Snapseed Photo Editor

Snapseed Photo Editor Logo

Snapseed is a free photo editor made by Google for mobile devices. The application is straightforward and very intuitive, with a robust set of tools. Before switching to Adobe lightroom, Snapseed was my go-to application for fast and quality color-correction.

For this tutorial, we'll review the Snapseed interface, how to crop photos, basic color-correction, editing specific colors/areas, and adding vignettes. Once you are comfortable using the basic tools, I encourage you to explore the other options the app offers.

Download Snapseed

To get the most from this walk-through, I suggest opening this page on a desktop device, so you could follow along while editing one of your photos. First things first, you'll want to download the app:

Before & After

Use the slider above (desktop only) to view the before and after comparison.

Tip: When color-correcting photos, your memory is your most useful tool as you'll want to match the colors as close to the real thing as possible. It is especially true if you plan to post identifying information.

Camera Tips

Think about how you are going to use the photo. For instance, I photograph mushrooms for Instagram, my website, and my personal collection. When capturing fungi for Instagram, activate your guidelines on your camera to frame the shot. The two inner vertical lines will indicate the 1x1 aspect ratio (Square) that Instagram perfers.

For this example, the photo made the pink gills look very dirty, and we'll need to adjust the exposure to fix it.

Photographing a Mushroom for Instagram Photographing a Mushroom for Instagram

Opening Photos in Snapseed

Upon opening Snapseed, it will ask you to "tap anywhere to open a photo." The app doesn't offer useful previews of your photo gallery, making it challenging to select the best image to edit. Instead, I suggest finding your desired image in your gallery first, then select Share, and pick the Snapseed app.

Note: I captured the screenshots below with an Android device (OnePlus T6), but the interface should look nearly the same on iPhones.

Snapseed Interface Layout

Interface Layout

The Snapseed interface is simplistic and intuitive. After opening a photo via the "shared" method, you'll see the interface from the screenshot.

A - Done: Select DONE once you are finished editing. It will save the photo to your device.

B - Share: Send your photo to Instagram, Email, Text, etc. (I suggest ignoring this and saving the file to your device instead)

C - Edit Stack: This is the edit history, allowing you to Undo, Redo, Revert, View Edits.

D - Image Details: Date taken, file size, dimension, camera information, and the location where the photo was taken.

E - Settings, Tutorials and Help.

F - LOOKS: These preset filters. I tend to ignore them, but you may find them helpful.

G - TOOLS: 28 different Tools and Filters to edit your photo.

Note: The interface will slightly change if opening the photo directly from the app. DONE will be replaced with open, and EXPORT (save) is added to the bottom row.

Snapseed: Tools and Filters

Tools and Filters

Select TOOLS to open the library of tools and filters. For this walk-through, we are only using Crop, Tune Image, Details, Selective, and Vignette.

Tips while working with Tools & Filters

Snapseed: Compare Image Compare your edits to the original image by holding the compare button usually located at the top right. You can also press and hold the image for the same effect.

Dependant on the tool, you can pitch the image to zoom in and out. When zoomed in, use two fingers to pan around the photo.

Dragging your finger vertically on a photo will select various options. Once selected, you could then drag your finger horizontally to alter values.

Snapseed: Crop Square


To recompose the photo, select "Crop" from the list of tools & filters. Free Mode is enabled by default, where you can drag the edges to a custom ratio to crop the photo.

Snapseed: Crop Aspect RatiosPreset Aspect ratios: Opens various preset aspect ratios. For Instagram posts, select Square (1x1). However, you can post a wider shot, but you will lose some vertical screen real estate on your post.

Snapseed: Rotate CropRotate: Switch between the portrait and landscape versions of the selected aspect ratio.

Press the Snapseed: Save to save your settings.

Snapseed: Tune-Image Options


Tune Image is a tool that edits the lighting and color of the photo. Drag your finger vertically on a photo to select an option. Then drag your finger horizontally to manipulate the value.

Snapseed: Tune Image Settings Settings: is a less efficient way to open the settings.

