Snapseed App: Editing Landscape Shot on iPhone XR

Today I’d like to show you how I edit this landscape shot using Snapseed app on iPhone XR. The related techniques would be suitable for any iPhone or Android device.

There are tons of various helpful instruments in that application, however, we will stick only to those which will lead us to the desired outcome the fastest way.

Basic adjustments

It’s always a good idea to fix minor issues on your image using some simple settings. In this case, I’ve been using only Contrast and Highlights options. Sometimes highlights areas might be slightly blown away since iPhone sensor can’t catch all dynamic range seen by human eyes.

So Highlights slider could restore such areas at some point (overblown areas almost impossible to restore even if you use high-end professional cameras). Keep in mind that it’s easier to extract details out of shadows than trying to save highlights on post-production. Thus you may want to shoot accordingly, trying to set up the exposure by highlights and not shadows.

Tune Image tool available on the top left corner

Contrast slider is obviously helps to increase contrast on the entire image. However, you don’t have to crank it up all the way to 100. You can always tweak contrast locally using more precision tools available in Snapseed.

Curves applying

Curves is really powerful instrument and can give you all the control of the image contrast, colors and luminosity. I will cover this tool more in-depth if a future tutorials as it too broad topic. For now, let’s just put Soft Contrast S-type curve. The curve allows you to control brightness and contrast by points, meaning you can adjust the image really precisely at any range.

Switch to the Blue curve by clicking on the icon positioned on the right side of an eye icon. By moving the dot on the bottom left corner I added bluish tones to the shadows. Also, I put an additional dot right on the center and slightly above the curve to make sure I won’t get any color shifts in those ranges. 

Experiment with curves to get a creative outcome. However, in most cases, a classical s-type curve will perform the best providing nice subtle contrast for your shots.

Selective tool

Another pretty awesome tool is called Selective. With that flexible option you can adjsut certain areas of the image with a mask using such parameters: Brightness, Contrast, Saturation and Structure. The titles call for themselfs, though Structure slider can locally increase contrast. As I stated earlier, there’s no only single right way to achiece a desired effect in Snapseed.

 

Settings for the first dot: Saturation +33, Structure +12

Settings for the second dot: Brightness -12, Contrast +18, Structure +13 

Put two fingers on a screen and scale in our out to adjust the mask (with a selected dot)

Brush tool

Using a Brush tool you can simply change color balance, saturation, and exposure. Also one of the most popular brush is called Dodge & Burn. It allows you to make certain parts of the image brighter or darker. Though be cautious with that and use low-intensity +5 brush to avoid any unnatural looking areas. In my case, I simply made rocks under the water surface a bit brighter to make them pop.

If you want to visally see a mask where have you applied the brush, use an eye icon. It would help identify areas where you can reduce or increase the effect of the brush.

Same thing for other types of brushes: use them gently and only if necessary. It’s really easy to overdo things especially working on a smartphone with not a big screen. Make sure to zoom-in to better evaluate the result. Use Eraser (available for all brushes) to fix mistakes or completely remove a brush effect.

Healing tool

Healing brush is super helpful if you want to remove some unnecessary parts from the shot like wires, trash or anything. Really to easy yet pretty simple tool. It works similarly to Healing Brush in Photoshop. You just have to tap on the area you want to fix and voila. 

Sometimes you don’t get the desired effect when using the Healing brush, so you have to make a few steps back and try to increase or decrease the brush size. Also, try to zoom in at max level, thus you’ll work in a more precise way.

 

Details tool

It allows you to increase contrast by two available options: Structure and Contrast. Structure slider affects local contrast and fine details, while Contrast works in a more bold way changing the contrast of the entire scene. I prefer don’t use high numbers on those two guys, usually, camera algorithms bring a lot of sharpening to jpg files already. Shooting RAW on a smartphone is a completely another story which I’ll cover in some next tutorials.

 

Conclusion

The beauty and power of Snapseed app in flexibility. You can always make a step back on every single tool if you don’t like the result. Moreover, Snapseed allows you to edit each action you made in a simple manner like in Adobe Photoshop. The layers structure is easy to understand and adjust. 

I hope this short tutorial was interesting. Please share it with your friends if you think so! Let me know your favorite tools in Snapseed to edit landscape shots in comments section.

 

Tap on the layers icon at the top then click View edits 

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