Google SnapSeed, My New Favorite App

I’m not a professional photographer – actually, to call myself a hack amateur photographer is a bit of a stretch. That being said, more often than not, my pictures need a little help.

I’ve been using Adobe Photoshop and LightRoom for years. So when a friend recommended SnapSeed, the free Google app, I smiled and said, “sure, yeah, I’ll give it a try.” – with no intention of downloading it. But then he showed me a few pictures he had tweaked …

Wow – was I wrong. Google SnapsSeed is a lightweight, easy to use photo correction and stylizing powerhouse … and it’s free.

One-touch filters add some easy personality.

You can take new photos from within SnapSeed and you can open existing photos – breathing new life into images that might have been captured years ago. Either way, the filtering options are impressive. There is a selection of quick presets – called “Looks” – or you can do some serious fine tuning in the “Tools” menu: crop, create more perspective, correct white balance, touch-up with the healing brush, and – my favourite – the HDR Scape tool.

The “HDR Scape” tool adds drama to a sunset in Google SnapSeed (iOS version)

HDR (high dynamic range) adjustment is like an adaptive contrast tool, capable of revealing fine details in overexposed/underexposed parts of the image. The effect is intelligently applied to regions of image that need it most – leaving properly exposed regions untouched. This can be applied sparingly to accentuate key colours and overcome poor lighting, or it can used more generously to create some really dramatic artistic effects.

Once you’ve added the final touches to your masterpiece it’s easy to save, export, or share. By default SnapSeed saves the touched-up photo as copy, preserving the original. SnapSeed can also share/post your photo with any social media app installed on your phone.

Sadly Google SnapSeed is only available for mobile devices. The desktop version was abandoned in 2013. You can get Google SnapSeed for iOS in the App Store or for Android in the Google Play store.

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