Don’t just take a picture, make a better picture with Snapseed

Ansel Adams, a famous photographer of the early 1900s is quoted as saying, “You don’t take a picture, you make a picture.” He was referring to the skills of the photographer, but with today’s digital photography, I say its about photo editing.

These are my photos, but I didn’t “take” them.

I am not a professional photographer, nowhere near. I do have a digital SLR, and for the first few years I tried to learn all the ins and outs of F-stops, shutter speeds, ISO settings and more, but I just didn’t have the perseverance to get good at it. I got decent results when the camera was on its auto setting, so that’s where I left it.

Now I take all my photos with my smartphone, and it does a great job. I’m not trying to get photos worth selling, I just want to capture my memories. That said, I love it when someone looks at my photo and says, “Wow!”

Snapseed is a free app for iOS and Android

Snapseed App

Invariably, when I hear that “Wow!” they’re looking at a shot that I tweaked using Snapseed. Snapseed is a free app by Google and is available in the Apple App store as well as the Android Play Store. Just install it, open it, and choose a photo from your device to start editing. It can do all the basics that any photo editor can do like crop, rotate, brighten, and auto-correct. What I use it for are some special tools: Ambiance, Details, Brush, HDR-scape, and Shadows. I can so easily bring out the detail in the shadows, make the sky bluer and the grass greener, and just give a photo that je ne sais quois, that I call Beautify.

It’s SO easy. Believe me, I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t. Many photos get all the beauty I can handle just by adding the Ambiance feature. It’s all done right on your phone or tablet, so you tap the tools icon, then the Tuning button and swipe right on the Ambiance option. Voila! You’re done. If you are a GeeksOnTour member, you can watch a video on how to use the Tuning Tool for Ambiance. Or you can watch our YouTube show:  Episode 228: How to Beautify Photos with Snapseed, a free app for iOS and Android

Below, you’ll see the pictures I took (Before) and you can grab the middle line and drag left to reveal the picture I made with the tweaks in Snapseed. The caption of each pair of pictures tells what features of Snapseed were used.

Just 2 tweaks: Ambiance and Structure
3 tweaks: Shadows, Ambiance, Structure
2 tweaks: Ambiance, Structure
4 tweaks: Ambiance, Brightness (down), Structure, Brush temperature (blue) on river
3 tweaks: Ambiance, Structure, brush light on faces

Don’t be satisfied with the photo you took, when just a couple of tweaks can make a photo worthy of WoW!