How to edit images and add text quickly on the go

How to edit images and add text quickly on your tablet or smartphone.

I  love posting images to Instagram and Facebook wherever I am – on holiday, in a nice cafe, with a client. I really like the immediacy of it and I know that it benefits my photography business being active on social media even when I’m away from my desk.

snapseed free editing app

Take a simple shot like this and turn it into an effective marketing message like the one below in just a few simple steps.

how to use Word Swag

This image was edited using simple apps in just a few moments.

Billions of images are posted to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat on a daily basis. So I need mine to stand out from the crowd and work hard for me. They need to:

  • Be great quality – after all, I’m a professional photographer so it’s expected. I NEVER post an image without editing it first and adding my logo.
  • Be eye-catching and attention grabbing.
  • Communicate my message in a nano second.
  • Get people to take action – click like, share, comment or contact me.

Making your images work this hard on social media can seem like a very time consuming task, but not if you know how and there are some great apps around to make it painless.

My favourite editing app by far is a free one from Google called Snapseed. It’s available for Android and iOS and have I mentioned that it’s FREE! It has no adverts and no in-app purchases.

Snapseed is intuitive to use for the obvious and more basic edits like cropping, adjusting exposure, rotating and using filters. You just have a play and see what each option does. However, it does have some less obvious features which make it quite powerful and it’s worth taking a look at some of the online tutorials to discover everything it has to offer. This is a great one that I recommend to my students.

To get from the slightly dull colour image at the top of this post to the black and white one above these are the changes that I made in Snapseed:

  • I used the HDR scape filter to bring out the details in the clouds and water. But don’t use this at full strength, it’s horrible and really overdone. I reduced it to just 10% strength. Less is more.
  • rotated the image very slightly to correct the sloping horizon – nothing annoys me more than sloping horizons!
  • I selected a black and white filter – there are lots of options available. Select the one that works best for the image and adjust the brightness and exposure whilst you are there.

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  • Then I selected the Grainy Film filter and picked one to suit the image. I reduced the grain effect to zero and also reduced the style of the filter so that it was quite subtle.
  • I gave a final tweak to the brightness and contrast using Tune Image and then I made the image look a little crisper and sharper using the Details tool.

One of the features I love about Snapseed is that you can go back to any of your edits – even the very first one you made – and tweak or delete it.

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And another great feature is that when you save it you can choose to save it so that you can still go back in and get to any of those edits in the future.

The final stage of preparing my image is to add a message to grab people’s attention and to add my logo to a) protect my image and b) reinforce my brand, no matter where that image gets saved, shared or pinned to.

UPDATE: Since I wrote this blog I downloaded the latest version of Snapseed and you can now add text too! So no need to buy Word Swag at £3.99! It works pretty much in the same way so by all means read on but don’t pay for an extra app when you don’t need to! You can’t add a watermark in Snapseed but you can add your website address or a copyright statement.

I stumbled across Word Swag recently. It is a paid app – £3.99 – but I’m really pleased with it and happy not to get annoying adverts popping up all over the place.

This app is unbelievably simple to use and requires no tutorial, just a few moments of playing and trying things out.

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  • Just double tap where it says and type in your message.
  • Then try out some of the fonts and styles at the bottom.
  • Click on the numbers 1 to 5 and see the layout change slightly again.
  • Press Done when you’re ready and save when prompted.

At the very end, after it’s saved, you get the chance to add a watermark. I was very happy about this as it saved me using another app to do this. Logos with transparent backgrounds work best. Make sure you have a .png file from your logo designer rather than a .jpg.

Once you’ve done the whole process a few times you’ll find that it only takes a few moments and it really is worth spending those few moments to create a high impact image that promotes your business so powerfully.

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Image edited in Snapseed and text and logo added in Word Swag.

I run courses in photography and in editing and preparing images for social media. I also offer one to one tuition. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found it useful.

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