Beginner Cat Photo Skills

Snapseed The Smartphone App for Cat Lovers

Ever catch yourself snapping a million pictures of your cats on your ‘phone? We all love those zoomies or the unexpected paw waving at your lens. Now, I can see you thinking, wouldn’t it be purrfect to enhance some of those cat pics?

Well, fret no more cat parents! There’s a FREE app to unleash your inner meow-gician: Snapseed for Android and iPhone.

What is Snapseed?

Snapseed smartphone app has sophisticated features such as brushes and healing tools, curves and monochrome adjustments. You can enhance landscapes, portraits and travel photographs as well as your cat photos so it is really versatile.

Let me start with a nugget of history about Snapseed because the app has had a surprising journey. Snapseed was created by Nik Software and is now owned by Google. One thing that will surprise you is that it began as an iPad app and was named iPad App of the Year in 2011. The software was later developed for iPhone and Android devices. Sadly, there is no Snapseed for Mac or PC desktops (which I would love).

Snapseed logo
Snapseed Logo © Google

The app doesn’t have the slightly more ‘fantastical’ tools associated with apps like Phto Leap, but it will become your go-to app for so many different quick fixes when you become familiar with it. I am sharing the basics here to introduce the app and I know you will enjoy exploring it once you see how it can help.

  • Snapseed does lots of things the average photo editing app does but it uses something called ‘non-destructive editing‘. You can reverse decisions using ‘undo’ and Snapseed puts each instruction on a different layer. Imagine those layers looking like an onion, or layers of filo pastry.

How Do I Get Snapseed?

  1. First you need to check the App Store or Google Play to download your Snapseed app.
  2. Once you can see the green leaf on a white background on your smartphone screen – tap to open it.
  3. You will first see a grey cross inside a circle. This is asking you how you want to open a photo.
  4. Tap the cross for the option you need:
    • Open from Device (your smartphone photo album),
    • Open your Camera to take a photo. [Privacy Options may pop up for you to adjust],
    • Open latest image retrieves the last photo you took.

If you have any questions let me know in the comments, or by email I am happy to help.

Snapseed for Cat Lovers

I have opened a photograph of Toulouse here and you will see a similar window on your ‘phone. Under the image you will see three options.

  • Looks
  • Tools
  • Export

Your cat photo will appear first of all in the LOOKS area. This section lets you make quick and easy transformations from bright and clear portrait to a moody monochrome. What you choose depends on your cat’s mood, an idea, or your social media goals for the photo.

If you like what you see you press the small tick located on the bottom right-hand side of your screen and the image is saved.

You can use the Snapseed search bar to find specific effects and filters. 

The Snapseed ‘Looks’ Options

There are ten options here. The first five options lighten your picture in subtle ways, and you might not appreciate the differences of ‘Portrait’ through ‘Accentuate’ unless you are looking for ‘just’ the right mood or impression you want to make with a photo. Then you will see how much it matters.

Fine Art through Silhouette offer different looks for a monochrome or black and white photograph. If you remember my smartphone photograph of our foster cat Sam? You can see how dramatic the lack of colour makes the image.

Faded GlamourMorning
Fine Art (black and white)Push (black and white)
Structure (black and white)Silhouette (black and white)
Snapseed for Cat Lovers. A Black and white photograph of a posed cat
‘Sam’ – Adjusted Snapseed Photograph in Black and White

The ‘Tools’ Section in Snapseed

The middle option when you have a photo on your screen is the tools function. You can look at this as the ‘engine room’ of the app. Everything serious, subtle and adventurous is here.

The number of icons can look intimidating when you open it but don’t panic. Take a few moments just to look. This is the best way to beat any sense of overwhelm. You might start to recognise some of the symbols from computer software on bigger screens. The familiar Crop tool is here, as is a White Balance icon.

I am including the (current) selections of the Tools menu. See how many you can recognise.

Snapfish Icon in the Tools menu
Snapseed Icons
Snapfish Icon in the Tools menu 2

The ‘Tune’ Options in the Tools Menu

I want to introduce you to the very useful Tune menu before you explore the rest of the program. It is the first icon you see when you open the Tools menu.

Tune lets you adjust lots of the things you look for in a good computer photo program:

  • Brightness
  • Contrast
  • Saturation
  • Ambience (contrast + saturation)
  • Highlights
  • Shadows
  • Warmth
  • Image auto-adjustment (the sparkling wand)

This might be the one place you will make the difference you want to your cat photos. Check it out in the screenshot below. You drag your finger up and down to choose what you want to change e.g. Brightness, or Contrast.

