Snapseed is an amazingly intuitive photo editor that’s been designed especially for the iPad and takes advantage of the large touchscreen and multi-touch gestures. It’s easy enough for anyone to use, but powerful enough even for professional photographers, making it a great solution for mobile editing.
I had high expectations when I saw Snapseed in the App Store, because it’s made by Nik Software, the creators of some excellent image editing software and plugins for Lightroom, Photoshop, and Aperture. I was not disappointed, because Snapseed seems to be just as fully featured and functional as its more pricy cousins.
You begin with tapping the open image button to import photos from your iPad photo gallery. As with most photo editing apps, Snapseed includes the typical features like crop, straighten, brightness, contrast, saturation, and more. But unlike most photo editing apps, Snapseed has some very unique controls that are easy to learn and make photo adjustments ultra quick.
Once you select the function you want to use, for example, “tune image,” a swipe up or down will select specific options like brightness or contrast. A simple swipe to the left or the right decreases or increases your chosen setting, and ultimately, this allows for much less hand movement when editing than other photo apps. Straightening, rotating, and cropping are also simple to use, with helpful guidelines and pinch and drag gestures.
If you don’t feel like fidgeting with a bunch of settings, Snapseed has an auto correct feature, which will immediately enhance your photo. I did a compare and contrast with the auto correct feature in Aperture, and while Snapseed’s correction was less true to the original lighting in the photo, the correction was more than acceptable and even preferable to Aperture for some pictures. Plus, preference towards one application’s auto correct is often a matter of taste rather than the application’s ability to process images. The Snapseed version is on the left, and the Aperture version is on the right.
Selective adjust was another feature that I was pleased with – it let me add some cool features to photos and it was useful when I needed to adjust only a small area. Selective adjust allows you to add circular control points to various spots on your photo, the size of which can be changed with pinch gestures. Circles can be adjusted from tiny to huge, and within the circles, you can alter the brightness, saturation, and contrast of just one selected section. You can’t paint dramatic color onto a black and white photo like Colorsplash, for instance, but you can decrease the saturation of specific areas, which is a nice effect in its own right.
Snapseed also comes with settings to add neat effects to photos. A swipe to the right on the main menu reveals black and white, vintage filters, drama, grunge, center focus, and organic frames. Within each effect, there are several different settings to choose, adding up to thousands of unique photo enhancements and adjustments. These filters can also be stacked to create some great images.
Saving photos adds them to your photo library, without overwriting the original, so you never lose your work. Sharing is easy, with just a tap you can send your photos to Flickr or Facebook, add them to an email, or print them. Snapseed can be used in portrait or landscape mode and works equally well in both orientations.
Snapseed only has 6 different filter types, but they’re well done and useful. While more features and filters are never a bad thing, Snapseed comes packed with options that will help you make gorgeous photos in a simple and intuitive way.
What I liked: The controls took no time at all to learn, and felt really natural to use. The filters, while limited, are all extremely high quality and photos never look cheap or poorly edited.
What I didn’t like: While there was no part of this app that I disliked, an option to view my added filters in layers would be nice, for easier removal and comparison. I also missed not having a button to share my photos on Twitter.
To buy or not to buy: Considering the price of Nik Software’s photo editing plugins, Snapseed is a total steal because it has a lot of the same functionality and power. At $4.99, this app is definitely worth buying.
- App Name: Snapseed for iPad
- Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
- Category: Photography
- Developer: Nik Software
- Price: $4.99