Snapseeding on my iPhone

Google Snapseed is totes awesome! I absolutely love it for editing the photos I take on my phone. It’s powerful, intuitive, and it produces the goods!

The app has kinda hidden under the radar a bit. It was designed originally by Nik Software as a desktop app and did a pretty reasonable job as far as free retouching software goes, but then Nik Software was acquired by Google. Google overhauled Nik Software and as part of their master plan (everyone needs a master plan) they ditched the desktop version and threw the algorithms of Snapseed into Google+ to have an online based editor. Quite importantly, in my opinion, they kept the iOS and Android apps for Snapseed and it’s definitely one I’d recommend. No, I’d insist that you use. As I said above, it’s intuitive. It’s actually a powerful little tool and if you, like me, take photos on your phone that you want to make stand out then feeding them through Snapseed is going to do that for you. It helps to know what you want to achieve and what you’ll need in order to do that, but if you don’t know those things the sliders and one touch effects will allow for a forgiving wet edit.

So for a quick lightning tour of Snapseed and the method I used to process a photo of the City Of London from a vantage point across the river in Southwark’s Hays Galleria, take a look through this.

I was killing time strolling along the bank of the river and a view caught my eye. Everyone had their camera out so I was feeling a little left out. They all had their cameras and phones trained on HMS Belfast but my idea was a little different. It was this:-

I was setting my composition and in the little camera I have in my head I was seeing a saturated blue sky, iconic buildings rising straight up from the concrete jungle, a little land and a load of sky. Not quite what I captured, but this is what I did next.

I had a look at the preset filters, which you can apply with one touch and fine tune with sliders. I quite like the ‘drama’ filter but it has limited uses, and this wasn’t one of them! Look!

So it was down to my intuition and the manual sliders. Above the filters sits this menu, which affords you (depending on the size/clumsiness of your fingering) full control over your results.

I slid the sharpness slider up a bit, ignoring the structure one. I then opened the ‘Tune Image’ option and started to use what I wanted. In this instance I had a little go on the shadows, contrast, saturation and ambience and got a good result.

I reassessed, admiring my awesomeness (or Google’s or whatever) and one thing that still bugged me was that my buildings rising straight up were leaning over towards the centre. This distortion needed to be dealt with! Lucky for me the app has a ‘transform’ tool built in, so in I jumped!

I pulled the bottom back into line with the rest of the squad and got my buildings as upright as I could. Google have built in some kind of ‘content aware’ thing whereby the little triangles I had created filled themselves in with a guess of what should be there. It was ok, but not as good as I would have liked it to be this time so I used the crop tool to lose the corners. At this point I’ll point out this nifty little feature where you can bring up all the stages of your mod and adjust or delete any one of them, which is pretty sweet. Snapseed calls them stacks, and they’re not dissimilar to layers in Photoshop I guess.

So now with the option to save a copy of save over the original, I’m done!

And here it is. My London view this afternoon, ready for Instagram with just a little bit of fingering.

Please do show me your shots and feel free to post any questions over on Facebook or Twitter. All my classes are intended to be no nonsense, no hidden secrets, totally friendly guides to getting your shot. As always, it’s not necessarily the right way but it’s my way!

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