Have you ever taken a photo with your iPhone then realized the lighting was terrible and not appealing? If so, you know that it can be hard to recapture those moments you snap with your phone. What can we do to take an ugly photo and transform it? There’s one little app that I love using for lighting and improving dark images that I take on my iPhone. The small but mighty I used is called Snapseed. In this post, I want to share with you my process on how I transform this photo below into one that I would share online.


Whats wrong with this iPhone photo?

I took this photo during mid-day which means it was bright and I was trying to look for a shadow. I snuck by the fence but wasn’t happy with the picture. It has a bit of a blue-ish hue, and it’s full of shadows. The sky in the background looks great but probably wouldn’t be the most post-able photo.

What is Snapseed and Why It Can Help You

Snapseed is a powerful photo-editing app that allows you to apply filters and other Photoshop-like editing tools. Google bought it, and it’s part of Google’s continuation of improving photo sharing software. It supports RAW files, so it’s even a great option for those of you with DSLR cameras to export as JPG. Some of its features include healing brushes, glamour glow, lighting effects (my favorite), white balance, curves, and much more.  A powerful tool that you have right in your hands to edit. It’s ideal for you to have if you have a photo you are ready to transform. You might not be photoshop queen, but you are willing to use a new app to improve your photos.

Ready? Let’s get started!


Start by opening the application on your iPhone. This grey screen above is going to be the first screen that you can see right away. All you are going to want to do is just tap on this grey screen. It will then open up to your three most recent photos in your iPhone library. You can choose:

  1. Open From Device (opens up your library)
  2. Camera (which opens up your iPhone Camera)
  3. Open Latest Image ( the last photo in your library)


Now that you have chosen your photo, we are ready to begin editing this photo. You will see there are filters on the bottom but for this tutorial, we are not going to be using a filter. Note: This is just my preference/process in using Snapseed (feel free to explore other ways too). Okay, so let’s hit that tools button which takes us to the next step.

Now we are going to hit the Snapseed selective tool. This tool is Nik’s award-winning, patented U Point technology. With just the touch of your finger, you can make selections on what areas you want to enhance. It gives you the ability to tap and adjust the color and light of any area of the image. With this tool you can select the:

  1. Brightness
  2. Contrast
  3. Saturation

Now that it opens the Snapseed selective tool, you will see the little plus circle on the bottom tab. This tool will add the B circle to your photo. You can now hold your finger down on the B circle and move it to any part of the picture. Moving this B circle to the left side of the fence, I was now able to begin selecting how big I want the brightness to affect. Here you are ready to increase the area you want to change, by using two fingers to move in a pinching motion.


I then went to the other areas of the fence, and with a left and right finger slide, I was able to adjust the brightness level. You can see the top part of the screen where the brightness level is at, and you can change. For most of these particular spots, I have them to just about +50.

I went ahead and added a total of eight selective spots. As you can see, there already is a big difference from the original photo by merely brightening it up.

I am all done with brightening the photo. But now I see that there is a little bit of imperfection on the fence in an area where I can’t crop it out. I will now select “tools” again and choose Snapseed healing brush.

Once you hit the Snapseed healing brush tool, you will want to make sure you zoom into the photo. Specifically to the area where you want to “heal.” Why? This healing brush is a clone tool in photoshop, and it will take parts of other areas when applying the correction. All you do here is touch the area with your finger (it will highlight in red), and you should see the result automatically.

So now, we are going to finish up this photo with the tool Snapseed “Tune Image.”

We can tune this image by adjusting the brightness, contrast, saturation, ambiance, highlights, shadows and warmth. You can play around with what is best for your photo that you edit, but make sure to keep it more natural if possible. The levels I used for each are above.


I want to go ahead and straight the photo before cropping for I am going back to tools. I will then select the rotate tool. The tool will automatically straighten the picture for me! Just hit the check mark to be done!

Now we will finish up with cropping. You can export the photo by using the bottom tab on the right, then using the iPhone photo tools crop it. I used the two-thirds rule (click here for that post) to crop the photo and complete to have the person (me) in focus. Here is the finished picture!

That is it boss ladies. You are now able to give it a try with your Snapseed app right from your iPhone. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below. To share your photo on IG using the hashtag #growthatglow!

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