A key component to the Android OS is the ability to capture and edit images. Since pretty much every smartphone on the planet these days comes with a camera, you’ve probably taken a few pictures in your day. Did you know you can quickly and easily turn a decent photo into a beautiful work of art with the help of third-party apps? There’s a boatload of available options, some better than others, but my hands-down favorite is an app called Snapseed.

If you’ve done any Android photo editing, you likely heard of Snapseed, from Google. It’s my go-to app for virtually every photo I edit — even the ones you see here on Android Unfiltered. And while I’m by no means a professional photographer, I’ve been told a time or two that I take a damn good photo. Now that I’ve tooted my own horn, I’d like to show you how you can achieve the same results, with very little effort. Best of all, you don’t even need any professional photo editing experience, because like I said – it’s super simple.

Stop What You’re Doing And Go Download Snapseed

Before we get started, scroll down to the bottom of this post and download Snapseed using the link I’ve provided. It’s 100% free on the Play Store, so you won’t need to spend a dime to get started.  Go ahead. I’ll wait for you. Now that you’ve got the app installed, let me give you the quick rundown on what it offers.

Snapseed comes with 29 tools and filters at the time of this post. Those tools include Healing, Brush, Structure, and Perspective. And there’s also a bunch of fun filters like HDR, Glamour Glow, and Grunge. Feel free to dig around and experiment with those, as they’re all useful.

The app can edit both JPG and DNG formats, which comes in handy if you have a phone capable of shooting images in RAW format, like the LG G6. Shooting in RAW mode provides much higher detail in your images, but it comes at the expense of larger file sizes.

Quickly Spice Up Your Images

Now that you know a little bit more about Snapseed, let me show you how you can easily touch up your photos, step-by-step. I’ll show you how I do it with an example photo that I’ve taken, and then you can go and try to reproduce my results on your own photos.

Just remember, it does take a little bit of experimenting, so you may have to tinker around a bit to get your image exactly the way you like it. So, let’s begin, shall we?

Below is an image I shot with my phone — I have an LG G6, for those who don’t know. It’s completely untouched, other than being optimized for the web, which our site does automatically. Have a look.

 

Not a bad photo out of the box, but there is definitely room for improvement. First, I start by opening Snapseed. From there, click ‘Open’ in the top left menu and navigate to the photo you want to work with.

Auto Corrections Are Your Friend

 

This first step is simple. All you have to do is go into ‘Tune Image’ and hit the ‘Auto Adjust’ button on the bottom of your screen. Snapseed analyzes your photo and automatically adjusts light, saturation and other settings to fine tune your image.

Snapseed specifically lowered the brightness by 2 notches and upped the contrast by 2 notches for my photo. It also increased the shadows by 32 and the warmth by 2. Make sure to click the checkmark in the bottom right corner to save your progress. After that, move on to the next step, which requires slightly more effort, but not by much.

Use Filters, But Don’t Go Overboard

 

Snapseed has a bunch of filters available to give your images a totally different look and feel than it started with. My advice: try them out, but don’t go to crazy. Adding too much of any filter will bring down the overall quality of your photo. Start mixing multiple filters and things can get out of hand quickly.

For this photo, I’m going to start with the HDR filter. Here are the settings I’m using:

  • Filter strength: +30
  • Brightness -10
  • Saturation +10

 

 

Then I save my work, and now I’m going to use one more filter: Glamour Glow. I’m using the 4th glow style, out the 5 available. Again, here are my settings:

  • Glow +70
  • Saturation 0
  • Warmth 0

Again, I’m going to click the checkmark button to save, then move on to my final edit.

Pull Attention To Focal Points With Vignette

 

I’m going to apply one last filter that pulls the viewer’s eyes where I want them to go. This filter is called Vignette. Vignette lets you specify a focal point and then adjust the light both inside of that point and out. For this photo, I moved the focal point directly onto the buildings in the skyline. Then, I used the following settings:

  • Outer brightness -60
  • Inner brightness 0

Now, all you have to do is click done and your finished photo will save to the Snapseed folder on your device. Look at the final image below. It’s pretty spectacular, if I must say so myself.

BEFORE & AFTER

 
Notice how the edited version pops much more than the original image?

I hope you enjoyed this guide. It may seem a bit daunting at first, but I promise you it’s not. Give it a try on a few of your photos and see what you can come up with. Again, these exact edits will provide mixed results on different photos. There’s no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to photo editing.

Download Snapseed using the link below. Dig in, play around a bit, then come back and share your masterpieces in the comment thread below!

Snapseed
Snapseed
Developer: Google Inc.
Price: Free
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Tony Simons
Tony is an avid tech enthusiast with a love for all things Android. He has an award-winning sense of snark and sarcasm, spends too much time at his desk, and can usually be found avoiding the general public. He's also a firm believer in the 5-second rule.
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