I have no idea how many apps there are in the iTunes store that let you add filters to your photos. But I do know how many there are to remove those filters, and turn your picture into something that you can look back on in ten years’ time without cringing: One. It’s called Normalize, and it comes from Joe Macirowski.
After seeing one-too-many filters applied to one-too-many photographs, Joe decided that enough was enough, and that “something had to be done.” That “something” was Normalize, and app that takes a photo from your camera roll or clipboard (you can just paste pictures in) and removes color casts, excessive contrast and other Instagrammaticalizations.
I tried it on a bunch of the photos on my iPad, and the results vary. If something has been so heavily dickered with that detail has been lost (we’re editing and re-saving lossy JPEGs, remember), then there’s less that Nomalize can do to rescue it. But in many cases the results are quite surprising. Color casts are gone, leaving behind a contrasty, neutral image – although filters that saturate the colors are sometimes left in, often making for a better result.
On his blog, Joe reveals some of the secrets of his sauce, and also tells us which photo apps he shows failing to correct the images in the sample pics on his App Store page. One of them is iPhoto for iOS (no wonder he kept that off the product page!) and the other is desktop Photoshop, the powerhouse of image processing.
Apparently those apps get tripped up by the weird effects introduced by filtering, and are expecting to do their corrections on regular photos.
Normalize can do this too: if all you need is to fix some slightly off contrast and exposure, and neutralize the white balance in the image, just throw it at Normalize.
The app is the ultimate in single-serve simplicity, and has a price to match: Normalize will cost you $1.