Northern Neck Master Naturalists
Trained & Certified Virgina Master Naturalists


App Review - Snapseed Mobile Photo Editing V2.18, Free

When asked which camera is the best, Annie Leibovitz replied, “The one you have with you.”  In fact when friends ask her which camera to buy, she says “the iPhone.” Many of us, and some professional photographers too, are using mobile cameras more and more in the filed.  They are  easy to carry, with us most of the time, and are “ready at hand.”  And, today’s phones are becoming more of a camera with a phone than vice a versa.  While they can’t zoom very well, are hard to adjust for lighting conditions, and may not have enough pixels for detailed gallery prints, they are more than adequate for electronic media.  Which is what most of us use these days to view and share photographs.  They are very good for iNaturalist.  I’ve used my iPhone to produce Research grade photos.

But, have you ever looked at a photo on you mobile device and said “that doesn’t look like I thought it would?”  The color is off, the shadows are too dark, portions are over or underexposed, it could stand a bit of cropping, or the detail just isn’t sharp enough.   There’s and App for That; Snapseed.

Reviewers of mobile photo editing Apps consistently rate Snapseed at the top of the list.  While it does require some knowledge of post processing and has a bit of a learning curve, it is fully featured and very flexible with pro-level editing tools e.g. Curves, White Balance and RAW editing.  After you get a look you want, you can view and drill down in your edits to selectively fine tune specific areas by using visible masks.

My normal workflow usually goes like this;  I begin with Tune Image where you can adjust Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Ambiance, Highlights, Shadows, and/or Warmth.  For many of my outdoor shots, I then move to HDR (High Dynamic Range) to balance exposure across the entire photo.  If the picture is of flower, insect. or other detailed item for iNaturalist, I’m likely to move on to Details where you can adjust Structure and Sharpening.  Often I will also use Lens Blur and/or Vignette features to approximate the focal length effects of a DSLR.

Below are the before and after iphoneography pictures taken at Westminster Canterbury BTC 2917 Field Trip.  The after was submitted to iNaturalist and has been classified Research Grade and selected for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Biodiversity Project.

Try Snapseed the next time you take pictures with your mobile device.  It can be a lot of fun and help you get the look you want.





Marty Hill