Snapseed: Auto-Tune Image Auto-Tune: automatically adjusts the settings, but I prefer to adjust them manually.

Tune-Image Settings

Brightness: overall lightness or darkness of the photo.

Contrast: the difference in tone between the textures, highlights, shadows, etc.

Saturation: magnitude of color.

Ambiance: a type of contrast that adjusts color balance.

Highlights: alters the brightest areas of the photo.

Shadows: alters the darkest areas of the photo.

Warmth: color temperature (warm vs cool).

Once you are happy with the setting, try pressing Snapseed: Compare Image to see how the changes effected the photo.

Press the Snapseed: Save to save your settings.


The details tool helps to make your photo stand out.

  • Structure: Uses an algorithm that brings out textures without affecting the edges.
  • Sharpening: Sharpens the details of the photo.

Press the Snapseed: Save to save your settings.


Selective is a more advanced tool, enabling edits to a specific area of a photo. Create a control point by tapping the areas you wish to edit.

Snapseed: Control Point Add Control Point: create multiple control points by selecting the + icon, then selecting another area on the image. Active control points are blue.

Snapseed: Hide Hide: hold to hide control points.

Tapping a control point will activate it and enable the following options:

  • Cut
  • Copy
  • Paste
  • Delete
  • Revert Settings

Selective: Precision

Drag and hold a control point to pin-point the exact color you wish to target. When dragging the select area, it will zoom in. The selected color will encompass the selection window.

The dirtier hue of pink is select in the example.

Selective: Selection overlay

We'll want to change the magnitude of our selection. Ensure the desired control point is activated (blue dot), then pinch outward to increase the selection overlay radius highlighed in red and pinch in-ward to shrink the overlay.

You can see in the example the radius of the overlay extends into the clovers. Since we are only selecting the the dark pink of the gills, the green clovers arn't affected by the adjustments.

Selective: Adjust Settings

With the selection overlay set, we can now drag our finger vertically to select one of the four settings to adjust:

  • Brightness
  • Contrast
  • Saturation
  • Structure

The settings will only affect the area of the selection overlay.

Press the Snapseed: Save to save your settings.


A vignette is an excellent way to emphasize the primary focal point of your photo. Drag the blue dot over the area you wish to highlight.

Pinch the screen to adjust the "center size."

Drag your finger vertically to select the outer or inner brightness options. Swiping left will darken, and right will lighten.

  • Outer Brightness:affects the outer edges of the selected radius.
  • Inner Brightness:affects the area near the center of the selection.
Agaricus campestris - Meadow Mushroom
Agaricus campestris - Meadow Mushroom

Done - Save Image

Now you can select DONE to save the photo to your device.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. Please explore the app farther. If this page recieves enough traffic I'll create more walk-throughs of the other tools & filters.

Check out the final product on instagram:

View on Instagram

Enhance Your Phone Macro Photography

AOMAIS Pro Camera Lens kit

The AOMAIS Pro Camera Lens has been a game-changer for my macro photography. The macro lens is huge, a little over an inch and a half in diameter. It seems to allow for a wider focal point and reduces ghosting, lens flares, and other issues from a lesser quality clip-on lens.

The kit includes an 18x macro lens, 0.45x wide-angle lens, a rechargeable clip-on light, a compact carrying case, and a quick-release lanyard—a perfect kit for any mushroom hunter without an SLR camera. The clip-on light might be my favorite feature as I never head out on a walk without it.

The proof is in the fungi; here are a few photos using the AOMAIS macro lens:

Birds Nest Fungi Macro Photo Redlead Roundhead Mushroom Macro Photo Finger Tip Mushroom Macro Photo Mushroom Gills Macro Photo Arrow Head Macro Photo Bleeding Fairy Helmet Macro Photo Centipede on Mushroom Macro Photo Lions Mane Mushroom Teeth Macro Photo Mushroom Gills Macro Photo Mycelium on Agar Macro Photo Mycelium on Nut Macro Photo Trap Door Spider Macro Photo Wolfs Milk Slime Mold Macro Photo Little Brown Mushroom Macro Photo