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Snapseed – Smartphone photo editing app review

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snapseed review

Snapseed Review

I have been doing photography quite seriously for the past few years now. It is true that most of my work is related to photographs taken with my DSLR, but sometimes I take photos with my android phone (Moto G) too. But irrespective of the fact with what I shoot, I would want my mobile photos to look good, at least on small web page sizes. After doing some good amount of research and using quite a number of photo editing apps I came across this application called Snapseed.

It has been quite some time that I have been using this photo editing application for mobile devices and wanted to give a brief review of the application. Snapseed is perhaps one of the most powerful photo editing applications out there in the android market.

Right of the bat the first thing that I like about Snapseed is that it is a free application (for android devices) and you do not need to shell out one single penny for it. Who doesn’t like free applications and stuffs?

This application is built by the same team who built the famous Nik plugins which work beautifully with Photoshop. If you have ever worked with Nik plugins you will know how good the software is. So coming from the same team, this application had a lot of expectations from me, and fulfil it did and how. The engine that is used is superlative and the amount of adjustments that can be done is immense.

Global Adjustments

First up we look at the global adjustment features of snapseed. There is the automatic option which when you click, snapseed does its thing and gives you an output picture which it thinks is best.

Preview Button

The one thing I like about snapseed a lot is the preview button. It is the square picture icon on the top right side of the application interface. It gives you a preview of what your picture looked like before the adjustment was applied and how it looks after the adjustment is applied. One has to press and hold the image icon to view the before/after.

snapseed review


Next in line are the features like tune image. Inside the tune image tab you can access features like Brightness, Ambience, Contrast, Saturation, Shadows and Warmth. One can access these features by sliding upwards the screen clicking on the picture.

I especially like the ambience slider which works really well if used up to a certain limit and with caution. The shadows slider too works very well to get back the details which was lost in the shadows.

The brightness/contrast, saturation, warmth work as its supposed to work and does some good global adjustments.


There are also the features like straighten and crop. The crop tool is really handy which comes with presets telling what kind of crop you need, from a 4:3 to a 16:9. The presets helps us to crop our images perfectly according to the aspect ratio. I really like the 16:9 aspect ratio and find myself using that ratio quite a lot. For those Instagram user’s there is a separate crop for square image i.e. 1:1. So one can crop their images in square format and then upload it to their Instagram account.


Among the global adjustments one can also use the set of filters that are provided in the vintage, drama tabs. These are good to get those Instagram like effects but with some amount of control in them. One can control how much the effect is added to the picture by something called the style strength. So if you want to give a certain effect but to a limited % use the style strength slider to reduce the effect of the style.

snapseed review

Selective Adjustments

The one thing that I have been super excited about is the amount of local adjustments that is possible within snapseed and that is what makes this application stand out from the rest of the available ones. The local adjustments are achieved using something called controlled points. The control points are accessed through the tab called Selective Adjustment.

Under the Selective Adjustment tab you can select a control point and place it over a particular portion of the image. With the help of the control point one can control the brightness contrast and saturation of the tonal range present in the radius of the circle. With the help of these control points huge amounts of dodging and burning be done creatively.

snapseed review

I wanted to make the upper left corner of the frame, just above the lamp shade darker, so using the creative control of the control point I was able to do so very easily.

Apart from these there are few features which can be used with creative ends, such as central focus, retrolux or frames. Though I am particularly not a fan of these features, they might come in handy in some situations.

Here are some of the shots which were taken in the mobile phone and then edited with snapseed. (Some of the pictures have text included in them, those were done in another app and then black border added to be uploaded on instagram.)

monsoon in kolkata

monsoon in kolkata

monsoon in kolkata clouds

raindrops on window
monsoon in kolkata

monsoon in kolkata

kolkata cab in rain

snapseed review


I hope you like my review of snapseed and start using this application to polish those mobile photos. Let me know if you have used this app or you would be willing to give it a try after reading this.

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Till next time. Happy taking pictures 🙂


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