In this post, I want to talk about the 3 apps that I use most often to retouch my photos (excluding VSCOcam, which I have already talked about in full here). The world of mobile editing tools is truly vast and it’s all there to be discovered, once you get used to how it works. Most of the apps are really easy to use and some are free – what more could you want?
The first must-have is definitely Snapseed: if you don’t already have this app as part of your virtual toolbox, download it now and you won’t regret it!
What makes Snapseed one of my favourite apps? Simple: it provides high quality retouching tools for free. This app consists of two macro sections: tools and filters. I hardly use the filters, but what does make this app an absolute must for me are the editing options found in the tools section.
When you open tune image and click on the little magic wand icon, on the white band at the bottom of the screen, you can select to retouch the whole photo automatically. If, instead, you hold your finger on the image and scroll downwards, all the other editing functions appear on the screen. I recommend that you try out the effects of each option on your photos. I often use brightness, contrast and ambiance, the latter is particularly good for adding depth to your photo, making it more vivid, by means of balancing the light and adjusting the contrast. In the photo below, for example, I used the magic wand and then further adjusted the result using the ambiance function.
What is really great about Snapseed is that it has a selective function that allows you to retouch only certain areas of your images. It may not sound that exciting, but I can assure you that it really makes a difference. There are times when it doesn’t work to adjust the brightness or contrast of the whole image, when all you need to do is to balance the light in one specific area of shadow, or to increase the saturation only in the coloured area that you want to highlight. As with this photo taken at dawn in the Moroccan desert: in order to photograph the colours of the rising sun with my phone, I had to leave the rest of the landscape in shadow. Using the selective function, I was able to post edit just the area of shadow below the sand dune, leaving the colour of the sky untouched and highlighting those little ripples drawn in the sand by the passing winds. A detail that I would otherwise have lost.
Instead, in the photo of the sunset below, in order to highlight the shapes of the clouds, I increased the contrast only in the sky area; if I had adjusted the contrast of the whole photo, it would have turned out too dark.
My second favourite app is SKRWT and I’m sure that all lovers of architecture will be mad about it, if they don’t know it already. You know when you take a picture of a building from below and it goes from square to (dreadfully) pyramidal in shape in your photo? The shapes and proportions that you liked so much are totally lost. Well, with this app, you can correct distortions in perspective, both those from low to high and from left to right, as well as adjusting lens distortion, giving the image a fisheye or wideangle lens effect. SKRWT isn’t free but you can get it for the very affordable price of $1.99, of which it is worth every cent.
The final application I want to mention is Looksee, and it is a more recent discovery. The reasons why I like this app are very similar to why I like VSCOcam, in that it offers filters that adjust your photos without totally distorting them or making them too fake. This app is free to download and has a range of filters included. As with VSCOcam, you have the option of buying further filter packages, with the distinctive feature that those available through Looksee are the result of collaboration with some of the most popular Instagrammers, who have created their own filters based on their individual editing styles. Each additional package costs $0.99; I have bought a few but I must admit that I most often find myself using those provided for free. One of my definite favourites is the package of three filters by the Instagrammer @ovunno.
I was born in Turin but I consider Milan my home. I love nature, good food, sunny days spent outdoors and in good company.