Photography Software Review: Nik’s Snapseed

Ok – I’m embarrassed to admit it, I’ve just discovered Snapseed (which is truly shameful because I am such a software junkie).  When Nik first came out with this software, I filed it in my mind as something for the ipad, and didn’t realize they had a Windows/Mac PC version.  So when I finally saw the light, I happily parted with $20 because I love Nik’s software.

A friend of mine recently sent some photos she took in Costa Rica so I decided to enhance them using Snapseed in an effort to show her what $20, and a few minutes, can do for her images.  She was so pleased with the coastal shot at the beginning of this post that she ordered it on canvas.

Costa Rica Coast - Before

The interface organizes the adjustments into 2 sections:  basic photography adjustments, and creative adjustments.  For the coastal photo, I used the basic photography adjustments to sharpen, saturate, brighten and create contrast.  Nik provides presets that help you get started and find the type of look you want – and then they allow you to fine tune the adjustments both global (for the whole image) and selective (for just part of the image).  Most software in this price range just provides presets – without any ability to fine tune adjustments.  To be able to do this on a selective scale is really remarkable.  I also used multiple creative adjustments and added a border.

Here is another photo my friend sent:

Fern Tree -Before
Fern Tree - After

After applying some of the basic adjustments, I used a creative preset in the Drama category and added a frame.

Here are a few from my recent trip to New Mexico.  I used different combinations of presets in the creative categories – but really impressed me was not only the ability to tweak the effect, but to also change aspects of it.

Storefront in Socorro New Mexico

For example, in the Vintage category, after choosing a preset I could choose a “style” which added a different type of color cast to mimic film types.  I could also chose the type of textured overlay I wanted to give it a vintage look -scratches, marks, distressed surfaces.  I really like that I have tweaking options.

Capitol Bar in Socorro New Mexico

The texture of this building just screamed Grunge – so I used a preset in the Grunge category to accentuate the grittiness of the building and pull out the color.

Josefina's Gate in Las Cruces New Mexico

I processed this image in Photoshop first – and then decided for fun to experiment in Snapseed.  I ended up liking this version much better.

There are still two creative categories I haven’t really played much with:  tilt-shift and center focus – but I suspect once I do, I won’t be able to imagine life without them.  I’ve tried to find a cord that will take photos directly from my camera to Peter’s ipad so I can do some playing with Snapseed during our downtime on trips – but I haven’t found one yet.

The great thing is that you can try Snapseed before you buy.  I highly recommend doing this – I just downloaded some trial software from a different company and decided not to purchase it.  This way you really have nothing to lose.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s