Guide: How To Use the Snapseed App

Snapseed is a surprisingly powerful image editor for your phone. Developed by Google, with both Android and iOS version, the app has so many of them features that it would be difficult to cover them all and do justice to them. It’s also free. This tutorial goes the basics of how to use Snapseed. Snapseed has been around for a few years now and has been very well reviewed on both Android and iPhone. It’s a solid image editor with enough powerful tools to compete with some of the much more expensive premium apps out there. The app has so much going on that there is none tutorial is only going to cover the basics. That’s what this one will do. It takes from initial setup and loading up to create your first image effects.

Download and use the Snapseed app

Snapseed is available for Android and iPhone and is free to download and use. Download it to your device to use it. No registration required, no subscription, just give the app access to your images and camera and that’s it. Since I am using the android version this is tutorial will follow. The iOS version may be slightly different but should be mostly similar if not the same.

Looks like

Appearances are essentially filters. They are pre-programmed and offer a selection of looks that can save some time in manual editing. Select Appearance and a slider will appear at the bottom of the screen. Scroll through and select a Look to filter the image. Select one if you like it or select Back to exit.


Tools are where Snapseed’s real power lies, and a big part of the learning curve. There is a selection of tools here, from brushes, healing tools to drama filters and vignette tools. You will likely spend most of your time here using the app.


The third tab at the bottom is Export and it allows you to save your image in various formats. Saving is the only point where Snapseed will let you down. There is a single store that records your changes. There is no autosave and you cannot undo a save. Where other image editors allow you to save and then undo changes, once you save a change in Snapseed, that’s it, you’re determined. Save As is one way to get around that, and you’ll find the option under Export. If you just select Save, Snapseed will overwrite your original image with your edited one. You must manually save a copy to keep the original.

Image editing with Snapseed

So that’s the basics of preparing an image for editing, let’s now discuss a few popular editing tasks. I’ll cover cropping, straightening, and adding a mood filter.

Crop an image in Snapseed

Cropping is something we do with most images, especially when we include them phone and want to upload them to Instagram or elsewhere. It’s pretty easy in this app. There are a ton of formatted sizes in the crop tool that do the heavy lifting for you. You can drag the frame around the image for composition and click the check mark to commit your changes. It won’t overwrite your original image until you save it.

Straighten an image in Snapseed

The downside of phone cameraIt’s too easy not to shoot upright. I take a lot of landscape photos of the places around me and 1 in 3 has a shaky horizon, so I use this tool a lot. It can take patience to straighten an image, especially if you want to make it perfect. You drag the frame with your finger to straighten, just like you would a photo on the wall. Once done, commit the change with the check mark and you are good to go.

Use the Vintage tool in Snapseed

The Vintage tool is one of my favorite tools in this app. Although I call it a mood filter, it is technically not. What it is is a quick way to add a real character to an image and make it look like a scene shot by True Detective or taken from a magazine in the 1950s. In addition to predefined filters, there is a color balance tool at the bottom of the window. If you can’t find the filter that works for you, find the next best thing and use that mixer icon to play with colors. Then select the check mark to commit your changes.

Use the Vignette tool in Snapseed

If the Vintage tool doesn’t do it for you, the Vignette. It is more of a mood filter but adds real mood to an image. Like Vintage, it has some predefined settings or you can use the mixer to make your own. Vignette is a great way to add atmosphere, but is probably the hardest tool to get right. Once you get the hang of it, it produces atmospheric images that really stand out. That is the basis of Snapseed. It’s a huge app that requires a lot of research. Good luck with that!

How To Use the Snapseed App: benefits


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