Photolemur Review – Can AI really beat human students?

Photolemur is a simple photo enhancement app which use artificial intelligence for post processing tasks. Trained on over 1 million images, this AI-powered software promises to improve your images instantly with zero intervention on the user’s part beyond a drag and a drop. Can this program really deliver better results than the students at Wildlife Photography School?

Post processing a JPEG-image

Photolemur is available as a 170MB download that you install just like any other application on your Mac or PC. It does not work without an internet connection and you’ll need an online account to actually be able to process any photos. Together with a few students here at Wildlife Photography School I took a closer look at the latest version 2.3 Phoenix.

After we installed the tool, we tested it with a flat-looking JPEG-image which was taken in the Masai Mara in 2006. Besides JPEG Photolemur also accepts RAW, TIFF and PNG images.

Our cheetahs before post processing

Photolemur made some corrections fully automatically, there was nothing we could adjust ourselves. No sliders or settings are available. When you drag & drop a photo onto the app, you see a computation screen of what the algorithm is doing and after a few seconds, the image is processed. You can drag a slider across the screen to see what your image looks like before and after and you can then export your image to your hard disk, email it to somebody, or post directly to Facebook and Twitter.

To be honest, no one was really enthusiastic about the result…

 

With the best will in the world, we cannot see any really outstanding corrections. A program like Photolemur could be very handy for wildlife photographers to be able to quickly optimize their images. And software like Macphuns‘ Luminar or Athentechs’ Perfectly Clear proves that is is possible to improve most images by just pressing the Auto button. Unfortunately, Photolemur obviously cannot compete with these programs.

Photolemur vs. Wildlife School Students

Our students usually work with Photoshop and Lightroom. I gave them five minutes to improve the initial image. This is what came out:

 

This picture is not perfect either. Under time pressure, some careless mistakes crept in. For example, the graduated filter in Camera Raw was pulled down a little too far, turning the left ear of the adult cheetah blue. Nevertheless, it looks much more vivid than the image processed with Photolemur.

To make the colors more brilliant, the students simply increased the dynamic range. They also added a little more sharpness. All this took just under three minutes. We would have expected a similar result from Photolemur.

My final words…

I am really very open-minded about new technology and welcome any program that makes my work easier. The only problem is that Photolmeur does not do them as well as other photo editing software like Luminar or Adobe Photoshop. And it looks like artificial intelligence still has no chance against our human students.

I am sure that AI will take on routine tasks at Wildlife Photography School in the future. AI is capable of learning and technical development is progressing fast. For the time being we advise our students to continue using Photoshop and Lightroom. These programs cost only $9.99 per month and are significantly more powerful.

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