The Tune Option in Snapseed

Find a filter

It is in the Tools area that you will find ‘edgier’ digital enhancements like Grunge, Drama and Vintage. These filters give you strong images with more extreme changes and I recommend you play around with these as you explore.

There is a more sophisticated version of the black and white filter where you can adjust a detailed range of tones, brightness and grain adjustments. This gives you a chance to make your monochrome cat photo a masterpiece.

You tap to select a filter then select from the previews along the bottom of the image, just like in the Looks menu. However, here you can also slide your finger across the screen to make even gentler changes. These adjustments are indicated by a narrow coloured bar along the very top of your screen. You can see this in the screenshot below.

Snapseed Grunge Filter demonstration
Smartphone Image – ‘Grunge’ Filter in Tools
a tuxedo with a dark colourful background.
A Double Exposure of Miranda

Snapseed Rescues an Image

Let me show you how the app easily transforms a disappointing image into something really good.

This example shows how one simple action can make a big difference to a disappointing cat snapshot.

Open an image on your phone and look at the menu along the bottom. You will see a series of options called ‘Looks’ that begins with Current and Last Edits. As you scroll along the bottom you see a series of different options previewed as small versions of your original. One of these might be the perfect enhancement you are looking for.

Underexposed ginger cat looking at the camera sat on a fence.

How I transformed a disappointing cat photo

With his alert ears and confident look my visiting cat buddy sat regally bathed in warm afternoon light. But the “Portrait” mode, while blurring the background beautifully, left him a shrouded in shadows. The soft focus was perfect, but his beautiful eyes were lost in the gloom.

Enter Snapseed! With a tap, I chose “Morning” in the ‘Looks’ menu instantly brightening the photo and revealing the warm glow in his fur. What a transformation!

Snapseed Montage of ginger cat photos 2
Collage of Transformed Ginger Cats

Next Steps With Your Snapseed App

You can either download this cool lesson as a PDF using the blue button below, or enjoy my fun and easy FREE Snapseed mini course to dive deeper into this free app.

What do you get in the Mini Email Course?

  • A series of detailed posts packed with information delivered direct to your inbox.
  • A full length colour eBook to keep all your learning in one place.

17 thoughts on “Snapseed The Smartphone App for Cat Lovers”

  1. I just downloaded the Snapseed app and I’m excited to learn how to use it. I clicked on your link for the mini course, but it’s not active. It sounds like something that would be very helpful.

  2. I have not heard of Snapseed! I love photo apps…I will have to go check it out. I love the b&w and the top pic is gorgeous! Thanks for the great tips, as always!

  3. Looks like a pretty powerful tool, especially since it’s on a smartphone – and it’s nice that this app works on Android instead of just Apple.

  4. Absolutely terrific tutorial on Snapseed! This is exactly what I need with the holidays coming up. It will surely help me take better photos (or end up with better photos) of Henry. I love the Snapseed PDF and mini course. Excellent work! I’m sharing as I know all my dog parent will love this as well!

  5. I must see if I can use it on my Tablet as I cannot on my phone, I cannot read there very well. I love that Black and White photo of Toulouse it is just beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing the information

  6. THose all look terrific. I’ve not hear of Snapseed until now. Thanks for joining Angel Brian’s Thankful Thursday Blog Hop!

  7. Saving this to refer to later. My phone is so full of cat pics that I doubt there’s room for another app right now …

    • I used to love Snapseed and used it a lot, I can’t remember when exactly I stopped using it but thank you for the nudge and reminding me about this great editing app so I can download it again xxxx

  8. I definitely need to explore this app a little more. I still do most of my photo editing on my desktop.

  9. I think that the broad range of apps for about anything is fantastic. I am extremely conservative, though, and always hesitant to download new ones.

  10. AHA. Finally found the ITSY BITSY box to check for privacy. It was covered up by info beginning with a ‘W’ in the word “We” and so was very hard to see and check.
    Love the app! Love the lessons. Merci.

  11. I have never heard of Snapseed before. It sounds like a great little app! I will have to give it a try. I love the black and white photo of Sam. It captures him with a focused beauty (and a little bit of kitty moodiness). It seems like this app can actually do quite a bit for being a free app.

  12. OooOooo I am all tingly. I shall have to see if this works on my android tablet. I sure hope so, I’d LOVE to try it.

  13. Another app to add, soon, thanks!!
    I think I will be going crazy one of these days with all the picture editing options! LOL!

    First I must learn the basics of this new ‘thing’ I will have, since I have not ever had one before…EEEKKK!


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