Friday, June 10, 2016

Snapseed RAW Editing - Before & After

The great thing about cell phone cameras is that they're always with you. The bad thing is that the image quality from cell phone cameras is often mediocre, thanks to the tiny sensors that are found in them.

Some cell phones are capable in saving in RAW format (such as the Nokia Lumia 1020 and LG G4, among others), which can make a significant difference, but then you have to post-process the images on your computer using robust software. That limits the convenience of the camera phone.

Wouldn't it be great if you could post-process your RAW files that you captured with your phone using an app on your phone? Wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to sit in front of a computer monitor to edit your images? Wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to use expensive and complex software? And wouldn't it be great if the app was free?

Let me tell you about Snapseed, a free RAW photo editing app for your phone or tablet. It's made by Google and comes from the Nik product family. It's available for Apple or Android devices. And it's good.

The software is easy to use, and most edits are accomplished by touch and sliders. It's pretty darn simple. And it can edit your phone's RAW files (if your phone can save in RAW format).

The LG G4 has good (but not great) image quality, but the JPEGs have a very limited capability for post-processing--the files don't hold up well at all. The RAW files allow for much more flexibility and hold up better to more robust editing; however, they still degrade significantly faster than exposures from larger sensor cameras.

I used the LG G4 to capture these photographs, and I post-processed the RAW images using Snapseed. The transformation is remarkable! The JPEGs could be improved with some editing, but it wouldn't be possible to make them look like the edited RAW images because the files would degrade too quickly. I added fake grain to some of the photographs to make them look for film-like, but the effect is only so-so.

It's still superior to post-process on your computer with good software, but sometimes that's not practical or convenient. Sometimes, even though the results are insignificantly inferior, it's just better for your situation to edit your photographs on your phone. In those situations, in my opinion, Snapseed is the app to use to get the best results.
Out of camera JPEG.
I Can't See The Forest - South Weber, Utah
Out of camera JPEG.
Light Through The Leaves - Salt Lake City, Utah
Out of camera JPEG.
Washington Boulevard - Ogden, Utah
Out of camera JPEG.
Bunches of Bloom - Ogden, Utah
Out of camera JPEG.
Oops! I was holding the phone above my head so I didn't notice my finger in the frame.
Wasatch Mountains From South Ogden - South Ogden, Utah
Out of camera JPEG.
Industrial Antique - Ogden, Utah

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