Photo Editing With Snapseed: The Basics

Published on 8 May 2023 at 11:04

Snapseed is a complete photo editor developed by Google that I use on my iPhone and iPad. It is totally free and has 29 tools and filters! There are so many ways to improve your photos. Let's get started!

First, download Snapseed from the App Store. Open the app and tap anywhere to open an image from your device or take a photo.

The tool bar across the bottom has three options: Looks, Tools, Export.

Looks give you preset filters, like you may have seen in other apps. I found that my favorite filter for photos of landscapes was Accentuate, and my favorite for people was Portrait or Smooth. The filters are a great place to start, but I much prefer to use Tools. Let’s start with some basics. These are my favorites and the order I use them. 

In most photos, I use the same four basic tools - Perspective, Crop, Tune Image, and Healing

First, tap Perspective to rotate and straighten your image using one finger to grab and turn it until it sits at an angle you like. I use Perspective instead of Rotate because it will automatically fill any blank edges. Then click on the ✔️ to save.

Second, tap Crop to select the size you need. For example, if I'm cropping pictures for Instagram, I use the square setting.

Third, tap Tune Image, where you can tap the magic wand to automatically adjust exposure and color. I tried that a few times, but the real power in making an image your own is to play with each option until you’re truly happy with your results. There’s no right or wrong. To start tuning, swipe vertically on the image to access the edit menu, choose an option, then swipe horizontally to make adjustments. Just do it!

The Tune Image menu includes (descriptions from Snapseed Help):

  • Brightness - Darken or lighten the entire image.
  • Contrast - Increase or decrease the overall contrast of the image.
  • Saturation - Add or remove vibrancy to the colors in the image.
  • Ambiance - A twist on contrast, adjust the balance of light in the entire image.
  • Shadows - Darken or lighten only the shadows in the image.
  • Highlights - Darken or lighten only the highlights in the image.
  • Warmth - Add a warm or cool color cast to the entire image.

Finally, tap Healing to remove distracting objects. This works best when the background is solid and simple. In this photo, I removed the cat litter Key had just tracked on the floor from my original picture.

Finally, tap Export to save. I saved a copy so I would have before and after photos.

Disclaimer - this app is addictive and I spend hours just playing with it!