People who do a lot of photo editing use desktop workstations. Most of them probably use a good photo editing software like Lightroom, Photoshop or CaptureOne to name a few. However, Snapseed is a mobile application that will help you complete most of your photo editing work while on the go.
Snapseed, available for both Android and iPhone devices, is very easy to use. This might be one of the reasons it is getting more popular day after day. In addition to the standard functions such as contrast, crop and brightness, which come with the standard editing tools, Snapseed offers other features like ambience, brush and perspective.
I’ve put together this guide to help you out understanding how to edit your images with this versatile app.
To use the application, you have to install it from Google Play Store on an Android device or App Store for iPhone. After the installation, you will get the launcher on your device’s home screen. Click on it to open the app.
When you are ready to start editing your photos, just tap on any place on the screen to open the images you want to edit. You can now open images from the storage of your device or take a photo from your device’s camera within Snapseed itself.
Here are some of the tools Snapseed offers.
Tune Image Tool
The Tune Image tool helps you change the contrast, brightness, ambience, saturation, shadows, highlights and warmth of your images. By tapping on the screen and dragging with your finger you can scroll through the available options.
The brightness option is more helpful when your images are overexposed. By decreasing the brightness value, you will bring details to form overexposed parts of your images. You can use the feature to add more light to the darker shots too. However, when doing that, you will have to be more careful about the noise.
The contrast option helps differentiate between the darkest and lightest parts of your images. Some people will choose more contrast and others will choose the normal.
The saturation refers to the amount of colour in your images. If you increase it, the colours will pop but if you decrease it, the colours will be dull.
The ambience option allows you to change the saturation and contrast together. If you increase it, the contrast will reduce it and bring out all the details in the dark parts of the image.
Highlights allow the user to change the brightness of the brightest parts and helps prevent loss of details in the darkest areas of the images, while all the overexposed areas gain some.
This is the exact opposite of the highlights option. It helps change the brightness of all the dark parts and prevent overexposure of the bright areas.
Warmth will add red-ish, orange or blue-ish tints on your images. Some people opt for the blue-ish tone because it is cool while others go for the warmer tones.
If you know the kind of photo you need and the options that can provide you with that, you will only need to use Tune Image tool for the editing. It allows you swipe up and down on the images to switch between the options and right or left to increase or decrease the values.
Tap on the Curves tool for your image to appear with the grid featuring the Curve line. Tap anywhere on the curve line to make an anchor point, which you should rotate around to improve the photo. To make many anchor points, you have to tap many times along the line and move each of the points to adjust the image. After that, you will start seeing how the image changes.
Rotate and Crop
The Snapseed’s Rotate and Crop tools are self-explanatory. They allow users to use various aspect ratios and crop their images. You can use the rotate tool to correct the angle of your images. You do not need Snapseed to do the two basic tasks. However, it would be a shame if it did not offer the tools. Unlike other apps, Snapseed provides many aspect ratios and its crop tool features a grid view to allow faster and easier positioning of subjects. Use the rule of thirds for that.
Change the Perspective
The Perspective tool allows you to change the perspective of your images. At times, the angle will differentiate great images from the goods ones. Adobe Photoshop allows you to do that on your desktop, but at a cost. Each time you use Snapseed to change the perspective, it will recreate some parts of the image instead of leaving a black or white background. To turn the tool off, select Black or White instead of Smart, which is the default.
Adjust the White Balance
White balance is similar to the warmth setting that the Tune Image tool provides. However, it offers more control over the image aspects. Apart from giving your images warm red or cool blue hues, you can give them green or pink tints. If you use the tool correctly, it will improve your dull looking photos. For example, it will make dull skies look purple-ish. Most tools will not offer such options.
The Healing Tool
The Healing Tool is not exclusive to Snapseed. However, its presence helps you take your photo editing work to another level. It facilitates the fixing of smaller mistakes, such as the removal of unwanted objects from images. It works best when the objects are surrounded by plain things and have fewer patterns – such as water, sky or plain walls. After choosing the Healing tool, you will have to zoom into the section of your image you want to fix. Select that part with your finger and the app will highlight it in red. Immediately you remove your finger, the app will fill the area with surrounding pixels. That is how people erase flags on buildings.
Brush Tool for Dodge and Burn
With the Brush Tool, you can paint on various effects in the desired areas alone. Dodge and Burn is the first brush option. It darkens and lightens areas gently if you use a brush tool on them. The phrase dodge and burn comes from the old darkroom photo retouching and editing technique. The old process included darkening and lightening small portions of an image. To darken or lighten images, press Snapseed up and down arrow and adjust the exposure by using the arrows to decrease or increase. You can do that for the saturation and temperature in some area of the image too.
Snapseed is a great photo editing tool that you can use free of charge. It offers many usual tools but tools like Selective, Perspective and HDR Scape have differentiated it from the others. When editing your photos, you should avoid overdoing it. Use the advanced tools, such as Brush and Curves if you are comfortable with them to avoid ruining your images.
Also, don’t forget that you can roll back your changes if you feel that something doesn’t look right in your image. Have fun with Snapseed and you’ll take your images to the next level in no time!
Stefano Caioni is the founder of Pixinfocus. His passion for photography helps him discover new places and live new adventures.