Pretty pictures… is there anything better? Whether you’re highlighting your own (or client’s) work and/or products OR you just love taking pictures and like your photos more than stock photography… the advances in technology over the past five years means that most of us can source our own awesome photography for our newsletters and blog posts. If we want to.

Even though I’m comfortable with Photoshop, I’ve come around over the past year to doing a lot of my editing on my iPhone. It’s WAY easier than transferring files back and forth and even more… as much as I like pretty pictures, it’s really not the core of what I do (i.e. helping small business owners make their businesses soar.) So I feel pretty good getting great pictures without taking tons of time to edit the photos.

Today we’re going to go over a few of my favorite apps for basic photo editing. Here’s a progression of a picture I took earlier today – the image quality isn’t all that great, but it’s good enough to show results…

snugbug photo editing


Let’s do a quick rundown….


{above} Upper left corner – original image  – here’s my picture in its unedited glory… I took the picture tooling around with my man Jeff in the countryside. It was just before sunset and we’re in the lovely Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. I took the picture on my iPhone 6. I used the photo app/camera that comes with the phone, and took the picture THROUGH the window while we were moving.


{above} Upper right corner – I’ve remove unwanted bits of the image –   I know the power lines don’t show super strong in the original picture… but they were driving me nuts! I removed the lines and clouds using Retouch. This is a new app to me, but works so well. Open up a photo… choose the ‘brush’ tool and trace over the stuff you want to get rid of with your finger and tap the play/process button. Works like a charm and is seriously easier to use than a healing brush in Photoshop!


{above} Lower left corner – lighten up the foreground – part of why I liked the picture was all the wonderful light… but it also meant that the foreground of the photo was super-dark while the upper/sky portion is super bright. I wanted to bring the brightness a bit more in line so that I could apply some fun filters and not have the top half of the photo completely blown out. I used one of my favorite image apps, Snapseed, to balance out the brightness. It’s a super awesome app. You can select parts of your image (the selection tool is really smart in terms of grabbing the right parts, but it’s also adjustable) – and then adjust the contrast, saturation and brightness in the selection. I toned down the brightness so the next adjustments would appear more even.


{above} Lower right corner – filtering! – The last step was the fun filtering step. I’ve moved away from using Instagram filters. They are pretty awesome and for the last year or two have been an easy go-to for processing photos. But I’m ready for a little bit more control and have moved on to using Afterlight for the bulk of my imaging editing and jazzing up. I tend to make the same adjustments to all photos because there’s a very consistent look and feel that I like for my photos (lots of contrast and saturation.) For this photo I boosted up the clarity and saturation a lot. I boosted the brightness a bit, the highlights a LOT and the shadows not very much. Then I splurged a bit and applied one of the dirty filters which made the image look like it has been crumpled up over the years.

And here we are with the original…


and the end product…



So what do you think… love the new crop of image editing apps, or are you a Photoshop purist?


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snugbug coffee break

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