, editorial and night filters. So it’s pretty standard stuff here in terms of choosing different filters, a lot of nice looks there. I can go into black and white and choose those types of filters.

Let’s go back to the nature filters and let me just set this to Nature number one, and let’s go check out the editing controls, so I’ll tap on Edit. And in the Edit section there are a lot of possibilities that are offered up in a very clean and intuitive interface. So as you can see here, in addition to adjusting the basic luminance properties that you typically run into in apps. So I can adjust the blacks, and the mid-tones, and the highlights, etc. I can also access the separate red, green and blue, channels and make adjustments there. So I can add red to the mid-tones or subtract red.

Now these are features that are only available in the pro-version of the app. So the Ultralight app is free, and it comes with a lot of filters and features that you can use, but at a certain point, if you want to access the premium features it has, you need to purchase the pro version. So up at the top there you can see that it’s telling me that this is a pro preview and that there are premium features in use. If I tap the Buy button it tells me that upgrading to the pro version and unlocking all those features and filters is going to be $6.99. And as these things go in terms of access to all the functionality that it does give you, that is actually a very reasonable price. I’m just going to tap on the X to close that.

So the cool thing about the way that Ultralight presents the preview of these pro-features is that they are all fully functional. So you can try them out and see if you like them, see if they’re going to be worth upgrading. So that’s really a nice touch in that these features can all be used and evaluated so you can have a better idea if you want to make that jump and upgrade to the pro version.

Alright let’s move on here. I’m going to tap on the little cross icon there, which is a really interesting implementation of saturation and color temperature. If I drag up on the vertical axis I can saturate, if I drag down I desaturate. And the horizontal axis is color temperature. So if I go over to the left it becomes cooler and more blue, then if I come over to the right it is warmer and more yellow. And of course I can mix that with the saturation properties. Very, very, cool.

There’s kind of a classic implementation of the hue saturation and luminosity controls for adjusting the individual colors in the image. There’s clarity, sharpness, and noise reduction. There’s a vignette tool, there’s some textures, and most interesting to me there are some selective adjustments that you can use to mask and edit a specific area.

So in addition to brightness, shadows, and highlights, common things like that, there’s also blurring, smoothing, whitening, contrast, and double exposure. I could bring in another image and actually brush it in on just part of my main image. There’s also a clone stamp tool for retouching and a reshape tool. I’m just going to tap on Reset up at that banner up at the top to go back to a version that doesn’t have pro-adjustments applied, and let me actually just come here and choose this Nature number one filter.

So as you can see there are quite a lot of editing options to be found in the Ultralight app. What I really appreciate, and what I wish that more apps would do, is that I can try out all of the pro features to see how they work before I make the decision to upgrade.