How to Edit Photos for Free

IMG_4770

I used to think photo editing just meant adding a fancy Instagram filter to my pictures. My favorites were Lark, Juno, and Ludwig. Now there’s nothing wrong with those filters but using an actual photo editing app gives you so much more control. More control = more happiness! Haha! Well, it does for me anyway!

I am not a photographer and I don’t claim to be an editing expert. I’m sure that a professional would cringe at my photo editing, but the way I do it makes me deliriously happy and it’s just so darn easy!

IMG_4789

Snapseed

The first thing you will need is the free app for your phone, Snapseed. There may be better editing apps out there, but this one is FREE! I love free! It’s also incredibly easy to use and I need easy. Head to your App Store and download this handy little tool!

If you’re interested in learning more about how to I photograph my amigurumi please visit: How To Photograph Amigurumi

I highly recommend playing around with the app so that you become comfortable with the different tools. I promise it becomes second nature once you’ve familiarized yourself with it. The great thing about it is if you don’t like your edits you can always revert the photo back to the original. So there’s nothing to lose!

Let’s get editing!

IMG_4772

Choose the photo you would like to edit

Open up your Snapseed app and tap on the large + sign on the screen and choose the photo you would like to edit.

Tap “Tools”

When you tap on “Tools” an entire menu will pop up.

IMG_4774

Tap “Tune Image”

Tapping on “Tune Image” will first bring up “Brightness” but if you scroll up on your screen it will bring up all the different tools in this section!

Brightness– This tool is fairly self explanatory. Scroll right to add more light to your photo and scroll left to bring that brightness down. Once you’re happy with that, scroll up to find your next tool.

Contrast– I like a decent amount of contrast in my photos. It increases the dark tones in the photo and helps them stand out. Play around with increasing and decreasing the contrast to see what looks good with your photo. When you’re satisfied scroll up to our next tool!

Saturation– This tool is one of my favorites and I can get a little “saturation happy” if I’m not careful. I try not to add too much saturation to my photos because it can distort certain colors like red and bright pink. If it’s overused the photo can lose its natural look. Of course if you’re going for a something a little wild then turn that sucker up!! Now scoll up to find our next tool.

Ambiance– this is a tool I really like. It can bring some light to dark sections without making it look bright. I especially like how it looks on natural wood. It takes away some of the shadows in a photo as well. Taking the ambiance down brings out the shadows and looks fantastic when you want those dark moody looks! Scroll up to find the next tool.

Highlights– this one is pretty self explanatory. It adds light but doesn’t seem to be a shadow reducer. Play around with adding and subtracting highlights to see what looks best in your photo. Typically I only add a little highlight to my photos. Let’s scroll up for our next tool.

Shadows– this is a tool I use sparingly. It is great when you need to reduce some of the shadow in a photo but I find that it can begin to look unnatural when it is overused. See what looks best for your photo. Do you like more or less shadow? Scroll up to find our last tool for this section!

Warmth– I definitely have warm tones in my photos but I typically don’t add much warmth to them. I usually never reduce the warmth to give my photos a cool tone. Which appeals to you more? I find that keeping photos either warm or cool in your Instagram feed helps give your account a more cohesive look.

IMG_4777

Once you’re happy with how your photo is looking, click the check mark on the bottom right corner!

Now let’s click back on “Tools” to keep editing!

IMG_4774

Tap “Details”

Details are probably my favorite tool in Snapseed. I think this is where you can really make your photos shine! I’m going to be completely honest here and admit something that makes me sound like an idiot…I really have no idea how these two tools are different  from one another! Yikes. But I use them with free abandon!!! You don’t need to know how they work to enjoy them, sort of like electricity, and airplanes, and telephones!

Warning! Adding Structure and Sharpening is a great tool for showing details, it’s not great on the aging human face! So I would skip this if this is a photo of yourself, but if it’s of your mother-in-law turn it up! Just kidding! Sort of. Teehee!

Structure– add more structure if you want to bring out the details of a photo. This is especially good for showing stitch definition and details!

Sharpening– Like the structure tool, sharpening makes your photos crisp and clear.

Tap the check mark

Tap back on “Tools”

IMG_4778

Tap on Tonal Contrast

Tap the check mark to see if you like what this does to your photo. I probably use this about half of the time. It brings out the details and adds some texture to the photo.  Tonal Contrast generally does not look good on human flesh. It makes skin look either very wrinkly or dirty, so that is no bueno in my book.  It can also distort some background images. You can always add it and then if you don’t like it tap on the back arrow icon to undo the edit.

Tap the check mark if you like the edit or the “x” if you don’t want to add it.

Tap back on “Tools”

IMG_4779

Other tools to play with

Some of the other tools that I occasionally play with are:

  1. Lens Blur – this tool is such a fun toy to play with! Add it to a photo to blur the background of photo. When you tap on Lens Blur it will add a bullseye to your photo with the focused section in the center, slightly blurred in the middle, and most blurred in the outermost section. You can even move the bullseye center for where you would like the focus to be. Also you can change the shape of the bullseye from a circle to an oval. This tool can give your photo a very interesting aesthetic and give your viewer something to focus on.
  2. Vignette – this tool is something I only occasionally use. It makes the photo darker around the edges and is another way to keep the focus exactly where you want it to be. It can also add that moody dark style that looks so good.

Snapseed has 28 total different tools and they each do something different. It’s a fun tool to play with and can bring out the best in your photos.

How To Photograph Amigurumi

hosting guide (1)

Let me start off by letting you know right now that I am NOT an expert. I have absolutely zero training. I use an iPhone! I’m not smart enough to even use the DSLR camera that I have had for years! I even attempted a Craftsy class for digital photography and I literally could not understand what the man was trying to teach. I am a camera dummy.

But I consistently get compliments on my photography and I have learned a few things from trial and error.

  1. Use natural lighting! If you only do one thing, this is it! DO NOT USE artificial lighting, unless you are an expert, but then of course you wouldn’t be reading this! Don’t put amigurumi in direct sunlight, which creates really harsh shadows. Indirect sun is perfect, like near a window or in a spot with a little shade or cover.IMG_2954 (1)
  2. Look at what is in the background of your photo. Is there dirty laundry in the corner? Is the cat in the litter box to the side? Did your husband walk through the front door just as you were taking the perfect shot? Background matters. Make sure everything in your photo is styled perfectly. Trust me when I tell you that you would be horrified if you saw what was off to the side in my own photos!IMG_3807
  3. Edit your photos. Learn a little bit about photo editing. I use the free app, Snapseed. I don’t use filters, but I do use tools. I adjust for brightness, sharpness, shadows, etc. If you have good lighting your photos typically won’t need much editing.IMG_1858
  4. Style your photos to make them visually interesting. Play around with props and putting more than one amigurumi animal in a shot. Use what you already have around your home to make your photos more interesting.IMG_4019
  5. Practice, practice, practice. I take dozens more photos than I ever actually use. Train your eye by looking at good photography, not just of amigurumi. Have fun! Be silly and willing to try ridiculous things! You might just get the perfect shot!