If you have an Android phone or tablet or an iPhone or iPad, you are going to want to check out Snapseed. This free app puts an amazing range of professional-quality photo editing tools at the tip of your finger.

I will say, this app is meant for people are comfortable with touchscreen devices. The interface is based completely around gestures and it can take a few tried to get the hang of it. But once you see what this app can do, I think you’ll appreciate it.

You’ll find Snapseed for free in the Google Play or Apple App store. Just search for Snapseed and tap on the app to install it.  Now let’s have some photo editing fun.

This is what  Snapseed looks like on an Android phone.

You can either open a photo from your gallery or take a photo with the app. Just click the camera icon in the upper right.

Once you have the photo you’d like to edit, it’s time to have some fun. Your edit options will appear along the bottom of your screen.

Or at the side if you rotate to a horizontal view.

You’ll notice options like Automatic, Selective Adjust and Tune Image.

Tap Automatic and you’ll have options to do a quick correct of Color or Contrast. You touch the center of the image and wipe up or down to choose from a menu. Figuring out the right touch is important with this app and it can be a little frustrating at first, but once you get it down, you will appreciate how easy it is to use with a touchscreen device.

To adjust the level of contrast I move my finger left or right to turn it up or down. When I find the level I like, I hit the check mark.

All of the adjustment options in Snapseed work like this. You touch the photo and move your finger or stylus up and down to see the menu of adjustment options. Once you select the option, you move right to left to adjust the intensity.

Choosing Tune Image gives you a great range of options like Brightness, Ambiance, Contrast Saturation, Shadows and Warmth. You can make dark areas light, dull color bright… Really with just these options the adjustment possibilities are endless.

The straightening and crop features allow to to adjust crooked images and crop photos to show only selected parts. One feature I was surprised to find on a free phone app were the options offered under Details.

Tap that icon and you’ll see options for sharpening and structure, adjustments that help bring out details in your images. These are the kind of options you expect to find in an expensive product like Photoshop.

 Tilt Shift and Center Focus are adjustments that allow you to highlight a portion of the image and blur the rest.

You can also make adjustments to light and saturation.

 There area also a variety of filters, which you can customize with adjustments and options for frames. You can do anything from minor adjustments to multiple artistic changes. Once you add an effect and save the changes you can add additional effects. The possibilities really are endless. And once you’ve completed your masterpiece, you can save it or share it via e-mail or social media.

You can do much more with Snapseed than I’ve accomplished here. I’m still a beginner. Google has some great examples of Snapseed before and afters on their support site.

Download this free app and have some fun with your photos.

As someone who grew up in the time of film cameras and home phones, the idea that you can have a pocket-sized device that not only takes good photos, but also has the software on it to allow you to digitally edit them and then share them with anyone in the world still blows my mind. Here we all are, living in the future! 

Note: this is only available as an app for Apple and Android devices. When Google purchased Snapseed they discontinued the desktop version, though if you use the Chrome browser to access a Google + account, many Snapseed style tools are available for editing your photos.

~ Cynthia