How to use Snapseed - Photo Editing Software for your mobile


  • Age: Any
  • Time: Ongoing
  • Skills: Basic Computer Knowledge
  • Materials: Smartphone, internet access
  • Outcomes: Learn how to use free software to edit photos. This will give you experience in editing images.



After the photoshoot is complete, it’s time to edit the photos. First, download Snapseed from your App Store. Snapseed is a free, easy-to-use program that can edit photos on a near professional level. 

Go through the photos from the shoot and choose your favourite. Upload it to Snapseed. (Note: The author has a Samsung phone, there may be some small differences between versions.)

Snapseed includes pre-made filters under the Looks tab. Once you’ve uploaded the image, try out these filters and see how the picture changes. Now would be a good time to decide the general
structure of the final product: Do you want it to be in color or black and white? Exaggerated or subtle? Bright or dark? Should it look edited or should the changes be subtle?

Exit out of the Looks tab by pressing the X. Now move to the Tools tab. While using these tools, the check on the right adds the edits made and the X on the left undoes only unsaved changes. If you make a mistake, go to the third button from the right at the top of the screen. This allows you to undo, redo, or view the edits made. 

First, use the Crop, Rotate, Perspective, and Expand buttons to change the image and narrow the focus. Think about how someone else might view the image. Try cutting out distracting background details, or think about why you might want to include them. Does the traffic cone accent anything about the band? Be sure to try out the perspective tool. Both it and the expand tool will notice similar patterns in the background and continue them. 

Next, try out the Tune Image, Details, Curves, White Balance, and HDR Scape buttons. These get more technical, but you don’t need to understand the full color theory or terminology to get the idea of what they do. Try changing each of the levels to see what you like. Don’t be afraid to abandon an earlier vision if you find something that you like more. 

If you’re hesitant to commit to a major change, try out the Selective and Brush tools. These tools allow you to make small changes to selected spots rather than the whole image. These tools can be especially good in highlighting members of the band, their instruments, logos, or anything else that you want to stand out. If there’s anything in the original shot that you want to get rid of, try the Healing tool. 

The Glamour Glow, Tonal Contrast, Drama, Vintage, Grainy Film, Retrolux, and Grunge tools are all fairly simple. Try out each of them, making sure to change all the possible features on each to get a feel for what you like. 

If you want to try out black and white shots, use the Black & White or Noir tools. Keep in mind that color is just as important in black and white images, as it can be used to create textures and feels. Try changing the saturation or cast earlier and then moving to black and white to see how it affects the final product. Be sure to keep in mind that just making a picture black and white doesn’t automatically make it more artsy. 

The Portrait and Head Pose tools allow you to highlight or make adjustments to people in your pictures. These can be very helpful, but don’t go overboard! Facial adjustments can quickly become horrifying. 

The Lens Blur and Vignette tools can create really interesting end effects. Try playing around with them to decide if they help to highlight the focus of your shoot. Likewise, Double Exposure can create cool effects. However, especially with double exposure, a poorly done attempt is not better than no attempt. Try searching for tutorials online on how to do higher level techniques effectively. 

Finally, the Text and Frames tools are self-explanatory. Be sure to try and get the right style and placement of text. Too central can distract from the image, too peripheral can get lost in the background. 

After you’ve made all your changes and saved them, go to the Export Tab. From here you can save the edited photo back to your phone, or share it with other people. Try editing the same image in multiple ways. Different filters can make or break a good image.