Auto Adjust

Auto Adjust

Auto Adjust
Version 1.0

Bottom Line: Recommend!

Auto Adjust by Joe Macirowski is a new app that uses a different algorithm to adjust dark or washed-out areas of your images. Auto Adjust is more than just a “flash enhancer” which simply brightens your images and can wash them out and cause them to look flat. This app uses “contrast stretching” or normalization to help correct exposure. Thinking about the theory behind contrast stretching makes my brain hurt. It’s something we take for granted every time we do color or luminance adjustment in Photoshop, but like writing PostScript, I’d rather have an application do all of the under the hood stuff for me rather than learning the actual code.

However it works its magic, Auto Adjust does a great job of enhancing dark images and I found it can also do a decent job of adding punch and contrast to a flat, washed out image.

My flash app test images (click to enlarge)

My flash app test images (click to enlarge)

The app is simple. You open an image from your Camera Roll or Photo Library. There is no camera. Behind the scenes, Auto Adjust really does analyze the images for the number of light pixels and the number of dark pixels and creates a custom Intensity adjustment for the image.

The app has an Intensity adjustment range of 0.10 to 9.99. Most of the time, I was really happy with the default result. For most of the images I tested with, this value was anywhere between 1.0 and 2.0. Once it makes its initial adjustment, you can use the onscreen slider to change the setting to whatever you like. This is sometimes necessary to achieve optimal results, like fixing highlights that may get blown out. I like that this app gives you the flexibility to do that. I found that the lower settings reduced the contrast making the image darker and cranking the settings  up closer to 10 produced oversaturated, posterized and noisy results. A toggle switch allows you to quickly and easily switch between enhanced an unenhanced views — a great feature that saves time and frustration.

tweaked in Auto Adjust with the default setting

Tweaked in Auto Adjust with the default setting

Auto Adjust produces some of the best results I’ve seen in helping dark iPhone images. It holds the black areas while adding lightness and detail to 3/4 tones and mids. After processing, there’s nice saturation and my colors hold up well. For darker images, it helps produce a more balanced image. The Intensity adjustment allows you to achieve a balance between creating a good light fill and blowing out your images.

I used Auto Adjust on a washed out, flat test image and got decent results. For the most part, the highlights held up and it added punch to the contrast. The results made a borderline image look okay — definitely an improvement over the original. I’ll turn to this app on images that photograph flat, but the real use of this app for me is helping dark images.

Tweaked with Auto Adjust, adjusted down to 1.5 Intensity

Tweaked with Auto Adjust, adjusted down to 1.5 Intensity

It’s not perfect. Even dialing the intensity down from 1.97 to 1.5, it still blew out the 1/4 tones and highlights in my very bad Antigua test image. But, how it handles bad images with less of a dynamic range is amazing.

Version 1.0 has a rotation bug where images are sometimes saved back to your camera roll rotated 90° incorrectly. I mentioned this to the developer and very quickly got a response that this issue has been fixed in the next update and the new version has already been submitted to Apple. Great customer service!

Nothing can completely fix a badly under- or over-exposed pic. The best way to get a good image is to start with one. However, that’s not always possible with the iPhone. As with all flash enhancers, don’t expect miracles, but I was nicely surprised with the overall results I got from Auto Adjust. This is a good app for iPhoneographers looking to rescue an image. It’s also great for casual iPhone photography for quickly and easily massaging a snapshot before you email, upload or MMS.

For me, there is no one, quick “flash adjustment” app. I use several, as they each produce different results on an image. I think Auto Adjust produces great results on images that make other “flash adjustment” apps groan (including my goto app iFlashReady) and it has just replaced a few of them on my iPhone. The combination of adjustability, results and a responsive developer made this app worth it to me when it was priced at $1.99. It’s now been reduced to $0.99 permanently in the app store. I highly recommend this app.

App Store link: Auto Adjust

There is also a free, feature-limited version if you’d like to try it out before you buy.