Why I’ve Stopped Using Snapseed To Process Photographs

Previously I’ve spoken with considerable enthusiasm about Snapseed and how I use it to process photographs, especially in black and white (b/w).

I wrote a post about the 13 second Snapseed b/w process I use to add that little extra mood and contrast I like, to photographs various cameras of mine output.

Snapseed is an absolute joy to use (and Hipstamatic on my iPad pretty fun too), once I’d realised I don’t need to shoot RAW then use LightRoom to process every image, and pay Adobe over £10 a month for the privilege.

But, things evolve, and in the last few months I’ve hardly touched Snapseed.

So, who’s the new app in town that’s taken its place, you might be asking?

Well, simply, there isn’t one.

My post processing approach has taken another step towards the zero processing dream we first talked about around two years ago.

All of the images I’ve been making recently have been straight out of camera JPEGs.

For colour photographs, my Pentax K100D and K-m DSLRs deliver images I love.

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And on the monochrome front, my Pentax Q and Panasonic Lumix LX3 both have dynamic b/w film modes that give me the inky drama I was using Snapseed to add to the more bland fifty shades of grey images other cameras were outputting.

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I haven’t parted company with the cameras that don’t give me what I need directly out of camera.

The Ricoh GX100 and GRD III are just too good and I like them too much to part with them.

But when I now have two colour and two b/w cameras that deliver just what I want with zero processing, I’m not sure I’ll want to go back any time soon.

We’ll see what the coming months bring.

How about you? What does your post processing, er, process, currently look like? What would you like to change?

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

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10 thoughts on “Why I’ve Stopped Using Snapseed To Process Photographs”

  1. I’ll have to try your zero post processing method, Dan, especially with the K-10D and K-r. I always have to at least sharpen the image, otherwise I usually pull down the brightness a bit (which usually adds contrast), and often vignette. I never used Snapspeed because I think Google is creepy, but I do highly suggest Darkroom app. only available or iOS, and Ribbet. com where I have their software on my computer and I think is excellent. Nice post by the way.

    1. Thanks Frank. I can’t recall what settings the K10D has for JPEGs. The K100D is limited to Natural or Bright, the latter of which gives slightly more preferable images, for me. It was the next model, the K-m, that introduces a b/w option, and digital filters for further control. Though I haven’t found a b/w set up up quite as delighted with as the dynamic modes in the Lumix LX3 and Pentax Q.

  2. With many cameras if you don’t like the out-of-the-box results they give you can adjust the camera so it has a little more contrast or more saturated/warmer/cooler colours. I formulated an in-camera setting for “Kodacolor” on my Canon and rarely take it off that because it’s how I like the images. The old Kodak P850 is fine as-is, and often better than any of the CMOS sensors in either colour or B&W.
    Otherwise my post-shoot processing remains limited to simple cropping for the most part, or conversion to B&W if I think that will look better. Only the V1003 demands adjusting after the shot, and that’s because its sensor is failing. Occasionally I do a “save” on something that didn’t come out good enough, and of course there are experimental shots that need enhancing for evaluative purposes and even some “artsy” ideas that can only be done in software.
    But mainly it’s Straight Out Of Camera, just like you do.

    1. Marc, yes few cameras (in fact probably none) I use straight out of camera with all settings at the default. I take some time to find what I like best, and cameras that give a little control over contrast, saturation and so on, obviously make this much easier. Once you’ve done it once, you can forget about it, whereas with post processing, even with presets, it often still feels like you’re starting from scratch each time, and the temptation is there to keep tweaking different parameters.

  3. I always go back and forth about post-processing. I used to love keeping my film scans raw but then I discovered after starting to scan my own film, that I’m not getting the colours that I want so I started fixing the colours and then the hues and now I’m in a phase of processing my images. Like you said, I might change my mind in a few weeks.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts Ginnie. I went through various phases with film, and in an effort to make it more affordable longer term, bought a scanner to scan my own film. I couldn’t ever get the colours as good as from the lab, and found scanning such a huge effort and time suck, I went back to supermarket developing and scanning, which 95% of the time I was happy with.

  4. The only post processing I do of pictures from my only digital camera (iPhone X) is cropping the image to a 2:3 aspect ratio to fit the standard 4×6 paper I use for prints. The exposure, contrast, color, etc., are spot on 99% of the time. I often mentally crop the image on the screen when I take the picture, knowing that I will be removing something along one or both of the long edges.

    1. Doug, I’m using the Lumix LX3 this month, which strangely (in my view anyway!) has a 4:3 sensor, but the screen is 3:2. So you either shoot 4:3 to use all of the sensor, but then have black borders at the edge of the screen, or shoot 3:2 to fill the screen, but not the sensor. I’ve left it on 4:3 so far, which I’m used to for virtually every other compact camera. Plus the prints I do make (albeit rarely) are 6×8 inch, which obviously suits the 4:3 ratio perfectly without cropping. But 3:2 still seems to look a little bit more natural to me, from those years of shooting 35mm film I guess.

  5. I like Snapseed as an app Dan, but I rarely ever need that level of functionality. I love the simplicity of having presets too, but I’ve never been able to make a preset (for colour or B&W) which works for more than 50% of my pictures. Generally I find that Google Photos has all the functions I need to tweak exposure, contrast, saturation and shadows etc on a picture by picture basis. Thinning out the “keepers” first is essential to minimising the amount of time that this takes!

    1. With Snapseed for b/w I originally found I was starting with one preset but then nearly always tweaking the contrast up or down a bit further. So instead I set up three b/w presets (with the contrast at +21, +23 and +25 respectively if I remember rightly) then always started with the middle one and tried the higher and lower contrast either side to see which of the three look most right for the particular image I was working with at the time. This was just more direct and quick than keep going another layer into the contrast slider itself and tweaking that up and down.

      For colour I think I found a set up I liked quite early on and just stuck with it. But in practice I rarely use it now as when I want colour I just use one of my Pentax CCD DSLRs and use the jpegs straight out of camera.

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