It's so simple and intuitive that even a 3-year-old can figure it out instantly. (My 4-year-old grandson Max caught on in less than an instant.)
Starting our fourth decade: Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online for 30 years


Want a great smartphone photo app? Try Snapseed

November 3, 2013

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, The Post-Standard

The best kind of camera is the one you have with you. That's an axiom in photography. Having a Super Hyper Fab DLSR in your drawer at home does you no good if you're trying to take that once-in-a-lifetime photo of the kids in the park.

So your cellphone becomes, by default, your best camera in that situation. It's the reason smartphone owners seem to care more about the quality of their cameras than how well the things make phone calls. It's not hard to predict that standard cameras will become dinosaurs in a decade or two.

Back when cellphones had cameras that came from Fisher-Price, nobody cared about editing the photos they took. But ask anyone with a top-of-the-line iPhone or Samsung Galaxy how good their pictures are and you'll get a glowing report.

Pictures like that need to meet up with good editing software. The No. 1 rule in my photo classes is that the photo itself is just the first step. It's an unfinished undertaking. Every photo needs to be edited. Unwanted objects might need to be cropped out, colors sometimes need to be restored to look lifelike (surely you've seen the ghoulish color fluorescent lights give to everybody's faces), and scenes that are too dark or too light usually need rescuing.

That's why, if you care about your cellphone pictures -- and why share them otherwise? -- you should run them through an editing app. There are many for Android and Apple phones, but most of them seem like entries in a disguise-the-scene contest. At some point, adding neon colors and bug eyes to pictures of mom and dad just gets old.

My choice, then, sticks to photo apps that actually improve pictures. The winner is a super-friendly app called Snapseed, available free for both Android and Apple devices at their respective app stores. Snapseed works without traditional menus; you touch a box-like icon for a set of functions and touch the image. Slide up for the change you want, such as brightness, and slide left or right for the amount. Everything in Snapseed works this way.

I'm convinced this method will take over photo editing in a few years. It's so simple and intuitive that even a 3-year-old can figure it out instantly. (My 4-year-old grandson Max caught on in less than an instant, if such a thing is possible.) iPhoto for Apple's devices has the same kind of operation, but it's not free and it's not as easy to use.

I often post Snapseed-edited photos on the cover page of my website in my photo-of-the-week selections. Stop by each week to view them and of course to read my present and past columns. They're all online. My site, one of the longest running tech sources worldwide, is www.technofileonline.com.