One of the great things about taking photos using a smartphone or tablet is that in addition to serving as a camera, that same mobile device can be used to view, edit, enhance, store, print, and/or share your digital images—all without using a computer. Thus, you can take photos while you’re out and about, quickly edit or alter their appearance, and using the Internet connection offered by your smartphone or tablet, share those images online via social media. The capability to quickly edit and/or enhance your photos after they are shot is not something point-and-shoot or digital SLR cameras offer.
This chapter focuses on ways to edit and enhance your photos after they’re stored in your smartphone or tablet.
Enhancing and Editing Photos
Often, when you simply snap a photo using a digital camera, even if you set up everything correctly, the image might not look perfect. However, using the image editing and enhancement tools available to you from a mobile device, or using specialized software on your computer, a wide range of powerful and easy-to-use tools are at your disposal. These tools enable you to quickly edit, enhance, or dramatically alter the appearance of a digital image before you share it via the Internet, create prints, or showcase it in other ways.
There is a slight distinction between enhancing and editing a photo. Most photo editing mobile apps and software packages for computers offer a one-tap or one-click enhancement tool, as well as a variety of special effect image filters. In addition, they offer individual image editing tools that allow the photographer to alter one aspect of an image (or a portion of an image).
Shown on the following page is a “before” and “after” photo demonstrating the Enhancement tool taken using an Android-based HTC One smartphone. The “before” photo (left) shows the original image in the Photos app, just after it was shot with no changes made to it. The “after” photo (right) shows the altered image after the one-tap Enhancement tool was used. Notice the green leaves are brighter, as are the colors of the flower petals. In some cases, the edits made with the Enhancement tool will be subtle (look closely at the green leaves in these images), while in other situations, they’ll be much more noticeable.
When you use the Enhancement tool or an image filter, it improves or changes an entire image, but you often can’t adjust the intensity of the effect. In most cases you can only turn it on or off.
Beyond the quick-and-easy one-tap or one-click Enhancement tool and special effect filters, the photo editing mobile app or computer software you use also offers a selection of separate image editing tools.
An image editing tool can impact an entire image, or in some cases, only a portion or section of an image, and each tool alters the image in a specific way. In addition, as the photographer, you can often manually adjust the impact each particular tool has on your image, plus mix and match various editing tools to fix or alter an image to your liking. Thus, editing tools tend to offer customizable options for fixing or altering your photos.
Regardless of which photo editing app or computer software you use, a handful of common editing tools are available to you, such as Crop, Straighten, Exposure, Brightness, Contrast, Color, and Saturation, each of which has a different impact on your image.