Snapseed: Photo Editing on the Go

Many travel bloggers carry laptops with them to tweak their photos.  I prefer not to lug around a laptop, if possible, and rely on my iPhone and iPad, as well as applications such as Snapseed.


Snapseed, by Nik Software and now Google, is a free photo editing and enhancement tool that quickly and easily lets you add pop and pizazz to any photo.

The application is available on Android and iOS (previously on Windows and MacOS).  The interface is simple with major functions along the bottom or side depending on orientation.  Within each function, there is a vertical menu that is accessed by sliding a finger up and down on the screen.   Values of the sub-functions (e.g. contrast) are increased by sliding your finger to the right or decreased by sliding to the left.

Snapseed’s tutorial is available, but will probably not be needed as the interface is very intuitive.

Below is a simple step by step of the process for a sample photo.  In this gallery example, the steps:

1. Open image

2. Auto adjust (this is sometimes good to see what the app thinks the photo should look like).  This is an optional step, but sets a good starting point if in doubt

3. Tune the image:  In these photos, I applied a little Ambiance, Contrast and Saturation adjustments.

From Snapseed’s tutorial:

  • Brightness: Swiping to the right brightens the photo, while swiping to the left darkens it.
  • Ambiance: The Ambiance control is a special type of contrast that controls the balance of light in a photo. It can be used to balance backlit photos or to accentuate contrasts throughout your photo. Swipe right for photos where the subject is darker than the background. Swipe left to increase the contrast of dark objects and create a slight glow around darker objects. This is especially helpful in photos that are slightly flat.
  • Contrast: Swiping to the right increases the contrast, while swiping to the left reduces the contrast.
  • Saturation: Swiping to the right increases saturation, or vibrancy, of the colors. Swiping to the left decreases saturation. A value of -100 will result in a photo completely without color.
  • White Balance :Use the White Balance control to adjust the color balance of the image. This is helpful if the image was shot in a difficult lighting situation. Moving the control to the left will cool the image, making it bluer and less orange. Moving to the right will warm the image, making it more orange and less blue. At the extreme ends of the control are the ability to correct for fluorescent and other more extreme colorcasts.

4. Local Tuning:  It is possible to adjust the brightness, contrast, and saturation to specific areas.

5. Details: You can make some of the details pop by sharpening the image or increasing the “structure”

5. Filters: Snapseed has a few filters and borders that you can add as well.

See more Snapseed in action at  RTW_Travelers on Instagram

Happy photo editing!