Quick photo editing on your Smartphone using the Snapseed app by Google.

Have you ever noticed that Google Play and iTunes have a dedicated category for photography apps?


There are so many apps available, many of them free, but not worth your time. Instead of navigating through the many disappointing apps and finding yourself very frustrated, why not go straight to one of the best. Snapseed by Google is by far my favourite editing app — and it is free!!

This simple, yet powerful mobile photo editing app has nearly every feature you could possibly need. It is quite intuitive and available on both Android and iOS systems. It is the ideal app for me to demonstrate at mobile photography workshops because it is so simple and the results can be breathtaking.

Below, I will demonstrate how to use Snapseed basics and share the standard step by step process that I apply to nearly all my photos.

Once you open your photo in the app, you have two sections: ‘Tools’ and ‘Filters’. I am going to concentrate on ‘Tools’ in this article which give you the confidence to improve any photo.

  • Transform

Firstly, you may need to straighten the image. At times, you may deliberately angle your photo to make it look more dynamic and create some interest. However, often a photo that is slightly crooked can make you photo look ‘not quite right’. This is called ‘visual tension.’

Select ‘Transform’ under the tools menu, followed by ‘Rotation’. Then you can swipe left or right to adjust your image. You will notice the black corners being filled in when you let go? It is super cool!

  • Crop

Secondly, you may want to reduce the edges in the photo to highlight a subject area or change the focus of surrounding elements in the photo. Select ‘Crop’, under the tools menu. Experiment with different points of interest. You can drag the corners in and out or hold the centre of the grid and move it around. You may even discover several photographic opportunities within the one photo!

  • Tune Image

This is where the real magic happens. After selecting ‘Tune Image’, again under the tools menu, I always swipe up to ‘Ambience’ first. This adjustment is a combination of many of the enhancement options available to you. It alone, can really make your photo pop off the screen. Next, I start at the top of the ‘Tune Image’ options and work my way down to the bottom. There is no right and wrong with these adjustments. Experiment a little, you never know what you will discover. If you go too far, you can always reduce the strength of the effect.

  • Details

Again under the tools menu, you will find a menu option called ‘Details’. There are two options here to sharpen the image. ‘Structure’ sharpens the edges within the photo and ‘Sharpening’ sharpens every pixel. My advice is to generally avoid pushing ‘structure’ past the number 20 because the image becomes grainy and looks manufactured or fake.

  • Healing

This is the final adjustment and one that I absolutely love. This feature allows you to remove any distracting objects from your photo. Pinch and zoom to get in closer to the object you want to remove. Then, tap or swipe over the object. The area you swipe over is instantly filled with content from surrounding pixels. It does a great job.

Snapseed has a whole lot more to offer, but the above should be enough to get you hooked.

Originally published at Smartphone Photography Training.

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About The Author: Mike James is the founder of Smartphone Photography Training. You can get in contact on Facebook, Linkedin or Instagram.