Editing the photos we make is part of the photography process. If you think those gorgeous photos Ansel Adams made in Denali National Park were “right out of the camera,” you’d be mistaken. Fortunately, Adams understood the importance of what happens after pressing the shutter. He outlined it in books called ‘The Negative’ and ‘The Print.’ Naturally, they followed the book, ‘The Camera.’ I recommend the purchase of these books, even for mobile shooters, just to gain an understanding of his thought process.
Editing will enhance a great image, not make a bad image great.
You have all probably heard the phrase, “You can’t polish a turd.” It’s true. A bad photo cannot get edited into something pleasing. So take care when you’re making a photograph. Never think, “Oh I can fix that later.”
When you’re ready to do some post production, the smartphones or tablets likely have built-in editing tools. However, there are apps available to make the job easier and to provide some more options. Snapseed, an app available for iPhone and Android, fits the bill.
Snapseed has a clean interface and also has a ton of editing tools and filters.
In all honesty, I don’t use many of the filters beyond Drama and HDR Scape. I think the filters are too intensive. They become a distraction. Consequently, the filter takes over the image in my view.
Sometimes less is more
That said, the basic tools are terrific. The ‘Tune Image’ tool allows for several adjustments: Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Ambience, Highlights, Shadows, and Warmth. These adjustments alone are plenty for most photographs.
Another tool I use from time to time is the healing tool. This is especially useful for taking power lines out of a photograph and fixing a blemish on somebody’s face if you’re making a portrait. The white balance tool is great for adjusting the image if you happen to be shooting in fluorescent light or other light that doesn’t look “natural.”
One of the newest tools they’ve added is the curves adjustment. If you have any experience with Photoshop or other editing software, the curves adjustment is an easy-to-use but powerful tool. If there is one thing photos often lack, that gets overlooked, is contrast. The curves tool allows for easy contrast adjustments.
In another post, I will go into detail about curves adjustments, the histogram and how it all works. However, if you’re familiar with this tool already, then you’ll enjoy seeing the addition to Snapseed.
Snapseed is a great app in that it doesn’t have a steep learning curve. I think most of the filters go overboard with their effects. That said, the tools are terrific. They allow for subtle changes to enhance your photos, allowing for a smooth editing process.
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