In one of my previous blogs, I talked about some of the cool photo editing apps that I use all the time, one of which is Snapseed. It’s a lovely app to use if you’d like to clean up your photos using a fuss-free photo editing app. It does the job and does so seamlessly.

About Snapseed

Developed by NIK software, Snapseed is a free photo editing app that was released initially for Apple mobile devices in 2011. The app became available for Android devices the following year, around the same time that the app was acquired by Google. Since the acquisition, Snapseed became even better than ever before.

Snapseed owes its popularity for its clean, simple navigation, realistic results, and freemium features. Although Snapseed is newbie-friendly, the extensive features are something that even photography enthusiasts and photographers would appreciate.

If you tend to get lost to Snapseed’s huge range of editing tools, this tutorial is for you. I’ll be outlining ways to optimize Snapseed as well as basic baby photography tips for beginners using this powerful app:

Getting Started with Snapseed

The Snapseed app is free to download and available for both iOS and Android devices. Download the Snapseed app here:

iOS
Android

After downloading the app, you can watch the introduction video so you get a walkthrough of the basic settings or go directly to the photo editing tools. Once the Snapseed app is launched, tap the photo you’d like to edit. You can either choose the image you’d like to edit from your photo gallery, take a quick snap using your smartphone camera or copy paste a copied image on the Snapseed screen.

Now, three main features are laid out at the bottom of the screen:

  • Looks

  • Tools

  • Export

Looks

The Looks feature offers a range of filters to enhance your image instantly. It’s a great feature to use if you don’t want to tinker with the editing tools or if you’d like to make your own filter. Just browse the filters and tap the one you like, that’s all there is to it.

Tools

The Tools feature is where things get interesting. It lets you edit your own image using the app’s many tools. Tapping the Tools button leads to the Tune Image Tools, which are comprised of basic editing features that could be adjusted by swiping left or right:

Brightness: Tone down the lighting of an overexposed image or brighten a dim shot. The brightness feature lets you enhance the details of the image using light and darkness.

Contrast: Adjust the darkest and lightest parts of the image by playing with Snapseed’s precise contrast control.

Saturation: Make every detail of the image pop by increasing or decreasing the color saturation! Swipe right or left to make the image come alive with vibrant colors.

Ambiance: This is a nifty feature that lets you adjust the contrast and saturation of the image in one go.

Highlights: If you’d like to intensify the lightest parts of the picture. If the image is over-exposed, this is a great feature to use to tone down the brightness and reduce the highlights.

Shadows: This feature is similar to the highlights tool but instead of intensifying the lightest areas of an image, it highlights the dim areas of the picture.

Warmth: Adjust the coolness or warmness of the image colors using the warmth tool. It could add a lovely orange or cool blue tint to your pictures, very useful if you are taking sunset/sunrise snaps or when taking landscape shots that deepens the color of the sky.

Export

The Export tab allows you to save all the changes you just made. There are several ways to save an edited photo on Snapseed. The “Save” option lets you overwrite the current image with the edited image. The “Save a Copy” option lets you save the image, along with the changes you just made, as a new photo in the camera roll. Once the photo has been saved, the changes are permanently applied.

baby photography tips for beginners

Basic Editing Process Using Snapseed

Now that you have an idea of how awesome Snapseed is, I’ll be walking you through a simple photo editing process. Don’t be afraid to dig deeper into every setting and play with different tools to get to know the app even more.

Step 1: Select the photo that you’d like to edit.

Step 2: Once the photo opens in the app, you are given the choice to adjust the alignment. If it’s wonky, straighten the alignment horizontally or vertically. You can also rotate the image at this point.

Step 3: Tap the “Tools” tab and crop the image as you see fit. Snapseed offers several ratio formats, just swipe left to right to your preferred format. Using your fingers, you can move the edges of the grids to crop the image. Tap the tick icon to save the changes.

Step 4: Now tap the “Fine Tune Image” tool. To automatically adjust the color and exposure of the image, simply tap the magic wand icon (called Automatic) to enhance the image optimally. This feature analyzes the image and applies the enhancements according to the specific needs of the said image.

If you’d like to go further with the edits, choose “Tools” and “Tune Image.” From the Tune Image, you can adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation, ambiance, highlights, shadows, and warmth of the image manually.

Step 5: Once all the changes have been made, simply save your work to apply the edits permanently.

Snapseed Features to Try

Healing

This is one cool feature that lets you remove unwanted details of an image. From dust particles to cars, people to entire buildings, the healing feature enhances the composition of the image. To use the healing tool, open it in the “Tools” screen, zoom into the area that you’d like to edit by dragging your fingers then tap the unwanted detail away. Snapseed would automatically choose the areas to edit so if you were unable to cover up the details that you want, try zooming-in at different angles.

Brush

The Brush tool lets you adjust the saturation, temperature, exposure, or dodge and burn certain portions of an image. This helps you make certain parts of a photograph stand out, like the shirt of the subject or the colorful wall in the background, etc. If for instance, you took a snap of your little one playing on the beach, you can make the water look a bright, color blue or your baby’s bow look even deeper in color.

Selective

This tool lets you adjust certain parts of an image with brightness, contrast, and saturation. Just tap the picture and a dot will appear on the area you’d like to modify. Simply swipe your fingers up and down to select brightness, contrast, or saturation then drag your fingertips right to left to enhance the photo. Tap the + button to add another dot and edit different parts of the photo.

Perspective

If the subject looks too close in the frame, you can elongate certain parts of the photo using the perspective tool. This feature adds more of the background so that the subject looks farther away. Just choose the Perspective tool from the Tools menu then drag the fingertips inwards to choose the desired size. Once you release, Snapseed will fill in the space on all sides of the image in the black area. Pretty cool, right?

White Balance

This feature lets you modify the temperature and tint of the image in one go. The positive temperature adds a yellow tint to the image while the negative temperature adds a blue tint to the image. You can also swipe over the tint option to add a pink or green tint to the image. White balance is perfect for making an image vibrant and colorful, not dull and lifeless.

Structure and Sharpening

Structure and Sharpening are set in the Tools selection and Details. These tools are best used for images with lots of textured elements to it, like wood. The Structure setting brings out the details of the image without affecting the edges of the objects. Sharpening increases the level of sharpness in the details so the elements look more defined. These features work in harmony to make every image pop but don’t overdo it otherwise, the details could look off.

Without a doubt, Snapseed is one of the best photo editing tools on the market and the best part is it’s free. With a variety of premium features to experiment with, the possibilities are endless with Snapseed. Of course, don’t depend too much on an app to improve your photos, you have to learn how to take better pictures. Sign up for my mailing list today and let’s polish your photography skills!

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