Addicted to Instagram? Create mood shots with Snapseed


The number of photos on social networks are staggering. Ever since cell phones came with decent cameras and mobile internet, on-the-go photo sharing has been on the rise. Just like blogs, the content of social media sites is 90 percent forgettable and 10 percent great. If you want your photos to stand out, you have to choose interesting subjects. It doesn’t hurt to have the right tools either. This is where photo editing apps come in. There are literally hundreds available both for iPhones and Android phones. I’ve tried some but there is only one that I really, really like. Snapseed.

When Snapseed first came out, it was a paid desktop app at the Apple store. I paid 20 dollars for it, if I remember correctly. The iPhone / iPad version came out after a long wait but it is free so it’s (sort of) worth the long waiting time. Google bought Nik Software, the maker of Snapseed, and there is now an Android version too (not available for all phone models though).

Google, however, has decided to discontinue the desktop version but says that “Existing customers will continue to be able to download the software and can contact us for support.” The last desktop versions for Mac and Windows can be downloaded for free but I am not sure if, by downloading it now, you will be considered an “existing” customer entitled to support.

What can Snapseed do? A lot. Let your imagination go wild and Snapseed can handle it. The examples below were generated using the desktop version; the mobile versions can accomplish the same things.

So, I have this photo of Pepper nursing her four kittens.


The original, of course, is much larger that what you see above. I resized the photo without cropping out anything just to show how the unedited image looks.

The original photo, the large one, I dragged into the Snapseed panel.


For Instagram, you want a square photo, so start with the cropping tool. Several ratios are available but since you want a square, choose the 1:1 ratio.


Next, the fine tuning tool. You can choose automatic or play with the neutral, dark, balance, bright or moody settings. Under each setting, the brightness, contrast, saturations, shadows, ambience and warmth can be adjusted.


Then, the details. Sharpen, add structure, and find the right balance between sharpness and structure.


You can also add “drama” by playing with the lightness and darkness.


Even after cropping the photo, there are extra elements that are unwanted in the image. Enter my favorite tool Snapseed — “center focus.” By blurring and darkening the edges, I was able to focus on the elements that I wanted to highlight. Note that the “center” can be moved anywhere within the photo.


Like frames? Snapseed has a lot and they are all adjustable every which way.


After all the adjustments with Snapseed, there is the Instagram-ready and worthy photo.

But wait! There’s more to Snapseed.


You can transform any image into black and white or create grunge and vintage effects.


I don’t really use the black and white, grunge and vintage tools very often but for theme designers, they can be very useful.

If you browse the list of free themes available for download on, you’ll notice how they are categorized according to their characteristics and features — the dominant color, the number of columns, fixed or fluid width… The tags sometimes reveal more — grunge, vintage, floral… In short, a blog theme isn’t just about the structure but also the feel. The easiest way to create the feel is to use a smart combination of colors, header image and background image. And Snapseed is a great tool for creating headers and background images.

This is not a paid post. How can it be? Snapseed is free.

About Connie Veneracion

I cook, I shoot, I write, but I don't do the laundry. I don't like housekeeping very much either... more »»


  1. hi connie,
    thanks for the info/tips on how to create better /more interesting photos. But I am more interested in your kittens. They’re so cute.

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