Polarr vs Lightroom vs Phototheca

Regardless of how powerful their shooting gear is, a photographer can hardly capture a ready-to-print shot without having to tweak it in post-processing. There are too many factors to consider when taking pictures — it’s impossible to control the smallest details on the spot.

To fine-tune the brightness and saturation of the shot, remove the background, or replace the background with a different one, photographers use photo editing software. There are many tools to choose from — basic and advanced ones, desktop and online. In case you struggle between choosing Lightroom vs Polarr, here’s a detailed review of both.

What is Polarr? — Features and Capabilities

Polarr is an online editor designed to help amateur and semi-professional photographers tweak their pictures in no time. The tool has a free version that offers basic photo editing support, including special effects, retouching tools, trimming or resizing the photo, and removing the background.


Polarr is quite intuitive — each editing tool is marked with a dedicated icon. The workspace is structured — you’ll find image editing tools to the left, while all retouching instruments are located in the sidebar to the right of the screen.

Polarr’s interface is similar to that of Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom — however, the platform has fully customizable features. For instance, there’s a default color histogram for every shot that facilitates tonal and color-related work exponentially.

Editing features

The free version of Polarr is limited — you will not be able to use layers, masks, vectors, or text editing tools. The platform has a couple of innovative instruments to make up for the lack of advanced features — here are some of them:

  • Auto Enhance function. Remove the digital noise from the picture, make colors more vivid, and emphasize the focal point of the picture;
  • Color correction. The free version offers a color correction toolkit, however, limited it may be. There’s an RGB curve that helps photographers tweak the contrast of their pictures. Color correction tools are designed to remove color casts from pictures and add more shadows or highlights. There’s also a real-time preview that helps track the correlation between the modifications of the curve and the changes in the frame.
  • Spot removal tool. Helps portrait photographers remove pimples and acne from faces, improve skin tone, whiten teeth, etc. Low-end device users might be a little frustrated with the feature due to occasional bugs.
  • Filters. Polar has a wide range of presets to tweak the color palette of the picture. There is a wide filter range with variables like 35mm-style frames, extra brightness, and much more.


Polar has a Pro version with advanced features and tools. The monthly Polarr Pro subscription costs $19.99/month. After upgrading, you will get access to:

  • Overlays;
  • Masks;
  • Noise reduction tools.

What is Adobe Lightroom? — Features and Capabilities

Created by the editing industry giant Adobe, Lightroom quickly gained a reputation as the most powerful retouching tool out there. The tool is cloud-based — meaning all your files are saved to a remote server and can be accessed from any device.


The Lightroom editing area is confusing for a first-time retoucher. There are no guidelines to facilitate exploring the tool, so adjusting to the interface might take months and require turning to web resources. As the tool is jam-packed with features, accessing them is, at times, uncomfortable.

Other than that, Adobe Lightroom is not holding up too well on low-end devices and requires a powerful laptop to make a difference in editing.

Editing features

Lightroom is suitable for organizing media files, converting them into different formats, and work with RAW files. Other than a robust file management foundation, the software has advanced editing features such as:

  • Exposure adjustment and color correction;
  • A built-in collection of filters allowing photographers to create custom presets to edit pictures in a few clicks;
  • Useful focus and optics slider controls;
  • Local editing tools;
  • A powerful healing brush;
  • Linear gradient and spot gradient masks.


Lightroom doesn’t have a free version — to use the software, photography enthusiasts have to pay a subscription fee of $9.99/month.

Compare: Lightroom CC vs Polarr

To decide which photo editing software is right for you — Polarr vs Lightroom — take a look at the comparison chart that puts both tools face-to-face.

  PolarrLightroom CC
Required photographer proficiency LowHigh
Free versionYesNo
RAW file processionNoYes
Masks and layersPaid version only Yes
Color correctionBasicAdvanced
Type of softwareOnlineDesktop + mobile

Compare: Lightroom Mobile vs Polarr

In case you mainly use photo editors to quickly tweak pictures before posting on Instagram from a smartphone, you might be wondering which of the two editors will do your shots better justice on mobile. Here’s a detailed comparison of mobile versions of Polarr photo editor vs Lightroom.

  Polarr Lightroom CC
Required proficiencyLowLow
Presets and filtersYesYes
Phone camera integrationNoYes
Editing speedLowLow
Photo storageMobile storage space Cloud-based server

Why Phototheca Is Better Than Lightroom and Polarr

Lightroom is a feature powerhouse, but it has a steep learning curve that comes along with mastering the tool’s interface. Polarr, on the other hand, is quite straightforward, but it doesn’t have too many editing and organizing tools.

If you’re looking for a tool that has the best of both tools, consider trying Phototheca as an alternative. It is more functional and stable than Polarr, yet not as challenging to master for amateurs as Lightroom.

Phototheca doesn’t skimp on organizing nor editing features. Here’s how the tool is superior when you compare Polarr and Lightroom to the software:

  • Smart albums — the software automatically sorts through pictures based on the criteria you set;
  • Duplicate detection and deletion;
  • Dual monitor view to help photographers organize photos from multiple screens;
  • An impressive text editing functionality — add a caption to the frame and customize it;
  • 56 built-in preset filters that improve the look and feel of the picture in a single click;
  • Built-in PC-to-Facebook uploader;
  • Password protection to create private folders with heightened safety.

Phototheca is much more affordable than Polarr or Lightroom — while both tools offer monthly subscriptions, photographers get to enjoy the full spectrum of Phototheca feature for a single downtime payment of $54.95.

To raise photo editing and organizing to the next level, download Phototheca — a program that will help your pictures stand out from other photographers!

Phototheca Premium Box

Phototheca is the photo organizing software for PC. It gives the way to organize thousands of family photos over decades into a clean and straightforward photo library.

Phototheca can find and remove all duplicates, adjust the date and time of photos, tag photos with keywords, recognize faces, and organize photos into life events. See all Features of the software.