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Hello readers. Welcome to my new blog post.

In my previous article Tips for Mobile Photography, I have explained various aspects of smartphone camera and how to improve your photography skills. However, taking a good picture is only half of the final process. Editing or processing the image is as important as photographing a good picture. New age smartphones process the images up to a certain extent before rendering. However, you can edit your pictures to make desired tweaks in your image.

“Editing either makes or breaks an image."

In the following article, we shall be discussing the basics of mobile editing which we can use to refine our pictures.


The human eye is far more powerful (approx 576 megapixels!) than our digital cameras. It also has greater dynamic range and light sensitivity. Therefore, the colors and brightness of a particular scene perceived by our eyes is different than the one produced by the camera. Pictures with less contrast and dull colors often look flat. Editing helps us not only to correct these values but also to gives a more appealing look to the image. Hence, editing is an integral part of image creation.


There are myriad of editing apps available for both Android and iOS. Adobe’s Photoshop Express and Lightroom Mobile and Google’s Snapseed are some of the best editing apps I have used. However, most of the core concepts are same for all the editing apps.


There are some basic concepts, which you need to understand when it comes to photo editing. Below are some tools, which we primarily use for basic image editing.

Cropping & straightening: The cropping tool allows you to adjust the framing of your picture. This can help you to change the composition as well as remove unwanted parts from the image. Straightening tool helps you to straighten the tilted pictures and correct the horizon. Remember that Cropping reduces the image size and quality. Therefore, use this tool up to a limited extent and only when required.

Tip: Aspect ratio of 3:2 is an ideal ratio for cropping. However, you can also 16:9 as it matches with the mobile display’s aspect ratio.

Cropping & it's effects on image

Exposure or brightness: Adjusting exposure means making your image bright or dark as required. However, over-brightening can make your image looks noisy. Hence, it is better to get correct exposure while taking pictures.

Exposure & it's effects on image

Contrast: Contrast is the range between light tones and dark tones. In the high contrast image, all the tones in the image look either too dark or too bright. While as the low contrast image often looks flat. Always use the proper contrast so that your image elements can stand out without moving to the extreme sides.

Saturation: This tool is used to increase or decrease the color saturation. Increasing saturation makes your image pop and looks dramatic while decreasing saturation reduces the color intensity in an image.

Saturation & it's effects on image

White balance: White balance controls the overall color tone of an image. You can change the white balance to correct the color cast in a picture. Most of the cameras use Daylight or Auto White Balance as default. However, you can explore other options like Cloudy or Tungsten to get dramatic looking image.

White balance & it's effects on image

Sharpness: Sharpening an image gives it a crisp look. Some of the apps also offer tools like Clarity or Structure, which makes the edges of the objects in an image sharp. However, it is important to note that no editing tool can turn an out-of-focus shot into a focused shot. Remember that over-sharpening the image reduces the image quality by introducing noise. Therefore, use this tool only when it is required and focus on getting sharper image in the first place.

Sharpness & it's effects on image


Apart from the basic tools explained above, there are some other advance tools, which we can use to refine the image further. Some of them are:

Shadows & highlights: Using this tool, you can make subtle corrections in the brighter and darker parts of the images.

Healing or clone: Healing or clone tool helps in removing unwanted elements from the image. This is done by taking a sample of another part of an image and replacing the desired part with this sample.

Portrait: This tool is used to refine portrait pictures. It offers a variety of beautifying options like skin softening and eye brightness.

Vignette: Vignette introduces darkening in the corners of an image. Vignette also helps to add depth in an image.


Image editing is a subtle process. The well-processed image not only looks visually appealing but also maintains the image quality. Over-processed images sometimes look off-putting and have lower image quality. Hence, always try to keep your image processing minimal.


Once you are done with the editing and satisfied with the results, export the image. When exporting, always keep in mind to keep your original image intact and save the edited work as a different image.

As I reach the end of this blog, I would like to highlight an important point. Each image has its own editing requirements and hence the workflow and editing tools vary as per the image. However using the basic tools that I have shared, you can certainly refine your images.

I have also uploaded a tutorial called Editing workflow in Snapseed on YouTube. This video will help you to understand different editing tools in Snapseed and their effects on an image.

I look forward to return soon with the new blog on another interesting topic. Till then, step out, practice and experiment to produce beautiful images.

Singapore skyline shot & edited on Moto G6

If you wish to ask any questions or share reviews about the article, feel free to leave a comment below. I will be more than glad to help you.

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